Saving Money on Home Repairs & Renos

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Hello everyone.

If you own a house, you know there is always some kind of repair or reno that needs to be done.

I have a running ‘to do’ list and it seems like every time I check something off, two more appear! Some are big, like a new roof or furnace, some smaller like painting a room, but there is always lots to do, and lots of money to be spent doing it!

With all of these home repairs and renos, how can we make sure we aren’t spending more than we need to?


Living Beyond Our Means

Photo by Anastase Maragos on Unsplash

Are you or someone you know ‘living beyond their means’?

If someone is ‘living beyond their means’, they are “spending more money than they can afford”1

Expanding further, this Washington Post article states: “You’re living above your means if you have more than enough income for the basics but you indulge in eating out, vacations, and overspending on clothes and cars at the expense of future needs such as having adequate retirement savings or being able to send your child to college without a boatload of debt.”2

Hmmm, I often indulge in eating out and vacations…

A recent survey of 25,000 American Adults revealed that “19% spend more than their income” and “36% spend about equal to their income”.3

That means more than half (55%!) are spending today at the expense of tomorrow.

A 2018 CIBC survey found that 32% of Canadian respondents nearing retirement (ages 45 to 64) have no savings at all. 4

Does this sound like you or someone you know?


The ‘No Grocery’ Challenge

Photo by nrd on Unsplash (with red lines added by the author)

With extra time on my hands lately, I’ve found myself doing on-line challenges including planking, posting past travel pics, and various martial arts challenges.

One challenge I hadn’t done relates to grocery savings & food waste reduction like the ’30 Day No Grocery Challenge’, ‘No Spend Grocery Challenge’ and ‘Grocery Budget Challenge’.

What’s leading people to do these ones?

It might have something to do with the fact that the average Canadian household spends $8527 on food annually1, and that same household throws out over 100 kilograms of food per year4.


Should I Buy The Extended Warranty?

Money Tree Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

A friend asked me to help negotiate the purchase of a new refrigerator. She had been speaking with a Salesperson about a model she wanted. They had already agreed to include free shipping, and reduce the price to $1069 from $1194, but my friend wanted to see if she could it get even lower. She also mentioned she was planning to add a 4-year extended warranty, which the Salesperson was offering on discount from $275 to $215.

We’ll talk about other aspects of negotiating a big purchase another time.

Today, let’s focus on that extended warranty and the question we’ve all asked ourselves:

Should I buy the extended warranty?


Retail Therapy shopping cart

It’s human nature to want comfort in stressful times, and there certainly has been a lot of stress in the world lately!

Whether it’s comfort from pets, friends and family, a favourite food, or classic films (my go to), we all need and deserve it.

So what about the comfort we derive from buying stuff?

What’s the harm in a little Retail Therapy?

Well, sometimes very little, or potentially a lot more than we realize.


The Hidden Cost of On-line Shopping

Photo by on Unsplash

Hello everyone.

In this week’s post of Doing More with Our Money, we will talk about the hidden cost of on-line shopping.

With the Covid-19 lock down, many of us have been ordering a lot more on-line, including groceries, take-out and many other things.

Hidden costs with on-line purchases isn’t new.

Remember when you would buy concert or other event tickets that were listed at $100, and by the time the transaction was complete you were paying something like $150!?

As an avid concert goer, that always frustrated me!

Last year Ticketmaster Canada had to pay a $4.5M fine due to “misleading pricing claims for its on-line ticket sales….The Competition Bureau found Ticketmaster’s advertised prices did not reflect the true cost to the consumer as the on-line ticket service added mandatory fees later in the purchasing process that often added more than 20% to the cost and in some cases over 65%”1

While not necessarily as significant, many other online purchases have hidden costs as well.

Where else on-line could we be paying more, with unexpected charges or additional costs showing up?


Bulk Buying

Photo by v2osk on Unsplash

Hello everyone.

I hope you are all staying healthy and safe.

A few posts ago, we talked about ‘Consume Less Consumables’ in Doing More with Our Money Blog #6. Applying those strategies can certainly lead to a lot of savings!

Now let’s talk about saving even more money with consumables through Bulk Buying.

Yes, I know we were trying to use less consumables, and now I’m telling you to buy more of them, but stay with me here.

I know a lot of people already tend to buy extra when there’s a sale on something they use often.

When I was addicted to Diet Coke, I would buy 10+ cases any time it was on sale, saving a ton.

Pro tip – I saved significantly more when I kicked that habit and switched to water! 😊

If you don’t buy up when items are on sale, don’t take it from me, take it from billionaire ‘entrepreneur, television personality, media proprietor’1 and owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team, Mark Cuban. In an interview with Vanity Fair2, Cuban mentions:


Just Ask

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Hello everyone!

In Doing More with Our Money #2 ‘Recurring Expenses’, I had talked about convincing service providers to reduce my bills. One was my laptop security subscription discounted by 60% and the other was my home security provider, reducing my monthly bill by 38%.

In that post I said “Don’t worry if you aren’t comfortable having those types of negotiation discussions. We will talk much more about how to best approach negotiations like this in future Doing More with Our Money posts. For now, just do your best!”.

This is one of those future DMWOM posts!

In today’s discussion, we are going to start building a foundation of better negotiation with a very simple idea – Just Ask.


Consume Less Consumables

My supply after a Costco run

Hello everyone.

For this week’s Doing More with Our Money post, let’s talk about consumables. Specifically, household consumables we all use regularly, like toilet paper, tooth paste, laundry detergent, etc.

Last year I went to South East Asia for 29 days. The itinerary covered multiple destinations in 4 countries (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos). We were constantly on the move, so it was important to pack light. At the same time, I needed to bring several consumables, such as toothpaste, soap, skin moisturizer, sunscreen, and mouth wash.

I could have used what the hotels provided or buy more there, but I’m a bit particular about the products I use. Also many of them were not easily available in the countries I was visiting and I wanted to spend my time site seeing and eating everything in sight instead of shopping.

Two weeks into the trip, I was excited about an upcoming boat tour down the Mekong River in Laos. As I was preparing my travel bag, it occurred to me I had been using much less consumable items than I normally would have at home.

I was unconsciously rationing to make sure I had enough for the full trip. How is it that I could get by using so little there, and use so much more at home? I was on the other side of the world thinking about how we can be Doing More with Our Money just by consuming less consumables!