weights at a gym

Choosing a gym membership right for you

Finding the right gym or fitness program can be difficult. Here are a few tips and tricks to find a place that fits you and your budget.


As February continues, your New Year’s resolution motivation of going to the gym more often may be starting to wear off so finding a gym or workout routine that works for you and that you enjoy will help keep that motivation to continue going.  Here are some tips and tricks that can help you find a gym or fitness program for you and your budget.

Be sure to:

Do your research – With many different gym or fitness program options, doing your research and looking at reviews is so important! Narrow your search by making a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves to see what’s important to you. Use existing members or friends as a resource and ask them what they like and dislike about it.

Try before you buy – Almost all gyms and fitness studios offer trial periods allowing you time to assess the machines, amenities, cleanliness, etc. Fitness studios such a spin, yoga, or barre usually offer a discount or free pass to test out their different classes. Take advantage of these trial periods to find the gym or fitness studio perfect for you.

Be aware of contracts & fees – Be aware of extra fees and contract details before signing up. Can you pay monthly or do you need to commit to a year as a member? Are there any penalties to break your contract? Any hidden annual maintenance fees? Getting all the information up front will help you choose a gym that fits your lifestyle and your budget.

Assess:

Value vs. quantity – Track how often you’re going to the gym or fitness studio to determine if a punch pass or monthly pass is best for you. Punch passes are great if you’re not going often, but if you’re going frequently ensure you’re not paying more for punch passes than if you were to buy an unlimited monthly pass. Also, as a bonus, an unlimited pass may come with perks such as discounts on fees and merchandise, specialized classes, waiver of late cancel fees, extra perks such as towel or refreshment services and more! Find out what you get for each level of membership, so you can decide what’s a must have or nice to have.

Location – It’s no secret that the more convenient something is the more likely you will be inclined to attend. When picking a gym, it’s best to consider location convenient of when you’re most likely to work out. If you plan on working out over your lunch break at work or school, select a gym that’s close to there. If evenings and weekends are your preference, you should select a gym that’s close to home. On days when you’re crunched for time, having a gym close by will make things easier on your schedule.

One size doesn’t fit all – Just because your friends enjoy a particular workout, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll love it. You need to find the right workout for you, so you can enjoy being there and see the value in spending the money on your fitness.

Detail orientated – When you walk into a potential gym, pay attention to all the details. Is the lighting too bright? Too dim? Is the music too loud? Are classes too crowded? Overall cleanliness? Are machines broken down? Things that may not seem important during your initial tour can become major annoyances in the future.

In the end, the most important thing to consider is if you’re at a place you enjoy going to and one that fits your budget. Fitness shouldn’t cause extra stress, instead, it should help relieve stress so taking your budget and lifestyle into consideration is key to finding the right place for you.

Do you have any tips on selecting the right workout routine? Share them with us!

brown paper bag lunch of a sandwich and apple

What’s your daily lunch costing you?

Buying lunch may be convenient – and tasty – but the costs can add up over time. Learn how much your daily lunch purchases may be costing you and tips on how to save.


If you’re like me, you’re not a morning person. You hit snooze as many times as possible and you’re usually rushed to get out the door to get to work on time. You haven’t made lunch and decide you’ll just grab something quick from a local restaurant.

Depending on where you work, you may have easy access to a variety of restaurants that makes the temptation to purchase lunch even greater. Add the ‘cheap’ lunch specials and it becomes more of a habit than a once-in-awhile thing.  Unfortunately, it’s not so great for our wallets – let’s look at a few numbers to see the impact.

Looking at 10 different restaurants, I found lunch meal prices vastly ranged with the average person spending anywhere between $8 -$20 – and that sometimes wasn’t even including a drink! A typical lunch purchase will cost you about $14. The number may not seem high, but what does that look like over a year?

Thinking about your lunch routines, how often do you go out for lunch? Once a week? Two – three times per week? More? The more often, the greater the costs:

1x per week = Approx. $728 annually
2x per week = Approx. $1,456 annually
3x per week = Approx. $2,184 annually
4x per week = Approx. $2,912 annually
5x per week = Approx. $3,640 annually

The numbers are substantial once you start adding them up. So how do you save?

The simple answer… pack a lunch. Packing lunch costs a fraction of the cost of eating out and reduces the temptation to run out and grab something. The money you save can then be put towards something else such as a vacation, your retirement or even into your emergency savings fund. Check out the Pay Yourself First video to see how easy it can be.

Bringing the same lunch can become boring, which also can increase your temptation to buy. If this happens to you, consider making one of the great lunch ideas found below.

Packing your lunch the night before will help you save time in the morning and help fight the urge to go out. Even better, you’ll still be able to hit that snooze button one extra time – sounds great to me!

burger with fries

Eating out: kids edition

Looking for ways to save money when going out to eat with the family? Here’s a list of some Saskatchewan restaurants that offer discounts, helping families to save money.


Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from cooking and going out to eat instead. No trying to figure out what to make. No dirty dishes to clean. And everyone gets to pick a meal of their choice! Eating out can add up though, especially for a family. To help save you money, we’ve put together a list of restaurants in Saskatchewan that offer kid-friendly discounts.

Note: Some restrictions may apply. Contact a location nearest to you to learn more.

Fuddruckers: Regina location: Kids can eat for $0.99 every Monday after 4 p.m. (one per adult entrée purchase).  Saskatoon location: For January & February, kids eat free every Monday-Thursday after 4 p.m. (one per adult entrée purchase).

East Side Marios: Every Tuesday, kids eat for $2. In addition, if you sign up for their Mini Mario club, you can receive additional promotions throughout the year.

Humpty’s: Kids eat free on Fridays between 5-9 p.m. One child meal per adult meal.

Montana BBQ: Kids eat free on Tuesdays at participating restaurants.

Perkins: Kids eat free every Monday and Tuesday night between 4-9 p.m.

Jack Keaton’s BBQ & Bar: Kids eat free on Sundays with the purchase of an adult meal.

WokBox: Kids eat free on Sundays with the purchase of an adult meal.

Denny’s: Kids eat free on Tuesdays between 4-10 p.m. at participating restaurants. There is a limit of two free kids’ entrées with the purchase of one adult entrée.

Next time you’re considering going out to eat with the family, why not check out one of the restaurants above. In order to take advantage of some of these offers, some advance planning may be needed – especially for those only offered on certain days of the week. Consider putting the money you save into your savings account to help you reach your saving goals quicker!

Do you know of a restaurant that offers kid-friendly discounts not on the list? Share with us in the comments below.

holiday cup and pastry

Holiday entertainment on a budget

The holidays can be quite busy and costly, especially if you’re hosting a holiday party with family and friends. Here are a few tips on how you can save when entertaining for the holidays.


When you think of December the first few words that may come to mind are busy and expensive. From the parties, work events, concerts, school activities and more, it all starts to add up not only in costs but also time.

Hosting a party  can be a daunting task in itself and when you factor in the stress of costs, it may not seem worth it. To help save on costs, and stress, we’ve put together a few tips for holiday entertaining, ensuring to make you the hostess-with-the-mostess.

Invite guests by e-card

There are tons of great free ecard options available online that allow you to invite your guests by email. These sites are quick and easy to use and also give you the ability to design the invitation to fit your party theme. As an added bonus, some sites even allow you to manage RSVPs and message guests through the invite! A site we recommend for all your party invitation needs is www.evite.com.

Image via www.evite.com.

Host a potluck

Potlucks not only make it easier on the host but also are a great way to save on costs. Instead of planing and purchasing every food item for your event, request your guests each bring a dish.

To switch it up from the usual random potluck, select a theme and have everyone bring a dish related to that theme. You can then carry the theme throughout the rest of your party in your decorations or even a signature drink. Check out a few great potluck theme ideas here.

Borrow from the outdoors

Decorating can be the most expensive part of hosting a party. Luckily you shouldn’t need to invest too much into décor since you likely have already decorated for the holiday season. To add that something extra to your table setting, try bringing the outdoors inside by using spruce trees, branches and pine cones as your centrepiece. We love the idea of using pinecones as a name tag holder or to label your guests’ potluck dishes.

Image via DIY Cozy Home.

Holiday mug gift exchange

Having a gift exchange is a great way to get into the holiday spirit of giving. Why not put a spin on the gift exchange and ask your guests to each bring a holiday mug to your party to exchange. You can set a price limit on a mug and have your guests purchase from a local store, or you can do a re-gift only where your guests will bring a holiday mug they already own for the exchange.

Take the theme further by having a dessert hot chocolate bar where your guests can use their new mugs. Don’t forget to include the marshmallows, whip cream and all the candy fixings to go on top!

Image via Home Cooking Memories

Cozy Up With The Classics

Nothing screams the holidays like a classic holiday movie! Have your guests bring their favourite holiday movie and then get everyone to vote on which one to watch. Most votes wins. All you’ll then need to do is pop some popcorn and cozy up to watch a holiday classic!

Here are a few of our favourites:

  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
  • A Christmas Carol (1951)
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
  • A Christmas Story (1983)
  • Home Alone (1990)
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
  • Elf (2003)

The holidays are about gathering with loved ones, reminiscing about the past year and filling your home with joy, laughter and fun. Your party should not be measured by the amount spent, but instead on the memories made. Spending more money can make your party look more impressive, but it’s the experience and the memories you share that make the night priceless.

homemade holiday gift

The secret ingredient is love: DIY gifts

Homemade is always the best type of gift. Here are a few DIY gift ideas sure to impress those you love and help you to save money.


We all know that the holiday season can be stressful. Trying to find that perfect gift for the ones you love, while also not breaking the bank. Sometimes the best gifts are the ones we personalize and that come straight from the heart with love. Here are a few DIY gift ideas that are sure to impress the ones on your list, and help you save a little on your gift giving this year.

Holiday baking

 

Nothing says I love you more than a delicious, homemade treat. The Food Network Canada has several tasty recipes that make perfect gifts this holiday season – check them out here. Consider making a few different items and packaging a variety of deliciousness in a holiday tin.

Edible gifts in a jar

Know someone who is on the go all of the time and needs a quick-fix meal? Or someone that wants to bake but without all of the hassle of buying the ingredients, etc.? Consider putting together an edible gift jar specially made for the person in mind. There are so many different options you can do from muffins, brownies, soup, salsa, jams and more. Check out 30 recipes by the Taste of Home here.

Date night jar

Date night ideas on sticks in a jar

Date Night Photo by Meaghan Morris @MeaghanMorris.com

We all know date night can get expensive – dinner, activities, babysitter, etc. The planning also can become quite exhausting. A great idea way to ensure date night does happen, without having to break the bank each time is a ‘Date Night Activity’ jar.

To create, first make a list of different date night activities – check out 101 examples here. Be sure to include items that won’t cost you anything such as going for a walk or items that will cost you very little such as going for a coffee. Organize your list into three groups: $0 Dates; Under $20 Dates; and Over $20 Dates. Then paint large popsicle sticks three different colours. Each will represent one of the groups above. Once dry, write the different date activities on the sticks based on their group colour. Put in a jar that you have decorated to say Date Night.

When it comes to date night, leave the planning up to the jar. Determine what type of date it will be – $0 date, Under $20 date or Over $20 date. Then select the corresponding coloured stick and away you go.

Movie night in

movie night at home gift basket

Movie Night Gift Basket Photo via Kidsz Paradise Inc.

Going to the movies can add up by the time you buy the tickets, drinks, popcorn and of course, paying for extra butter! A great way to save a few dollars is a ‘Movie Night In’ gift basket. Pick up a few of your favourite drinks and treats and put together in a homemade gift basket. Include a DVD or a coupon for one Netflix movie night in. The best part is that you can cozy up on the couch in your pajamas!

Gift certificates of time

Nothing beats the time we spend with our loved ones. Consider giving the gift of time by creating activity or ‘time’ gift certificates. You can include activities such as going for a walk, doing a craft or going tobogganing – the options are endless. Not only will you save money, but the memories you make will last a lifetime.

There are many different ways you can save money this holiday season and these are just a few ideas for you to use. Another great place to find homemade gift ideas is Pinterest.

Have another DIY gift idea? We’d love to hear them – share with us by commenting below.