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My Cheap Vacation - How I Did It!

My Cheap Vacation - How I Did It!

I just got back from an overnight family vacation, which was a trip from my near Toronto, Ontario home to Palmyra, NY. There's an outdoor pageant there which I've wanted to bring my family to see for a long time, and we finally decided to do it. Aside from being lots of fun, entertaining, bonding (kids first time in a hotel), it was inexpensive to boot!

Total cost: About $230

Here's how I did it.

First - some fixed costs which I couldn't change:

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3 for 1 Sale Again!

3 for 1 Sale Again!

On the heels of a presentation on "Emergency Preparedness" I heard on Sunday, my wife, Robin, found another 3 for 1 cereal sale. On top of that, there's a sale on crackers that is lower than Robin has ever seen.

So, being the eager savers we are, and knowing that we go through many boxes of crackers and cereal weekly, we are going to spend about $500 on these items again. This $500 will buy us just under $1500 worth of food. Now there's a deal worth stockpiling for.

For us, its not only a great deal, its part of our emergency food storage. It saves money and brings peace of mind. Its times like these we're glad we opted for the cold cellar when we bought this house.

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Are You a Freegan?

Are You a Freegan?

I have never heard of the term freegan until today. My husband pointed me to this site http://freegan.info/ that outlined some of the practices of a freegan. My basic translation is that a freegan does all they can to live life paying for little and where possible nothing. Being able to live without the need for much money. Thus it allows them to have a job with little income (low wage/low hours). This helps reduce stress levels and the feeling that you have to work more to pay for life's expenses. Thus you have more time to do as you want, more importantly you have more time to be with your family.

As I read the article about the freegans I thought it was a very interesting way of life, but I would have a hard time living as a true freegan. There are some frills or commodities that I do not want to live without. The touch of freegan in me couldn't pass up some outdoor chairs and a workbench I saw my neighbor getting rid of. 

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Asking the Right Question Could $ave You Money

Asking the Right Question Could $ave You Money

I was recently reading an entry in the Thrifty Mommy blog where she knew the right question to ask to get much needed airline tickets for the next day at a discount price. The entry tells of her savings (others comments on savings they've had) by asking for bereavement fares. So she was able to attend to the family loss with the expense being minimized.

Here are some other questions that may help you save on your purchases:

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Persistence Against Corporate Injustice (I Got My Refund!)

Persistence Against Corporate Injustice (I Got My Refund!)

Four years ago my husband came home with this cool new gadget from a major big box electronic store, a projector (allows us to watch movies on our wall almost life size). The great thing was that it was on sale for a very decent price. The only real downfall now to having it, is that since the major electronic store doesn't sell the replacement bulbs themselves we have to order them from another small company online (at about $400 a piece).

The first bulb lasted a couple years before we had to replace it. The second bulb went in the middle of watching a movie after using it for about only 15% of the expected time it should have lasted. I was not satisfied with what I figured was a faulty product. I phoned the company we got it from and they said they couldn't do anything for us, but we should contact the manufacturer of the projector.

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What Does Zero Down End Up Costing You?

What Does Zero Down End Up Costing You?

There are many opportunities to put ZERO down on different purchases these days. Zero down mortgage. Zero down event with zero payments for a year at your local furniture store. Zero down event with zero payments for a year at your local auto dealership. This is great if you are still planning and saving for your purchase along the way and paying more than minimum payments when you begin payment.

Having a zero down mortgage leaves more for you to pay off in the long run and therefore a greater amount for you to collect interest on. So when there's a greater amount of interest collected that means you will pay an even greater amount for the house in the long run. So, for example, if you purchase a $200,000 house, put zero down and thus get a mortgage for $200,000, a 25 year term, with a 5.0 interest rate, you will end up paying $350,754 in total at the end of the 25 years. 

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Shop the Flyers Online

Shop the Flyers Online

I usually look for sales in the grocery store flyers when I first walk into the store hoping they have something on my list on sale. I usually only shop at one store, maybe two, because my time is very limited with five children. I do make it somewhat easier by having a list, but having a list of sales would make it even cheaper too.

I gave a link in the blog entry "Making a Career Out of Cutting Coupons" which gave savings for the US. I just came across a couple of sites for Canada to check sales out ahead of time and be able to plan shopping ahead of time. Here are the links to help you plan your shopping:

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How Much Is Your Time Worth to Get a Deal?

How Much Is Your Time Worth to Get a Deal?

While reading through the Money magazine an article stuck out to me, "When Getting a Deal Just Isn't Worth It".  The author gives some great examples through her experience and another friends experience when trying to purchase the perfect car.  The author spent a great many hours searching for the best deal on a big screen TV for her family.  She questioned if she spent her time wisely.

I've debated this very same thing.  When I do my grocery shopping each week I try to plan where I need to go.  I save up a number of purchases for the same store to minimize the amount of time I'm actually out driving and shopping.  I've passed up some deals in the past because the money saved on purchasing the sale item wasn't as great as the value of my time spent getting it.

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Cashing in on Reward Points

Cashing in on Reward Points

Every time I buy diapers for my baby or any everyday purchase, I accumulate points that will eventually get me a free movie ticket. (thanks to Scene.ca) On top of that, one of the department stores I purchase the baby items from also has it's own point system which again I use to buy things out of their points catalog. My mother-in-law was recently surprised to see that she had accumulated a large number of points that she then redeemed for a $130 gift card. She used it to purchase clothing for her new job and a birthday gift for our daughter. I have redeemed my gas station points periodically for a car wash. You do have to be careful to keep the use of your points cards current. A few years ago I hadn't used one of my department store points card for a while, the department store put it in dormant state and I lost the points that were on there.

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Grocery savings of over $500

Grocery savings of over $500

My wife recently found a great sale on cereal at a local grocery store... It turns out that she saved our family just under $600.

The store was Price Choppers. It was for 3 boxes of Post cereal for $5. It worked out to be almost 3 for the price of 1.

She purchased 180 boxes ($300 worth!) and was very strangely looked at for purchasing such a large amount (even had to get store manager approval for such a large purchase). 

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