A frugal Life

Tis the Season for…CHARITY SCAMS

Posted by on Nov 27, 2016 in A frugal Life, Frugal For Everyone | 53 comments

Tis the Season for…CHARITY SCAMS

Before retiring I managed a local branch of an international Charity. This of course means I know very well how legitimate charities operate. On the flip side it also means I’m very aware of charity scams. To many people donating so others can also enjoy a good Christmas is simply part of the Christmas season. Scammers take full advantage of this generosity by pretending to be collecting for Charities at Christmas, often successfully. Think twice before giving . Very few Charities have the resources to go door-to-door or make telephone calls. If approached this way there is a strong possibility it’s a scam. Let’s stop supporting their fraudulent activities. Knowing how to identify legitimate Charities and having a fail-proof way to make donations will go a long way to ensuring your donated funds go where you want them to. Scammers often target the elderly, which I find particularly disturbing. If you know an elderly person, especially someone who lives on their own and who could be taken in, please discuss this with them.   Charity Scams Popular Causes: Charity scams often use the following causes simply because we find it hard to say no to causes that benefit: Families at Christmas Children Veterans The homeless Animals Current catastrophes like earthquakes, health epidemics, refugees etc.   The simplest way to make sure you do not get caught by scammers is to check out the Charity: Get the name of the Charity along with the charitable registration number – if this can’t be provided there should never be a donation; Obtain address and phone number from the Charity’s website. If you have any questions, call the Charity and ask. Legitimate charities know all about donor concerns and will be pleased to answer any questions you may have. NEVER use a number provided by the solicitor but always check the Charity’s website for mailing address and phone number.  Things to watch for: Being asked for the donation in cash. Legitimate charities actually prefer cheques or online donations because both leave a paper trail which is important. Being thanked for making a pledge you don’t remember making and being presented with a bill for the so-called pledged amount. Don’t pay it!!  Instead take the bill to the nearest police station and let them deal with it. Scammers may use names that are similar to legitimate Charities. If something doesn’t sound or feel right, place a direct call to the Charity to ask if they are soliciting in your neighbourhood. Fail-proof way to make donations: Mail your cheque directly to the Charity along with a cover letter; If the Charity has a local branch you wish to support, mail the check directly to the branch, again with a cover letter; OR go to the Charity’s Website to make an online donation.   Click on the links below to find out more about the legitimacy and accountability of any Charity: In Canada contact: Canada Revenue Agency-Charities and Giving   or  Charity Intelligence In the USA, contact:  Charity Navigator  or  BBB Wise Giving Alliance  or  Charity Watch Or google the Name and Address of the Charity adding the word ‘scams’, ‘fraud’ or ‘complaints and see what comes up.   Saying NO during this season really doesn’t hurt legitimate charities, after all they need funds all year round. Your donation will be just as welcome in February as in December. The exception of course would be Christmas requests, such as the Salvation Army Christmas Fund or the Emergency Services Toy/Food Drives.   No doubt there will always be scammers looking for an easy dollar. However, by being alert...

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Remembrance Day: Sacrifices Never Forgotten

Posted by on Nov 11, 2016 in A frugal Life, Frugal For Everyone | 14 comments

Remembrance Day: Sacrifices Never Forgotten

In honour of Remembrance Day I’m sharing a poem by local poet, Floyd Zurbrigg. Although the poem is called “In Canadian Fields” it applies equally to all countries whose men and women sacrificed all for our freedom. Floyd wrote this description: “My poem ‘In Canadian Fields’ developed from my admiration for Col. John McRae’s poem “In Flanders Fields” and my long held belief that there was another poem needed. This one would relay the heartaches and hardships endured by those left at home. Without their hard work and sacrifice, we would not enjoy our many freedoms today.”   IN CANADIAN FIELDS   “In Flanders Fields the poppies blow” When I hear that famous poem I know That our soldiers went to a far off shore And gave their lives in an awful war I’m aware of the hardships they endured So our peace would be assured But the poem that I cannot find Tells the stories of those left behind Of wives and sweethearts, kissed at the train That never saw their men again Of parents, brothers and sisters too Who worried, because they never knew If their soldier was alive or dead Many tearful, heartfelt prayers were said To the ones at home, we owe a debt They suffered too, Lets not forget While in Flanders Fields the poppies blew The folks at home were heroes too ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  “In Canadian Fields” is copied with permission from ‘Seasons of the Elm’, a Book of Poems by Floyd Zurbrigg. On this Remembrance Day let us remember not only those who fought but also the brave ones left behind. Talk to you again soon, Lenie If you liked this post, others will too. Please share. Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save...

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Twitter Basics: Know These to Twitter Smarter

Posted by on Jun 19, 2016 in A frugal Life, Frugal For Everyone | 38 comments

Twitter Basics: Know These to Twitter Smarter

I’ve been a Twitter user since January 2014 and since that time have sent out roughly 5500 tweets, am following 675 Twitter users and have 785 followers. Rather amazing since all this time I had no idea what I was doing. Definitely time to correct that. Besides learning the Twitter Basics I also wanted to learn how to promote My Etsy Shop on Twitter without spamming. Library staff directed me to Lynda.com, an online video training business, where they believed I could find the right answers. They were right. I’m not normally a fan of video training but this was different. The instructors used a conversational tone and this, along with the clarity of the audio, made learning easy. During the free 10-day trial period I devoted all my time to it and was able to complete the following courses: Twitter Basics Twitter Essentials Twitter for Business Advertising on Twitter Up and Running with Canva Selling on Etsy eBay Essential Training for Sellers Pinterest for Business Learn Instagram – The Basics Now I can’t possibly be the only person not knowing the Twitter Basics therefore I’m sharing  a few of the highlights from my Twitter training, focusing on those things I didn’t know – quite a lot as it turned out. Navigating Twitter: Home – always returns you to your timeline (the constantly moving stream of Tweets) Notification – keeps you updated about replies to a tweet, retweets, direct messages Clicking on the profile photo activates a drop-down menu for profile view, lists, help, keyboard shortcuts, Twitter Ads, analytics, and settings The Who to Follow column lists people Twitter thinks you may want to follow On the top left is about you – profile photo, header photo, Twitter name, number of tweets, number of people you follow and followers Under that is the Trend bar which contains hashtags and topics everyone is talking about – good idea to check some out and even add to the conversation. The importance of the Twitter Profile: Use keywords in your bio Add a header customized to match your other online sites. I used Canva for that Clicking on @name on your home page will bring up the edit profile button to update your bio: add a real photo of yourself or your business logo (400 x 400 pixels) add your header (1500 x 500 pixels) give your location if you want insert your website URL change the theme colour. Twitter Etiquette: includes no blatant self-promotion no adding affiliate links no using all CAPS never use negative commentary no details – less is more. Hashtags are nothing more than Keywords with the pound sign in front of them. You don’t have to use hashtags that already exist but can use any searchable keyword. Find these at: https://twitter.com/search-home or https://www.hashtags.org/ (lists trending and popular hashtags). Using more than two hashtags is not recommended. Timing Tweets. To get the most out of Twitter, Tweet no less than twice a day at least 4 hours apart. 2-5pm EST is thought to be the best time to tweet. Sundays 1-5pm. are better for tweeting than Saturdays. After 8pm everything pretty well closes down. Scheduling Tweets. There are scheduling tools available. https://about.twitter.com/es/products/tweetdeck https://hootsuite.com/ https://www.socialoomph.com/ Twitter Tools and what they do: http://www.tweriod.com/ Tweriod analyses the tweeting habits of your followers and suggests the time when it makes the most sense for you to tweet. https://www.twellow.com/ Twellow allows you to find users that have the keyword you entered in their profile. Twitter analytics provides 28 day summary showing changes over the previous period for Tweets – Impressions – Profile Visits...

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Best Father’s Day Gifts -Unique AND Useful

Posted by on May 22, 2016 in A frugal Life, Frugal For Everyone, Smart Shopper | 24 comments

Best Father’s Day Gifts -Unique AND Useful

I truly enjoyed this search for the best Father’s Day Gifts. I had no idea that all these fascinating and unique products were available so it was quite an eye-opener. Who would have thought of watches with wooden bands or a computer mouse that looks like a car or a golf bag attachment that let’s your phone/tablet record your game? What amazing choices there are and how lucky the dad who will receive one of these gifts. Before I get started with the list I do need to explain a few things. My search took me to Amazon simply because Amazon has many thousands of products which meant all the searching could be done on one site. As the saying goes “A picture is worth a thousand words”. I agree and have therefore added the images below. Clicking on any of the thumbnails will take you to the Amazon site for enlarged views of the product. Think of it as browsing a Father’s Day Gift Catalog. Be assured that clicking does not mean buying. On that note, I am an Amazon associate and if you do decide to buy from Amazon, I would be delighted if you would order through my site. No cost to you but I will earn a small commission. The Best Father’s Day Gifts: Starting off with one of the neatest items, at least in my opinion, is this wooden watch handcrafted from high quality natural sandalwood with no two pieces of wood exactly the same. It includes a day/date calendar. Definitely a huge step-up from the tie and sock gifts of yesterday. Craft beers are all the rage these days. Wouldn’t these beverage chiller sticks be the perfect accessory for dad’s favourite craft beer? All you do is put the stick in the freezer for 45 minutes then insert into a bottle of beer (or other beverage) to keep the drink cold. Father’s Day is the one day to go all out spoiling dad and I can’t think of a better way than with this folding chair. The chair has a detachable insulated cooler, an electronics pocket, a fold-out side table to hold books, tablet, camera and drinks, etc. keeping everything within easy reach. Perfect for keeping dad comfortable on the beach, park, or the deck. How about this portable BBQ suitcase? You have to admit, this one is very unique. Easy to carry around, this stainless steel charcoal grill can accommodate cooking for 2 people and includes a convenient mess-free ash catcher. If dad is into thrillers, “Make Me (with bonus short story Small Wars): A Jack Reacher Novel” by the #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Lee Child will be super appreciated. Of course, it will probably mean he’ll become too engrossed in the book to be able to take time out to BBQ. Best make other plans for dinner. I love this nifty Mobile Printer w/ZINK Zero Ink Printing Technology that is compatible w/iOS & Android Devices. It prints 2×3 colour photos directly from Mobile Phone or Tablet via Bluetooth or NFC Technology. Great for dad – lucky him. The PhoneSoap 2.0: UV Sanitizer & Universal Charger, as seen on SHARK TANK, isn’t only unusual, it’s also extremely useful. Phones are covered in disease-causing bacteria. PhoneSoap 2.0 safely kills 99.99% of germs utilizing bacteria-zapping UV rays. The germ-killing UV-C light used by the PhoneSoap 2.0 is scientifically proven to banish bacteria found on everything from door knobs, toilet seats, toilet handles, dirty laundry, and more. Fits and charges any phone or tablet and has a universal phone charger w/USB port.   For...

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Vegetable Measure – Cup Equivalent Chart

Posted by on Jan 24, 2016 in A frugal Life, Health, Smart Shopper | 36 comments

Vegetable Measure – Cup Equivalent Chart

Do you know how many celery stalks you need for 1 cup chopped celery? Or how many cups of lettuce in 1 head of Romaine? This vegetable measure – cup equivalent chart provides the answers. By all accounts we will be paying more for all fruits and vegetables this year. With the Canadian dollar trading at $0.74 compared to the US dollar and with much of our produce imported from south of the border Canadians especially will be caught by the price increase. Comparison shopping is one of the best ways to find the best buy but how can you do that when you can’t compare sizes? Fresh produce is sold by the pound or kilogram; frozen produce is sold by the ounce or gram while canned goods are sold by ounce or millilitre. Trying to figure out the best deal using those measurements is a bit of a nightmare. The vegetable measure – cup equivalent chart takes the guesswork out of comparing. Once you know the size equivalent in cups it becomes much easier to compare prices and find the best buy. Example, I gathered prices for fresh, canned and frozen beans and easily worked out the best price using cup equivalency: 1 lb fresh green beans @ $3.49/lb = 3 cups or $1.17/cup;  15 1/2 oz. can of green beans @ $1.79 = 2 cups or $0.90/cup and 750g frozen green beans @ $2.97 = 5 cups or $0.60/cup. Easy to calculate and see that in this case, the frozen green beans is the best buy. There is one other advantage to knowing the cup equivalents: Since recipes usually call for cup measurements of vegetables, knowing the cup equivalent let’s you know exactly how much you need, thereby eliminating waste and saving you money. Because there is such a variance in the size of vegetables the cup equivalent is not exact but is close enough to provide a base for comparison.  The vegetable cup equivalent shown is for trimmed and chopped vegetables unless otherwise noted.     Vegetable Measure – Cup Equivalent Chart ASPARAGUS 1 lb/450g: 12-15 large/16-20 small spears 14-16 oz/398-455ml: 12-18 spears 10 oz/280g 16 oz/450g FRESH CANNED FROZEN FROZEN 3 Cups 2 Cups 1¼ Cup 2 Cups BEANS 1 lb/450g: 30 to 40 beans 15 1/2 oz/440ml 14 oz/400g 1¾ lb/750g FRESH CANNED FROZEN FROZEN 3 Cups 2 Cups 1¾ Cups 5 Cups BEETS, Superfood 1 lb./450g: 5 medium 16 oz/455ml FRESH CANNED 2½  Cups 2 Cups BROCCOLI, Superfood     1 lb/450g Florets 1 Medium Bunch, chopped stalks and florets 10 oz/280g 16 oz/450g FRESH FRESH FROZEN FROZEN 2 Cups 3½ Cups 1¼ Cups 2 Cups BRUSSELS SPROUTS 1 lb/450g: 28 to 36 sprouts 10 oz/280g FRESH FROZEN 4 Cups 2 Cups CABBAGE 1 HEAD = 2 lbs/900g Shredded 1 lb/450 g Shredded 1 lb. Cooked FRESH FRESH FRESH 8 Cups 4 Cups 2 Cups CARROTS 1 lb/450g: 6-7 medium or 4 very large 1 lb/450g grated 1 lb/450 g pureed 16 0z/455ml FRESH FRESH FRESH CANNED 3 Cups 2½  Cups 1½ Cups 2 Cups CAULIFLOWER  1 medium HEAD = 2 lbs/900g Florets 1 lb/450g Florets 16 oz/450g FRESH FRESH FROZEN 1½ Cups 3 Cups 4 Cups CELERY 1 Bunch = 1 lb/450g = 8-10 stalks 2 medium stalks, no leaves FRESH FRESH 4 Cups 1 Cup CORN 2 medium EARS husked, kernels 12 0z/350ml kernels 16 0z/454ml creamed 10 0z/280g kernels 16 oz/450g kernels FRESH CANNED CANNED FROZEN FROZEN 1¼ Cups 1½ Cups 2 Cups 1¼ cup 2 cups KALE, Superfood 1 lb/450 g raw leaves 1 lb cooked 15 0z/427ml 10...

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Consignment Shops: Buy-Sell

Posted by on Aug 30, 2015 in A frugal Life, Frugal For Everyone, Green Living, Product Information, Smart Shopper | 49 comments

Consignment Shops: Buy-Sell

I’ve just discovered Online Consignment Shops and can’t believe it took this long. I love Thrift Store shopping and Consignment Shops are the next best thing. These shops help you clean out – and thus organize – your closets and in turn allow you to find your own great deals on gently-used or overstock items. This isn’t only good for your wallet, this simple green act is also good for the environment. Online Consignment Shops vary in the kind of products they carry. Some offer high-end designer clothes, some do vintage, some cater to the business women, some to children and others to the family. Unfortunately, men’s consignment shops, unless they’re brick and mortar walk-ins, are difficult, if not impossible, to find. One of these men’s walk-in stores – Off the Cuff is well worth a visit by any man who is living in the Toronto area. This store has great reviews, a large selection of men’s clothing and accessories, and from all reports, helpful friendly staff. Online Consignment Shops have their own list of standards, brands and conditions. If you meet their conditions they will supply the shipping bags for free shipping. It’s important to read the fine print as each consignment shop has their own clearly defined list of what they will or won’t accept. They will only accept goods for which there is a demand (makes sense) so leftovers from Walmart and similar places won’t be accepted. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Changeroo  – A High-Quality Canadian Children’s Consigment Shop This Canadian consignment shop, Changeroo.ca located in Montreal, was founded in 2014 by Liane Guimond. It carries only like-new children’s clothing – high quality, top brands like Baby Gap, Land’s End, Children’s Place, Jona Michelle, etc. at seriously low prices. The Globe and Mail listed Changeroo as one of Canada’s 10 most remarkable small businesses. Changeroo is not setup to accept items by mail – instead you need to drop the goods off at specified locations in the Montreal area. They will, however,  ship items across Canada with free shipping on orders of $50.00 or more.  If you have children this is a shop you won’t want to miss. When I checked it out I was very impressed by the cute clothes listed and the great prices. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ TrendTrunks is a different kind of Consignment Shop  https://www.trendtrunk.com/ This is an interesting one – It’s a Canadian shop that acts like a promoter for women’s items, the sale of which you control. The following information is direct from their website:1. Make more money!  100% of the selling price goes back to you. It’s free to list on TrendTrunk.com OR our mobile app. 2. Get LOTS of inquires!  Thousands of buyers will see your items and also be emailed if your items match their interests. You’ll start to receive messages from interested buyers. Respond promptly to sell your item quickly! You decide how you want to transact; whether you meet in person or ship the item, along with your preferred method of receiving the funds (I recommend PayPal – it’s totally safe and no hassle). The buyer and seller must mutually agree on transaction details. 3. We have the right buyers. Trend Trunk curates listings to ensure the best experience for our buyers and sellers. We attract buyers who will value and appreciate your items. When it’s time to cash in your closet of stylish and fashionable items, Trend Trunk is the best way to sell your brand new to pre-loved clothing & accessories. Trend Trunk isn’t just a selling place, it also has a listing of shoppes where you can find...

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