Budget Summer Adventures

I would love to stay here! They start at $1500 per person for 3 days in our area!

We are very lucky this year to have a couple weeks off in the summer, one in July and the other in August. We made sure to make a plan at the start of the year, to guarantee the days off and to maximize our holidays.  Mark only gets 3 weeks per year for holidays, which works out to 15 working days.  We try to take a few extra days around long weekends to make sure we are getting the most out of the days off.

When trying to decide what to do with these weeks off, I was stumped!  Seriously.  We usually don’t have that much time off so on weekends we end up visiting family or friends, which can be a very affordable option and fun.  Trying to book a vacation in the summer, which is high season in any direction from us, seemed daunting.  I was determined to find budget adventures, and wanted to share what I found.  The links below are for options in my area of British Columbia, Canada, but for something similar near you, simply do an online search with key words.  I think these are all great alternatives to booking a hotel or Air B&B.

Can this be me please? Summer goals!

1) Rent A Van!  Come on, we have all dreamed of a van road trip!  I was doing some digging and found a company in my area that has budget van rentals.  For $65 a day we can cruise in style and sleep in comfort.  Westafalia Rentals has older camper vans they rent for a discounted rate.  Perfect.  I don’t need to be in the newest, fanciest van, I want something to get me from point A to B.  If we took this van for a week with the van rental, gas and camping fees the total cost would be around $600 (we may have a place to park for free a few nights).  This works out to $42 per person per day.

I’ll take it! Imagine the stars you will see.

2) Tipi Camp Out. Do you  have a car but don’t want to worry about renting any gear for your trip, find a tipi or yurt in your area!  You will feel like you are sleeping under the stars and only have to worry about bringing food with you. I found this amazing tipi on a farm.  Everything you need, a bed, chairs and a swimming pool (clothing optional).  The rate is $56 per night, so less than $400 for a week, or $200 each.

All your friends here for the weekend, yes!

3) Ranch Adventure.  If you have a car to get out of town, then a ranch is within your reach.  Searching online there seems to be a lot of affordable options.  I found this ranch and they have a wilderness cabin option for $50 a night with up to 6 people.  If you want a group vacation, this might be a fun option.  They have horseback riding, swimming, canoeing, fishing, hikes and more.  There is the option to have meals at the chalet.  For a week this would be $350, which is a deal!  A group of 6 would be $58 each for the whole week, leaving money in the budget for a horseback ride!

The ultimate summer camping trip.

4) Kayak Tour. This one is more on the expensive side, but I am sure after doing a little research there are more affordable options out there  I found a kayak rental close to me, it includes 3 nights, all your gear and catered food for $670.  I know what you’re thinking, Tijana that is not frugal!  It actually works out to $223 per day which is less than the cost of a hotel in the summer and includes delicious fully catered meals with wine, and chocolate fondue. Sold!

A party with new friends, probably an adventure you won’t forget!

5) Adult Summer Camp. Perhaps you are a single guy or gal and would rather go and have some fun in the woods!  I have seen a few of these adventure adult camps online, it includes activities, games, food and drinks (yes booze) for 4 days and 3 nights the cost is only $535 which works out to $173 per day.  Not the cheapest, but an option for someone who wants to go solo and maybe meet some fun new friends!

I hope you enjoyed my budget summer travel ideas!  Do you have something else to offer?  Send me an email and I will include it.

Bring on the summer.

I dream of this, in the middle of nowhere.

Bedroom Makeover

BEDROOM MAKEOVER!  I love our bedroom with the skylight, angled ceilings, great natural light and lots space!  When we moved in it was all beige, which I could deal with, but then our bed frame wouldn’t fit up the stairs.  All we had was a mattress on the floor.  It was a little sad! See below.

We needed to make a few small changes to update the room without spending a lot of money!  I like to make inspiration boards to have a vision for the room.  Also it’s a way to help me keep on track in terms of the pieces I am looking to purchase.  It’s easy to have a vision, but unless you are clear and create a vision board or a list of what you want it’s easy to spend way more than you intended.  Also this way I was not in a rush to buy anything, like a side table I didn’t really like, I was going to wait for the one I was in love with!  It took a few months to get all the pieces together and we are almost there.

Above is the photo that sparked the makeover!  I saw this and loved the wood against the dark wall.  Since our bed is in front of a window, the dark wall was a great solution to define the bed, instead of a headboard!

Can’t wait for our bedroom reveal next week!

 

Budget or Bust

I am currently working on a few DIY’s and was thinking about how expensive some projects can be. Sometimes making your own headboard or making over a piece of furniture might not be the most budget friendly.

Here are a few tips before you start your DIY to make sure you’re on budget.

Know your materials, big or small.

1. Know all the materials you need. – Looking at a DIY you want to make might seem simple and affordable, but once you add up all the pieces it can actually be expensive. For example we wanted to make a project out of the galvanized rods from the hardware store, it seemed easy enough but once I went online and added up the materials, it was going to cost over $200. Although this amount can be less than a piece from the store it didn’t make sense for us at the time. Know your budget and what you require before you start.

Space. Make something, get rid of something else.

2. Are you able to sell a piece of furniture to fund your project? –  This is obviously one of my favorite things to do. I rarely make a DIY for a room and keep all the pieces I already have, it starts to look cluttered and messy. I usually assess the room I thinking of adding a DIY project to and see what needs to go. I funded my black sideboard project with the sale of my chaise lounge. Once we moved the chaise no longer worked and we really needed some storage in the living room.

Could you make that mural or buy it cheaper?

3. Can you buy this cheaper at the store? – Don’t get me wrong I love DIY’s but occasionally there is something I want to make that’s cheaper in store. Make sure you do your research and cost compare the item you want to make.  For example we wanted outside furniture.  We saw a set at our local hardware store, really liked the design and thought, we can make that!  We went home drew out the design, it seemed very straight forward.  Then we decided to calculate the cost of the materials, wood, seat cushions etc and realized it was less expensive from the store.

DIY dipped napkins from old napkins I had around.

4. Is there piece you have that could be a future project but it works for now? – May seem like a silly question but sometimes we don’t have the budget to do everything at once. When we moved into our new house we had a few purchases to make like furniture, houseware etc, there wasn’t really extra money to start making DIY’s. We needed bar stools for our bar height table, the problem was, we needed eight stools. Do you know how much bar stools are? The cheapest we found was $150 EACH that would have been $1200 plus tax!! Mark ended up finding school stools online for $30 each nine stools, with taxes, shipping etc it worked out to $500, which was still a lot but we saved $700. These stools work for now but in the future our DIY project is to paint them black which will look great in our dining room.

DIY dresser I painted and sold!

5. Do you really need it? – This also may seem like a ridiculous question! Sometimes I see DIY’s online and fall in love, pinning everything I can  but I don’t really need any of them. I simply want to make  something or like the look of the project. I’ve started to only make projects we need or have space for? I honestly painted a sideboard we had once because I had the paint and knew it would look great. We no longer needed it so I sold it on Craigslist which paid for the paint that we used on the new sideboard. Sometimes that can work but really think if you need the project or if you’re doing it for fun!

Hopefully these few tips help you on your DIY journey.

Budget Friendly Ways to Makeover Your Space

Photo: Pinterest

The idea of renovating our space is beyond exciting and I know it’ll happen one day but it’s not in the plan (or the budget) right now.  Mark didn’t want to make any changes to our new space as he envisioned a complete renovation.  After we discussed it for a while, I convince him making small, budget friendly choices could easily transform our space and still have a big impact.

After almost a year in our new home, here are some ideas to refresh your space while staying on budget!

Photo: Pinterest

Change Fixtures: This one has been key for us. We have changed out three light fixtures and they’ve transformed those rooms. We replaced our 80’s chandelier in the dining room with a $60 DIY industrial light (similar to the one above). It tied together our other decor elements and really brought the room together. Unsure where to start? Think of making a small investment in a statement light fixture.

Photo: Lark and Linen

Paint or Wallpaper: We have a lot of beige walls and there is no way we are going to paint our house, I’m exhausted even thinking about it.  We have decided to add feature walls in a few rooms. In our bedroom we are paining the wall behind our bed black, yes bold but we are doing this in place of a headboard and it will really define the bed area for under $50.  Wallpaper out of budget?  Take a note from the talented Lark and Linen who painted these stripes for her feature wall.

Photo: Bildschoenes

Makeover a Piece of Furniture:  Do you have  a piece of furniture that you love but it’s not working in your space whether it’s the color or placement? Moving or painting a piece of furniture can really change up your space. I currently have a blue velvet ottoman but it not longer works with our colour scheme. I purchased some fabric for under $50 and we will be able to keep the ottoman incorporating it into the new room. I love this ottoman above, it’s a DIY you could make using an old bean bag chair or ottoman, all you need is a blanket!

Photo: Pinterest

Add an accent. Pieces like large lamps or rugs or bright piece of art can add a nice dynamic to any room. Don’t have a lot to invest? Look at your local thrift store or Craigslist. There are always great finds on there.  Plus there are so many fabulous new online stores.  The Pivot Lamp above is from Article. The lamp is a simple addition but makes a huge statement.

Photo: Pinterest

Don’t be afraid to make a change. We aren’t tearing down walls here, the investment is minimal. If you don’t like the results you can always paint the wall or sell the piece of furniture.  I know its not always easy to redecorate but don’t overwhelm yourself thinking you have to makeover the entire room! Adding a piece or taking one away can make a huge change.

Mark didn’t want to change anything in our house because he dreams of tearing down all the walls so he thought it was a waste of time. I convinced him to replace a few fixtures and a mirror in the bathroom  (baby steps). His reaction, he couldn’t believe how those small changes made such an impact and he is loving our space. This way we live in a home we love until we are able to renovate. It’s win win.

MONEY

The word makes people cringe, doesn’t matter if you don’t have a lot of it or it’s in abundance, for some reason no one wants to talk about it.  My parents never taught me about money (although they are good with it, better than me even), teachers never told me how to deal with it (why do schools not teach us about saving or mortgages or investments??) and so I found my own way (sometimes with $5 in my bank account, but that’s part of the journey).

This blog started out as Adventures of a Starving Artist because I didn’t care about money and wanted to show everyone I could live a full life and do everything everyone else was but on a budget (a very, very small budget).  I have been an actor for 10 years now, working contract gigs on the side, and learned a lot about money.  I think the biggest thing I have taken away is that I don’t care about money.  Seems odd to say when I have a blog called A Plentiful Life, but I have always lived life to the fullest and done everything I wanted to do, money was simply a stepping stone to get there, or a boulder I had to claw my way up, but I made it!

Let me tell you a little bit about my journey, I have lived on my own for 17 years now, paying my own way, with a few hundreds from mom and dad here and there.  Wait, let’s go back a little further.  I had my first job at 13 years old, by choice, working in the cafeteria at the local ski hill.  No I wasn’t one of those cute girls at the till, I worked in the kitchen and cooked gross hamburgers (it doesn’t always pay to be a hard worker).  I started working because I lived in a small town and wanted to buy my own clothes.  I saved most of what I made, and occasionally bought some interesting item from the thrift store.  It felt good to have numbers in my account, that’s all they were, numbers.  I never had $1000 cash in my room to really get the sense of what that meant, I had a bank book I could take to the cashier and she’d tell me how many numbers there were.

Money has always been numbers for me.  I know that might sound weird, but it has. I wasn’t great with  money, and to be honest I am still not, I simply  knew how much I needed in order to get or do or buy what I wanted.   When I moved out to go to school I worked two full time jobs in the summers to make money, then I took the number I saved and broke it down per month, that’s how much I had for the year.  Going to acting school I wanted to make sure I was able to act once I graduated.  At the time I never understood what a huge decision this was.  I didn’t plan to be debt free, I simply knew I didn’t want to get a full time job when I graduated to pay for school, so I busted my ass to make sure everything was paid for.  I did one large grocery shop per week, I had a $50 budget (groceries were cheaper back then), I took out cash when I went out so I didn’t have to pull out my debit card, my student visa had a $500 limit in case of emergencies, and so began my plentiful life.  Off the money I made in the summer I paid for school, rent, food, going out, clothes and more!  I came out debt free.

Once I graduated I wanted to act and took every opportunity I could.  Acting was the most important thing to me at that time, so I found jobs that supported those opportunities.  I worked at night in a restaurant, which didn’t last long, then I moved into promotions.  Promotions were great and I continued to work in that industry for 10 years.  I could pick and choose the contracts I wanted to work on and trade shifts if something came up.  I didn’t work to live, I worked to support my life and acting.  I was not an over achiever in those days in terms of saving money, I simply knew how much I needed to make and would break it down into hours.  For example I knew that all my bills combined added up to $1200 per month (this included spending money) and that most promotions paid $25 per hour so in a month I would have to book 6 days of work.  Sometimes in the summer or holidays I would work more to have a bit of savings for the slow months.  I thought I was a genius, lol!  Here my friends were working full time and I was working a few days here and there, meeting people for hikes or coffee and acting when I could.  It was perfect and it helped me to really stick to my budget and be money conscious.

Now I have all these money practices in place to help me each month. They happened naturally and grew over time because I put what I wanted to accomplish above making money. So here I am budgeting every month for the bills I have to pay, setting an amount for groceries, batch cooking to save time and money,  paying for everything on my visa to get travel points, putting $25 a week into a savings account (I should put more, but baby steps!) and this feels great!  You know what’s ironic though?  I work as a full time contractor now and audition for commercials on the side. I am super happy and it brings balance and a little bit of structure to my life (who knew structure would be a good thing), but I make the most money I have ever made and can barely save! WHAT?!?  I know you are thinking how is that possible?  You used to make $1200 per month and now you’re making more and have nothing to show for it?

I realized the other day I need to reevaluate my monthly spending habits.  I reflected on how I got by in the past and was sad for a moment remembering the easy days of working here and there, making only what I needed, nothing more, but I have grown out of this phase.  Life has forced me into something bigger.  I want to have money in the bank for what life has in store like *cough*a wedding*cough* or a baby or a trip or a new rug that is totally out of budget.  Now instead of making what I need, I am in abundance, so the way I have been dealing with money needs to change.  My goal is to sit down this week, take a look at my monthly expenses and make a plan for the extra money.  EXTRA MONEY?  Who am I?  If there is a little extra each month then I need to put it to good use.  I can see how easy it is to spend what you have, that is how I used to work! Now I am making more than I need so spending what I have is not a good thing.

Am I going to feel bad for not saving money with my new job, hell no!  I had fun!  We went on a few trips, I saw people I love, bought an fancy rug, paid off my car, bought plants for the yard and took my boyfriend out for an expensive birthday dinner.  It felt good.  Money is still not holding me back.  I am living the life I want, making smart decisions (well, most of the time) and putting the people I love and my passions above money.

If you feel like you need to make a change in your money habits, do it!  Start small, maybe a monthly budget or question whether you need that new shirt after a stressful day or start putting $25 away each week, do something that makes you feel good about the money you are working so hard to make!  Then you can say what a few people have told me they say when they get over a money hurdle “Tijana would be proud of me”  and I would.  Navigating life is not easy, money is even harder to manage, be proud of yourself for any little step you take towards feeling good about money and the life you are creating.  And if you fail, oh well there’s always next month.

A Plentiful Life

The idea of a name change came up and I was hesitant, I really like the idea of saving money being an adventure and fun!  But when I looked up the definition of frugal it was actually negative and had words such as tight fisted, scrimpy, cautious, ungenerous and those were not in the alignment with the energy or life I was trying to live or encourage.  I started looking up words I was drawn to and thinking about the life I was trying to create.  Abundant came up over and over.  I am not trying to be cautious with life or money I am actually trying to create a fuller and richer life by making smart decisions.

Through a lot of brainstorming a word kept popping up PLENTIFUL.  When you look up the definition of this word it’s abundant, rich, generous, large, great and lavish.  Now there’s a word to help you create your best life on a budget.  Frugal to me is not about living small or not spending money.  It’s bigger than that.  I want to create a grand life full of stylish things, wonderful experiences and abundance.  I am not suggesting live with less or not have nice things, I am here to show you that you can have everything you want and more by looking at it differently.  I want to help you live A Plentiful Life.

I hope you enjoy the new name!

XO

Tijana

San Francisco – Frugal or Not?

Illustration by Samantha Hahn
Illustration by Samantha Hahn

San Francisco is a beautiful city in every way.  The people are friendly, the sidewalks are clean, the buildings are unique, the food is spectacular and there are so many great sites to see!  The question is, can San Francisco be a frugal trip?

Let’s break it down.  Obviously these prices are based on my experience, and can be different depending on where you are coming from.  I am going to list all values in US dollars.

Flights:  Good

Flying from Vancouver to San Francisco was an easy 2 hour flight and the cost was just as painless.  For $250 round trip I was able to get to San Francisco.  The key here is to book early, closer to the date it was almost $1000 return, which is a big difference.  Being frugal means booking early or watching for a seat sale.  Usually 3 months out is the cheapest flight.  If there is an airline you like flying with sign up for their emails because they send you a note when they are having seat sales.

San-Fran-On-a-Budget

 

Accommodations:  Average to Insane

I searched quite a few places online and the prices in San Francisco are crazy.  Airbnb had places for $1000 per night and the less expensive options were not very desirable.  I think booking early will really help cut down on costs.  A few hotels we had seen while wandering the streets didn’t even come up on our searches because they are booked months in advance.

Here are a few around the $150 per night mark, which in San Francisco is reasonable.

Mystic Hotel by Charlie Palmer: From $139 and up

Hotel Vertigo: From $140 and up

Metro Hotel: From $110 and up

Hotel des Arts: From $109 and up

I think with accommodations you really have to do some digging because it was not easy to find affordable accommodation on my first few searches!

Transportation: Many options!

How do you want to get around?  You have so many choices in San Francisco!

Walking: Free and the streets are so much fun to walk!  Plus it’s basically a free work out.

Buses: They have a great transit system and the bus is only $2.25 and your transfer is good for 90 minutes.

Street Cars: If you want to hop on the Powell Street Car it’s $7 one way, but an experience!

Uber: Easy to use and always available.  We wanted to go to the Treasure Island Flea Market but you can’t walk across the bridge.  We decided Uber would be the best option and it was!  Only cost $10 to get there and took half the time of the bus.  If you go to any city with Uber download the app, you won’t regret it!

City-of-San-Francisco-on-a-budget

 

Food: Questionable

As a Canadian the food and drinks seemed pricey.  They were on par with prices back home but in US dollars.  For example we ended up at the Morritt inside the Mystic Hotel, it was a fantastic little lounge with a jazz band playing.  They had craft cocktails that were out of this world so we had to order one.  The craft cocktail was $12 (which is a similar price to home) but when converted was $15.75 for us!  Eek, not frugal but a really nice treat, and we only had one!

A few amazing spots we tried out that I would highly recommend:

Trestle: A price fix menu with 3 courses, the men changes daily and it’s $35 per person.  This meal was absolutely divine.  The food was great, the atmosphere was perfect and it was a great choice for a night out.  Best part is you can book your reservation online prior to your trip!  Which I would highly recommend.

Red’s Java House: This was my fan girl moment because Anthony Bourdain ate here!  It’s a greasy spoon right on the pier, and it was totally worth it!  Plus $5 for a cheese burger, you can’t go wrong.

Food Trucks:  There are a lot of food trucks in San Francisco and we were lucky enough to have a dozen at the Treasure Island Flea.  We ended up trying mac and cheese spring rolls, what?  It sounds gross but totally awesome!  ROAMING HUNGER is a place where you can search food trucks, super easy!

We tried out a few other places along the way, but one night we simply wandered around the neighbourhood to see what we could find, and that was really fun!  Simply walk around and check out menus, pop in for an appy or two and a drink and move on!  A fun way to try out a few places without committing to one!

 

Tourist Attractions: Affordable but can be a trap

I think there is a lot to see in San Francisco for free.  Here are a few things we found.

  • Filbert St Steps – You get to walk through a beautiful San Francisco neighborhood, and at the top you get a beautiful view of the city.
  • Golden Gate Bridge – It’s pretty and a huge San Francisco landmark, you can see it from many different views like Crissy Park or Battery Spencer Park.
  • The Wave Organ – A really cool piece of art where the ocean is making music.
  • Chinatown – You don’t need to buy anything the sights are great, the buildings are unique and there are some hilariously kitschy items.
  • Wineries – On Treasure Island there are many wineries that have free tastings.
  • Breweries – All around the city of San Francisco there are local breweries where you can go for tastings.

Treasure Island Flea – it was $3 per person but I found a deal online for $11 for 2 people with a glass of sangria each.  It was so much fun to see all the vintage items, the local vendors, view of the city and the Oakland bridge.

All around there are so many beautiful sights to see, new restaurants to discover, hidden lounges to stumble upon, and crazy streets to walk on.

Overall I was really happy with all of the frugal adventures we had and think San Francisco can be added to the frugal travels list!  There is so much to see and do that won’t cost you a fortune!

Total cost per day per person: $75 (not including accommodations since Marks boss treated him to a few nights in San Francisco)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Birthday

Free Birthday Stuff

Ok I know I can afford my own latte or lip gloss, but it’s kind of fun being treated on your birthday!  Today is my birthday and in honor of this day, here is a gift for you!  My top seven  picks for free birthday items. Please note, some of these are specifically for Vancouver, if you live in another area, simply search free birthday!

It’s kind of fun to think you could start your day off with a free latte, score some beauty products, go thrift shopping, get in an afternoon ski session and top it off with a comedy show, all for free!  There are a lot of places that offer a free meal or appetizer or dessert, you simply have to sign up for their newsletter or club.  The food options are easiest to find, so tried to list the ones I love the most!

BLENZ COFFEE

Birthday Offer: One Small Free Drink

How To Get It: Show your ID on your birthday.

SEPHORA

Birthday Offer: One Free Gift

How To Get It: During your birthday month (Must be signed up for Beauty Insider)

L’ABATTOIR

Birthday Offer: Free Dessert

How To Get It: Sign up for their newsletter

VALUE VILLAGE

Birthday Offer: 20% Off On Your Birthday

How To Get It: Get a card in store.

SEMPERVIVA

Birthday Offer: Free Yoga Class

How To Get It: Call a studio near you to book yourself and three friends for a yoga class.  One week before or one week after your birthday.

CYPRESS MOUNTAIN

Birthday Offer: Ski Free On Your Birthday

How To Get It: Show your ID on your birthday to ski for free.

VANCOUVER THEATRESPORTS LEAGUE

Birthday Offer: One Free Ticket During Birth Month!

How To Get It: Sign up for their newsletter and you’ll receive an email before your birthday.

Hope you enjoy my free birthday ideas!  I know I am going to have a fabulously frugal day!

 

 

 

 

Meal Planning

Meal Planning Made EasyHere we are at the start of a new year, with the chance to introduce changes and create new habits.  Both of which are never easy.  I find it best to start with one area, where do I really want to improve?  It appears over the past couple years meal planning has been a big theme and I am happy to say I think I have mastered it!  Meal Planning is more than making a list, it actually saves time as well as money.  Both of which are extremely valuable.

How to get started?  I think the first step is to think of how much added stress and time cooking or food prep can add to your week.  I wrote a blog a couple years ago comparing Penny Planner vs Lizzy Last Minute.  In the comparison Penny Planner saves money, but she also saves time and energy by making a plan for the week ahead.  Planning is a simple step to get back valuable time, while also staying on budget.

Ok, then what?  Make a plan!  Seems simple enough.  I think where people fail is believing they can look up a few recipes and be set for the week!  Oh no, it doesn’t work like that.  You need to write down the meals you want to have, then check to see what ingredients you require.  This way the whole week is laid out for you, no need to look up recipes each day or go grocery shopping, you’ve already done that work. Plus you won’t find yourself halfway through cooking only to realize you are missing two ingredients (we’ve all been there).  I wrote a blog post with a sample menu I used to give you an idea of how specific I am with my plan.

To help you get started here is a menu planner I created! Print it off, make notes, get planning!

Ok so I have made a plan, now what? Here is where I may lose a few people.  This year I took it next level and started batch cooking which means I cook everything on Sunday for the entire week.  What?  Yes, it’s true (search Batch Cooking on the blog to read the three part series). It takes less time than you may think, roughly 2 to 3 hours.  What I gain back is huge.  I have every night free during the week, no need to worry about finding a recipe or picking up groceries or cooking or cleaning up a huge mess.  I simply throw a dish in the oven or heat it up on the stove.  I use the same menu planner to list out my meals and to make a plan.

So batch cooking might not be for everyone, I totally understand.  In that case I would suggest doing a large grocery shop so you have everything you need for the week.  Then if there are snacks or meals you can prep on Sunday, that will be a huge help.  For example, making quinoa on Sunday for salads during the week or baking muffins for snacks or making overnight oats for breakfast.  These simple steps will also help during the week to save time.

Lastly, stick to your plan!  I think it is easy to pick up sushi on the way home or go out for appy’s after work, if that’s part of your plan, great!  If you bought food that will go bad because you are too lazy to cook it, not so good.  There is a happy medium, if you do go out then freeze the food you don’t use or cook it and freeze the meal.  I’ve done it before where I go out and then say, “Oh, I will cook that meal later” and it never happens, then I end up throwing away food, which I hate.  Sticking to your plan will save money, time and food!  All very important.

You can do this!  I believe in you.  I also know after meal planning for a week or two, you will already see some benefits and be telling everyone else to try it!

To start if you live near a Save On Foods, they delivery groceries for around $6.  It is really simple and saves even more time.  They have a $10 off coupon if you spend over $50, enter promo code: SAVE$$NW

Meal-Planner Meal Planner

 

 

 

Gifts Under $50

Holiday Gifts Under $50

I had a few people wonder how I could stick to my $50 holiday budget, I thought it was easy, so I wanted to show what I’ve bought!  I have seen a lot of these holiday lists where they list items under $100, but it’s one gift! I really like to have a few little gifts for each person and make my money go further.

Most years we try to support local by going to holiday markets, hitting up shops in our neighborhood and looking for local vendors when away.  I really feel the quality you get is higher and the items are always unique.

I have a couple examples to share of holiday gifts for everyone on your list.  In all these examples the gifts do not go over $50, well close.  I like to look at it as a challenge every year.  Buying nice items that still fall within budget is totally realistic.

Holiday Gifts for Little Girl Under $50

THE LITTLE GIRL – This gift pack is for my niece!  I always like to buy a few fun items and then something practical.  Maui Shirt – $20 (Local Shop), Melissa & Doug Bead Set – $16 (Winners), and Felt Car Organizer – $14 (Amazon) TOTAL COST: $50  (I am most excited about the felt organizer!  The kids love to have their books and water bottles in the car, which can be a disaster, but this organizer has an elastic to go over the seat in front of them, holding everything they need!)

Holiday Gifts for Mom under $50

THE MOM – Whether you are shopping for your mom or a mother-in-law, it’s always nice to get a few different items.  In our family my mom buys everyone an ornament so I make sure she also get’s one each year!  Necklace & Earring Set – $40 (Sunshine Coast Art Crawl), Tea Samples – $2.50 each (Dare to Dream Soiree), Whale Ornament – $5 (Handcrafted by an artist in Maui) TOTAL COST: $50  My mom works so hard to bring everyone together, I always like to buy her something pretty she wouldn’t buy for herself.  She loves handmade jewelry and I knew she’d love this set right away!

Holiday Gifts for Him Under $50

THE GUY – It might be a brother or boyfriend, we all have the guys in our lives we need to buy for!  My guy loves fun socks, so I try and find a pair every year for him!  Wood Cutting Board – $25 (Sunshine Coast Art Crawl), Languiole Cheese Knives – $15 (Winners), Pair of Thieves Socks – $6 (Target), Underwear – $10 (Target) TOTAL COST: $56 (Uh oh! I am over! But I came under on a different gift so it’s ok)  Also this is the second year I have posted my guys holiday undies, lol!

Holiday Gifts for a Sister Under $50

THE SISTER – We all have those wonderful ladies, a sister or friend or sister-in-law to buy for, they are the most fun!  As you can see I love purchasing a few smaller items, rather than one large item.  Tea Towel – $5 (Local Shop Maui), Tea – $2.50 each (Dare to Dream Soiree), Cute Bookmarks – $8 (CraftedVan), Kitty Cat Necklace – $12 (Tessaramics) TOTAL COST: $30 (What?! Would you look at this gift and think, oh that’s cheap!  No way!)  The last two items listed were bought at the Etsy Vancouver Market.

There you are!  Gift pack ideas for everyone on your list.  Now I understand we don’t all have time to go to markets or art crawls or check out local shops, so I would suggest checking out listed vendors for different events because they most likely sell online.  I also think Amazon and Winners are great resources to find specific items like cheese knives.

Happy hunting!

XO

Tijana