Fun

Eating Out At Restaurants: The Ultimate Guide To Spending Less

Eating out at restaurants: The ultimate guide to spending lessEating out is great isn’t it?

No cooking, no cleaning, no groceries, and no hassle -- what’s not to love?

There’s just one problem: eating out is expensive. Ok, two problems. Restaurant meals often aren’t as healthy as a home cooked meal either, but they sure taste good!

Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to make the bill that comes at the end of your meal a lot more palatable so you can eat out more often without feeling nearly as guilty, or just pocket the extra dough for something else you enjoy.

Want to save money when eating out? Grab this PDF download with 34 strategies – including a 1-page worksheet to list your top 5.

Here’s how you do it:

Related: Do You Splurge?

Combine As Many Discounts As You Can

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9 Cheap Birthday Party Ideas for Parents

9 cheap birthday party ideas for parents

Throwing a birthday party for a group of little kids used to be pretty basic:

  • a cake,
  • cups of bright orange drink,
  • a bowl of chips, and maybe…
  • a few hot dogs after they amused themselves by running around playing tag.

But then it somehow turned into a competition of which parent could plan the most impressive, over-the-top celebration.

Rented venues!

Themed designer cakes!

Pinterest-worthy decorations!

I’m a firm believer that you can throw an awesome birthday party without spending a fortune on food, decorations, activities, or favours.

It just takes a little creativity and a few tips...

Food

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7 Fun & Frugal Ways to Get Fit

7 fun and frugal ways to get fit

While I’m not saying that I’m looking for a total body transformation or anything…

I’ve decided to tackle my fitness woes without a fancy gym membership, expensive new gear or spendy fitness class passes.

Plus, there are too many articles out there that recommend things I would never actually do to get-fit-for-less.

So here are 7 actual ways I’m going to get back into my fitness routine without blowing the bank.

Intro Class Passes and Trial Memberships

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How To Save Money at Fairs, Carnivals and Exhibitions

How to save money at fairs, carnivals and exhibitions

One look at the price they’re charging for a hot dog – seriously, we’re all in the wrong business – is enough to make you think twice about coming back to a carnival or exhibition next summer.

But it doesn't have to be a painfully pricey experience to watch your child delight over the merry-go-round, watch a horse show, and pet a friendly goat…

Fairs, carnivals, and exhibitions can be wonderful places to spend time with your family – and they don’t have to cost you a kidney.

Here are a few tips that will make it more affordable to hit up your local fair, carnival, exhibition, or any other outdoor event that’s trying to charge $10 for an order of cold french fries...

Plan ahead

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How Much Is Reasonable to Spend on Alcohol Every Month?

How much is reasonable to spend on alcohol every month?

With all of the articles you see about the fact that millennials are spending more on coffee than they’re saving for retirement…

I’ve been waiting for the follow up article:

Millennials are likely spending more on alcohol than they’re saving for retirement, too.

And I’ve been waiting for that article precisely because, even as a person who enjoys the occasional (or, if we’re being honest, not-so-occasional) latte, my monthly craft-beer-and-wine budget often tops my coffee budget.

And based on what I hear anecdotally from friends? I’m not alone on this.

So if beverages are ruining millennial’s retirement, and if we’ve already talked lattes to death…

Let’s switch gears for a second and ask a different question.

Less “Will a $5 latte sink my retirement?”, and more:

“Am I spending too much on beer, wine and alcoholic drinks? And uh… how do I know if I’ve hit that point?”

The answer will likely be highly personal. Because alcohol itself is highly personal.

From your favourite type of wine, to the reasons you don’t indulge.

But here’s a look at why we’re spending so much on alcohol, and how to get a handle on your booze budget.

How did alcohol become such a big budget line item?

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$166 – My Cost For High Speed Internet, TV, 2 Cell Phones, Home Phone, Long Distance, And Movies

My cost for high speed Internet, TV, 2 cell phones, home phone, long distance, and movies

Canadians pay some of the highest costs in the world for their communications and entertainment needs.

These costs can do serious damage to your long term financial health because they silently drain your bank account every single month. They're even subject to regular rate hikes to maximize profits for your service provider, often outpacing the rate of inflation.

Knowing that, I try to review my service costs regularly and keep them as low as I can while not depriving myself of what I really need. Now that I have a home office, I need top speed and rock solid internet for example. I also need reliable cell phones with lots of minutes and data - whereas I used to be able to get by without that in years past.

Here's a breakdown of my current services for my household of 2 adults and 2 children - all prices include taxes and fees.

$85.04 – High Speed Internet (130mbps Down / 50mbps Up)

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Budget Travel Tips For Tourist Attractions

Budget travel tips when visiting tourist attractions

Sure, there are different strategies for saving money on tourist attractions…

But what it really boils down to is this:

Research in advance.

Exploring your options to see if there are any coupons, discounts or vouchers available for the attractions you are planning to visit can go a long way.

Timing is also important. Because buying your tickets in advance can end up saving both money and time.

Here are some strategies to consider before taking off to your destination.

Coupon Books

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How to Set - and Stick to - Your FUN Budget

How to set and stick to your fun budgetWhen people hear the word budget, they don’t hear “fun.”

Instead, they tend to hear one of two things.

“Booooooring.”

Or the ever-popular,

“So I have to stop going to the pub so much, right?”

But here’s the great thing about budgeting:

It can actually help you spend guilt-free on the things you really love.

And I speak from personal experience on this.

My Budgeting Journey

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How To Score Cheap Movie Tickets

How to score cheap movie tickets

I don't know about you, but I love going to the cinema to watch a movie!

It's a great way to get out of the house and enjoy a night out with family or friends. There's just something about the experience that makes it so much better than watching a movie at home, even if it is MUCH more expensive.

With the price of a single admission approaching $15 per ticket in some cities, it can cost a fortune to go out to the movies with your spouse especially if you include the insane cost of movie food. Add on a babysitter and you could be getting close to $75 or more for one night at the movies!

Fortunately, there are a lot of creative ways to score cheap movie tickets and I've put together a pretty comprehensive list:

Discount Movie Passes

There are actually a ton of ways you can advance purchase discount movie passes that makes getting cheap movie tickets a breeze. You can find these cheap movie passes at various retail stores, through certain membership programs, or sometimes even through your employer. Here are a few specific examples:

Costco Cineplex Movie Packages

One of the quickest and easiest ways to get discount movie passes is at Costco. They "Great Escape" Cineplex package for adults costs $26.99 when bought directly at the warehouse. You get 2 regular adult admissions, 1 regular popcorn, and 2 regular fountain drinks all for that one price. Keep in mind, it is $3 extra per person to upgrade to 3D. Depending on how you value the tickets and the refreshments, you could be getting a value of up to $45 there.

Costco also offers kids packages for about $10 which gives you an under 13 regular admission ticket and a kids pack from the concession stand (popcorn, soft drink, and small candy).

It’s worth noting that Costco.ca often has these same or similar packages at a slightly increased price so you can buy them even if you aren’t a Costco member - but they do go out of stock often. If you aren't a member, try convincing your friends who are to pick a few passes for you.

Virgin Mobile BOGO

Virgin offers buy one get one free (BOGO) movie passes to its customers several times a year. This is great if you are already a "member" or know somebody who is. The good news is that you can become a member cheaply when you buy a prepaid SIM card (about $5). Once you have that, you can insert it in any unlocked phone and use it to claim your BOGO code.

The downside is that your SIM card will expire in 120 days from when your balance reaches $0. The minimum top up is $15 and that lasts for 30 days. So you can wait 119 days after buying the SIM, top up for $15, then you should have 150 days before it is set to expire again. Keep topping up every 149 days to keep it active.

CAA

Being a CAA member can have its perks and one of them does happen to be cheap movie tickets! CAA offers a discount on individual Cineplex movie tickets and sometimes packages as well. The packages aren’t quite as cheap as they are at Costco, but still a reasonable deal if you can’t take advantage of the Costco deal. They also offer single admission passes at $9.83 each, which is something you can’t buy at Costco which is great for those people who don’t want over-priced food at the movies or don’t want to spend the extra money to get it.

Employee Discount Programs

Many larger employers offer employee discount programs for their employees to take advantage of. Typically the discounts given are of marginal value at best, but many such programs do offer decent discounts on movie tickets. For example, a previous employer of mine offered us single admission movie tickets for $2.50 off the regular price. Check with your employer to see if they offer a similar program!

Redeem Points For Movie Passes

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How to Watch Sports for Less

Tips on watching sports for lessI love watching sports. Especially LIVE in person...

In fact, I go to a couple hockey games per year. And then watch the rest at home.

The main reason comes down to this:

Money and time.

It’d cost thousands of dollars to attend all games during the year. Not to mention the time factor driving to and from the venue, finding a decent parking spot, and the hunt to find your seats.

Then there’s the snacks...And maybe souvenirs, if you’re really splurging.

YES - it’s a thrill to watch a game in person. But let’s face it:

There are cheaper alternatives...

Watching at Home

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