10 Best Frugal Living Blogs

Frugal living blogs keep us happily on a budget!

Frugal blogs are some of my very favourite blogs to read. While browsing through them, I am inspired, determined, and ready to take action to make an keep my budget! I love reading all of the creative ways that people around the world are finding to stay on budget, and still have a pretty amazing and fun life!

Many of my favourite blogs are from the UK – typical, since I’m a bit obsessed with that entire region! But, on my favourites list there are also a few favourites from Canada, and the US, too. So, here we go – here are some of the best budgeting/frugal living blogs online:

  1. The Non Consumer Advocate – This quirky blog has been a favourite of mine for years. Katy is a married registered nurse with a great income, and yet she lives life simply and fully. And is conscious of every penny! She’s currently funding her two college-aged children through university. While you’re there check out her 5 Frugal Things posts, which are the ones I always check for! (She came up with the popular concept first – kudos to her!) And, also take time to read through the comments section – her readers are true blue frugalites and I love reading their tips, too! Bonus points for: using beans so often! I need to up my bean game.
  2. Mean Queen – Life After Money – This British blog features Ilona, another quirky character that is a true inspiration to those of us who are trying to live a frugal life. Her frugality may at times seem extreme – such as how her meal plan may feature almost entirely marked down groceries! (In reality, I sort of respect that! HA!) And, she’s been blogging regularly for over 10 years! Quite a feat. Bonus points for: her artistic flair and downright individualistic attitude. (Oh, and even more bonus points for the fact that she loves cats so dearly. So do I!)
  3. SimplyFrugal.ca is a Canadian website/blog that features Canadian focused deals and bargains. Taya’s beautifully laid out website features all sorts of practical tips that are organized in such a way that makes finding the information you need a breeze! This includes budgeting tips, household tips such as organizing ideas, and much more. There are also sections that help you find Canadian coupons, and special deals. She even has exclusive Canadian coupon codes, so definitely worth your while to visit.
  4. Shoestring Cottage – is another British money saving blog. Oops, I guess my obsession with all things British is really showing itself here! This is another comforting blog that eases you in to your frugal lifestyle – especially if being money conscious is a relatively new idea to you. Jane posts frugal recipes, tips on saving on secondhand clothes, and is another one who posts Five Frugal Things posts that are awesome fun to read.
  5. Costco East Fan Blog and Costco West Fan Blog are two new blogs I recently discovered, and am amazed by! Each Monday, the writers go on a shopping trip to Costco locations in Canada to find all the secret sales and deals for that week! This is an incredible resource for Costco members who like to plan ahead, and budget for their shopping trip. These tips help you know when it’s time to stock up on a truly great deal on your favourite Costco items! (Whether that is toilet paper, spices, or OTC medicines.) And, I LOVE that they have two separate blogs- one for Eastern Canada, and one for Western Canada – because Costco sales can definitely be dependent upon region.
  6. Notes from the Frugal Trenches – is what I call a ‘comfort blog.’ Just as we sometimes reach for a piece of (ahem! I usually reach for a BAR of) chocolate or a bag of potato chips, there are some blogs that bestow upon us the same feeling of comfort as a portion of our favourite comfort foods. FT is a Mom of 3 living in Toronto, and has what may seem like overwhelming challenges in her life. And yet, she carries on like such a trooper, and makes life sweet on a very limited income. Her kindness emanates from her every word. Bonus points for: Her humanity. AND, how she squeezes delicious meals for herself and her children on a very VERY tight budget. Inspirational indeed.
  7. The Frugal Girl – is an incredibly popular American blog that features recipes, reviews, “What I Spent, What We Ate” posts about grocery spending, and much more. A very easy-to-read blog.
  8. The Frugal Canadian – is a site with all sorts of freebies and contests for Canadians, and other money saving ideas. All Canadian content, which is super helpful!
  9. Nana Pinches Her Pennies – is an American blog that is lovingly low-tech, and very raw in its realness. The writer shares her tips on how to live on a very low income. When you read her writing she sort of feels like your own Grandma, too. Bonus points for: wanting to hug the brave writer!
  10. Our New Life in the Country – is a beautifully written blog about a woman named Sue, who with the love of her life switched from a busy town life to one settled in the Welsh countryside. This blog is actually retired now, but Sue has created a new blog about even simpler living in a trailer (caravan) that she writes at A Smaller Life Living Simply. Bonus points for: the adorable pug named Suky!

This list of 10 favourite frugal blogs is, of course, just scratching the surface! The Internet is awash with beautifully written blogs that really help us frugalites try to stay on budget. Please leave a comment if one of the above frugal blogs is your favourite too, OR let us know about one we didn’t include. Happy frugal living, all!

Dollarama Calgary – Price Showdown versus Amazon (#1 April, 2019)

Well, hello bargaineers! Thank you so much for dropping by. Today, we have the first in a series which we hope will become a popular feature around these here blog parts. And that is: our first showdown of price comparisons at Dollarama versus Amazon. Which one will win? You’ll just have to keep reading to find out.

Dollarama is a very popular Canadian dollar store chain that features products that are $4.00 and under. (We won’t even get started on how customers felt when their price point went up to that $4 point. No sir, we won’t even go there!)

Today’s trip was in a Calgary Dollarama location (the Midnapore location to be exact – which is especially helpful if you want to know where to find these goodies!), and here is what I found… Let the price showdown begin!

  • Betty Crocker heavy duty burner liners – $1.50 for 6 – These handy liners do exactly what they claim – line the burners of your electric stove to make that icky job of cleaning around the burners a much easier job. On Amazon, a pack of 6 is $9.77. Now, I’m not saying the quality may be exactly the same, but the price WIN goes to Dollarama!
  • Sunlight + Oxi Action dishwasher power pacs – $4.00 for pack of 20 (or $0.20 per dishwashing pac.) These handy little pacs make it a breeze to get your dishes sparkly clean right in the dishwasher. But, does Amazon have a better deal? On Amazon a pack of 95 is $14.47 – or only $0.15/pac. This time – win to Amazon!
  • Purina DentaLife Chews dog treats – pack of 10 for $4.00 (or $0.40 each) – These dog treats by Purina help to reduce tartar buildup on your dogs’ teeth – a healthful snack, indeed. (Even if we ARE a little partial to cats…(link)) The specially shaped treat helps to really clean all surfaces. But, what about the price difference between Dollarama and Amazon? A quick search on Amazon revealed that – ta dah! – the price is IDENTICAL. Well, to be exact you’ll save a single (extinct) penny on a bag at Amazon. It’s a tie!
  • Bodycology pure white gardenia OR Vanilla lotion – $3.00 for 12 oz. bottle – Umm, this one is sort of crazy! Maybe this lotion is no longer in production, and therefore in high demand? The same lotion is selling for as much as $50 on Amazon! Woohoo – maybe go get some and resell it! You’re welcome. BIG WIN to Dollarama!!
  •  Royal Chinet 16 square dinner plates $3.50 for 16 (about $0.22 each) – Sometimes you just need a paper plate – such as when the whole family and all your dozens of cousins (that rhymes!) come over for a BBQ. These little babies are made in Canada, are recyclable, biodegradable AND compostable. Check, check, check – we like an environmentally friendly paper plate.  Okay, then, Amazon – what can you offer? In a large pack of 150 round plates for $26.15 – you’ll pay $0.17 each. So, a win for Amazon!

So, according to my limited mathematical skills – I think we ended up with a TIE! Wow, I didn’t see that one coming. Now, there are a few things to keep in mind. With Dollarama, you can just pop down to the store and pick up the products you need and well, Bob’s your uncle. Whereas on Amazon, you have to wait a while to receive your purchase – but, with Prime 2-day shipping, it is pretty ridiculously quick. And you don’t have to leave home to order, either! Yay for PJ pant shopping time.

You’ll likely have also noticed that you have to buy larger quantities at Amazon. That case is particularly true with our example of the paper plates – a purchase of 16 plates versus 150! So, if you use a lot of paper plates, saving on each one is a great deal. But, if you just DON’T NEED over 100 plates, then a jolly quick jaunt down to Dollarama will likely do you just fine. Oh, how I love taking a jolly quick jaunt there – okay, terrible English accent off. AND REMEMBER: prices at Amazon can change at a moment’s notice. So, prices quoted at Amazon were the prices current at the time of writing.

Okay, bargaineers – what has been YOUR greatest find at Dollarama lately? Which do you prefer – online shopping or local shopping? Please leave a comment so we can all benefit!  I do hope this little experiment has helped you to stretch your shopping dollar just a bit further. Watch out for our next price showdown – coming soon!

Starbucks Reward Program is Changing!

The sweet smell of Starbucks in the morning!

Have you heard? Starting April 16, 2019, the Starbucks rewards program is changing! Cue the dramatic movie music please…

Starbucks Rewards basically rewards you with 2 stars (or points) for every $1 you spend at Starbucks locations. Right now, when you achieve 125 stars you get a free item of your choosing – basically anything on the menu! This has up to this point included pricey lunch options such as salads and sandwiches. (My favourite Starbucks hack was to occasionally save up my stars and get one of their delicious salads for a free lunch.)

But, starting April 16th, you’ll have more ways to spend your accumulated points, or stars. Some people will love these changes, and others might sneer. (Most of us hate change anyway. Slowly easing my own hand up in admission…)

Spending Starbucks Stars

Whereas before, you needed 125 stars to get a freebie, soon you’ll need as few as only 25 stars! Now, we will have a greater choice as to what we want to spend our beloved stars on. BUT, we will also need to save for longer for more expensive options such as those delicious Starbucks salads I mentioned earlier.

Here is what you’ll soon be able to use your stars to get:

  • 25 stars – customize your drink with extra pumps of syrup, substituting alternative milks, or adding an extra shot of espresso
  • 50 stars – (and this one seems like the BEST deal to me) – a free bakery item, or a hot coffee or tea. The Starbucks graphic showed a croissant, but I’m sure there will be more options on the free bakery item at this star level.
  • 150 stars – handcrafted beverage (like lattes, mochas, or cappuccinos) OR a hot breakfast (breakfast sandwich or oatmeal). Since I’m a latte lover, this means my favourite freebie will now cost me 25 more stars. Cue the tears into my coffee cup! (Okay…I’m nearly over it already.)
  • 250 stars – Lunch! These items include a protein box, salad or sandwich. This is twice the amount it used to be!! Meaning, it will be a very infrequent treat for moi, now.
  • 400 stars – This is something new. At this level, you can get a bag of coffee OR choose from a selection of Starbucks cold or hot drink containers, such as travel mugs. This might be something to save up for! Or, this could be a good choice if you want to save up for a gift for a friend.

Bonus Starbucks Stars

I’m assuming that the beautiful Starbucks bonus star offers we receive as registered Gold Card members will not change. I love receiving special bonus star offers in my email! I’ve received up to 200 bonus stars for purchasing certain items. So, hopefully we will still be receiving these awesome bonuses, which really do help the old star balance build up quickly.

Remember – it’s only a good deal if you were going to buy the items anyway! Like many, I have been caught up so much in collecting my beloved STARS that I purchased extra items (like lattes or breakfast sandwiches) that I hadn’t planned on buying in the first place. It’s all a matter of balance, people!

My conclusion on the new Starbucks Rewards

Right, so my take on the changes to the Starbucks program is this: I’m okay with it. (Not really an earth shattering opinion, now was it?) Sure, it’ll take me a little longer to save up enough stars for a luscious handcrafted latte, BUT it’ll take far less time to get a free regular coffee or tea! My husband loves Starbucks tea, so we might just switch our freebies to those from now on. And, since he can get a refill on a tea when we sit and work in a Starbucks cafe – well, he can get a freebie times two!

Please let me know in the comments below what YOU think of the changes to the Starbucks program. Do you like them? Or are you downright disappointed to this change in your daily caffeinated drink?

Real Canadian Superstore – Mega Deal on Aldo or Roots Gift cards

Ooh boy, do I love a bargain! While searching through my Flipp app, I noticed that the new PC/Superstore flyer has some awesome bargains available! Http://flipp.ca

The one that caught my eye is 10,000 PC Optimum points when you buy a $50 Aldo or Roots gift card. So, if you’re in the market for some beautiful Roots clothing or handbags, or shoes or sandals at Aldo – why not get $10 worth of groceries for free at Superstore!

Great Deals on 5 Must Have Kitchen Gadgets

I am a bit of a nut when it comes to kitchen gadgets – having worked in housewares for 12 years, I LOVE finding a great kitchen deal! Gadgets should work well, help solve a kitchen problem – and if they are multi-taskers, then even better! Here are some bargains on must-have kitchen gadgets that really will ease some daily cooking and kitchen tasks. (Please note that Amazon links are affiliate links. If you click through and purchase, I will receive a small commission. This is my coffee money, for which I dearly thank you.)

Oxo Good Grips Avocado Tool

To say that everyone is still obsessed with avocados may in fact be understating the fact! Avocados are a superfood, filled with nutrients and healthy fats. Plus, they taste incredible! But, they can be a little tricky to deal with – so this tool makes it easy to cut safely into the fruit, remove the pit AND slice it right in the skin. $11.97

Tovolo Collapsible Microwave Cover

A messy microwave is something you can avoid if you simply cover your food while cooking it! Instead of reaching for plastic wrap, try this Tovolo cover instead. This Tovolo cover is sturdy, yet collapsible, so it is easy to store while flattened. (Traditional microwave covers were so bulky that storage was a real issue!) The 10.5 inch size makes it awesome for covering most bowls and plates. Simply pop the cover over the plate before popping in the microwave, and prevent the worst splatters and messes. It’s also dishwasher safe, making it a breeze to clean up. $11.60

Silicone Frying pan handle cover

This handy silicone sleeve fits neatly over most standard frying pan handles. I find that this works especially well on my cast iron skillets – trust me, I have badly burnt myself on those before! If you have too, then you quite literally feel my pain. This heavy-duty cover also provides a better grip on the pan, and is oven safe to 475 degrees F or 250 degrees C. At $6.00, it’s worth getting a couple to have on hand when one is in the dishwasher.

Mason Jar Spoon Rest (NEW ON THE MARKET)

I’m a real sucker for a cute spoon rest.So, when I saw this pale blue Mason Jar ceramic spoon rest, I swooned a bit. (I swooned for a spoon? Sorry…sometimes I can’t help myself.) A spoon rest is exactly what it says – a dedicated spot to drop your spoon in between stirring whatever gorgeous food you’re creating. This handy gadget keeps your counter tops clean. And, when it looks as cute as this little fella – well, you won’t even mind keeping it out as a decorative piece. $16.99

Aerolatte Handheld Milk Frother

Can you say HOMEMADE LATTE? I knew you could! This handy little gadget creates great fluffy foam for your homemade lattes, cappuccinos and even gourmet hot chocolates. All I do is brew coffee extra strong in my coffee maker. Then, I heat up about 1/4-1/3 cup of milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds. (Your microwave times will vary, of course.) Then, use your Aerolatte to create gorgeous mounds of milk foam! Pour your coffee in over top, and sweeten and add a sprinkle of cinnamon to the top. Starbucks, eat your heart out. 🙂 This adorable Cow Print version is $25.13.

I hope you enjoyed today’s Amazon finds. If you’re a kitchen gadget freak like me, then maybe you discovered something new to add to your collection of kitchen must-haves. Okay, off to get more coffee!

Canadian Gift card Bargain – Ultimate dining card – 30,000 bonus PC Optimum points!

This is an amazing bargain for this gorgeous spring Sunday! (Hope it is sunshiny and inspiring where you are, too!)

From Saturday, March 16 to Friday, March 22 only – get 30,000 bonus PC Optimum points when you put $200 on an Ultimate Dining gift card! 30,000 points equals $30 of free groceries or goodies at either Superstore or Shoppers Drug Mart. Woohooo!

Ultimate Dining Card equals a great deal

Best Deals on Checkout51 this Week – starting March 13, 2019

Checkout 51 (If you haven’t already signed up for this money saving app, click here click here to join!) is an incredible Canadian app that helps shoppers find the most valuable coupons. But, instead of the hassle of buying a newspaper and clipping coupons, you have all your best coupons with you stored right in the app! I love the convenience of Checkout51, and check it for deals every week.

This is a reliable company that issues you money back into your account when you verify that you have purchased a certain product. Verifying your purchase is as simple as using your phone to take a photo of your receipt.

The new deals are updated every week on Thursday, so yesterday was the day! Here are the best deals on Checkout51 this week. (My top tip for money savers in Canada using this app is…use it in conjunction with the Flipp flyer app to find out which items are also on sale! Then, use your money saving virtual coupon on top of a sale, and save mucho dollars!)

Food and Groceries

  • Armstrong cheese products – $0.75 off either cheese slices or sticks. These are SO handy for lunchboxes – the slices to tuck into a sandwich, or the sticks as a snack!
  • Little Potato Company – has a wide range of varieties of flavoured mini potatoes that you just microwave. Voila, instant side dish! $0.75 cash back this week.
  • Enjoy Life Foods – this is a company well known to anyone who has to eat gluten free. (As I have for nearly 12 years now.) They make a delicious range of gluten free treats and cookies. $1.00 cash back on selected varieties of cookies, bars, and energy bites.
  • SMARTFOOD popcorn – has some glorious new Indulgence popcorns that sound to die for! Either Dark Chocolate and Raspberry or Milk Chocolate & Caramel. Both $1.50 cash back. (GREAT DEAL!!)
  • Glutino – their gluten free cookies and crackers are all on offer this week. $1.00 cash back on selected varieties. (I particularly like their gluten free version of Oreos. So good crushed over ice cream!!)
  • FRANK’s Red Hot Sauce – is a favourite around here! $1.00 off selected types.
  • STAGG chili is an easy lunchtime or supper choice. $0.75 cash back. Use this chili to top a sweet potato, and then add a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of green onions or chives. Delicious dinner done in only minutes! (Hint: they have 6 varieties of their chili on Cash Back offer this week – so stock up on a few different kinds!)

Home and Cleaning

  • Finish dishwasher detergent tabs – at Walmart only – $2.00 Cash Back
  • Finish Jet-dry rinse aid – at Walmart only – $1.00 Cash back
  • Spongetowels Ultra paper towels – $1.00 Cash Back
  • Pledge polish and other products – $1.00 Cash back
  • Scrubbing Bubbles products – great for cleaning the toilet with a LOT less work – $1.00 Cash back

Personal Care

  • Head and Shoulders products – at Rexall only – $2.00 Cash back
  • Buy 2 Herbal Essences bio:renew products – at Rexall only – $5.00 Cash back (HIGH VALUE alert!)
  • Pantene products – at Rexall only – $2.00 cash back
  • Selected CREST products – ranging from toothpaste to Whitestrips – from $2.00 to $5.00 Cash back
  • Selected ORAL-B floss products – $1.00 Cash back
  • Listerine Go! Tabs – $1.00 Cash back (I watched the commercial about these with interest, but haven’t tried these yet. If anyone has, please leave a comment!)

Medicine and Health

  • Renew Life probiotic products – $4.00 Cash back (please check app to see exactly which types are included in the offer)
  • COMBO deal – Vicks Dayquil and Nyquil products – $4.00 cash back when you buy both. (These deals are awesome if you have coupons for the individual products, too!)
  • Fisherman’s Friend lozenges – buy 2, get $0.50 cash back
  • Imodium – $2.00 Cash Back
  • RestoraLAX – $3.00 Cash back

Beverages

Lots of good deals on Melitta coffee this week! Give me a good deal on coffee, and I’ll arrive holding my favourite mug. 😊

  • Melitta 100% Compostable (yay!) coffee pods – $2.50 Cash back
  • Melitta pour-over brewer (at select retailers) $2.00 Cash back
  • Melitta roasted and ground coffee $2.00 Cash back
  • Melitta whole bean coffee $2.00 Cash back
  • Caotina Swiss chocolate drink powder – $1.00 cash back (A friend brought me a pack of these back when I was fighting off the flu. It makes a lovely, comforting hot cocoa drink.)

Frozen Foods

  • Frontera bowls – $0.50 cash back
  • Healthy Choice power bowls – $0.50 cash back (and I’m quite sure there are still coupons available for these. Double savings!)
  • Breyers Delights ice cream – $1.50 cash back

Babies and Kids

Lots of diapers on offer this week – match theses up with any coupons you have for mega savings! And I know you Moms out there are always on the lookout for diaper deals.

  • Renew Life Flora kids and baby probiotics – $3.00 Cash back
  • Selected HUGGIES wipes $2.00 cash back (on larger size packages)
  • Kandoo flushable baby wipes – at Walmart only – $1.00 cash back
  • Select HUGGIES diapers $4.00 cash back (HIGH VALUE)
  • HUGGIES little swimmers waterproof diapers – $2.00 cash back
  • Pull-ups training pants $3.50 cash back

Pets

  • Beyond Natural dry cat food $4.00 cash back
  • Beyond Natural wet cat food – buy 2 and get $1.50 cash back
  • Beyond Natural dry dog food – $4.00 cash back
  • Beyond Natural wet dog food – $3.00 cash back on 2
  • Meow Mix dry cat food – $2.50 cash back
  • Meow Mix wet cat food singles $0.25 cash back (limit of 5 claims)
  • Nature’s Recipe Grain free pet foods $4.00 cash back

 

Plus, there are even more cash back offers on the app! Please visit again for next week’s choices, and please leave a comment about your best deal using Checkout51 with sales and/or coupons. I love hearing about your savings!

Once your account hits $20 in accumulated savings, Checkout51 sends you a cheque in the mail. I have received these cheques, and therefore feel excited to tell you about Checkout 51 if you haven’t already heard of them. Click here to join as a new member. (click here) Hope you save some money on your groceries this week!

Bargains on Cool Cat Furniture and Cat Trees

Now, if you’re a cat lover like I am, you’ll know that a cat tree is more than just a foolish overindulgence for spoiled kitties. Cat trees, jungle gyms or kitty condos are in fact a healthy option for indoor cats especially. The natural play and climbing that cats get to enjoy on real trees outdoors can be replicated inside. If you have a pet cat, they will be beyond thrilled to have a cat tree to play on.

I love the idea of cat trees so much that I’ve started a new blog entirely devoted to cat trees and cat furniture. The best thing for bargain hunters is that both Amazon and Wayfair often have their best rated cat trees on sale! So, pop over to https://cattrees.ca to see what goodies we have in store for you and your feline pals!

June 3/18 – Bargain of the Day – Travel – Air Transat to Europe

European Travel Deals from AIR TRANSAT

Am I the only one who dreams of walking down cobblestones, and basking in the sun while overlooking a castle on the hill? (Oops – trust me when I say that my voice is NOWHERE near as soothing as Ed Sheeran’s! And minus the groovy accent too.)

Right…if you’re longing for a quick European getaway or even a major dream-come-true adventure – well, Air Transat has some terrific options right now.

Travel from Toronto from Paris for $685

Travel from Montreal to Paris for $691

Travel from Toronto to London for $703

Travel from Toronto to Barcelona for $718

These are just a smattering of the deals to be had for the next couple of days only. Visit www.airtransat.com and book by June 5 for the ultimate deals!! If you have a chance to go — have an amazing time!

June 1 – Canadian grocery bargains – No Frills

NO FRILLS BARGAINS – $2 Dollar Days – Bargain of the Day

So, maybe it’s just me, but I’m still relatively new to the beautiful bargains and deals to be found at the local NO FRILLS. This week they’re running their $2 specials, and you’ll find some of the best bargains listed below. Get your grocery list groove on and stock up on some favourites!

1. Mega bargain alert!!! Fresh strawberries only $2 when you buy 2-1 lb packages! (They say this is the lowest price of the year! $1/lb berries – whoop whoop!)

2. Habitant or Campbell’s specialty (non condensed) soups – 2 for $2!

3. Royal gala apples 2 lbs for $2

4. Larabars (my favourite healthy go-to snack) are 2/$2

5. Regular size no name cream cheese $2

These are my favourite finds on this week’s No Frills flyer. Did you find a mega bargain I missed? Or do you have any coupon matchups that we bargainers MUST know about? Or…would you like to suggest a bargain of the day? Please comment with any of this helpful info and thanks ahead of time! Together we WILL save money!