Saturday, 17 September 2011

Shopping Trip 1 for the week of Sept 16-23 with Coupon Matchups

You may have noticed there was no coupon match ups last week.

Remember how I had spent too much and last week was going to even out the budget?  Well, we went to dinner and bought cat food and more restaurants.  Unless I can find tiny bags of cat food to use my coupons with the mega bag $$$ seems to be the best deal still.  There was no room in the budget for groceries, couponing or deals.  To top it all off: we ended up $10 over budget again.

We don't have a newspaper subscription, but this week we started to get flyers from Flyer Source.  It's a company that delivers flyers if you don't have a subscription.  This lead the way to my first price matching at Walmart!  We shopped the stores in one area and price matched for the out of the way stores!

The housework may be slacking this week, but the budget can't anymore.  I checked the coupon match ups, flipped through the flyers and came up with a game plan for the week.

  1. We were invited to dinner at the in-laws Friday night, so we decided to skip rather than postpone restaurant night.
  2. We would like to start building a buffer for the next Shoppers 20x event.
  3. We would like to save up for new dry food storage bins for cat food, etc.
Some of my deals didn't work out the way I wanted.  I couldn't find products with peelie coupons for the life of me.  So, we decided to skip them instead of substituting.  I also had a coupon for a new flavour of Nature Valley bars, but we couldn't find them in stores.

So here, instead of my coupon matchups, is what we actually bought, how much we actually paid and which coupons I used.

Stop 1: Shoppers Drug Mart
  1. 2x Kashi Go Lean cereal.  Reg $6.49.  Flyer price $3.99.  Scanned at $2.99.  I let the cashier know I had been undercharged and he was ok with it.  Coupon $1.00 off.  OOP $3.98.  Savings 70%.

Stop 2: Rexall Pharma Plus
  1. 2x Coke 12 pack.  Reg $5.79. Sale 2 for $7.99.  Buy one get one free coupon.  OOP $5.04.  I think the coupon was entered as a $3.99 off instead of a free product so we were charged HST on both, but I didn't argue.  Savings 61%.

Stop 3: Walmart
  1. 2x Dawn dish soap.  Reg. $1.99.  Sale $1.37.  Coupon $1 WUB 2.
  2. 12x Clover Leaf flavoured tuna.  Reg. $1.19.  Sale $0.87.  Coupon $1 WUB 3.
  3. 5x Primo Pasta Sauce.  Reg. $1.00.  Price Match $0.88.
  4. 1x Chef Boyardee.  Reg. $1.59.  Price Match $0.99.  Coupon $0.30 off.
  5. 1x Puffs 4 pack double boxes.  Regular price we didn't note down but we're guessing it's about $10.  Sale $4.98.  Coupon $1 off.
  6. OOP $18.25
  7. Savings 50%.
Stop 4: Farm Boy
  1. 1x Bag of oranges $2.99
  2. 2x bunch of broccoli $0.88 each.
  3. 1x can of beans $1.29.
  4. 1x Activia Yogurt $2.99.
  5. 2x Organic Bartlett pears $1.26 for both
  6. 1x Sesame bagels $2.79
  7. 200g Montreal Smoked Meat $3.40
  8. 1x duck leg $5.25
  9. Bulk baby carrots $1.08
  10. White bread $1.50
  11. Trout fillet $6.90
  12. 4L Natrel Organic Milk $7.99.  Coupon $1.00 off.
  13. Total sales savings $5.79.  Total coupons $1.00.
  14. OOP $38.02
  15. Savings 15%.
Total Shopping Trip Figures
  1. Retail value $107.53
  2. Total savings from sales, price matches, coupons $42.24
  3. OOP $65.29
  4. Total savings 39%
  5. Weekly budget remaining $25
Anyways, that's how I shop.  DH came with me and door to door it took about an hour and a half.  Only about $12 of the savings was from coupons and the majority of the savings were from sale prices.

39% doesn't seem very impressive compared to some of the trips we've done.  But, this wasn't an extreme couponing stock up on certain items trip.  It was just a regular weekly grocery trip.  

For us the out of pocket amount was what counted most.  We've been going over budget and this week, therefore, we had less to spend.  Not only did we pick up the fresh food we'll need for the week, buy some premium items we may not usually purchase and stock up on some products we regularly use, but we still have $25 to spend this week.  Seeing as we have everything we need, I'm hoping we stay out of the stores for the rest of the week and carry the surplus forward.  We'll see.

10 Minute Cleaning Game Days 16-23

Ok.  I went away last weekend an have been busy working out of the house this week so I haven't been spending much time updating the blog.  To my dismay I also haven't been doing much cleaning either.

Day 16 & 17
My friend has a clean house.  She loves cleaning products an she loves to clean.  She is horrified if a guest finds a dust bunny.  I didn't find any.  Within this perfectly kept home is a sparsely filled basement, which drives her insane.  I thought it was wonderful.  She thought it was cluttered.  Unable to tackle the task on her own because it was bothering her so much another friend and I spent a couple hours re-storing items an prettying her emergency stockpile area.  When she saw what we had done she was so pleased she started throwing away the junk that had been bothering her.  This is not a usual 10 minute clean, but seeing as I was on vacation, I'm counting it.

Day 18
I spent my time cleaning up after the man weekend.  Enough said.

Day 19, 20
Turns out when I'm working out of the house an tired when I get home, I do not clean.  I suspected as much, but now I have quantifiable proof that I have shared with the masses.  I get lazy.

Day 21
I had a client today, so the 10 minute clean took about half an hour (let's call day 19 and 20 a wash, shall we?).

  • I cleared out the living room and dusted the surfaces.  Don't ask about where the stuff went.
  • Swept the main floor common areas.
  • Started a load of dishes and wiped down the kitchen counters.
  • Quickly wiped bathroom sink.
  • Maybe took a quick nap.
Day 22
Haven't done the clean yet.  Not really motivated.  I could promise I will, but that never turns out well.  The living room looks good, the kitchen is a bit sloppy, the bathroom is dirty, the bedroom is messy.  After one week of slacking on the game the house shows it.  I guess you'll have to wait for my next update to see if I broke down and did anything about the mess today.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Coupon Train is In!

Yesterday I received my first ever coupon train envelope in the mail.  I was so excited!  To recap, I gave away coupons that I didn't want or couldn't use and got back:

1x $1.00 WUB 3 Clover Leaf Flavoured Tuna
1x $1.00 off Babybel Light
1x $1.00 off Nature Valley Value Size
1x $0.30 off and Chef Boyardee product
1x $0.75 off Ritz Munchables
2x $1.00 off Kashi cereal
8x $2.00 off Iams dry cat food
3x $2.00 WUB 2 Ziplock
1x $0.75 off Crest Pro-Health
1x $3.00 WUB 2 Old Spice products (my most used coupon so far)
1x $1.00 off any Old Spice product
7x $1.00 Axe body wash
7x $1.00 off Royale 6-pack facial tissues
1x $0.50 off Puffs
1x $1.00 off Puffs (exc. single pack)
2x $1.00 off any Charmin product
2x $2.00 off Glad Outdoor Garbage bags
1x $1.00 WUB 2 Dawn products
1x $2.00 off Finish Quantum
1x $1 off Finish
1x $1.00 off Finish Jet-Dry
1x Ensure $3.00 cheque
1x Ensure $2.00 cheque

$63.00 of coupons on products I actually buy!

Plus, I got the postage for my return trip back because I was the first envelope the conductor received.

10 MInute Cleaning Game Day 14 & 15

So I've been doing a lot of my (real) work lately.  Yesterday I got to a wall where I needed to put my head on the desk and sleep.  I was trying to convince myself that I needed a break.  So I sat at my desk and asked myself, "well, what will you do on break?"  My mind flashed to the couch, the soft, comfortable couch.  I realized I should keep working instead of entering a multiple hour nap.  Instead I decided to get active and do my 10 minute clean.  It did help a bit too.  Here's what I got done.
  1. Gathered dirty laundry and started a load in the washer.
  2. Swept the bathroom and replaced the bathmat.
  3. Wiped down the kitchen counters and stove.
I'll be going away this weekend, so I wanted to get my cleaning out of the way early today too.   I managed to fit these tasks into my 10 minutes.

  1. Quick tidy of the basement.  Looks lived in, but should be good enough for man weekend here.
  2. Loaded and ran dishwasher.
  3. Started clearing off DH's dresser. 
There's still some junk on each of our dressers, but I can see wood on both!  When I started playing the 10 minute cleaning challenge, our room was a mess.  Whenever we had tidied before, a lot of junk was thrown in and the door was closed.  I really see it coming together now, and that's exciting for me.

The living room looked fine as is today.  Maybe a little dusty but could pass.  When I started the living room would accumulate so much junk! 

This seems to be working.  Throughout the day we're cleaning more we see issues, so there's less to pick up in the 10 minutes and I can use that time more and more to tackle cleaning issues that have been bugging me.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Deals are Breaking the Budget

As I've said before, DH and I have a weekly consumables budget of $100.  This consists of food, restaurants, health and beauty, pet supplies and home supplies like lightbulbs.  If I have a surplus, it gets carried forward to the next week.  Usually when the money's gone we stop spending.  Sometimes we do carry forward a deficit if we're in the mood to spoil ourselves.  This is usually followed by a pantry eating week to get back to positive.

We came into this week with an extra $15!  Our budget week starts on Friday, which just happens to be date night.  We decided to go to a chicken place with some friends for our Friday dinner out: $25.  Pretty good considering it wasn't fast food.  Then we got fast food for dessert.  DH has the coupon for this one, but he left it at home.  Let's call it $8.  So after restaurants, that leaves us with $82.  Surely this should be enough for groceries.

Knowing there were some deals I'd like this week, my groceries came to $35. It wasn't a full week of food, but I got enough proteins, starches, some fruit and a some snack. Our pantry will be able to fill in the holes and get us to next week.

Everything was going swimmingly.  Total spent so far of $68 leaving $32 in the budget for deals.  Here's where the wrench gets trhown into the mix.

I spent $7 at Loblaws on toilet paper deororant and body wash.  It was a great deal, so I rushed to pick these up.  Then I rushed back to spend an extra $4 on toilet paper and paper towel.  I really thought it was such a great deal!

This week there was also a Shoppers 20x the points day.  I hadn't planned on participating in one of these days before and I hadn't put a buffer in the budget for it.  Still, I wanted to try it out to see if I could actually save money.  I was moderately happy with my savings from the day; you may remember my post about my trip.  Even though the savings were good, I spent $56 out of pocket.  $15 will come back to me through a mail-in rebate, so $40 comes out of the budget.  I added to the stockpile, but $40 is a big chunk out of our budget!

Then I bought milk the next day $6.00 because we were out and discovered emergency frozen milk takes three days to thaw!

That makes a total of $57 on deals and poor planning.  So I started $15 ahead and ended $10 behind. Wow.  To top it off, I'm hoping to get in my coupon trains this week so I can pick up the deals I've yet to get!  Some body please stop me! 

I'm glad that we have a budget to limit what I can buy.  If not, I could fool myself into thinking I'm getting ahead by saving money even though I could be racking up debt.

Now that I've committed to trying out the Optimum points again to see if I can make it work I'll try to build up a buffer for these bonus days.   You can bet next week I won't be going over the $90 and may even have a surplus.  Sometimes a deal may not be the right deal for you.  I picked up a few of those this week.

10 Minute Cleaning Game Day 13

Lucky number 13!
So today I said no funny business and did my 10 minute clean first things this morning. 

Nothing too exciting got accomplished:
Made the bed, emptied dishwasher, loaded dishwasher, wiped down counters and stove, scrubbed sink. 

It didn't add much to my morning and I smile when I walk into the kitchen now!

Usually I do a bit of this each morning and do my 10 minutes later.  This morning I said, hey!  I'm already 4 minutes in!  Let's just take this a couple steps forward and get a few more things done!

We did load the dishwasher etc. after dinner last night, but everything didn't fit.  Then we made chai tea, so there were more dishes.  Ideally the kitchen would be tidied and cleaned each night after dinner before moving onto TV.  We'll see if that habit develops...

Monday, 5 September 2011

10 Minute Cleaning Game Day 12

Happy Labour Day!

With DH home today and this being a bonus day, the cleaning worked out a bit different than usual.  Seeing me clean, DH kept taking over and forcing me back to my real work (I usually work best on Sunday nights (or Mondays for long weekends) a habit carried over from my schooling years).  So, I did get 10 minutes of cleaning in today, but DH did much more!  What a fun turn of events!

Today I helped tidy the basement man den, kitchen, dishes, etc.  DH probably put an hour into organizing the basement alone.  What a sweetie!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

10 Minute Cleaning Game Day 11

Today I was mostly picking up from our get together last night.  It turned into another 15 minute clean (I get so into it!)

I unloaded the dishwasher and filled and ran it with the rest of the dishes from yesterday.  Put away spices and items that migrated to the kitchen.

Quick tidy of the livingroom.

Made bed and put away dirty laundry.

House now back to an almost presentable state.

50th Post! Treated Myself to a Technorati Submission

50th Post!

I'm impressed that I have made it this far.  I've tried blogging in the past and always failed to get to five posts!  I'd like to thank everyone who has visited my site.  Especially everyone from and  I probably wouldn't have been motivated to continue without you all finding me.

To celebrate this milestone, I've submitted my site to Technorati.  It was a bit intimidating for me.  But, I'm glad I had the courage to do it!  Hopefully I'll be added to Technorati by my 100th post.

Again, thank you everyone.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

10 Minute Cleaning Game Day 10

So today is the first day when I actually CLEANED!

We're having people over tonight but it's turned out to be a smaller group than expected.  The living room is tidy and the kitchen has been cleared out.  The basement looks lived in but not a disaster.  The basement bathroom was not as acceptable.

In 15 minutes (I know I just got carried away!) I:
  1. Cleaned the toilet (so much nicer)
  2. Washed the sink, and cabinet
  3. Shined the faucet
  4. Cleaned the mirror
  5. Dusted the light fixtures (tiny spiders had taken over!)
  6. Swept the floor in the bathroom
  7. Swept the stairs and landing to the basement.
The shower will be another day.  The main floor bathroom isn't in disaster mode yet, so it can wait too.  Usually parties end up in the Man Den in the basement and I cringe thinking they're using that bathroom so, getting even this part of the bathroom done has been a big relief.

What Is the Shoppers Optimum Points Program?

So I generally think things at Shoppers Drug Mart are over priced.  I used to use the program on the 20x the points days but I gave that up when I started using flyers to track the deals.  Now that I'm also using coupons, I've decided to give it another shot.  Here are the basics of the program.

What is it?
The Shoppers Optimum Points program is a loyalty program offered by Shoppers Drug Mart free to customers.  Points are earned on each purchase and can be redeemed once set levels are reached to pay for a portion or all of your purchases.

How Many Points do you Earn?
You earn 10 points for each dollar (rounded down) spent.  Shoppers Drug Mart has special days when you can earn 20 times the points or 200 points per dollar spent if you spend $50.  Sometimes it also offers 10x the points on fragrances and beauty or other specific items. 

What are Bonus Points
Product with bonus points will give you extra bonus Shoppers Optimum Points when you buy them.

What are they Worth?
8,000 points = $10
22,000 points = $30
38,000 = $60
50,000 = $85
95,000 = $170
Shoppers also has special days when you can redeem at the higher levels for even more money off your purchase!

If I Redeem More than the Price of my Purchase Do I Get the Excess Back?
Nope, you would lose any extras in this case.  You could choose to redeem at a lower level in this case.

Shoppers Drug Mart Sep 3, 2011 20x Optimum Points Purchase

I haven't done a 20x the points event at Shoppers Drug Mart for a while.  To me, everything in the store is about 30% over priced, so the program cancels itself out.  Well, this was the first 20x the points day since I started this blog so I figured I'd give it a shot.  I did quite a bit of planning only to get a little flustered at the store and not follow through completely. 

At the cash the cashier, manager and other cashier were adamant that I needed $50 after coupons to get the points.  I got home and calculated my receipt and only the free product coupon affected the points balance.  So now I know that even if my out of pocket is $1, if the total before tax and coupons i'll $50 I'll get the points.

Some of my deals did not pan out as well as I'd hoped. 
  1. I expected to get a free toothbrush.  The cost was $5.49 but the free product coupon only went up to $4.99 so I had to pay the difference. 
  2. My mail in rebate will only cover up to $14.99 on the purchase of a Lysol No-Touch Hand Soap System and it was priced at $15.99 so I have to pay a little extra there.  
  3. The selection of Febreeze sprays didn't have the type I was looking for (the odor eliminator one). 
  4. Lastly, I forgot to buy peanut butter.  Thankfully I have a raincheck at Zellers for a cheaper price anyway.
Overall DH was impressed with my haul.  Here's a (dark, it's going to rain today) picture of my purchase:

5x Cheerios 1.99*5=$9.95
2x Lays Chips (we're having people over today) $1.99*2=$3.98
1x SDM Men's Pack $8.99
1x Lysol No-Touch Hand Soap System $15.99-MIR only up to $14.99=1.00
1x Honey Bunches of Oats $2.49 - $1.00 = $1.50
3x Crest Vivid White Toothpaste $1.77*3=$5.31 + 1000 Bonus Points
1x Oral B Vivid White Toothbrush $5.49 - $4.99 =$0.49 free WUB 2 Crest Vivid White toothpastes
3x Febreeze Air Effects $2.99 - $4WUB3 = $4.97
Subtotal after coupons $51.28
Total $56.97
"You have saved $35.66" ($10 of coupons, so regular cost of $82.63)
- MIR 14.99*1.13=16.94
- 12200 Points earned worth $15.25 at lowest level rate
Net OOP = $24.78
Savings of $70%

So overally I saved more than the 30% I think they're overpriced, so I should be happy.  I think next time knowing for sure that coupons do not affect the $50 total and I've got more coupons on hand I'll be able to get a better deal.

So, today wasn't the perfect day for me, but I am kinda excited for the next 20x the points event now. 

Friday, 2 September 2011

10 Minute Cleaning Game Day 9

So last night when we had some down time while dinner was cooking, DH did the rearranging and got the new dishes stored nicely in the buffet.  This wouldn't have happened unless they were already unpacked, so I was pleased with myself for the way I spent my time.

For Day 9 the cleaning got done later rather than earlier in the day.  Today I managed to:
  1. Tidy the living room putting everything away
  2. Remove some basement items from the bedroom and clear off more of the dresser tops
  3. Load and run the dish washer
On top of that, the beds were made, clothes put away and there was general tidying being done as the day went on.  Things are starting to automate themselves.  DH has commented that the living room has been looking great lately and I'm pleased as punch that he's noticed.  It was after he'd heard about my new game that he pitched in yesterday and I like that he's on board with me for this one.  He usually tries to chip in as much as he can and often he even does more around the house than I do.  Sweetie.

My First Brag! Loblaws Cottonelle, Old Spice and Zest at 85% off!

Today I'm going to post my first picture, my first brag, and my first Loblaws praise.

For weeks I've been trying to snag the Cottonelle deal at Shoppers at $4.99.  I've got rain checks and visited stores for about 3 weeks now.  Each time, there was no stock.  I walked into the Loblaws today and there was a wall of Cottonelle!  Each of the three "ultra" types were out on display.  I saw similar displays throughout the store.  Finally!

I decided to check out at the self check out lanes.  All 6 were up and running, so if there was a problem, they could go to another lane.  I've heard if you use coupons over $10 that they have to involve customer service and it can get dicey. 

I approached the man on duty and informed him I had more than $10 in coupons.  He looked a little confused at my confession and just told me to bring him my coupons.  So I scanned my items and entered my coupon amounts.  The computer slowed down a bit after my first few, so I suspect the guy on duty was approving them when they popped up on his screen or something of the sort.  When I was finished, I brought my coupons over to the guy and he got to work matching them up.  I went back to my station, packed away my coupon folder and my transaction was ready for payment.  So smooth!

If I had more coupons I may choose to use a regular lane because he has 5 other lanes to take care of, but for this size transaction I would do everything the same.

Anyways, here's what I bought:

  1. 4x Old Spice 92g Sticks (I had only been able to buy the smaller size when they were on sale at the Rexall). 
    • Regular $3.49 (flyer says save at least $1.50, so I'll take the low estimate here)
    • Sale price of $1.99
    • $3 WUB 2 coupon
    • $0.49 each!
    • Savings of 86%
  2. 1x 532ml bottle of Zest body wash
    • Reg. $4.99 (flyer says save at least $2, so I'll take the low estimate here)
    • Sale price of $2.99
    • $2 off coupon
    • $0.99 each
    • Savings of 80%
  3. 2x Cottonelle Clean Care 12 pack double roll
    • Reg. $12.99
    • Sale price of $3.99
    • $3 off coupon
    • $0.99 each
    • Savings of 92%
Total regular cost of the items plus taxes: $50.77
Total out of pocket for the trip: $7.45
Total savings: 85%

That savings looks awesome!  It's a bit deceiving for me because I would never pay $13 for a pack of toilet paper that size, or full price for deodorant or body wash, even if I wasn't couponing.  But if someone never watched the sales and just bought things when they needed them, they would be paying the full price for these items.

Well done me!  Brag!

Coupon Matchup for the week of Sep 2 - 8

There's a bit of fun this week in the flyers with this Saturday being a 20x the Shopper's Optimum Points Day.  I'll probably do a post on this later.  For now, here are the matchups I think are a great deal:

Cottonelle 12 double pack: Loblaws $3.99 - $3.00 ( = $0.99 (Fri - Sun only)
Old Spice Deodorant: Loblaws $1.99 - $3WUB2 (insert) = $0.49
Zest Body Wash: Loblaws $2.99 - $2 (insert) = $0.99
Royale 6PK Facial Tissues: $3.97 - $1.00 ( = $2.97
Febreeze Air Effects: Shoppers Drug Mart or Super Store $2.99 - $4WUB3 = $1.66

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Article: Debt Free by Thirty: Ways to Get Excited About Paying Off Debt

Even though DH and I pay off our consumer debt each month, I'm always on the lookout for budgeting tips.  Here's an article with tips on getting excited about paying off your debt, which I think would be useful for sticking to your budget or living within your means as well.

What I'm Doing to Take Advantage of the Summer Left

Where has the summer gone?  It's back to school time already!  Even though I'm not in school now and don't plan on being back in school, September back to school season has stayed with me.  The leaves have already started changing here and DH says he saw a dew on his morning walk this week.  This hit me today so I decided to seize the day!  A little bit.

I just sat out front to continue my internet addiction but was getting a poor signal.  So I decided to go lay in the hammock and surf from the back yard.  When I got there I noticed more ragweed for me to pull.  We're having guests for a BBQ on Saturday and DH has allergies, so I want him to be able to join in the party.  I took a quick relax in the hammock after realizing there would be too much glare to use my laptop in the sun.  So now I'm back on the couch.

But, I went outside today and it feels great. 

Look at the Freebies I got in the Mail Today!

Today was an awesome mail day!

1.  DH got his coupon for a free birthdya beverage from Starbucks.  He'll be excited when he gets home.

2.  I got my coupon for a free carton of lactose free cream from Natrel. 

3.  I got my coupon for a free bag of Ruffles Spicy Ketchup chips from Mac's!

I also got a few more coupons I ordered from the online site.

While the mailman came, I was across the street helping a neighbour use his computer.  He gave me a box of chocolates (he says they give him acne) and let me look through his recycling bin (strange request I know.  It was garbage day and he still had his bin by the house).  I managed to find the McDonald's coupon booklet, a Harvey's coupon page, the KFC coupon pamplet and a Nando's coupon page (Afro-Portuguese).  They get a paper without inserts, so no luck there, but not a bad visit I'd say!

10 Minute Cleaning Game Day 8

Today's post isn't too impressive.  I moved back upstairs to the livingroom today.  We have a habit of bringing thigs home and leaving them in the livingroom.

This has been a month of lots of moves for our family.  Yesterday we visited our aunt and uncle's (my in-laws) to pick up some linens and dishes they won't need once they downsize.  We got home and left everything packed right by the door.

Today I unpacked all the dishes and moved the linens (still packed) to our room.  That is all.

Not very impressive I know.  Especially since the dishes are now out but just unpacked. There needs to be quite a bit of movement to fit the new set in the hutch or cabinets, so this will have to be part of another 10 minute day.

On the plus side, the bed got made, dirty laundry ended up in the basket, the dishwasher got emptied and the livingroom still looks not too bad.  These 10 minutes are adding up.  Not only is the cleanliness carrying over, but little habits are starting to re-form too.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

10 Minute Cleaning Game Day 7

So, as expected, the gains from yesterday did carry over.  Today I decided to move my cleaning challenge into the basement.  The main floor is not tidy, but it could be easily.  The basement hadn't been worked on for a while...

In the basement I:
- Put away books, video games, controllers, etc.
- Folder throws, etc.
- Brought up dirty dishes/threw out or recycled cans, etc.

It looks much tidier down here.

My goal is to get the house tidy during the week so we can do a real clean, not tidy this (long) weekend.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Chapman's Ice Cream $5 Off Coupon

So a couple weeks ago I got up the courage to email Chapman's to see if they had any coupons available.  I never heard back from them, so I forgot about it.

Today with my mail, along with the coupons I ordered from Save.Ca and WebSaver.CA was a $5 coupon for Chapman's ice cream!

I'm super excited, my first call in coupon!

We bought afew carton's of ice cream last week from Food Basics when it was on for $1.88, but we can always use more ice cream!

Easy Ways to Store More Water

So with Hurricane Irene come and gone, I've been focusing on preparedness more.  No, I have not seen the new special "Livin' for the Apocalypse" on TLC, but I'll let you know when I have ;)

The number one thing that I stockpile that gets the most comments is surprisingly water.  For me it makes perfect sense.  We've done a few plumbing repairs this year and having the water to flush toilets is priceless.  Just a reminder, the Canadian government suggests that all households should have 3 days of food and water on hand in case of emergencies.

Each household member needs to have about 2L of drinking water and 2L for cleaning each day.  So, you should budget about 4L (one gallon for Americans) per person.  When doing your calculations, you should include all pets and regular visitors too.

We have anywhere from 2 to 5 adults regularly in our home plus one cat.  I figure we need about 66L (5.5 people * 4L per person * 3 days).  This should really be the minimum.  Storing that amount of water can be challenge.  Here's how we've stored ours:

Disposable Water Bottles (15 L)
Pros -
- Easy to find in the stores. 
- They are easy tto carry and can be stored in your 72 hour bags. 
- Wait for a sale, they're usually heavily discounted.  We went through quite a few this summer and will be stocking up now that the sales are on. 
- The bottles are well sealed, so the water should be safe if stored away from other chemicals and opened before the expiry. 

Cons -
There is quite a bit of waste with this option, so choose a bottle with less plastic in the design, recycle your used bottles, and try to implement other reusable options in addition to these disposable bottles.

Camping Water Jug (20 L)
- This size is still easy for me to move around but still holds quite a bit of water
- Often come with a spigot for easy pouring

- Not available in all stores
- Reusable, so less waste
- Water will need to be rotated

Refilled Pop Bottles (31 L)
- Cheap.  These would have been going to the recycling, so instead I refilled them. 
- This type of plastic is sturdy and leaches low enough levels of chemicals to be safe for storing food and water. 
- Easy to port around

- May take a while to accumulate enough
- Water will need to be rotated

Even though the refilled bottles were filled with treated city water, I also keep bleech on hand for purification if there's any question about the safety of the water.  The bottles get checked and refilled regularly.  If you knew an emergency was coming, you could also fill up containers while you still had water: water bottles, pots, jugs, etc.

We have a large hot water tank in our home, but this would only be used in a worst case scenario.  Water stored in sinks and the bathtub would need to be purified before use and would also be a worst case scenario option.

10 Minute Clean Game Days 5 & 6

So.  Day 5.  Hadn't done the clean in two days and promised the Internet that I would do the clean.  Well.  I didn't.  Even with the whole world watching (and by that I mean the few of you that happen by my blog) I couldn't make myself cleanup for 10 minutes out of my day.  I don't even have the excuse that I was working on site.  I was at home all day!  When I'm lazy I'm lazy I guess.

Day 6.  Resigning myself to the fact that this would likely be another no clean day.  Which made me mad.  So, I cleaned.  Woohoo!  Finally back on track!  It had been a few days since my 10 minute clean and although I had been doing quick tidies there wasn't much left over from the cleanliness of before.  Here's what I did today as part of my 10 minute clean challenge:
- Put things away in the livingroom
- Filled the dishwasher
- Wiped down the counters
- Put some things away (there's still a big load near the table)
- Made the bed
- Put dirty clothes in the basket

The 10 minutes didn't go very far today, but I did it!  Tomorrow I have grander plans, wait and see.

Monday, 29 August 2011

How not to Save Money

DH rides his bike to and from work on nice days.  It gives him a good workout (30km round trip), he gets to cut emissions on his commute (he takes public transit on other days), and he really enjoys it.

Buying a bike was a big decision for us.  He wanted to get a good bike, so it was a fairly big purchase for us that we put quite a bit of consideration into before making our decision.

Today DH has his bike stolen from outside his work right next to the security station.  We're both upset by this.  It's very frustrating to plan and save up for a purchase to have someone take it on a whim.  DH would take off his seat each morning, so at least we know the thief won't enjoy the ride.

We've considered making a claim on our home insurance to purchase a replacement.  But, in order to keep our premiums low we have a high deductible and we would like to avoid having a claim on our file.  Especially for such a small purchase in the big scheme of things.

So, with only a couple months of biking weather left, we start the decision making process again to find the next perfect bike.

Article: The Good Life: Can couponing really help you save on food? $64.61...

Here's a great article giving an honest look at what coupons are out there for food and how much you can actually save on food with coupons in Canada.
The Good Life: Can couponing really help you save on food? $64.61...: Especially when I was new at couponing, it seemed like there were few coupons out there for food, and most of the ones that were available w...

Article: Easy Ways to Prepare for a Storm

As Hurricane Irene stays in the news, I thought I would post a like for a blog post I read recently on how one woman prepares for storms.  I think it's great when people are prepared and I loved her tip about brownies!

McDonald's Coupon Book up to $43 in Savings

This morning I got the McDonald's coupon book with my regular mail.  I do try to eat healthy (I made the resolution this morning to crack down after a weekend at the parent's), but I'm a sucker for McDonald's and with the 2 can dine for $9.48 we usually do go.  Here's what's in the booklet this time:

2 can dine $9.48
B1G1 Burgers
2 can dine $5.98 breakfast
B1G1 breakfast sandwiches
Make it a meal free
4.99 meal deal
$1 off McCafe Latte or Mocha

10 Minute Cleaning Game Days 3, 4 and 5

Ok, so you may remember I took a little trip this weekend. 

We left the afternoon of Day 3.  I didn't do my 10 minutes of cleaning that day.  I'm not calling this experiment a failure yet.  I did do some tidying but wasn't sure when we'd be leaving, so didn't know if I'd have the time.  As the heading out time kept getting pushed back, I accepted that we wouldn't be around to mess things up, that we had been tidying that morning and I was ok with the state of the house and that I was ok with not doing my experiment today.

Day 4 we got home very late, started unpacking our small bag and went to bed.  No 10 Minute Cleaning Challenge entry for today either.

Day 5 I got up and automatically tidied.  The bedroom was set to the state it was at after the last 10 minutes in there.  It's not tidy let alone scrubbed, but it's not getting worse.  Today I'm excited about my 10 minutes, so I wanted to get some stuff out of the way that I could get done in passing so that it wouldn't get in the way of my actual condensed cleaning time.  I'd call this a revelation!  My 10 minutes haven't been done yet, but I'm sure they will be.

So, in the last three days I had my first wuss out and my first reflex cleaning.  I really didn't expect these so early in the month, but there they are!

Free Scott's Paper Towels at Shopper Drug Mart

So I went to buy the Bounty paper towels from Shoppers Drug Mart which I determined was the better deal.  When I got there I loaded up my cart then took a look at the shelf to see how good of a deal I was getting.  We need paper towels, so it may not have been the greatest deal of all time, but I wanted to ensure I was getting the greatest deal of the day.

A quick scan then I turned to leave the aisle.  Then a pause and a quick calculation.  Then a "really?" said out loud to everyone I was with.

Scotts 2-pack of paper towels were priced at $2.99.  I had a $2.00 off printable coupon to make them $0.99.  They also had 1000 Shoppers Optimum Bonus Points (value of about $1.25).  So these were free! 

This deal wasn't in the Shoppers flyer but was listed on their website.  So the lesson this week isn't really about quantity sizes at all.  It's about knowing your prices and knowing your deal sources.  I'm happy with the deals I'll be getting this week but I know there are many I would like that I'm probably missing.  As my deal finding process streamlines I'll be able to find more deals in the same amount of time.  For now, I don't think spending all day looking for deals will make me a better housewife, so I'll let a few deals go.  Glad I found this one when I did though!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Why Should a Home have a Stockpile?

I love looking at pictures of other people's stockpiles.  As soon as I see those big chunky shelves I know I'll be impressed.  My own stockpile is stored throughout the house in the areas where the products will be used.  The basement is avaialble for overflow, but it's not as satisfying as seeing everything all in one place.

Some people will look at the stockpiles of others and write it off as hoarding.  For some that might be part of it.  For most though I think it's a sensible thing to do for your family.

Stockpiling for Short-Term Emerency Preparedness

You can't always get to the store.  During winter storms if the road crews are bogged down it could be days before it is safe to get out and drive around.  The Government of Canada recommends on its Get Prepared website ( that all households keep at least 3 days of emergency provisions on hand and also have a grab-and-go emergency kit.   

In cases of viral outbreaks or more extreme weather scenarios, you may be required to stay in your home for even longer. 

Even if you can get to the store, if there is a supply issue there may not be the items you need left because most others will likely be searching for them too. 

Stock Piling for Prolonged Emergencies

If someone in your home loses their job, it could take months to replace that income.  In the mean time, you will be relying on your emergency funds to replace that income.  If you have your consumables stocked on hand, that's one less expense for you to worry about.  Minimizing the cash outlay you have will mean that your emergency fund will last longer.

Stock Piling to Maximize Store Discounts

Most items do go on sale at some point in the year.  Usually, items will be deeply discounted every few months.  If you purchase enough when on sale to make it to the next sale, it's like you're getting the sale all year long.

I started stockpiling to take advantage of deals once we started tightening our food budget.  Since then I've also become concerned about ensuring my family is prepared in case of storms or loss of income.  But, when asked why I stockpile by someone I know isn't actually interested, I just reply "zombie apocalypse".

House Hunting Update August 26

Saw the house.  It had everything we were after and then some.  The kitchen was a bit small, but we could work with that.  Yes, the house was out of our target area, but the distance wasn't as bad as we'd thought.  The deal breaker was the street.  The houses were jammed together like sardines.  So, the house was great, but we're going to give this one a pass.

House Hunting: Viewing a Home Outside our Target Neighbourhood

DH and I like the house and neighbourhoon where we live now.  But, we bought the house knowing that it needed work and that we would cash out and move when we were done. 

I'd say we're 50-75% done the upgrades.  So far we've upgraded the electrical service and box, replaced our old furnace and air conditioner with new high efficiency models, updated the bathrooms and painted the main space and replaced the broken stove and dish washer.

If we stay here, I could find projects each year for us to do for a while.  But, there comes a time when the renos start to be your own taste and might not translate to a higher sale price.  I think we're at a good spot now that with some "minor" upgrades (more electrical work, kitchen paint and counters, refinish the floor in one room, new front door, staging) we could sell and make a great return.

So, we've started to look for houses.  There have been a few houses that have come up for sale near our favourite neighbourhood in our price range, but these have sold quick and for well over asking price. 

Last week we decided to look outside our desired neighbourhood but still within city limits to see what we could get for the same price elsewhere.  We found a house that looks great on paper and in the pictures posted with the ad, so we're going to take a look tonight.  It's got a lot more features than we have now which would be awesome, but the old adage location, location, location is holding us back.

We've pulled the recent sales report for the street and found out that even though the asking price of the home seems reasonable in today's market, it's well above the other sales in the neighbourhood.  I would find it rude to ask for the price drop necessary to get the house to market value.  If we love the house, we'll deal with the awkwardness as it comes.  If we're not 100%, I think we'll let someone else step up to haggle or pay the big bucks.

10 Minute Cleaning Game Day 2

I was working on site today so I decided to do my 10 minute clean this morning before I left. 

Living room:
I surprised myself because the clean from yesterday seems to have stuck.  All I did today was put away a few  items that had been used the night before.

Haven't been in the kitchen for a clean yet.  Today I loaded the dishwasher and set it to run even though it was only half full.  That way the dinner dishes can be put away right after dinner tonight instead of some not fitting in.
Next I wiped down the counters and cooktop then swept the floors.
Kitchen side looking much better.  Dining room side still covered with mess, that will have to wait for another day.

Made the bed, piled laundry and continued clearing off my dresser.

All in all, not too shabby, I'm surprised how the 10 mintues have already started over lapping.  I had been afraid that each day I would just clear out the living room and never get anything else done.  Now, I can see myself slowly moving through the house and even getting to those forgotten corners.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Which Size is the Better Deal?

I am pretty new to couponing.  Before, I tracked flyer prices to stock up at rock bottom prices.  This worked great for us, but I knew I could do even better with coupons.

Before coupons I would look for the biggest sizes in the store because those usually had the lowest price per unit and therefore the greatest savings per unit for my family.

It was a shock to my system when I started couponing because the thought process is completely different.  Couponers look for the smallest size with the lowest price because then the coupon will take off a higher percentage of the cost and will likely result in a lower after coupon unit cost.

Suppose a store carries two sizes of toilet paper: single packs and 12-packs.  The single pack retails for $1.00 ($1.00/unit) and the 12 pack retails for $7.99 ($0.50/unit). 

Without coupons if you had the space and you had the cash, it would make sense to purchase the 12-pack.  If you go through one roll a week, It's like buying a single pack a week for 12 weeks at 50% off! 

If you had a $1 off coupon, however, things would change.  After coupon, the single pack would be free ($0.00/unit) and the 12 pack would be $6.99 ($0.58/unit).  The coupon has cut the per unit cost of the 12-pack by 42%.  However, the coupon was able to lower the unit cost on the single pack 100%!  It's now free!  Go get 12 coupons and buy 12 single packs!

Now for a real world example. 

This week when I was doing the coupon matchups I noticed something interesting.  Bounty paper towels are on sale at Shoppers Drug Mart at $4.99 for a 6-pack and at Rexall Pharma Plus at 2/$5 for a 2-pack.  I have a $1 off coupon and a $2.50 off when you buy 2 coupon.  Which is the better buy?

Here's some math:

Shoppers Drug Mart 6-Pack $4.99
$1 off coupon ~ $3.99/6 rolls = $0.67/roll
$2.50 off when you buy 2 ~ $7.48/12 rolls=$0.62/roll

Rexall Pharma Plus 2-Pack 2/$5
$1 off coupon ~ $1.50/2 rolls = $0.75/roll
$2.50 off when you buy 2 ~ $2.50/4 rolls = $0.62

In both cases it was better to use the $2.50 when you buy two than the $1.00 off.  This makes sense: $2.50 divided by 2 units is $1.25 off per unit versus $1 off per unit.

If the golden rule of couponing were to hold, the 2-pack should have a lower after coupon unit cost than the 12 pack.  The surprising thing here is that combining sale prices with coupons has pushed both options to be just $0.62 per roll!  There is no difference in per unit cost between the two sizes.

Looks like there isn't always a hard an fast rule you can use.

Although both have the same unit cost, I will be buying the larger size.  Why?  I like my coupons to give me the most bang for my buck.  With the 6-pack, one coupon would give me 12 discounted rolls.  With the 2-packs, each coupon would only discount 4.

Coupon Matchup for the Week of Aug 26-Sep1

OK, here it goes, the flyer/coupon matchups I'm excited about this week:
No Frills - Ziplock 40's $1-$1=FREE
Superstore - Old Spice $1.99-$3 WUB 2=$0.49
Shoppers - Cottonelle 12 $4.99-$3=$1.99
Metro - Scrubbing Bubbles $7.49-$5.00=$2.49
Walmart - Finish $4-$1=$3
Giant Tiger - Glad sandwich bags $1.97-$1.00 = $0.97
Canadian Tire - Sunlight Dish Soap $0.88-$0.25=$0.63
Loblaws - Lever 200 4pk 2/$3-$1=$0.50
Loblaws - Colgate Total $1.59-$1=$0.59
Superstore - Heinz beans $0.69-$2WUB5=$0.29
Stouffer's Bistro Meals $0.50 after $1.50 coupon at Loblaws, Shoppers, No Frills, Independent
Bounty paper towels Shoppers 6-pk $4.99, Rexall 2-pk 2/$5

10 Minute Cleaning Game Day 1

Ok, so it's the first day and I'm completely on board with the experiment. Let's see if I can be a dedicated housekeeper! Today I started small. I knew there was too much clutter going on to scrub anything today, so I decided to tackle that. A few days ago I had cleared out the living room but the surfaces had been refilled since.

Here's what I did with my 10 mintues today:

1. Tidied the living room. Putbooks, pens, etc away in their place. Brought the mail To Do pile down to the office to be do'd. Brought the foot stool of our new rocking chair down to the basement. I would have carried the chair too but it was too heavy. No dusting, sweeping, or scrubbing. A couple of items are still bugging me in there.

2. Moved to the bedroom. Made the bed. Started clearing off my dresser. Sorted travel momentos and work receipts to go down to the office to be dealt with. No dusting, sweeping or scrubbing. Room still quite messy.

Didn't touch any other rooms.

So today I discovered that 10 mintues is a very short amount of time. I have little faith that 10 minutes a day will actually be able to make an impact on the house. But then again, I checked the accumulation of stuff in the living room, so that's something. I think I will need to move very fast to have anything real to brag about each day. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have made a bigger dent.

10 Minute Cleaning Game

Cleaning in my house is one of those things that once the routine is broken, the mess piles up fast, then it gets harder and harder to tackle. If I want to be a stay at home house wife, this will not do.

The house right now is on the egde. Easily made presentable but not right now. I'm not saying the place could be spick and span with little work, but it could be made passable in the right lighting.

So I've decided that until I've got this place under control, I'm implementing the 10 minute Cleaning Challenge.

Each day, I'll take 10 minutes to tackle a cleaning task that's been causing me stress. I'm hoping that after a while one of the following will happen:

1. the 10 minute increments will accumulate and the house will be perpetually awesome;
2. the 10 minutes will fire me up to spend more time tackling more tasks that day; or
3. the routines will become second nature and will be done instinctually throughout the day without thinking.

At worst I predict the following are plausible:

1. I will be a slacker and not stick with it;
2. I will be a stickler and only clean for 10 minutes even if I know I need to do more and the place will get worse; or
3. there will be a party at the house that we'd need to do a big clean for and I wouldn't continue after that because the house already looks good, then will get worse and worse.

I plan to try this out for 30 days, then evaluate if this exercise was worthwhile or if there are better possibilities. Wish me luck!

My Coupon Binder

I went out to lunch with some of the girls I used to work with and with whom I've remained friends. I complimented a girl on her large purse saying she could fit a coupon binder in there and sadly joked I can only fit a folder in mine. There was a pause, then everyone wanted to see my coupon folder! It hadn't occured to me there would be much interest, but I whipped it out any way.

My coupon folder is a plastic accordian folder I bought at the Dollar Store a few years ago. Every once in a while I reorganize the folder to make couons easier to find on the fly. Right now I have each section grouped by type and sorted alphabetically by brand. My categories are other, entertainment, restaurants, food, cleaning, and health & beauty. Each month or so I go through the coupons to take out those that have expired that I haven't caught yet.

It seems to be working for me. I took DH on a scouting mission to the Dollarama nearby because they now take coupons (yay!). He was worried that it would take forever, but we just scanned the aisles for name brands and when I found one I knew I had a coupon for, I was able to find it easy. He said he was surprised we were so quick because usually I get lost in there and I hadn't gone in with any real plan.

A lot of couponers seem to have a zippered coupon binder. I see the appeal, but I'm not quite at the volume of coupons where I would need that yet. Everything fits in the folder nicely and the folder fits nicely into my normal size purse. This means I can take the coupons with me wherever I go, not just when I'm planning a big haul.

To get started couponing, I would even suggest just throwing loose coupons into your purse. As you get more, you can pick out an organization system that will work for your lifestyle and level of couponing.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Starbucks and Dairy Queen Birthday Deals?

So we're celebrating a birthday today. DH has been excited for months about his birthday rewards. I'm excited he's excited about deals. Here's the deals he's excited about:

Starbucks: when you register your Starbucks giftcard you get a free coffee on your birthday. He got turned away at his first store. Aparently they don't do this (or any other) deal. The next store politely explained that Starbucks will mail him a coupon on his birthday. So, he won't end up getting the free coffee on his birthday. Let's call this one a belated birthday deal.

Dairy Queen: when you sign up for the Blizzard Fan Club you get emailed a buy one Blizzard get one free coupon to use on, or up to two weeks after, your birthday. The only issue I have with this one is he usually gets a medium but upsizes to Large when it's his birthday whereas I only usually get a mini. So, we get my $1.99 mini free and we spend an extra buck on his. For us it doesn't turn into that big of a deal. But, he likes going for his birthday, so I'm more than happy to go.

I was excited to try out a eat free on your birthday restaurant tonight, but he chose to get poutine. No arguments from me, both our meals came to $13, way better than we can get at a restaurant even with the free meal.

Happy Birthday DH!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Surprise Deal at Food Basics - Natrel Milk, Nestle Ice Cream, Bistro Entrees

I went to Food Basics yesterday for their $3.88 Natrel milk. I had a $1 off coupon from my milk bag the week before and was excited to get 4L of milk for $2.88 and get another coupon. Unfortunately the coupons are only on the 2% milk and they only had 2 bags of skim left (it was a very good sale). Still milk for $2.88 is awesome, and because skim milk freezes well, there's no harm looking for another 2% bag later this week.

Anyway, we used the opportunity to add some general items to the stock pile. Excited about our new freezer, wanted to pick up some of the sale ice cream $1.99! We got 4 cartons, but again, I wouldn't mind more... This time just for flavour's sake.

On the way back to the cash was the surprise deal. Select Stouffer's Bistro Entrees were on sale for $1.99! I had picked up a few $1.50 off coupons at the Beer Store when we did our last empties run, so the frozen meals were only $0.49! The boxes also had Stouffer's points, so I will probably register for that to get the deals there too. I was very happy on the way home!

Mail in Rebates: Please send me money!

Today I mailed off two mail in rebates. One was from the Smart Source flyer reimbursing me for buying the new Finish Quantum dish tabs. The other was for a $5 gas gift card off my box of Frosted Flakes. I think both of these were great deals.

It usually takes a few weeks for the checks to roll in and often I forget that I have cash coming to me. I think some companies take advantage of this and don't send out the rebates.

With the companies I mailed today, I'm confident that I will get my cash back and am on the look out for more great mail in deals.

What I Look For When Buying Sheets - an update

So, how did I do in the store? I first went to Zellers because they had a sale on bedding. The selection was pretty picked through, so I decided to leave and just go to Walmart where I knew I wouldn't be overcharged to get the basics. Besides, the Dairy Queen was close by and I needed to pick up a birthday cake.

Did I stick to my guns?

Nope. Well to some extent. I ended up with white cotton sheets. But, they're the fancy, should be ironed type. I decided that since we have the only queen bed in the house, we wouldn't mind wrinkles. I found some 600 thread count ones on clearance and they feel pretty nice.

I also picked up a new mattress cover and bed skirt. The only skirts I saw were the universal bed skirts. I had no idea what that meant. Usually I have the kind that rests on the box spring and hangs over. Turns out the universal ones are just enough fabric to tuck in between the box spring in mattress with the skirt that hangs out. It kinda gets in the way when I tuck in the sheets. There's probably a trick to it.....

The sheet set, mattress cover, and bed skirt came to about $90. I'm very happy with the quality of the sheets and mattress pad, but I'm always surprised at the price of bedding!

What I Look For When Buying Sheets

With the new queen size bed comes the need for new queen sized sheets. I've been playing house for a while, so I have a better idea of what I'm looking for in the under the covers department.


Boring I know. When I'm in the store, my eye always flashes to the exciting patterned sheets. But, I'd like something simple so if one component gets ripped/stained/otherwise rendered unacceptable I can replace it with little stress. If I repaint the room or change the bedspread I'd like the sheets to not stick out like a sore thumb.


I'd like a natural fiber material for the breath-ability. Linen would be nice too, but too pricey for this frugal lady. In the winter, we have enjoyed some cheap fleece sheets, but I think a warmer duvet will help out here for snuggles.

Low Maintenance:

I can iron. I have ironed. At this point, I don't iron. Maybe if guests are coming and I'm channeling the perfect housewife I might iron the sheets. For everyday use? I've got better things to waste my time. This eliminates most of the simply crisp hotel type sheets and places me more in the jersey category. I've tried "easy care" sheets in the past and they worked fine when put straight from the dryer onto the bed. I like to rotate sheets though: take off and put in wash and put other set on bed. In this case, they're usually wrinklier and look on the hot mess side. We've lived with it and they can be ironed if I actually want them to look nice, so I won't write them off completely.

The "Quick! A Client is Coming!" Clean

This afternoon I had a client appointment at 1pm. I generally meet clients in my living room at the front of the house. Generally, my house is not tidy.

My quick clean for today consisted of:
1. moving everything that doesn't belong into a corner of the kitchen you can't see from the living room
2. Quick spot sweep of the living room
3. Filling and running the dishwasher and stacking the extra dirty dishes in the sink
4. Wiping down the counters and hiding everything extra from view.

This is my bare minimum for the house to be presentable for a client. I had a bit of spare time today, so I made the bed and closed the bedroom door then wiped down the bathroom surfaces.

If we're having guests over, the list gets a bit longer and more personal items stay in view.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Rented a Truck to Pickup our Freebies and Deals

Today we rented a truck to finish the big moves for the family (I think there were 7 or 8 stops for the truck to make). We'll pick up all our auction items and the other large items we'd tagged before. We're still house sitting for one more night though, so we won't be able to enjoy our spoils of shopping/generosity until tomorrow.

One thing that surprises many people is that DH and I have a double bed. We always said if you love each other, you snuggle, hehe. Well, today we'll be picking up our new (to us) queen bed. I have a feeling we'll sleep pretty good for a while (even if we feel a little lonely).

The other item we're excited about is our new patio set. We have one now but have never really set it up before. I think tomorrow we'll have a nice BBQ and eat outside if the weather holds.

It's funny because we can look at a room and point out the couple of items that we've bought new as a couple. In every room in our house we've got "gifts" and "dumps" from family and friends. We usually don't have things exactly as we would have planned things, but that makes it more fun and a challenge to build a home around bits and pieces from other people. Plus, it gives the house a more relaxed atmosphere than if we'd bought everything new and matchy matchy.

Friday, 19 August 2011

I got Carried away wtih Auction Fever

I pride myself on frugality. Today was not a day I'm proud of.

A family member is downsizing and had their extra wares on an online auction site. We had wanted their patio set, so we were determined to pick it up. I had set a limit of $100 for everything we would buy from the auction.

Well, I had messed up my registration and so re-registered as was suggested by the site's tech people (robots?). This was not a good start, now I was trying to outbid myself on all of the items I'd already bid on. Next I started trying to get people up to their max bid because I thought things were selling too low. In the end I ended up with some items I'm pretty excited about getting, but I had to spend $215 to get them!

I feel good that the family will be getting our money for the items and that the sale went well. But, I'm a little ashamed that I let the bidding suck me in. I'll try to be more prepared next time.......

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Coupon Matchup for the week of Aug 19-26

Here are the matchups I'm excited about this week:

Food Basics:
Natrel 4L milk $3.88 - $1 (Natrel bag) = $2.88 plus all the free coupons on the bag!

Scrubbing Bubbles Power Sprayer $7.49 - $5 (Smart Source) = $2.49
Glad Kitchen Catchers $5.99 - $1 (Honeycomb box) = $4.99

Rexall Pharma Plus:
Finish $3.99 - $1 (Smart Source) = $2.99
Finish 20 ct MIR up to 7.99 (Smart Source)

Ziplock Sandwich bags $2.50 - $2 WUB 2 (smart source)= $1.50
B2 Ziplock products & save $3 on Club House La Grille 30 Minute Marinades (printable)

Shelf Coupons August 18 at Rexall

So I was at the Rexall this morning to weigh and mail my coupon train submission. I took a few minutes to walk the aisles and to see which coupons were currently out. I can see myself using a couple, but some I just collected hoping they'd be on someone's train wishlist in the future. Here's what I found today:

$1 off Pantene
$1 off Tresemme styling products
$1 WUB 2 Fixodent
$1 Lever 2000 Citrus Fresh 4 or 8 pack
$2.50 Tinactin

All Aboard the Coupon Train!

This morning everyone's wishlists were up for my first coupon train. I squeaked through with close to the minimum coupons for each rider, but I didn't have to resort to postage! It was neat to see which coupons other people wanted. Some were really easy for me to part with because I knew I would never ever use them. Others... well let's just say I debated just sending postage instead, hehe.

I'm excited to see which of my coupons I'll get in return! I might even have the batch by next week if everything goes smoothly!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Ride the Coupon Train!

Today I signed up for my first coupon train, I'll let you all know how it all goes when it's wrapped up.

The way this one works is we all send in our coupon wishlist to our train's "conductor". She posts the wishlists and we send the conductor coupons for each of the other riders from their wishlists. So, I'm expecting to get rid of about 20 coupons I won't use and get 20 coupons I've been trying to get my hands on. If we don't have coupons that someone wants, we can give them postage instead.

I've been a coupon collector for a while and I always feel a bit of pain when I have to throw out expired coupons. I've got some hope for this idea. So excited to get this started and share my coupons and get a pile more!

We have a New Fridge for the Basement!

We were able to score a used fridge for the basement this week. I'm so excited!

Our current fridge/freezer gets pretty full with regular weekly eats, so this new freezer will really let us stock up on meat sales and bulk buys! I'm a big fan of stocking up when things you regularly use go on sale. It's like you're always getting the sale price!

I can also see frozen Christmas treats like in my grandma's freezer, party platters, jello moulds,
and other quintessential house wife staples down there.

Currently the fridge has: 5 colas and the meat from the regular freezer. Dreams may not be lining up with expectations here...

Cheapest Meals Ideas

I like when my mouth is in agreement with my brain. Here are my favourite cheap meals:

Breakfast: oatmeal with a splash of flavour (cinnamon, brown sugar, maple syrup, raisins, etc.)

Lunch: Pasta and sauce

Dinner: Rice and Beans with olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary on the beans.

Pattern? Quick, filling, and all ingredients are in the pantry.

Facebook is So Slow for Freebies Update

So I checked this morning and the Lancome face cream controversy of yesterday was actually later acknowledged by Lancome and they doubled the samples available yesterday to compensate everyone. Again, we should not think that we are entitled to this, but it was nice for the company to take a "customer is alright right" stance. Well done Lancome.

Facebook is So Slow for Freebies

So today I ordered two freebies by 'like'ing a company on Facebook: the free spicy ketchup Ruffles and a sample of the new Lancome face cream. For both products the servers crashed when the promotion went live and everyone rushed to get the freebies. It took me an hour and a half before I was finally able to get the face cream and that was after hours of being goated along by the company.
This caused Facebook outrage. I must say I was a little peeved too. Large companies should have the resources to plan promotions and forecast demand. However, at this point, I don't think we should feel entitled to these freebies. We only need to share our information if we get the deal, not before.

Early August Brag

So far this month I've had some great coupon match ups:
- 2 free bottles of Purex laundry detergent from Shoppers Drug Mart (on sale for $2.99, $3.00 coupons from mail out)
- 2 free bottles of Multibionta vitamins from Rexall (on sale for $9.99, $10.00 printable coupons)
- 1 stick of Old Spice deodorant for $0.49 from Rexall (on sale for $1.49, $1.00 coupon ordered off the Internet)
- 2 Lysol hands free soap dispensers for $1.99 from Metro (one free mail in rebate, on sale for $6.99 less $5.00 internet ordered coupon)
- 1 free carton of Nesquik chocolate milk from Dollarama ($1.00 less $1.00 coupon ordered from manufacturer)
- 1 free St. Ives body lotion from Dollarama ($1.00 less $1.00 coupon ordered from the internet)

Weekly Food Budget

In our household, our weekly food budget covers a range of consumables that makes staying in budget challenging and fun. We include our groceries, restaurants (unless it's a social occasion we must attend like a birthday, then it's entertainment), health and beauty products, paper and cleaning products, pet products and alcohol. For myself and my husband we have a weekly "food" budget of $100. If I track expenses as they happen, use flyers and coupons, this amount is very doable and often leaves extra room to carry forward. If we get lazy... It gets blown through the roof with restaurants.

Great Couponing and Deals Forum Smart Canucks

Here is my favorite site to check coupon flyer matchups, freebies, and the newest coupons:

Facebook Freebie Ruffles Chips

OK, so I want to eat healthy and I want healthy foods in the house, but I really like chips! Ketchup are my favorite and now's Ruffles Canada is offering free samples of their new flavour: spicy ketchup! I couldn't say no and maybe you won't too. Just like them on their FaceBook page and click on escape the man den: