Save a Little


In these days of financial uncertainty, frugality is the new black and keeping up with the Joneses is going the way of the skinny jean.

Today it’s more about implementing family-friendly strategies for saving money and being clever enough to maintain style and sanity at the same time. So we rounded up a list of ways to save that we think are savvy, easy to implement and won’t add another ‘to-do’ to Mom’s list.

Be Entertained
Skip the $100 outing to the movie theatre and have ‘movie night’ at home instead. Rent a DVD for $5 and splurge on some special treats your family loves (plus you can snuggle up in your jammies—can’t do that in public). And lose the microwave popcorn (less money, fewer chemicals). Buy some kernels and pop up a batch in a pot or in a hot air popper—your kids will think you are magic.

Take advantage of free/reduced admissions days and memberships at local cultural institutions. Many galleries, museums and science centres have pay-what-you-wish days or reduced admissions. For example, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto offers free admission every Wednesday from 4:30 – 5:30 pm and the Vancouver Art Gallery has ‘pay what you can’ entrance every Tuesday from 5 – 9 pm. And if it’s a place where your family enjoys going often, a membership usually pays for itself after two visits, which means you can go anytime and not feel like you have to stay all day to get your money’s worth.

For the Holiday Season
It really is the thought that counts and this year perhaps even more than ever. So instead of re-gifting, don’t be afraid to make some of your gifts. Everyone’s a fan of homemade peppermint bark, so whip up a few batches and have the perfect hostess gift, stocking stuffer and teachers thank you gift all done (for about $2 each). You’re not just saving money, but time schlepping around the stores too.

For wrapping paper, pick up a roll of plain white recycled paper (we got 130 feet of paper at IKEA for $5) and use it for gift wrap. Once you’re done wrapping, let the kids decorate the paper with markers or stickers in fun seasonal colours. Or dig up some of those ‘masterpieces’ your children created over the years to us as wrapping paper.

Cut out the paper holiday card this year (or at least trim the list significantly) and try an electronic greeting card from Smilebox which allows you to share family photos along with your seasonal message. Your friends and family will love seeing an electronic scrapbook of your family’s adventures over the last year. For a simpler greeting, try Save time, save money, save a tree.


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