15 Frugal City-Living Tips To Save Your Budget

Frugalwoods_City_Living

LIVING IT UP ON A BUDGET   Living in the city isn’t for everyone—it’s hectic, expensive and not the most natural outlet for frugality. Or is it? I’ve found that city-living actually lends itself very well to the frugal life. There are plenty of ways to extract value and reduce your expenses while living in traditionally high-cost locales. Mr. Frugalwoods and I have done the city thing. Since graduating from college, we’ve lived in New York City, Washington, DC, and Cambridge, MA (twice). Why would we, as notorious frugal weirdos, live in some of the most expensive cities in the world? Well, to be honest, because we wanted to. We were both raised primarily in the mid-western United States and had romanticized visions of the chic, cutting-edge, cultured cities of the fabled east coast. We wanted to prove we could make it, that we could succeed in these notoriously competitive job markets, and that we could maintain our frugal wits in these havens of lifestyle inflation. And we have. The past 8 years have been an incredible experience for us. It has also been instrumental in teaching us what we really want out of life, which, as it turns out, is the exact opposite of […]

grocery game monthly challenge

Do you track money-back from points cards as part of your budget?: The Grocery Game Challenge #2 Dec 8-14,2014

points cards grocery store

IT’S YOUR MONEY TO SPEND!   Almost everyone I know has points cards of some description especially cards that offers points to be redeemed for groceries. I was reading a post by my friend Alicia at Financial Diffraction where she discussed “Tallying the other money” ie: rewards points redeemed, PC Points, Shoppers Optimum points, Swagbucks, Coupon apps and so on. What I found interesting is that she considers the money as “found money” or “other money” where I call it “extra income” which means I didn’t spend as much in our budget. My wife and I are both on the fence with this topic as we aren’t sure how we will tackle it moving forward with our budget. I have a section in our budget where we can add in money earned from points, rebates, cheques (ie: coupon app rewards) etc. so it’s put back into the monthly budget as income. I look at it as money I would have spent from the budget but since I was able to redeem points I didn’t have to so I put that money back into the budget as income but it comes back out when I input budget data. I find it […]

A Beginners Guide To A Grocery Price Book (Free Template Included)

grocery price book

Why Make A Grocery Price Book   For many families, groceries make up a large portion of their monthly spending. If you’re looking to spend less every month, it’s possible to save a considerable amount of money on groceries. Knowing your prices is one of the best strategies to save money on groceries. It helps you evaluate the sale flyers to know if a sale really is the best price in town. Prices are always changing. If you track the prices, you’ll know when to stock up and how much to buy. The simplest way to really understand your local food prices is to create a grocery price book. What is a grocery price book? A price book, also called a price comparison chart, is a sheet that tracks the prices of the items you buy most often. It takes sometime to set up, but you’ll earn back your time quickly. To really see this in action, take the example of my favorite brand of bouillon, Better Than Bouillon Chicken Bouillon. Here are the prices at my local grocery stores: Wegman’s: Regular price of $3.99 Giant: Sale price of $3.99, Regular price of $4.49 Walmart: Regular price of $3.58 When […]

grocery game monthly challenge

Types of food bank donations and ways to save: The Grocery Game Challenge #1 Dec 1-7, 2014

food bank donations

FILLING THE FOOD PANTRY   Donations and food drives around the holidays are ramped up all over the world in hopes of making sure that all families have something to eat for the holidays. It’s not easy to come forward and ask for help but there are people who could really benefit from your generosity. Last year was the first time at my place of employment that we were able to help a family in the community who wasn’t able to provide their children with gifts to open on Christmas morning. Not only did we make sure that the kids were taken care of we all donated a few dollars to buy them a gift card to a local grocery store so they could buy food to make a festive family dinner.   Ways to give   During the year we make Salvation Army donations and give away free clothing and other items we don’t need via Kijiji and Facebook. Most of these places make it easy to donate like the Salvation Army drop-off centers so you don’t even have to go into the store. You can make a Goodwill donation, Bibles for Missions and a Value Village donation much […]

grocery game monthly challenge

How we eat healthy on a tight budget: The Grocery Game Challenge #4 Nov 24-30, 2014

Eat Healthy

DON’T FAIL BEFORE YOU BEGIN   We always have people who find out about our grocery game challenge ask how we manage to eat healthy on such a tight budget. To be honest it’s not that difficult to do especially if you are open to trying new foods and staying away from the foods you don’t need. Last week I blogged about grocery shopping at the Dollar Store and sure you might be able to pick up a few bits but you can’t eat healthy buying food in a store like that unless fresh produce and veg is offered.   Eat healthy for life   Everyone and I repeat everyone will have their own idea of what “healthy eating” means to them. You may feel that eating a healthy diet of fruits and veg is healthy where another may think that only eating organic is the way to live the healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy means eating whole foods that are prepared fresh and not eating more than your body needs. This is why when people ask me “How much should my grocery budget be?” I can’t answer them because based on personal needs they are the only one’s who can […]

grocery game monthly challenge

Buying Cheap Food At The Dollar Store Shouldn’t Be Your Only Option: The Grocery Game Challenge #3 Nov 17-23,2014

cheap food healthy food

IT’S WORTH SPENDING THE TIME TO GROCERY SHOP   It’s no secret that for many Canadians debt is a big problem as it is all over the world. With high debt loads some people feel that buying cheap food at their local dollar store is the only way to put food on the table and to balance their grocery budget. It’s not the only option, let me explain why. If you go to your local dollar store like we do and buy stuff that you know has a price tag that just can’t be beat why would you pay high prices? Most often we give up quality and value just to find something that will work like a $3 IPod Charger as opposed to buying one at The Source for $29.99 plus tax to do the same thing. My theory is we could buy 10 cheap chargers for the price of one and so what if it breaks. Not only can you buy seasonal items and housewares but almost every dollar store also sells cheap food although it’s hard for me to make that same comparison for many of the products. You don’t have to eat unhealthy foods just because […]

grocery game monthly challenge

How to grocery shop like a professional personal shopper: The Grocery Game Challenge #2 Nov 10-16, 2014

grocery store personal shopper

PASSION FOR FOOD AND SAVINGS   Some of you might be reading this and thinking it’s not that difficult to grocery shop but for some hiring a personal shopper is easier than doing the deed themselves. If you are a grocery shopping ninja like Mrs. CBB and I there is no way in the world you would hire a personal shopper to complete this task.   Personal shopper to the rescue   Can you believe that there is an actual professional shopper career covering all things shopping related to make life as comfortable as possible. I’ve now come to the conclusion that there is a career for just about anything that requires time-saving chores or demand for such role. Essentially hiring a professional shopper is like eating out, it’s convenient. With that convenience comes a price tag and for some of these personal shoppers they can earn a decent living working for a company and even more if they are hired direct by a family/individual without a third-party. Who hires a personal shopper? Anyone who wants to save time, has no idea how to grocery shop or wants nothing to do with a grocery store. This doesn’t mean that they […]

How I budgeted my travel expenses for work and play

Air Canada Express Airplane

YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE EMBRACE LIFE   Two words that comes to mind when I think back on the summer that has just passed is adventure and travel expenses. Not everyone has to worry about travel expenses when travelling for work but if you are on a budget this is critical to staying on top of your finances. Today I’m going to share with you my experiences from this past summer travelling for work and play with my family plus what lessons I’ve learned along the way.   Budgeting On The Road   Getting on and off 11 different airplanes in less than 2 months and several multiple hour road trips from one province to another certainly made for an adventure this past summer. When I was asked by my company to travel to various locations in Canada I was really excited, who wouldn’t be when offered the opportunity to travel when almost all travel expenses were covered? Though my company paid for all my flights, hotels and all but one of my rental cars upfront, I found that travelling for work wasn’t as easy as it sounded. If you are ever given the opportunity to travel through your employer […]