Monthly Archives: April 2010

7 Last Minute Gift Ideas for Mom

Happy Mother's Day

Do you know that Mother’s Day is just around the corner? This year, Mother’s Day is on May.9th, which gives you about a week and a half to find or make a gift for her – and that’s if you’re reading this the day it was published. Yikes! Seriously dude, think of all the years your Mom devoted to you. From the pain of birthing you, to the sleepless nights when you were a child (and teenager!), to all the blood, sweat, and tears she’s shed for you over all the years of your life. Is it too much to ask you to honour her one day of the year? Are you feeling bad yet?

It’s up to you if you want to get sucked into the commercialism of Mother’s Day. You can get Mom the traditional card and flowers, take her out for lunch, buy her something she really wants, or if funds are tight, give her a homemade gift. Honestly, your Mom should love anything you give her. I think she’d rather a thoughtful homemade gift knowing you’ll still have money to pay the rent or mortgage! Whatever you decide on, here are seven last minute gift ideas for Mother’s Day. Some of these gifts are more costly than others but all are very affordable, and some are homemade (making them free depending on the supplies you already have at home).

Free Last Minute Gift Ideas for Mom

Do the Dishes for Mom!

1. Help Out Around the House – Maybe it sounds lame to you, but I swear your Mom will love it. In fact, I asked one Mom – to protect her identity, I shall not provide names, let’s  just call her Kelly – what the best Mother’s Day gift is that she could receive (keep in mind that I didn’t say “free”, meaning she could have said she wanted a 60″ plasma TV) and you know what her answer was? “The best gift my kids could give me is a promise to help out around the house. Do the damn dishes or cook supper!” Bingo! “Kelly” nailed it on the head there! Wash the dishes, cook dinner, do some laundry, mow the lawn (unless that’s usually Dad’s chore, of course) … help out around the house so Mom can put her feet up for a while – she’ll love you for it and you won’t need to part with your beer money (or lunch money, depending on how old you are).

Gorilla Painting

2. Make Her Something – It doesn’t matter if you’re 5 or 55, if you make your Mom a homemade gift, she’ll love it. It doesn’t matter if whatever you make turns out looking like something a 400 lb. gorilla named Charles painted, Mom will love it if only for the simple fact of knowing you actually spent time on something whilst thinking of her. If you really want to make Mom smile, consider her hobbies and interests and make her something that’s related. For example, if your Mom loves photography or even just enjoys putting family photos on display, check out Top 5 Mothers Day Gifts – Affordable, Unique and All Photography Related for some last minute Mother’s Day gift ideas.

3. Coupon Booklet Full of I.O.Us – A completely free and easy-to-make last minute gift idea for Mom which combines both ideas listed above is a “coupon book” or “I.O.U” (“I owe you”) book. Cut strips of paper into coupon-sized piece and staple together to make a little booklet. Write up various “deals” your Mom can cash in on like a 20 minute foot rub or a dinner cooked by you. You can include I.O.Us that she can claim whenever she wants to, like promises to do the dishes, laundry, clean out the cat’s litter box, etc. If you need or want a template for this project, simply Googling “Mother’s Day coupon book” will provide several printable options. Two websites which have some Mother’s Day coupon book templates are Kaboose and Martha

Very Affordable Last Minute Gift Ideas for Mom

4. Mother’s Day Apps – If Mom owns an iPhone or iPod touch, why not download some Mother’s Day related apps for her? Check out this list of Mother’s Day apps for ideas and suggestions.

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

5. Pack a Picnic – The only cost for this one is the food and maybe a bit of gas money. Pack up a picnic and take Mom to one of her favourite places, like a local park or beach – and, if you need inspiration, remember that some of the best beaches in the world are right here in New Brunswick!

Last Minute Gift Ideas for Mom

6. A Book and Bubble Bath – If Mom likes to read, an affordable last minute gift idea is to get her a book and bath stuff. Sure, the book would be okay on its own, but if you also get some bubble bath or floating candles, you’re suggesting she kick her feet up to relax in a hot tub to read her new book. Not sure what kind of book Mom likes to read? Why not get her a gift certificate to a local book store or for

7. Take Her Out – If packing a picnic isn’t something you think Mom would enjoy or the weather isn’t cooperating, there are plenty of other places you can take Mom on Mother’s Day that won’t be very expensive. Consider taking Mom to the movies (her choice of show, of course, and no complaining!), out for lunch or dinner, or even – gasp! – to the museum if that’s her thing. Remember, this day is about her!

What’s Your Mom Getting for Mother’s Day?

Have any of these last minute gift ideas inspired you? Already have plans of your own? How will you be honouring your Mom this Mother’s Day? Let us know by commenting below!

4 Ways to Reduce Your Electricity Bill

Everyone knows that in order to save money on their electricity bill they should turn off the lights when they aren’t in the room, close the windows if the heating is on, buy Energy Star appliances, etc., etc. Here are some ways to cut down on your electricity bill that you might not have considered.

CFL Bulb

1. Use Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) – Replace your incandescent bulbs with CFLs. Yeah, they’re a little more costly in regards to the initial purchase but, according to BC Hydro, CFLs energy consumption is a whopping 75% less than that of your incandescent lights. In addition to the fact that they use only a quarter of the energy, they also last an impressive 10x longer. BC Hydro says “As one CFL lasts as long as 10 incandescent bulbs, you could save over $37 – including costs of the bulb(s) and electricity – over the nine-year lifetime of one CFL bulb. Replace five 60-watt incandescent bulbs with 14-watt CFLs, at an average of three hours per day, and you’ll save more than $20 per year.

Programmable Thermostat

2. Install programmable thermostats – Heating and cooling your home accounts for nearly half of your energy consumption. SaskEnergy sayYou can save 2% on your heating bill for every 1 degree C you turn down your thermostat. With a programmable thermostat to consistently lower your heat when you don’t need it, you could save up to $65 a year!” So, turn down the heat and throw on a sweater to save money on electricity.

3. Turn the TV off! – You’re probably thinking one of two things: 1) That’s a no-brainer,  or 2) turning a TV off isn’t going to make that much difference on reducing the electrical bill. If you’re thinking the latter, you’re wrong! Big screen HDTVs are power-suckers and plasma televisions are harder on your electricity bill than LCD televisions. CNET compared the power consumption of various HDTVs and some televisions can cost over $100 a year to run! If you check out the CNET chart, make sure to note the middle column where it shows the power consumption with the default settings unless, of course, you intend to calibrate your TV (another way to save on your electricity bill, you might want to consider).

Save on power

4. Avoid using phantom power – Even when you turn off your electronics, they still consume electricity. This is known as phantom power. It might seem trivial, but when you consider how many gadgets and electronics we have plugged in and leave plugged in, it can certainly add up! SaskPower claim thatabout 40 per cent of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off.” That’s a lot! So to save money on your electricity bill, make sure you unplug your electronic equipment – including cell phone and other chargers –  when it’s not being used. Hint: hooking multiple devices to a power strip will enable you to turn off all those devices in one fell swoop. It will save you quite a bit of money over time!

Reduce Electrical Bill

How to save money on electricity

What actions do you take to reduce your electrical bill? Do you cut back on your energy consumption to save money, to help the environment, or both? Let us know your tips by commenting below!

10 Moving Tips to Cram More Crap in Your Car

Top 10 Moving Tips

Nobody likes moving day, so why make it more painful than it needs to be? Whether you’re moving down the road or across the country, there always seems to be last minute items that missed getting stuffed into the boxes that went with the moving truck. Here are some helpful moving tips so you can cram as much crap as possible into your car.

1. Clean out your car first – Before you even begin packing your car, clean it out first. Those stinking McDonalds bags and mouldy Tim Horton’s coffee cups are only taking up much needed space.

2. Get creative with your underwear – Okay, maybe not your underwear, but use towels, cloths, t-shirts and other material to wrap around fragile items. This way, you are putting these items to good use and saving on space.

3. Use plastic or cloth bags – Stuff non-breakable items into bags rather than boxes. Why? Bags are more flexible than boxes, so when you’re cramming crap into your car, you’ll be able to get more in.

4. Pack the boxes first – If you have a mixture of boxes and bags, pack the boxes first and then squish the bags in after.

5. Another good use for your underwear – Once you have all the larger items crammed into your car, stuff socks, teddy bears, and other small (unbreakable) items into the gaps wherever you can. You should do this when packing boxes too. Any extra space in boxes should be stuffed with stuff.

Packing Tips

6. Put your luggage to good use – Nothing should go into the car empty. Cram whatever you can into suitcases, coolers,  and other empty bulky items. Don’t forget to utilize your handbag, purse, and the car’s glove box, middle console, and even the spare tire compartment if possible.

7. Look under the seat – Small things like books, DVDs, magazines, divorce papers, etc. can fit under the seats of your car quite nicely.

8. Hang stuff when possible – Cram stuff into cloth bags and hang them from the back of the seat’s headrest, or from the roof handles above the back seat (I’m not sure what they’re called. My family refers to them as the “holy sh** handles”, because that’s what you’re usually saying when you need to grab ’em).

9. Put your Tetris skills to good use – All those hours you spent in the 90s playing Tetris were not in vain. When you’re packing your car, pretend you’re playing Tetris and I bet you’ll cram a lot more in!

10. Throw the crap away – Of course, the best moving tip to cram more crap into your car is to throw the crap away! At the very least, throw out the junk you really, really don’t need so you can fit the crap that you do! If you just can’t part with some of your belongings, why not give it to your ex-roomy so you can steal it back later?

Tips on how to pack a car

Got some moving tips?

Do you have any moving tips that enable you to stuff as much junk as possible into your car? Let us know by commenting below!

Home Decorating Tips By Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart

From the kitchen to the garden, Martha Stewart is an icon when it comes to creative and money-saving tips. Here are some of her top home decorating tips.

Front foyer/mudroom decorating tips

Martha Stewart’s website has some fantastic ideas for decorating the front foyer which will not only help make your foyer look great but are also very practical. For example, consider making a boot/shoe tray that is filled with decorative stones. This looks pretty cool and will also prevent puddles and dirt from collecting on the floor.

Boot Tray by Martha Stewart

Custom curtains and shades decorating tips

Finding the perfect curtains or shades which match your home decor can be expensive or extremely difficult. To help you save money or to create the perfect shades to compliment other accents in the room, Martha Stewart has several DIY projects that are super easy to follow.

Decorating tips for displaying photos

Get those family photos off your computer’s hard drive and out into the open where they can get the attention they deserve. From picture frames and photo cubes to picture pillows and baby face clocks, Martha Stewart has some terrific decorating tips when it comes to displaying photos.  

Martha Stewart decorating tips by color

If you already know the colors you want to include in your home decorating project but are struggling to find inspiration, check out Martha Stewart’s 232 Rooms by Color. 232 Rooms by Color

Decorating tips for the bedroom

“The key to enlivening a neutral room is to brighten it with several shades of the same color.”  This is just one of several bedroom decor tips Martha Stewart offers her readers. Another: “Nothing completes your boudoir like a headboard — it provides a focal point and makes the whole room more inviting. The store-bought kind can be expensive and bulky, so try this shortcut: Using the lines in a graphic wallpaper as your guide, cut out a silhouette that serves as a virtual headboard.”  And taking it one tip further, an idea I love (and may consider making it myself) is: “A solid old door, refinished and hung sideways, becomes a perfect — and perfectly inexpensive — headboard for a bed.” This looks awesome, as far as I’m concerned.

Door Headboard by Martha Stewart

Are you the next Martha Stewart?

Do you have some home decorating tips and ideas that would put Martha Stewart to shame? Make sure to leave a comment below to let us know!