How to Save Money So You Can Splurge on Fun Experiences

Put more of your hard-earned money towards family fun and memories

How to Save Money So You Can Splurge on Fun Experiences

How to Save Money So You Can Splurge on Fun Experiences

I’m the type of person who would rather have a vacation over a diamond any day. My simple mission on earth is this:

Do and see as much as I can in the short time I’m here.

But this philosophy can’t happen without a plan. Summer, of course, is prime save on everyday items, splurge on experiences time for all of us, so in order to make sure my family and I get out and do memorable things, I have a strict save/splurge program in place and I'm going to show you how I do it so you can do it, too!

Here are 5 things you can save on this summer and the 5 things you can splurge on (with all the money you'll have saved!)

Savings #1 - Air Conditioning

Ten years ago, my husband and I came to a realization. We are cooling our house and heating our pool. Nobody was swimming in the pool and our utility bills were through the roof. Talk about a waste. We presented the choice to our family; pool or air conditioning. The pool won hands down. We ripped out the air and have never looked back. Bills cut in half. And the fun factor when you get to jump in the pool with your clothes on? Priceless.

Look for ways you can save on heating and cooling bills. It may be as simple as turning your thermostat up a few notches in the summer or down a few in the winter. The savings will be noticeable if you're diligent about it.

Savings #2 - Laundry

Laundry is the bane of my existence. First, I hate doing it and secondly, why is there so much of it? I'm not alone here, right? There is no way on earth I’m spending a penny more than I need to on a chore I hate so much. My mother used Tide products when I was growing up and it’s a brand I’ve come to depend on. I use Tide Simply Clean & Fresh because it delivers the results I expect at a price I feel good about. Being frugal should not mean you have to compromise on quality.

The other way to save on laundry in the summer is good old line drying. Have you seen the price of electricity lately? Yikes. Your money is better spent elsewhere when Mother Nature can do such a good job.

Savings #3 - Summer Dining

Summer in Canada is prime time for fresh local produce, so there's no reason to not cook at home when there are so many fresh ingredients to get creative with. From strawberries in June to corn in August, make it a habit to shop local farmers’ markets for the best prices on summer’s bounty. Eating at home almost every day is not only healthier but it’s much easier on the pocket book than eating out.

Savings #4 - Everyday Items

Here’s the biggest secret to my splurge success. I save big on everyday items. There are certain things a household needs that are simply non-negotiable like dish soap and toilet paper.  Being cost-conscious doesn’t mean you have to buy lower quality products. I’m a big fan of Ultra Dawn dish detergent (a powerhouse of a grease cutter) and Charmin Basic Toilet paper because they both give me the best value for my buck.

Savings #5 - Buy Items on Sale and Clip Coupons

When you look for sale items and use coupons routinely, you will rarely have to pay full price for what you need. A great spot to get coupons is P&G Everyday Solutions for great savings on items you routinely buy. The best thing about these coupons is that they are not store specific and can be used anywhere P&G products are sold.

Now that you've saved money with my savings suggestions, here are some ways you can use those savings to splurge.

Spurge #1 - Entertaining

I love my friends and I love summer - I'm pretty sure you do too. There is no better way to celebrate than to entertain friends and family. But pool parties, barbecues and campfires can add up financially. It’s a splurge that’s worth it (to me) because spending time with friends and family is never a bad expense.

Splurge #2 - White Water Rafting

If you are into experiences that are a bit outside of the box, you'll love this one. Last summer my family went White Water Rafting for the first time on the Ottawa River. We’re officially hooked. This summer we’re heading out again and bringing friends with us. Best of both worlds.

Splurge #3  - Summer Camp

Summer camp for children can be a major financial strain on a budget. It’s part of the reason I’m diligent on everyday savings. Even though it requires some belt tightening it’s worth every single penny for the independence and life long memories kids acquire every summer. Its value can’t be measured by dollars.

Splurge #4 - Prince Edward Island

Have you seen the exchange rate lately? It's scary. While I’m all for splurging on experiences why even bother leaving Canada during the summer months when we live in one of the best and most beautiful countries on earth. This August, we’re planning on RVing in P.E.I. and bringing home a few memories with us. When coming up with your vacation plans, think of places closer to home.

Splurge #5 - Movies

Most of us simply can’t resist summer blockbusters. Going to the movies nowadays is a definite splurge but nothing beats seeing a movie on the big screen. Added bonus: on the rare day that living without air conditioning is too much to handle, the theatre brings welcome relief.

Do you have a similar philosophy? What do you save money on? What do you splurge on?


10 Norton Security Features That Will Keep Your Tech Safe

...and help you sleep better at night

10 Norton Security Features That Will Keep Your Tech Safe

10 Norton Security Features That Will Keep Your Tech Safe

When I travel, I should carry my laptop and phone tucked inside a steel briefcase, handcuffed to my wrist. After all, I carry an "Ehm"-pire around with me, a responsibility I don't take lightly. I have all things related to YummyMummyClub.ca's inner workings tucked away on my laptop and phone and it STRESSES me out. My mind races with frightening scenarios: what if someone hacked in and stole Canned Soup Mom’s next viral recipe or scooped Mummy Buzz? Even worse, what if someone got a hold of all the personal emails from the #YMCCommunity that I hold so dear. Although I'm being a little lighthearted about this, the reality is that it’s a big duty and I take it very seriously.

It’s not just my YMC data I worry about. I wring my hands about my own little corner of the Internet and all my social media accounts. The anxiety of losing work-related material pales in comparison to the thought of losing my thousands of personal photos, my banking information, my writing, and my personal correspondence. I'm having heart palpitations just thinking about the information on my tech devices. 

As a travel writer, I open myself up to unknown tech attacks in foreign countries as well. The computer is not only how I make my living, it’s where I store some of my most important memories. Just as I protect my home with an alarm system, my computer deserves the same protection.

That’s why I fell in love with all the amazing features Norton Security has to offer -  it’s total piece of mind. Norton has been a trusted name in Internet security for over 20 years now. They work tirelessly to stay on top of ever increasing technology threats such as viruses, phishing attacks, spyware, adware, botnets, works, Trojan horses, blended threats and DOS attacks. If that last sentence read like Greek to you, you're not alone. Who on earth can possibly keep up with this stuff? I can barely set up a new email account without help, so I need to rely on the experts when it comes to security.

Here are 10 reasons why Norton Security helps me sleep a little sounder at night:

1. It is compatible with all of your devices

Let's just get to the biggest one right away. Norton Security works with ALL the technology. That's right, it's compatible with Mac, PC, Android, and iOS. Most tech-savvy families have at least two different platforms in the house. Norton protects every one and every device. (I just saw your shoulders relax.)

2. It covers all the bases when protecting your data

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of comprehensive antivirus and anti-spyware capabilities. While the methods of attack are way over my head, the realities of having one occur are scary; there's just too much to lose.

3. It blocks unsafe and questionable websites

It's not uncommon to Google something innocent only to be shocked at the search results. With impressionable kids in the house, and one horror story behind me, I love that Norton Security avoids unsafe websites. It also avoids suspicious downloads. This is key for trigger happy kids who like to click on everything and don't have a discerning eye for suspicious emails yet. Free puppies?!!!! Click, click, click.

4. It blocks the spam we all hate

Nobody likes spam and nobody ever inherited 3.2 million Euros from an exiled Prince in Africa. Norton rocks the anti-spam and anti-phishing detail.

5. It automatically backs up your data

Growing up, my husband's family home burned down...twice. Aside from incredibly bad luck, they also lost everything. When I would ask his Mom what the hardest thing about that time was, she would always well up and say the pictures. It always brought a lump to my throat. That's why I LOVE that Norton automatically backups 25 GB worth of photos, movies and files to secured online storage.

Note: This backup feature is only included in Norton Security with Backup, you can see the Norton product comparison chart here.

6. It can find your lost phone or tablet

I read an article recently that said humans have a shorter attention span than goldfish now. Wait; what was I saying?

This must explain why I never know where I left my damn phone. No surprise here when I tell you that Norton has got you covered. Lost phones and tablets are easily found. Remote locate pinpoints the exact location of your device on a map. When the map shows that it's your house (as it often does mine) a scream alarm helps me quickly locate it. 

7. It will help locate a stolen device and take pictures of the thief!

In my opinion there's nothing worse than having your device stolen. It's tantamount to having someone rifle through your underwear drawer. If your device is stolen, Norton can help locate it much like it does when it's lost but they also have the coolest feature ever. Sneak Peek uses the built-in webcam to take a photo of anyone using your Android device, using the front-facing camera, once you list it lost or stolen. Boom. Take that bad guys. If you're not able to retrieve your phone in the end, Remote Wipe can erase all the information on your phone.

8. It will scan questionable links before you click them - just in case

You might be the most diligent person ever when it comes to clicking funny looking links but let's talk about your "friends," because sometimes they're not so bright. They can leave you open to all kinds of attacks on Facebook. Norton's Facebook wall scanning tags all links as safe or risky. Don't take your friend's word for it, trust Norton.

9. It backs up your contact data

I don't mean to show off, but I have a direct line to Erica Ehm.  I have countless contacts stored on my phone that I absolutely cannot afford to lose. As an entrepreneur, contacts are everything and so I love that Norton backs up my contacts and easily restores them should I ever have my device stolen or lost.

10. It will help you feel safe, always

My identity is valuable to me. Trust me, the world only needs one Candace Derickx. Rounding out my top ten is the total 360 security that Norton offers every single aspect of my online life. I lie awake for a multitude of reasons at night, but fear of losing all my personal information isn't one of them.


How Twitter Changed My World

This social platform added friends and a great career to my life

How Twitter Changed My World

making online friends your real life friends

It's not very often a defining moment in one's life is captured on film. I'm lucky to say one of mine was. In fact, nothing has been the same since, in the very best way.

Back in 2009 I was just starting my own business Best Tools for Schools. While at a trade show, someone suggested I hop on Twitter to start promoting it. I scoffed at first, but shortly after my first tweet went out, I was hooked. It was an exciting time on Twitter in '09. A relatively new platform, its social nature saw women flocking to it.

It wasn't long before I started to talk to @Sharon_DV (Sharon DeVellis), who introduced me to @yummymummyclub (Erica Ehm). The day this photo was taken, Erica put a message out on Twitter that she was holding a Tweet Up in Ottawa and would love to meet pretty much anyone who would show up at a coffee shop on Bank. Totally normal, right?

Twitter for meeting people

I responded I would attend and another woman in Ottawa I was tweeting with said she would join me. Turned out, @KelliDaisy lived mere blocks from me and even though we met for the first time that day, I felt like I was picking up an old friend after all the interaction we'd had on Twitter. While at the coffee shop, I asked Erica if she had anyone writing for her that could speak to re-entering the workforce after staying at home to raise kids. She said, "No; you should do that. Send me a blog."

And this is where I almost died. What on earth had I done? I HAD NEVER WRITTEN ANYTHING BEFORE. EVER. Except diary entries and school essays, I had never written a single thing for public consumption. I sent Erica a post and then immediately wanted to hurl. After four days with no word, I actually sent an email apologizing! Obviously I told myself, I had sent crap and they didn't know how to respond without hurting my feelings. That must be it. So colour me shocked when Erica's response, was "No, WE LOVE IT! We're just trying to come up with name for you." And the rest as they say, is history. Six and half years later I'm still See Mummy Juggle.

Since that fateful day in 2009 my life has been nothing short of spectacular. I am now a travel writer, I have my own blog, I manage #YMCCommunity, I'm manager of Sponsored Social Media at YMC, and yes, I still have my business.

Tweet Up in Ottawa

I'd like to take all the credit for the way my life has turned out but I can't. I am where I am today largely because of the incredible women I've met and continue to meet through social media. In 2009, I took a chance and took my online relationships offline and life has never been sweeter.

All of this is to say that social media is a wonderful platform, but only if you truly make it social. Take a leap and meet the people you tweet with. You never know what could happen.

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