Posts in Kijiji Events

February is the Month of….

Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, and Black History Month- three well known days or month-long observances that we’re all probably pretty familiar with.

However, did you know that February is also home to several other nationally recognized observances that you’ve probably never heard of?

For instance: February is also National Cherry Month, Sweet Potato Month, National Mend a Broken Heart Month, Grapefruit Month, Spunky Old Broads Month, National Time Management Month, National Bird Feeding Month, and the list goes on.

Among the many fun and unique themes associated with this month, there was one in particular that stood out to us – Pull Your Sofa Off the Wall Month. There’s no need to go crazy with the renovations-it’s not meant to be a full-fledged project, but instead, a little nudge towards breathing new life into a room that might have been neglected for far too long.

This little February gem is meant to inspire everyone to re-organize a room or two in the house by doing simple tasks such as re-arranging where furniture goes (starting with the sofa). But why stop there? After you’ve figured out a new layout for the room, you may as well start trying to de-clutter areas in the room that may be piling up with miscellaneous odds and ends.

Pull Your Sofa Off the Wall Month isn’t just for sofas- use this month to focus on a room that could use some simple updating. Bookshelves, decorative crates, DIY craft projects, 2 in 1 storage units that double as seating or tables- there are so many options available to us and this is your month to get going!

Pull your sofa, chaise longue, couch, or futon out from the wall and fix up your space!

Pull your sofa, chaise longue, couch, or futon out from the wall and fix up your space!

Pull Your Sofa Off the Wall Month also gives you a great excuse to replace your existing sofa if it’s been sitting around for a few too many years. By the time March rolls around, you’ll have something brag-worthy to show off and hopefully the motivation to continue with some other household projects that need to be tackled.

If you decide to pull YOUR sofa off the wall this month and fix up a room, show us your pictures by tweeting us @Kijiji!

Valentines Day

Valentine’s Day, one of the most “ragged on” holidays out there. People throw anti-Valentine’s parties and roll their eyes when you ask about their plans or talk about your own. In short, this day gets a pretty bad rap.

But maybe it’s just about a shift in perspective. True-we should use every day to show the people we love how we feel, but there’s something quaint about a day set apart especially to really spoil those special someones in our lives- a throwback to old school romance.

The real issue here is what spoiling means. The part about this holiday that rubs people the wrong way basically boils down to money and pressure. Men (and women) feel like they have to do something ridiculously grand and try to one up their attempts from previous years. This usually involves going to fancy restaurants, buying extravagant gifts and diamond rings, or re-creating some insane The Bachelor-style date. (Flying to Tuscany for a dinner date in a private villa with fireworks followed by elephant rides and a private concert are totally realistic, right?)

Well here at Kijiji, we say no more. Why can’t we love Valentine’s Day without fear of ridicule and embrace it for what it really should be? Here are some ideas for gifts and dates that will make this February 14th a day your special person won’t forget and a day your wallet will barely notice.

Feeling pressured into a splashy Valentines?

Feeling pressured into a splashy Valentines?

Gifts.

Anything DIY (Do-It-Yourself) instantly earns you points for originality and heart since you’re putting in your own time and creativity. There are the go-to classics like framed pictures or handmade cards, but if you’re the risk-taking type or you happen to be feeling extra creative, you can gear your gift towards your person’s personality or obsessions. Music lover? Go old school and make a mix tape/cd. Sentimental type? Make a little book about your story, or fill a jar with post it notes filled with everything you like about them.

If you have the extra cash and two left hands that can’t draw a picture to save your life, then go with a meaningful gift- their favorite first edition book, or thoughtful mementos from their childhood will always hit home.

Dates.

Typical Valentines dates can be a lot more pressure and stress than they should be. Reservations sometimes get lost so you’re all stressed waiting for your table, you’re paying more than what you usually would in order to pamper or impress your date, you’re next to all these other couples who are all out only because it’s the 14th day of February, and you feel forced to be extra lovey and romantic while a whole restaurant of people are doing the same. If that doesn’t sound like your scene, keep it low key and personalized. Get food from your favourite restaurant or takeout place – (if you’re feeling adventurous, mix your cuisines. Some sushi from your go-to Japanese place, some pasta, some greek food-whatever it is you feel like. The more variety there is, the more festive it feels!

Want to amp it up? Try dinner and a movie with a twist. Spread out a towel or blanket on the floor and watch a movie in front of the tv while you’re eating your takeout dinner. A picnic and movie in one. Unique and affordable- two of our favourite combinations.
And hey, if you’re not into the pressure of romantic one on one dates, why not try a group date then? Group pot luck, group laser tag- couple vs, couple, group board game night with wine and chocolates?

Special Projects.

Maybe that corner of your house that has been used as a landing place for guests coats or to stash the cat food has some untapped potential that could be unlocked by a fresh coat of paint, seating for two, and lots of plants. A little elbow grease can transform a space into a romantic breakfast nook for two, which can be a romantic space to enjoy year round!

The point is Valentine’s Day doesn’t HAVE to be the commercial holiday it seems to have become. Try some of these ideas, share them or put your own little twist on them- either way, make this Valentine’s Day one for the books (without making your wallet cry or stress levels rise.)

Categories:Holidays

Excited for the winter Olympics?

The 2014 winter Olympics have been huge in the news lately and it hasn’t even started yet. Obviously, here in Canada we are well acquainted with the majority of the events, with hockey, skating, skiing, and snowboarding being popular national pass times. While many enjoy a good sled ride, the Olympic forms of the event bear little resemblance to scooting down a hill on a toboggan or crazy carpet – what the heck is the difference between bobsleigh, skeleton, and luge??

Canada Olympic Podium

To prep (so you don’t feel left behind once the games start), here is the basic breakdown:

Of the three, Bobsleighing is probably the “safest”. (That is to say, as safe as you can be with 2 or 4 people sitting in a line in a tiny contraption flying down a track on a mountain.) The person at the front controls steering while the person at the back controls the braking. You gain momentum by starting outside of the bobsled and pushing it with your teammates for about 50m before hopping in and racing down the rest of the track.

Like Bobsleigh, Skeleton also involves flying down a track on a mountain except you’re flying solo and you go face first while lying down. Another key difference is that there are no brakes on the sled. As a logical safety measure, racers start lower on the mountain since the single rider sled picks up so much more speed.

And finally we have Luge. Faster than both Bobsleigh and Skeleton, this event has 1 or 2 racers on their backs holding onto the side of their sled. Once they get some momentum going, they lie flat and race down the track. The scariest element of Luge is that during your descent, you aren’t able to lift your head to see what’s ahead of you.

Which of the three appeals to you most? Would you want to skid down a mountain without being able to see what’s ahead? Let us know in the comments!

Categories:Community, Kijiji Events

Cheap wedding venue on your wedding checklist? Be a negotiating ninja!

Don’t let those prices sneak up on you when it comes to planning a wedding. With the thrill of committing yourself to your soul mate and one too many decisions to make, it can be easy to lose sight of the budget. Rather than start a marriage with wedding debt weighing you down, wouldn’t you like to brag about the great deals you got while planning your wedding? Don’t you want to high five your partner and pat yourself on the back for being the negotiating ninjas that you are?
Of course you do. So let’s start with choosing a wedding venue – likely the biggest expense on your wedding day.

Do your homework
When picking the perfect spot to have the party of your life you’ll need to do your research and shop around. Only look at packages that are within your budget, realizing that when you visit a venue, there may be other costs you may have not thought of.

“Lady Gaga” the situation
At each venue, you want to make sure you keep a poker face. Don’t gush about how much you love the place and on the other hand don’t seem disinterested either and risk offending the vendor. This sets the stage for the potential relationship you will have with the vendor.

Some brides and grooms prefer not to disclose the exact nature of the party, as some vendors may charge more for weddings than other types of parties. If you can commit to a poker face on the nature of the shindig, realize you will have to stay away from overly “weddingy” decor and you may sour the relationship with the venue if (or more likely, when) the truth comes out.

Time to make a deal
Start the negotiation process. Often times it is helpful to think about how much you’re willing to pay per head. For example if you expect 150 people to attend your wedding and you’re comfortable paying around $100, a typical budget set may be between $14,000 and $18,000.

Give and take
Understand there are areas a vendor can wiggle their own budget and areas where he or she simply cannot. Some venues have their ceremony prices set in stone, but catering and beverage packages may have more room to give. You can ask to build a menu based on what you can afford and you can purchase a beverage package that meets your basic needs. Don’t get sucked into an all-you-can-drink package unless the majority of guests are alcoholics. Paying by consumption is usually the way to go and you can save money by closing the bar during dinner service and only serving wine during that time or closing the bar a half hour early.
You can also negotiate into the contract a discounted price should you provide a certain amount of guests. If a facility can hold 200 people, it’s in the venue’s best interest to meet the capacity and make more money per head at a discounted price than 50 people less at a slightly higher price.

Keep an open mind
Maybe a family member has a rustic cabin or an empty barn with plenty of space for guests to pitch a tent, or you parents have a huge backyard and wouldn’t mind hosting your celebration – options that leverage property owned by a friend or family member can potentially save you big bucks, so don’t discount the less conventional options for your ceremony or reception. At the very least, keep the options in mind when negotiating your preferred venue. No need to break your budget if you have a money saving alternative to go back to!

Keep your options open
It’s better to negotiate price with the top three venues you like rather than set your heart on just one. It will make it easier for you to walk away from once that just doesn’t fit your budget because you have a plan b and c.

Planning a Wedding on the Cheap?

A wedding budget can quickly balloon if you’re not paying close attention to it. Just ask a number of married couples who are still paying the price years after their big day. Some justify their busted budget by saying they didn’t want to “cheap out” on certain items. Others simply didn’t have a plan.

But with the average wedding in Canada costing roughly $30,000, a plan is likely the most essential tool you’ll have to keep you on track. NO need to hire a wedding planner if you don’t have the budget – here are some ways to hire the people and purchase the items you need to still have a beautiful wedding, but at a fraction of the cost.

Trying to save money on your wedding?

Trying to save money on your wedding?

Ceremony
If you’re not set on getting married in a church or a specific venue, consider a garden, park or backyard as the setting to say your “I dos.” Non-profit organizations like the local historical society are also great resources for finding unique spots that may only require a donation. If you are planning a destination wedding, if possible pick a place you are familiar with, or know someone willing to scout locations without charging an arm and a leg.

Rings/wedding bands/jewelry
Try going to a thrift shop or shop around online. While the thrift shop offers the advantage of being able to try on a wedding ring or jewellery pieces, shopping online on popular sites like eBay and Kijiji can usually be a cheaper alternative because you can negotiate price. If you’re worried that it won’t fit, take the piece to a jeweler to resize the item. There are a number of places that will do it for under $100. In the case of wedding jewelry you may also want to borrow from a family member or friend. If that item happens to be blue, you will have “something old, something new and something blue” covered.

Wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses
You only need to look to online classifieds and second-hand or consignment shops for dozens of wedding and bridesmaid dresses looking for a new place to call home.

Décor/flowers
Instead of hiring a florist to create your centerpiece, why not create it yourself? Search for flower wholesalers or visit the local grocery store for cheaper prices. Vases to hold those flowers can be found at dollar stores. But if you want to get really creative collect mason jars or old glass spaghetti sauce jars as vases. Tea tins also make for a cute shabby chic décor for your wedding flowers.

DJ/musicians/photographer
Hiring students can be an economical way to cut down on wedding costs. Try calling around to photography and music schools for quotes and post ads on school bulletin boards or on online classifieds. You could also ask a friend who is savvy with a camera to be your point-and-shoot person and another friend who can make a great playlist on a computer.

Guest favours
Instead of guest favours, why not make a donation on behalf of each guest to your favourite charity?

Stationary
Do it yourself. This is by far the cheapest way to save some cash. Stationery kits are available at office and craft stores. But if you’re not too fussy about stationery, an easy alternative is creating an evite online and emailing your guests. There are also wedding websites that will allow you to invite guests via email and track who and who won’t be attending your wedding.

Cake
Instead of buying a fully decorated three-tier cake, consider asking your baker to create two fake tiers at the bottom. The top tier is really the only piece you need to cut into for pictures and if you’re worried that your guests will want to eat cake, supply the vendor with a big slab cake.