Smart Shopper

Black Friday – The Saving Strategy.

Posted by on Nov 15, 2015 in Smart Shopper | 33 comments

Black Friday – The Saving Strategy.

In my last Black Friday post I discussed retail tricks to be aware of and need-to-know store policies. This post will continue from there but focus on the saving strategy. While this post is directed at the Black Friday shoppers, the saving strategies will benefit shoppers anytime of the year. NUMBER ONE BLACK FRIDAY SAVING STRATEGY:  “NEVER BUY WHAT YOU DO NOT WANT JUST BECAUSE IT’S CHEAP” – Thomas Jefferson NUMBER TWO BLACK FRIDAY SAVING STRATEGY:  HAVE A DETAILED LIST OF WHAT YOU DO WANT TO BUY. DECIDE ON THE DISCOUNT (50% OR BETTER IS REASONABLE) AND STICK TO IT.   Know exactly what you want. As in the past you’ll probably find savings on: Technology and Gadgets Gaming consoles and games, Smartphones, Headphones Electronics Apple Products (but not at the Apple store), Laptops, Tablets, Large screen TVs, Home theatre systems Home Goods Large appliances – washers, dryers, dishwashers, stoves, refrigerators Small kitchen appliances Dishes and Bakeware Pots and pans Dyson vacuums Tools New – some stores now offer discounts on gift cards, which is great because they’ve become one of the most popular Christmas gifts. Clothing and apparel – better deals online on Cyber Monday Jewelry – better prices when there is less demand for them Toys – better the first couple of weeks of December Unless you really need them, this is NOT the time to buy Christmas decorations, cards, wrapping paper, etc. The savings will be much greater AFTER Christmas, during Boxing Day week. Keep in mind that many of the items will not be top of the line. For some things that won’t matter but for others it may. Be prepared by knowing exactly what you want, right down to the brand, size, colour and model number, if applicable. NUMBER THREE BLACK FRIDAY SAVING STRATEGY:  Set the budget and decide how you’re going to pay for the purchases. Some options: Store reward credit cards – if you’re concerned about overspending you may want to consider a prepaid credit card. Cash in any rewards, gift cards or store cash coupons accumulated. Use the store’s interest free layaway service if available but only if you’re sure you can pay it off within the contract period. Be aware that the price advertised may not be the price you pay at checkout. Savings may come after the fact in the form of Mail in Rebates or by Store gift cards or cash/product coupons. Check the flyers carefully as this type of information will be listed there. Also check for any expiry dates. Mail in Rebates – If you’re good at sending out the rebate forms, you could end up saving big; if you often forget (which many do) then there won’t be any savings. Store gift card/cash coupons. If you know you can use the gift card/coupon before it expires you can rack up some good savings. However, if either one is for a specialty store you don’t normally patronize it probably won’t be used, meaning you lose out on the savings. MORE BLACK FRIDAY SAVING STRATEGIES:  Take advantage of the store’s loyalty program. If you’re not a member, consider signing up now. Besides earning points, rewards or cash back, there may be other benefits such as early access to instore specials or additional discounts. Download the store apps for instant access to: Their products and product specifications; Customer reviews; Store availability; Price-drop alerts. With the apps you can keep checking competitors’ prices and availability even while waiting in the checkout line – this is especially a neat feature at stores that price match. Take advantage of social media to stay...

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Black Friday Shopping, the Frugal Way

Posted by on Nov 8, 2015 in Smart Shopper | 46 comments

Black Friday Shopping, the Frugal Way

Black Friday, that big hyped-up super savings day (maybe), once a one-day event exclusive to the States now also takes place in Canada, South America, the UK and Europe. Retailers, knowing when they have a good thing going kept pushing the days so that Black Friday has become Black Friday Week, starting the Monday before. In 2005 online retailers decided they wanted a share of the pie and got into the act with Cyber Monday which has now also turned into Cyber Week. So what does this mean for the consumer? To find the answer to that, you first have to know what you’re dealing with. For sure, there are great deals to be had but always keep in mind that retailers are in business to make a profit. Since profits don’t go down during these ‘big sale’ events, you’ve got to ask, “What’s going on?” Answer – retailers have gotten trickier so that the deals you think you’re getting may not actually be such great bargains. Black Friday Tricks: Before you get caught up in the hype and the ‘wow’ factor, let’s take a look at some Black Friday Tricks: Be skeptical and don’t believe everything you read or hear – Black Friday ads list quite a few products that have the same selling price as before the ‘BIG’ sales event. Just because it’s advertised in a flyer doesn’t mean the price has been cut. Some retailers jack up prices prior to Black Friday, then put them ‘on sale’ on Black Friday. Of course, this means you really end up paying the regular retail price. That super great deal may actually be left over from last year’s inventory. Nothing wrong with that if the product meets your requirements and the price is right. However, it should be something you’re aware of (just ask), if only to negotiate a better deal because they probably won’t want it back in inventory for another year. Manufacturers often make special Black Friday products using cheaper components, leaving out some features, changing the size somewhat or otherwise putting out an inferior product that looks very much like the more expensive item. The manufacturer’s suggested list price is often inflated and very few stores ever use that amount, other than to make you think you’re getting a fantastic deal. Totally ignore the MSLP. You won’t get the best deal buying Apple products at the Apple store. Those items are among the most popular items sold so retailers slash the Apple prices to get customers into their store. It’s a well-known fact that the first store a customer enters is more than likely the store where they will spend the most money. Retailers are willing to lose on these popular items knowing they’ll more than make up for it in other ways. Doorbusters, Instore Specials, Limited Time Offers, Etc. These specials will be staggered – and announced – throughout the day.  All day long you’ll hear announcements like “Shoppers, we will be offering 40% (or more) off ………. in only 30 minutes.” Of course they’re counting on shoppers to pick up one, two, or more items while waiting for this ‘big savings opportunity’. Black Friday doesn’t always offer the best prices. For clothes and beauty products, Cyber Monday offers better deals. As for toys, Black Friday will offer some good sales. but for most toys the first couple of weeks of December will offer greater bargains. Your Black Friday Savings Strategy: Sales go in cycles and repeat, offering the same products at regular intervals. This also holds true for Black Friday Sales. Checking the 2014 ads...

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Consignment Shops: Buy-Sell

Posted by on Aug 30, 2015 in A frugal Life, Frugal For Everyone, Green Living, Product Information, Smart Shopper | 49 comments

Consignment Shops: Buy-Sell

I’ve just discovered Online Consignment Shops and can’t believe it took this long. I love Thrift Store shopping and Consignment Shops are the next best thing. These shops help you clean out – and thus organize – your closets and in turn allow you to find your own great deals on gently-used or overstock items. This isn’t only good for your wallet, this simple green act is also good for the environment. Online Consignment Shops vary in the kind of products they carry. Some offer high-end designer clothes, some do vintage, some cater to the business women, some to children and others to the family. Unfortunately, men’s consignment shops, unless they’re brick and mortar walk-ins, are difficult, if not impossible, to find. One of these men’s walk-in stores – Off the Cuff is well worth a visit by any man who is living in the Toronto area. This store has great reviews, a large selection of men’s clothing and accessories, and from all reports, helpful friendly staff. Online Consignment Shops have their own list of standards, brands and conditions. If you meet their conditions they will supply the shipping bags for free shipping. It’s important to read the fine print as each consignment shop has their own clearly defined list of what they will or won’t accept. They will only accept goods for which there is a demand (makes sense) so leftovers from Walmart and similar places won’t be accepted. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Changeroo  – A High-Quality Canadian Children’s Consigment Shop This Canadian consignment shop, Changeroo.ca located in Montreal, was founded in 2014 by Liane Guimond. It carries only like-new children’s clothing – high quality, top brands like Baby Gap, Land’s End, Children’s Place, Jona Michelle, etc. at seriously low prices. The Globe and Mail listed Changeroo as one of Canada’s 10 most remarkable small businesses. Changeroo is not setup to accept items by mail – instead you need to drop the goods off at specified locations in the Montreal area. They will, however,  ship items across Canada with free shipping on orders of $50.00 or more.  If you have children this is a shop you won’t want to miss. When I checked it out I was very impressed by the cute clothes listed and the great prices. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ TrendTrunks is a different kind of Consignment Shop  https://www.trendtrunk.com/ This is an interesting one – It’s a Canadian shop that acts like a promoter for women’s items, the sale of which you control. The following information is direct from their website:1. Make more money!  100% of the selling price goes back to you. It’s free to list on TrendTrunk.com OR our mobile app. 2. Get LOTS of inquires!  Thousands of buyers will see your items and also be emailed if your items match their interests. You’ll start to receive messages from interested buyers. Respond promptly to sell your item quickly! You decide how you want to transact; whether you meet in person or ship the item, along with your preferred method of receiving the funds (I recommend PayPal – it’s totally safe and no hassle). The buyer and seller must mutually agree on transaction details. 3. We have the right buyers. Trend Trunk curates listings to ensure the best experience for our buyers and sellers. We attract buyers who will value and appreciate your items. When it’s time to cash in your closet of stylish and fashionable items, Trend Trunk is the best way to sell your brand new to pre-loved clothing & accessories. Trend Trunk isn’t just a selling place, it also has a listing of shoppes where you can find...

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MAKING SAVING EASIER – SALEWHALE

Posted by on Feb 24, 2014 in Smart Shopper | 21 comments

MAKING SAVING EASIER – SALEWHALE

Making Saving Easier I‘ve discovered a really neat site that I want to share as it makes buying on sale and comparison shopping super easy. The site is called salewhale.ca and it really does live up to its logo of “making saving easier”.   The information is taken from the local flyers, based on the postal code and put into an easy to use format. On the first page of the site they have four areas listed. I think the best way to describe how each of these work will be easier and more accurate if I just quote directly from the information provided by the site.   1.    Browse Flyers: “Easily browse through your favourite flyers and use our filters to narrow down your categories of interest.” The categories for groceries are broken down as follows: Baby, Beauty, Food, Health & Pharmacy, Home, Personal Care, Pets. Instead of checking through pages of stuff you don’t want or need, these categories make searching only for what you want much quicker.   2.    Find a Product: “Find a product on sale. Just type in the name, brand or keyword of a product and we’ll tell you where and if its on sale.” 3.    Create Alerts: “Create alerts of items and let us tell you when they are on sale.” Right now I have 39 alerts on everything from bathroom tissue to chocolate chips. On Fridays I receive an email as follows: “This week’s savings on the products you love.” If any of the items I have listed with them are on sale, they will show up in the email. Then all I have to do is add them to the Save Sales (4).   4.    Save Sales: “Save a list of all the sales you are interested in before you head to the store.” This is a neat feature as it breaks the sales down by store. For this post I added ten sales to be saved and then printed them off as follows: Cauliflower $1.99 at Food Basics Maxwell House Ground Coffee $6.99 at Foodland Romaine Hearts $1.47 at NoFrills 5 items at Shoppers 2 items at Walmart. Walmart and Shoppers are both closest to me and right across from each other. I know I can AdMatch the cauliflower, coffee and romaine at Walmart, which means I only need to go there and to Shoppers to get everything I need at sale prices. Saves money on products and gas plus saves time – I’d say win, win.   The other thing I like about salewhale is that they show the sale products and the stores they’re listed at on the same page, making it super easy to compare prices. The following items were on sale the first week of February.   Maxwell House Coffee 925g                  $6.99 Shoppers Maxwell  House Coffee 925g                      $6.99 Food Basics Folgers Coffee 642-920g              $7.99 Independent Romaine Leaf Lettuce                         3/$5.00 Independent Romaine Hearts 3 pack                2/$6.00 Zehrs Romaine Hearts 3 pack                2/$5.00 Food Basics Royale Bathroom Tissue 12=24 single       $3.99 Shoppers Royale Bathroom Tissue 32=64 single     $10.74 Walmart Selection Bathroom Tissue 12=24                    $3.99 Food Basics Working with the bathroom tissue, its easy to calculate the per price roll – $0.33 per double roll at Shoppers and Independent and $0.34 at Walmart. On this occasion, Shoppers has an even bigger edge as the sales were offered during one of their 20x points events, so customers with an Optimum Card, meeting the minimum $50.00 requirement, would receive additional savings in point value of 800 points...

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SCANNER PRICE ACCURACY CODE – KNOW IT TO SAVE

Posted by on Feb 10, 2014 in Smart Shopper | 2 comments

SCANNER PRICE ACCURACY CODE – KNOW IT TO SAVE

Knowing the Scanner Price Accuracy Code just helped me get a couple of my grocery items free. There were scanning errors of two different items during the same checkout and, because the store participates in the Retail Council’s Scanner Price Accuracy Code, they had no choice but to give me the items at no cost. However, they didn’t mention the policy, I had to call them on it. THE ITEM FREE SCANNER POLICY: What the policy basically states is that if the price of an item with a UPC bar code is shown higher at checkout than displayed in the store or than advertised by the store, the lower price will be honoured; and if the price is less than $10.00, the customer will receive the product free; if the price is more than $10.00, the customer will receive a discount of $10.00 off the correct price; if there are multiple units of the same product, then the price discount, as above, will apply only to the first unit scanned, the rest of the items will then be sold at the corrected price. SCOPE OF THE CODE: The Code applies to all scanned Universal Product Code (UPC) bar coded and /or Price Look Up (PLU) merchandise sold in stores, with the exception of goods not easily accessible to the public (e.g. prescription medicine) and individually price-ticketed items.   Participating Stores must abide by this policy. However, participating in the Scanner Price Accuracy Code is voluntary therefore check with the stores you frequent whether or not they do. (You can do this online, just google the name of the store, then type scanner price accuracy code in their search bar).   Many cashiers don’t seem to be aware of this policy therefore it’s up to the customer to be informed and make sure they receive what they’re entitled to. I’ve had to use this a few times and only once did the store disclose the policy voluntarily.   I know it’s an uncomfortable feeling holding up the checkout line for a price check but it is necessary. Without watching I would have paid $9.00 too much on a $30.00 bill.  By calling on the code I received the 2 items free. Consider it the Retailer’s way of saying “Sorry for the inconvenience”. Talk to you again next week, Lenie   If you liked this post, others will too. Please share Save Save Save...

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Grocery Sales Forecast for September

Posted by on Aug 26, 2013 in Smart Shopper | Comments Off on Grocery Sales Forecast for September

I love September. I’ve always thought it seemed more like the start of a New Year than January ever did. Once the children returned to school life again settled into a less hectic, more comfortable routine. Its also a great month for the frugal-minded, offering a number of money-saving events, such as Walmart’s Anniversary Week Sale starting September 13; Foodland’s One-Day sale on the first Thursday after Labour Day; and Shoppers’ September promotions for Optimum Card holders. September is also the month when we find the greatest selection of low-priced, locally-grown produce and we’ll probably have the opportunity to stock up on super-priced 5lb and 10lb bags of Carrots, Cooking Onions, Red Onions and Beets.   Having a good idea of upcoming sales can substantially increase the savings – fortunately stores generally run according to a set pattern and reviewing past activity provides a fairly accurate picture of what we can expect. Based on previous activity, I’ll be planning my shopping around: Walmarts Anniversary Week Sale: While this sale doesn’t appear to impact on groceries so much, other than detergents and paper products, there are fabulous sales right throughout the store, including housewares, electronics, toys, tools and more.  Foodland’s One-Day Sale: Excellent prices on a limited number of products – at times they’ve held truckload sales to coincide – in 2012, every kind of Schneiders’ product was offered.  Shoppers Optimum Card Promotions: Shoppers 20x points (spend $50.00 or more) promotion on the Saturday of the Labour Day Weekend. Chances are good that they will have September ‘Spend Your Points’ Days offering increased value for Optimum points redeemed on those days. I personally won’t be spending my points at that time as I’d rather wait until December when Optimum points usually have the greatest value. In Season Vegetables:   Broccoli – Baby Cut Carrots – Cauliflower – Cucumbers, Field, English, Baby – Lettuce, Iceberg, Romaine Hearts, Leaf – Mushrooms – Peppers, Assorted – Potatoes – Mini-Potatoes – Tomatoes, Field, Grape – Zucchini.   In Season Fruit: Apples – Blueberries – Grapes – Melons, assorted, including Watermelon – Nectarines – Peaches – Pears – Plums – Raspberries – Strawberries.   Stores will be competing for business with sales of Back to School products with many of the featured items used daily by almost everyone so we can all benefit:Nature Valley Granola Bars, Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Bars, Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks   Quakers Oats & Instant Cereals, Post, General Mills & Kellogg’s Cereals Pillsbury Toaster Strudel, Eggo Waffles Nutella, E.D.Smith Jam, Smuckers Jam, Kraft Peanut Butter Yogurt & Yogurt Drinks Cheese Bars, Slices, Strings Allens & Minute Maid 200g Juice Boxes Variety of Chocolate Bars Mr. Christie Crackers, Cookies and Mini-Treats Schneiders Lunchmates, Snack Pack Pudding, Mott’s Fruitsations. At the end of the month we’ll have the opportunity to restock the baking cupboard with sale priced-products when a large variety of Baking Supplies are expected to come on sale:Flour – Pie or Tart Shells – Evaporated Milk – Sweetened Condensed Milk – Dried Cranberries, Raisins or Pitted Dates – Cranberry Sauce – Assorted Chipits or Baking Bars – Brown, Golden or Icing Sugar – Lard or Shortening – Canned Pie Fillings – Marshmallows. Nestle’s and Chapmans will be offering an assortment of frozen treats to promote National Ice-Cream Sandwich Month. A selection of Processed Tomato Products will be featured, including Canned Tomatoes – Tomato Paste and Sauces – Pasta Sauces – Canned Prepared Pastas – Ketchup – Salsa and Taco Dinner Kits, etc.  Canned, Condensed Soups will also be listed.Finally, I expect Pet Food and Supplies to be listed for sale during the month.Coupon available for Pedigree Dry Food...

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