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New to Squawkfox? Here are a few of the best posts that represent what we’re about.

50 Ways to Save $1,000 a Year

You wanted to boost your savings in a tough economy with little effort or pain. I gave you 50 (fifty) ways to painlessly stash some extra cash without losing a limb or getting a second job.

coins_money_save.jpg

The real reason you’re broke

I took a moment to be mean, and you liked it. Your feedback was instant, and the media responded quickly too. This tough-love post got a big mention in Rob Carrick’s Globe and Mail roundup Broke? Cry me a river and was featured in a two-page Toronto Star spread Broke? Stop Whining!

The media mentions are cool, but that’s not why this post tops my list — it’s because you didn’t hate me after I wrote it. :)

apple peel

How to get married for $239.00

You either loved or loathed my wedding story. Regardless of your stance, getting hitched for A LOT less hit a deep emotional nerve, got you talkin’ across social media, and even became one of the most read stories on The Globe and Mail‘s website. I should have made Carl wear the white dress. :)

backyard wedding ideas

Make a Starbucks Frappuccino for $0.32

My server squawked from the traffic load after posting this frugal food hack. With a million pageviews in 2011, this viral post shares the secret ingredient in a Starbucks Frappuccino.

frappuccino recipe

The cost of collecting

Who knew that discombobulated Barbie doll heads, rustic farm barns, and a big old stack of denim could wreak so much havoc on my inbox. Some of you spewed coffee onto your keyboards (sorry), while others chuckled over my eating crow.

barn

6 Words That Make Your Resume Suck

You wanted to know why your resume sucked, so I told you. Within the span of 24 hours, this snarky post hit the front pages of Digg, Delicious Popular, and Lifehacker.

6 words that make your resume suck

How to Microwave Gourmet Popcorn in a Brown Paper Bag

I wrote a fluffy piece about a tasty subject, and the internets gobbled it up. This post went a little viral after being featured on the front page of Lifehacker for two days, and the social media attention from StumbleUpon, Facebook, and Twitter together pushed the popcorn pageviews to over a million before year’s end. I guess you guys like affordable snack food. Yeah, me too.

gourmet popcorn recipe

Track your money with the Free Budget Spreadsheet

One of my most popular downloads is the Free Budget Spreadsheet. This makes me happy ’cause I think budgets and spreadsheets are pretty darn cool.

free budget spreadsheet

Price Check Experiment: Is Costco really worth it?

I went undercover and did a price check experiment at Costco to see if shopping at a wholesale club is worth it, even after paying membership fees and enduring long lineups with reams of toilet paper. The comments say it all — you really loved this post.

costco warehouse experiment

Breaking up with a cable company is hard to do

Deciding to quit cable was easy. Getting the cable company to sever my service was hard. A must read if you’re trying to break up with any service provider. They want your money and will do anything to keep you as a client.

dog antenna

5 Investing fees that devour your savings

Do yourself a serious solid by adding up all your investing fees. You could save tens of thousands of dollars by getting in the know and making less costly investing decisions.

investing for beginners

1 Organic Chicken, 22 Healthy Meals, $49 Bucks

I stretched a single organic chicken into 22 healthy meals for just $49 bucks, and you loved it. This 8-part series took forever to write, and it shows. Brimming with several chicken recipes and boasting endless clucky ideas, it just goes to show ya how much money can be saved with a simple plan, a few frugal ingredients, and a slow cooker or a crock pot. This post has so many media mentions I’ve lost count.

bake chicken breasts

Pack a carry-on suitcase for a 10 day trip

I did a magic trick by packing ten days of travel clothing into a single carry-on suitcase, and this post got forwarded to probably everyone who owns luggage. With airlines charging big fees for checked and extra baggage, it pays to travel light. What’s in your suitcase?

funny dogs

Tiny Tarts: How to make Pie in a Jar

It’s a proven fact — jars make all frugal gifts better. Most posts on Squawkfox take me around 10 hours to write, edit, photograph, and publish. Pie in a Jar took me at least 20 hours. Since I snap every picture on this site myself, the posts with photos are the most time consuming, and thankfully among the most popular with you guys.

Free Printable Workout Log

You wanted to get fit and not spend a bundle at the gym, so I shared my workout log with you. This little exercise tracker helped me train for and complete two Ironman Triathlons. This post also hit the front page of Lifehacker.

free printable exercise log workout sheet

How to Buy a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot

You love your slow cookers, and I had fun sharing my thoughts on the humble crock. The slow cooker is a fabulous way to stay frugal and feed a family for less. Yum.

slow cooker crock pot how to buy

Printable Grocery Shopping List

I created this grocery list to help you find affordable (cheap), healthy, and delicious foods while grocery shopping, fast. It’s a great printable template. Download away!

printable_grocery_shopping_list.jpg

Make healthier Lunchables for 32% less

I sliced turkey, counted crackers, weighed cheese, and added up the total cost for a less expensive lunch box friendly snack. With front page mentions on Lifehacker and mommy blogs around the world, I can’t complete this list without a frugal snack attack. Crunch into some healthy savings, kiddies!

snack foods

How to Set Financial Goals

Do you have a financial goal? Yeah, I’m sure we’ve all dreamed of making a million, but have you ever figured out what it takes to get there? Everyone who downloaded these three goal-setting worksheets knows what I’m squawking about.

financial goal setting

10 Reasons Soaking Dried Beans Can Change Your Life

You’re a bunch of keener beaners. I’m gassed by email I still get about soaking dried beans. Bean there. Soak that.

how_to_soak_beans.jpg

397 Ways To Save Money

You all must like free s$it, because after introducing my first book,
397 Ways To Save Money, I decided to give away a few signed copies to some savvy readers.

Anytoobad, the contest is long over. But you can still download a free excerpt of my Amazon Canada Top 100 Bestseller. Thank you to everyone who bought, browsed, or borrowed my book from their local library.

397 ways to save money giveaway

Dig yourself out with the Debt Reduction Spreadsheet

You wanted to get down to the business of paying down your debt, so I shared my debt-busting tools with you in my popular budgeting series. It took me a long while to write the How to Make a Budget series — complete with worksheets, spreadsheets, and free goodies — and the dang thing nearly killed me. It’s a good thing you liked it.

debt reduction spreadsheet

Ten Reasons the Diva Cup Can Change Your Life

I went there. I ragged on so-called “feminine girlie products”. I didn’t expect anyone to comment. I was wrong. You all love your Diva Cups and had a good laugh when I told you the reasons I love mine. Some brave fellas commented too. Kudos.

diva_cup.jpg

How I Paid Off My Student Debt in Six Months

I’ll never forget the feeling of graduating from school with my degree in one hand yet starting a new life with 17K of debt in the other. To put it bluntly, the feeling sucked. Don’t let student debt get you down.

student_debt.jpg

Just say “NO” to crap!

There’s nothing crappy about this article. I launched an anti-crap campaign. I wanted you to say “NO” to buying crap. Many of you sent me email about your own attack on crap. One of you printed out this post and stuck it on your refrigerator. I am honored to be “refrigerator worthy”.

garbage_crap.jpg

There you have it, your favorite posts from the past few years. Did I miss one? :)

Your two cents:

  1. Emily February 3rd, 2009

    Hey Foxy, LOVE the site! Looks fantastic, IS entertaining and highly educational and brings me back wanting more.

    I “arrived here” by accident when I read your beautiful story about Simon. What a great person he was and how lucky for you to have crossed paths, ‘though I’d say that luck had nothing to do with it at all as I firmly believe that “good begets good”.

    Love your stories, great perspective and awesome insights, thanks. It sure helps running across your site at a time when I’m trying desperately hard to be frugal yet still live life well. Plus, that red bra is to die for – so sexy!

    I am doing my first IM – IMC, as a matter of fact – this year so I am even more drawn to you as a cool woman to “know”.

    I think I have a lot to learn from you-

    :)

  2. Serge Norguard February 26th, 2009

    you my dear is made of win.

  3. Trevor @ Financialnut March 12th, 2009

    I just barely found your blog (even though I’ve been around in the financial blogosphere for nigh unto a year) and LOVE it!

    You’ve got truly unique content, a great perspective, and a quality presentation. I have a lot to learn from you, and am excited to have found your blog.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Vicky September 21st, 2009

    really love the site, but I’m confused as to why I can’t download your lovely looking e-book now that I’m a bonafide subscriber. Can you help?

  5. Kerry September 21st, 2009

    @Vicky I just sent you an email. Your ebook can now be downloaded. :)

  6. Ryan @ IQ test January 19th, 2010

    This site is great. I like the fresh new looks and ideas. You have really good takes. Thank you much.

  7. Brian Havis March 2nd, 2010

    Love your website,lots of usefull information.Wonder if you can help me. What recourse
    , if any, is there when a large mutual fund freezes all monies,resulting in no income and depletion of principal.

  8. Kerry March 2nd, 2010

    Hi Brian, The Globe and Mail is looking for stories like yours.
    They ask, “Have you been a victim of financial fraud? If so, tell us your story. http://tgam.ca/JI2
    They may be able to help.

  9. Barb Friedberg April 16th, 2010

    Hi Fox, I love your blog; the charts, worksheets, downloads etc. I found you from the wisdom carnival (i’m in it too). Really usable stuff!!

  10. Andie April 22nd, 2010

    Does anyone have any thoughts about Ally Bank Canada? The interest rates are great, but its a pretty new bank..

  11. Suzanne Tremblay May 30th, 2010

    Hi: now my friends can no longer call me cheap, as you have made it sexy to be thrifty. Thanks to G&M, I found you. Did I miss it? I did not see some of my favorites money saving tips. Here they are:
    1. use a clothes line: no need for a dryer. I was completely aghast when I lived in North Vancouver and bylaws prevented using clothes lines, so I dried everrything on chairs backs, clothes racks and porch rails. Even in Quebec, in winter, my mom never used a dryer.
    2. with boomerang kids, it makes for laundry a bit haphazard. My friends take pride in their kids doing their own laundry. I don’t: it means doing a washing with barely a few items in the laundry machine. So I institute a “laundry day” like in my grandma days: then we make piles of whites, light colour,and dark colour laundry. And every one takes a turn. So grown up kids get to do laundry as well, but on rotation.

    Thanks for educating the masses. They severely lack these tips of wisdom. Plato would adore you.

  12. Randy July 4th, 2010

    I’m trying to save money on our electrical costs. I made up a chart listing all the light fixtures in our house in one column. Three other columns are “Incandescent”, “CFL”, and “LED”. My first audit resulted in 1/3 of the bulbs in the house were checked off as Incandescent and the other 2/3 were checked off as CFL.

    Although LED bulbs use less energy by far, they are the most expensive to purchase. I am replacing the remaining incandescent bulbs with CFL’s for a quick energy savings while replacing the CFL’s room by room as they burn out with LED bulbs as money allows.

    I picked some storage areas to try out different types of LED bulbs before committing to using them in frequently occupied rooms. This is important because LED bulbs come in different types such as Blue, White, Warm, etc. If you like the warm lighting in your living room then you may be shocked at the bluish tint given out by your new LED lighting. It’s best to discover this with one bulb in a storage room vrs. 4-8 bulbs (@ maybe $70 each) in your living room. Choosing a brand with superior Luman output is important too. Not all “65 watt equivilant” LED bulbs are created equal. Read the specs – look for Luman output!

    I don’t think my wife wants the bluish tint in the living room (I don’t either) so I’m going to order the “Warm” version of the bulb. If the light tone is acceptable I’ll order more and put them in the living room, bathroom, etc. If the Luman level isn’t quite high enough for a big room I can always replace our ceiling fan with one that has built-in lamps (also refitted with LEDs) to provide even more lighting.

    One final suggestion, after testing the light’s hue and brightness in an out-of-the-way area, try to switch to LED lighting first in the rooms you use most frequently to get the biggest bang for the buck.

  13. bonnie August 25th, 2010

    Love the website, fantastic information presented in a fun, creative and informative way. Havn’t recieved the free ebook yet though and wondering what the process is? Thanks Fox

  14. Kerry August 25th, 2010

    @Bonnie The eBook email just went out. Please let me know if you’re still waiting.

  15. Tanya Pritchard September 21st, 2010

    Hi there Kerry,
    I love your site – I’m so glad I found it after holding onto a Globe and Mail clipping from two years ago that mentioned you…I applaud all your work and great writing!
    I too, have not received the e-book…just wondering if you’re on holiday maybe.
    I’ve seen the diva cup in Nature’s Fare but was too intimidated to pay forty bucks!
    Also, was wondering what your opinion was on ” You Need A Budget ” software (YNAB).
    Thanks, again,
    Tanya

  16. Kerry September 22nd, 2010

    @Tanya The Globe has been very generous with covering my blog. So happy you found me through them. :) I just sent out the eBook emails — let me know if you got it! The Diva Cup in Canada is pricey. Try their Store Finder: http://www.divacup.com/en/search/ to locate one cheaper near you. I bought mine through Amazon.com for about $20USD. I just took a peek at YNAB and it looks fabulous — there’s a free 7 day trial so you can try before you buy. YNAB also supports Canadian banks (Yay!).

  17. Kelly November 5th, 2010

    LOVE YOUR SITE… I am a new wife and wanting to start at site about “The first year of marriage” and I love the way yours flows and is formatted… do you use blogspot? Is this a custom template. I assume you did not pay tons of money for it, that would not be frugal right? So any tips to a great looking site like this one on a budget?
    Thanks
    Kelly

  18. Kerry November 5th, 2010

    Thanks Kelly. :) I get a lot of questions about my site theme. My husband and I are software developers so we custom built Squawkfox for fun. The cost is just our time — which is substantial, so I very much appreciate your praise. For new bloggers without the programming prowess, I highly recommend starting with a free theme (just Google around) and then try to write some content. Starting a blog is more about consistency and getting posts online to get a feel for it. If blogging quickly becomes something you love, I recommend buying a theme (Thesis or Frugal are popular) and customizing your site from there. Enjoy!

  19. Trish November 17th, 2010

    I just wanted to say that I LOVE your blog all the way from sunny Jozi in South Africa. I adapted your free downloads to our currency and they work fantastic. Thank you, thank you for a great, great blog

  20. Dante December 5th, 2010

    Hello!
    I have just discovered your site today.I simply love it!.I already have a crockpot about two years old.Its a Rival one and the feature LOW its not low at all(I have read somewhere most of the new generation are all the same
    in which the food is left “mushy”.Is anybody aware of any crockpot in which this inconveniency is solved?Your input
    and suggestions (name of the appliance will be appreciated)
    are appreciated,Dante.

  21. Sandra December 26th, 2010

    Well, hello there! I’ve just stumbled upon your site during my hunt for the *perfect* method to organize my sizable sewing pattern stash. Very impressive. Thank you for making so much information available to your readers. There is absolutely no reason for us to continue to be plugged into the insane levels of consumption and all of the lies of corporate America.

  22. Dawn June 6th, 2011

    How does one extract their investments from an investor so as to find a better deal and save MER fees? Do banks do a good job?
    Any sugggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

  23. geoff schmidt June 19th, 2011

    Hey, I’m 61 and been married 40 years, could be your daddy, I love your website! You are the modern version of our hippie back to the land days. Keep up the good work!
    By the way, we almost emigrated to B.C. in ’72, still love the area.

  24. Joann August 10th, 2011

    I want to save $ for travel. What is the best credit card for collecting flyer points in Canada (to be redeemed for travel abroad) Yes I pay it off each month :)

  25. Loo2 September 6th, 2011

    Joann,
    I like Diners Club, which is a MasterCard. The annual cost is lower than most other fee-charging cards. The rate of return is 1.7% . It is very convenient to use because you just book your planes, car rentals, hotels in whatever manner you wish, getting the best possible deals. Then, after your Diners Club bill comes in and you have paid it, you phone them up and ask them to apply your points to what you have already paid for travel. They do this right away on the phone.
    You never have to worry about expiries or about making sure you keep your account “active” by booking some hotel you didn’t really want to stay in etc, and you can continue to pursue the best possible travel deals. Because of this flexibility, I think the return is actually significantly better than 1.7
    If you were to discontinue the card, you would lose any remaining points. But I think all the cards are like that.
    The other thing you need to bear in mind is how much money you put on the card in a year. You need to be spending a fair bit on the card to justify the up-front cost of the card. You will need to figure out how much you spent over the last year before you decide. Generally speaking, I find the most expensive cards are not worth it, even though I do put a lot on the card.
    Whichever card you choose, make sure you get another no-fee card from the major competitor. If you have Visa for points, get a free one from MC, and vice versa. This is because you will find sooner or later that your card is denied for some inexplicable reason – often during the Christmas season! In my experience this problem happens more frequently with MC.
    A lot of people like the President’s Choice card. The rate of return is not as good as Diners, but there is no fee. So it is a good deal if you are not spending as much on your card, but only a so-so deal for those who spend more.
    If you don’t want the US government snooping in your personal affairs, try to find a bank card that does not use a US clearing house, as those ones are all subject to new US laws. I can’t advise you on that because I don’t know which ones don’t use US clearing houses, although I think RBC doesn’t, and CIBC (which runs PC) does. The ones run by MBNA and Capitol are all channelled through the US, but they are very popular for good returns.

  26. Thbcan January 1st, 2012

    Kerry,

    I love your website and style. Have you ever commented on CAA membership and its usefulness.
    Would love to have yor comments on it. Pls also include any competitor services you might have considered.

    Is this worth the money?

  27. billee January 4th, 2012

    Kerry,
    I have been receiving your emails for years now, and have always found them interesting and useful. They remind me of when i started out, as a student, to save money and keeping budgets over the years, wish i had had some of the spreadsheets you have developed when I started 30 years ago. Thanks for the link, the info and the downloads. I see that people ask for your advice on all sorts of things, lots to keep you busy! Keep it going, i enjoy your blog.

  28. Terry February 18th, 2012

    Kerry,
    So glad I stumbleduponed your website. It is fantastic. I am thrilled with all your wonderful ideas and tips. Keep them coming, I’m loving them.

  29. Raye Filosa June 14th, 2012

    I love your website especially debt reduction spreadsheet :) Keep it up!

  30. Jola July 26th, 2012

    I’m just reading the ebook and wondering about the recipes at pages 40 and 41. How many people do they serve?

    By the way: I really enjoy reading all those inpiring tips! Thank you so much, it already changed my life!

  31. Gary Miller August 14th, 2012

    This site is amazing! All of the topics are well written and timely. I’m going to use your site a my primary how-to source. I will also recommend it to all of my friends. Keep up the good work SquawkFox.

  32. Beebee October 30th, 2012

    hey fox, you give so many frugal and awesome ideas, here’s one back atcha! I peel and dice 4 or 5 large beets, and cook them in olive oil in a covered fry pan over low low heat for like 90 minutes — caramelized beets, super healthy, super tasty as “croutons” in my salads, and SUPER DUPER cheap at this time of the year when a 10lb bag of these beety bad boys is $1.77 at the local grocery store! keep those awesome ideas coming!

  33. Connie February 3rd, 2013

    Great site, great book….I’ve gotten addicted :) Guess you’re on vacation or break… Squawk Fox is MIA!!

  34. Kerry February 3rd, 2013

    Hi Connie, I’M BACK. I had the flu. Boooo.

  35. Connie February 10th, 2013

    Though surrounded at work and at home with the flu, I dodged that bullet again this year. I get maybe one minor cold each year, but have never gotten the flu. I wonder if a column on over-the-counter pharmaceuticals might be interesting….wildly over-priced medicine to suppress the symptoms of a cold virus we haven’t found the cure for, and perhaps making the length of our bout even longer. I know this is probably a real hot potato; one doesn’t want to be seen as endorsing one treatment over another (pharma vs. “natural/ herbal” vs. diet and nutritional approaches. But I’ve never seen you shy away from the hot button issues. If nothing else, comparing the cost is an eye opener! This past month, we bought one bottle of cough syrup from which only a few doses were used. (To make an achy “barking” teen feel she was doing something to improve, as she couldn’t quite believe honey and lemon or honey and cinnamon would do the trick.) The rest of the bottle will wait on the shelf for the next sickie…but more likely will be thrown out after its expiry date as the last few bottles over the last number of years have. $16.79 of liquid courage? liquid reassurance? Too bad they don’t sell single doses to let the consumer judge the product’s effectiveness or ineffectiveness… hmmmmm….

  36. Connie February 11th, 2013

    ahem..never mind….I read the link from the Globe and Mail re: water as effective as cough syrup……. I will go back to sleep now…. :o

  37. Michelle April 7th, 2013

    I came across this on a Google search, and after reading 2 articles, it’s now saved in my browser tab! I’m single and finally have job security and am getting ready to move out on my own and will be using so many of these copycat recipes and budgeting tools to survive! There is so much you don’t think about, I’m glad to find this and open my eyes onto other things I may be missing out on (moving checklist!).

    Thank you for your blog!

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