Archive for the ‘Little Luxuries’ Category

Reduce, Reuse, Reuse, Reuse, Recycle

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Tired of mismatched tupperware lids? Wish you wouldn’t keep leaving your expensive Gladware at the office or at your friend’s house after her potluck? Buying new tupperware every two weeks is really starting to add up. It’s just one more thing to stress about.

Well, believe it or not, there is a solution! So many of the foods we buy today come in plastic containers – anything from yogurt to fruit to butter, etc. Start taking note of these containers! Maybe you got chinese takeout, and the rice came in one of those clear plastic containers? Or you stopped by the deli, and they scooped your potato salad into one? These containers are often just as good, if not better than whatever brand you buy from the store, and better yet, they’re free! Provided you plan on eating the food that comes in them, of course. The best part is, matching lids is no longer a problem because it’s pretty easy to recognize the yogurt lid versus the sour cream lid.

Another benefit to reusing containers is that you won’t feel bad about leaving them places. I, for one, used to get frustrated whenever I forgot my Gladware at a friend’s house, or left it full of food in the car overnight and had to toss it the next day. But if you’re reusing a container you got for free, it’s no longer a big deal if you forget it somewhere. Think about it, one less thing to stress over!

Now, think of the amount of money you spend on tupperware. Take that cost down to zero. Let’s say you spend $10 every month (pretty easy to do in a good-sized household). you’re saving $120 a year! It may not seem like a lot, but that’s enough money to buy a few pedicures, that’s for sure. By taking the extra effort to reuse, you’ll find that you have more to spend on things you enjoy. Remember, living green is not just about saving the environment. It’s about living a more sustainable lifestyle, which should ultimately save you money – in all those little “extra” areas you never think about.

Other Reusable Items from ThisOldHouse.com

Meet the Task Runners

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Taskhire.ca has been keeping an eye on just who all these helpful people are. Although we have some handymen, movers and others offering their great services, it turns out the majority of our Task Runners (TR’s) are a mix of moms and students.

We have also been closely watching what they like to help with on Taskhire! Take a look at our most popular Tasks.

Cleaning

Not everyone can afford to have a regular cleaning service but it would be nice to have the house cleaned when it’s really time to get down and dirty. Get those dusty baseboards washed, floors mopped and walls scrubbed – then you’re good to go for a another couple of months.

Also, if your expecting guests from out of town or need a helping hand after they leave, Task Runners are more than happy to help with one time cleaning jobs.

Laundry

No washing machine at home? No problem! A Task gaining traction fast is having your laundry done. Task Runners are willing to pick up your hampers and return your garments washed, folded and smelling like spring meadows. Send them to a laundromat in the area or request it gets done in their home. What an efficient way to keep your linens fresh.

Administrative help

Sometimes seeing all that paperwork piling up on your desk can be overwhelming. To-do lists are getting longer with emails to type, phone calls to make and letters to address. At Taskhire, we have been amazed by the overwhelming response from Task Runners willing to help with administrative duties. Be it at your work/home office or even virtually, TR’s are standing by with pen and stapler in hand.

Don’t be shy to ask a TR to bring their own laptop and help you out with some office work to lessen the load at those busy times of the year.

Packing and organizing

Planning a move can be both physically and emotionally draining. Having someone around to help you organize and pack your belongings can be a huge weight off your shoulders – especially when it comes without the hefty price tag that movers charge.

Everything in between

Don’t forget to get things done while you’re busy at work. After all, 5PM is prime time so skip the packed parking lots, giant carts blocking the aisles and long line ups at the cash. Hire a TR for these time consuming chores and go straight home after work for a change.

-Pick up your items from Walmart

-Take your car for an oil change or service

-Bags of clothing to goodwill

-Have the pooch taken for a stroll

Put valuable time back into your day. You deserve it.

Seasons Savings! 7 Terrific Tips

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

As this festive season approaches, our personal time is getting slimmer and so are our pay cheques. With holiday parties, gifts and of course a little bit of self maintenance, by the time January first rolls around, not only do we have to start saving (all over again!) but we are too exhausted to even make resolutions.

At Taskhire, we’ve thought up some useful ways to help you be a little more productive with your time and money around the holidays and otherwise.

1) Homemade facemasks

This is a big money saver! Not just for the young girlies experimenting with recipes from a magazine anymore. You wouldn’t believe some of the great concoctions you can create in your own kitchen for under $10. Check out this site for some great ideas. Tip: make it a once a month thing with your friends, put a twist on girls night out and host an at home spa day!
Another good beauty DIY link at DailyWorth

2) Get your make-up and hair done by a student

We’re not telling you to skip the blow dry before the office holiday party, but try this alternative. Cosmetology students can be quite generous, often offering their services at a discounted price. They do a good job and are usually willing to come to your home – a big time saver! Some of our Task Runners specifically do hair and make-up, so post a Task early and set a date!

3) Secret Santa

An old favorite. Buying gifts for your whole family and close friends is expensive – very expensive. Not to mention you have colleagues and neighbours that you can’t bear to leave out. Suggest doing a secret Santa gift exchange! It’s easy on the wallet and loads of fun.

Holiday Potluck4) Potlucks vs Restos

As we discussed in our previous post, eating out can get pricey. Why not suggest a potluck? You or your friends can show off your holiday décor, and it makes for a nice cozy setting with your choice of holiday tunes.

5) Learn with Podcasts

If you have yet to discover the wonderful world of podcasts, there is no time like the present. Whether you are stuck in traffic or on the commute, doing dishes and other chores – use that time to brush up on an educational subject, your interests (history, yoga, sports) or the new language you want to learn (Japanese anyone?) with so much available to learn, it’s time well wasted. Not to mention, many podcasts are free!

6) Get a prepaid credit card

Shopping on the web is fun and convenient, but unfortunately often leads to unnecessary impulse purchases. Need a way to curb that appetite for online goodies? Try a prepaid credit card. Load funds directly from your bank account, or try Instacheque. This method is a lot like carrying only cash – you have a limit you can spend. Decide ahead of time exactly how much you can allow yourself to spend, load it to the card, and voilà, there’s no way you can talk yourself into spending “just another thirty dollars.” More info

7) Catering vs errand help

Throwing a big party and need help providing food? Dealing with a large catering company involves a hefty price tag and a big commitment. Why not hire a couple of Task Runners instead? They can pick up your groceries, stop at the specialty store, and even pick up the wine. You can also get some help chopping and prepping in the kitchen. This can easily save you a good four to six hours and cost a fraction of what you would pay a catering company. Check Task Runner profiles to find the person with the skills you’re looking for!

With Our Powers Combined

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

It’s Friday night, and you have tickets to a fashion show.

What you’re expecting: elegant clothes, bright lights, hoppin tunes, photographers’ flashes left and right.

What you get: a beautifully run show featuring designs by Arti Gogna, Jennifer Massabni and Marina Sonin as well as a special performance by Shawn Mista Wellz, all organized by Christina Scourlas, Event Coordinator at Pink Heels, and held at hip venue Time Supperclub.

What you never expected to get: a show performed entirely by volunteers – who were found through Taskhire.ca – the entire purpose of which was to raise money and awareness for all types of cancers in women.

Through the partnership of Taskhire.ca and THINK Pink Heels, $2000 was raised for women’s cancer charities. THINK Pink Heels is also closely affiliated with Pink Heals – Guardians of the Ribbon and TieUpTheCure.com. For more info, please check out their facebook page.

See more pictures from the event below:

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10 Ways to Put Some Extra Cash in Your Pocket & Still Enjoy Simple Luxuries

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

We all love to live in luxury. Unfortunately, given the recent economic crisis, most of our wallets have felt the strain. Some of us have compromised – giving up one luxury for another; some of us have given up indulging altogether. But the truth is, all we need is a slight check on our spending, and some smart budgeting! In the spirit of saving money, Taskhire.ca has brought you a few ways to keep that checkbook balanced and still have enough to indulge from time to time.

1) Bagged Tea or Coffee

Many of us rely on caffeine for that quick fix, and don’t worry, we aren’t suggesting you give it up! But think about how much that daily $3 latte is costing you – let’s say you have one every weekday – that’s about $60/month! Instead, buy coffee singles and take them in your purse. At the coffee place, ask for a cup of hot water – some places will charge you, but not more than about a quarter. These Folger’s Singles are only $6 for 19, only one shy of a month’s worth.

Other options – Tea. How can you dislike tea? There are millions of flavors, it warms you up, and it’s portable. Not to mention it’s a healthier alternative to coffee. Give it a try!

2) Dollar Movie Theaters, Bring Your Own Candy

Movies are fun – you get to sit in a dark theater with surround sound, hand deep in a bag of popcorn or Raisinets, and gasp, cry or laugh alongside dozens of other people. But when you leave, your wallet is inevitably $24 lighter.

Believe it or not, most cities have a cheaper alternative: dollar theaters.  These locations normally play movies that have been out of theaters for a few weeks. So instead of seeing Harry Potter 7 the day it’s released, you can wait a month (or two) for it to come out in the dollar theater. You’re so busy anyway, why not?  And while you’re at it, why not make a quick pit stop to buy candy at the local Pharmaprix instead of buying the same thing for twice as much.

Of course, if you just want to watch movies and don’t mind skipping out on the theater experience – there’re always services such as Netflix or Blockbuster mail-ins for anywhere from $6-$30/mth, depending on your needs.

3) BYOW – Bring Your Own Wine

Everybody loves going out to eat – the service, the friends, the wine…not having to wash dishes. In fact, according to this article from BNET, many people spend almost half of their food budget eating out.  But when you go all out on a dinner with friends and family, it can get very pricey – especially once you start adding drinks to the tab.  That’s why BYOW restaurants are so convenient. Whether you’re going on a casual date with your boyfriend, or need a little extra something to get you through dinner with relatives, you can save by bringing your own booze. Most will allow you to bring either wine or beer. Quebec in particular is known for these restaurants – and you won’t be scrimping on service or food quality, either! One thing, though, check to see if the restaurant has a corking fee and for how much before toting your own bottle! Here are some good resources for BYOW restaurants in Montreal.

UrbanSpoon.com

RestoMontreal.ca

4) Living Social

According to their website, “LivingSocial offers one fantastic deal every day with discounts of up to 90% at local restaurants, bars, spas, theaters, and more.” At the moment, Living Social is one of the largest discount sites in Montreal, along with Red Flag Deals and Tuango.

This new trend combines our social needs with our budgeting ones, offering coupons for exercise classes, restaurants, dry-cleaning, maid services, laser hair removal treatments, Mani/Pedi packages, pet services and the list goes on.

5) Buy local

Really want to buy fresh fruits and veggies, but the supermarkets are just too expensive? In Montreal, there are tons of little fruit and veggie markets – especially near popular metro stations. These make take a little bit of searching to find, but they’re definitely worth it! Beware of the more popular markets that can be somewhat uppity and expensive. Still, though, it’s possible to find deals in these places, too. Three of the largest markets in Montreal are showcased on this blog post on tourisme-montreal.org.

6) Browse Taskhire for Short-Term Tasks

Got a free afternoon or weekend? A free hour? 30 minutes? Taskhire.ca is a great way to make a little extra money in your free time. Maybe you’ve got two hours between classes that you normally spend vegging out watching TV at your apartment. Or perhaps you need to take your dog on a walk – may as well walk an extra dog and get some money for it!

Another thing – doing chores for people is a great way to expand your network. If you complete the task well and on time, you now have a contact that will vouch for your reliability. Or who knows, maybe they’ll help you out with one of your chores later.

7) Go Out Early

If you frequent bars and clubs, drink tabs will quickly eat away at your budget. But, let’s face it, who wants to sit at home on a Friday night? There are plenty of ways to bring down the cost of going out. For one, go to happy hour. Sure, going to a bar at 6pm is not quite the same as going at 11pm, but it’s certainly better on the wallet!

Or, if you prefer going to clubs, going early can help you here, too. Most clubs will offer a lower (or nonexistent) cover charge to people who come before 10pm. So take some friends and go populate the club! Remember, once you’re in, you don’t have to pay again – you can stay as long as you want.

If you’re still strapped for cash, you could always throw a BYOB house party.

8 ) Shopoholic? Make a List!

If shopping is your one luxury you don’t want to lose, don’t worry, there’s a solution to that, too. First, make a list of the things that you need or could use – new sheets, another mixing cup, a winter coat, more socks, etc. Then, if you feel the urge to shop, choose something on your list and set out specifically to get it. So if you need dishes, go to Home Sense, not Urban Outfitters.

If you absolutely must go to a mall for impulse shopping, before you make a purchase, ask yourself, “will I use this? Do I need it?” If you can’t answer a definite yes to both of those questions, put it back and give yourself 24 hours before deciding whether or not to buy it.

Thrift stores and Craigslist buying are always good alternatives as well.

9) Sell Things You Don’t Use or Haven’t Finished

Okay, so you purchased that chair with the intention to reupholster it yourself, but it’s been a month and it’s still in that same corner of the living room untouched and taking up space. Got another project you haven’t finished? Maybe it’s not a chair to reupholster. Perhaps it’s a quilt you want to make, or a guitar you intended to take lessons with. If it’s been a month, and it hasn’t been touched, it’s time to let it go. Remember, there are plenty of projects you can take on in the future, so finish the ones you have or let them go.

Craigslist is a great place to sell items you no longer use. You can sell anything from jewelry to kid’s toys to furniture, and most times you don’t have to move the stuff yourself.

10) Take Affordable Vacations

In this economy, many people have cut out vacationing altogether, opting to stay at home instead. But with the added stress of a tighter budget, getting away for a weekend or even just an evening might do you more good than you think. In this day and age, when you think of vacation, you think cruising the Bahamas, or perhaps spending a week in Cape Cod. Despite there being more affordable options, these types of vacations can still rack up quite a bill.

Believe it or not, it’s possible to take affordable vacations; you just have to be smart about your planning. Ever think about going to the beach…in the winter? Or checking out the ski resort in the summertime?  National parks are also pretty cheap for overnight stay and still provide plenty of things to do.  Another thought – perhaps your best friend lives in Quebec City, or a relative lives out in the countryside – go visit! People these days are so set on “going somewhere” that they forget to take advantage of the possibilities close by. You don’t have to hop on a plane to take a vacation. Try a road trip, explore your local options!

Ultimately, you will have to make some compromises in order to maintain a social lifestyle in this economy, but with these tips, you just might be able to keep that caffeine habit alongside your shopping one instead of booting one for the other.

Any other money saving ideas? How else have you been thrifty? Leave us a note in the comments!