Post #19 – But it was 99 cents! – 44.9% savings!

$34.03 bill, $27.72 in savings, 0 PC points

I try not to get flyers. I had a sign up, but it got ruined, so I get flyers. I hate them, they are horrible for the environment. The other day I sat down and looked at the flyers I had…I’ll have to put up another sign. All this being said, I did find out that Food Basics is having a huge $0.99 sale this week (until March 5th)!

I stopped in because I wanted to get inexpensive tomatoes, and maybe some inexpensive apples, but I ended up getting a lot more! There was a crazy amount of things on sale for $0.99!

There wasn’t much exciting about the shopping trip, other than when I was leaving I notice an elderly lady with tons of discounted red peppers at the cash. I obviously missed where they put the discounted produce at Food Basics, and it was probably good. I find anywhere you find elderly people congregating there is probably something good on sale!

Here is a list of the things I managed to get for $0.99 (or $0.99/lbs, because why bother with metric?): 2lbs of carrots, avocados, tomatoes, oranges, bag of onions, aluminum foil (for all my British readers, I love the way you say that), apples, cucumbers, mustard, tuna, 5lbs bag of potatoes, chocolate milk and 2 boxes of Kraft Dinner!

Total Spending: $34.03
50% Off: $0.00
Sales: $27.72
Repriced items: $0.00
PC Points: $0
Year to Date:
Total Spending: $1543.62
50% Off: $249.97
Sales: $342.52
Repriced items: $475.40
PC Points: $64.20

Post #18 – Pharmacy Visits with S! – 68.1% savings

$40.65 bill, $87.22 in savings, 140 Optimum points

I can’t (can) pass up a good, expiring, coupon. Today I had a Rexall buy $25 get $5 off that expired today. It was burning a hole in my pocket, and hey, who doesn’t enjoy a nice trip to the pharmacy?

This morning I had S in tow. I told her we had to visit a couple of pharmacies before having breakfast with a friend at IKEA (OMG! IKEA food is so inexpensive!!! I fed two adults and a child for $7.30 after tax, and S got to play in the play area…I told her she should have her bday party there (free play area and $2.50 kids meals!)…she was sad when I said I was just joking…or was I?…). Anyways, S complained that pharmacies are places with just adult stuff, so I reminded her it wasn’t true. She asked if she could have a treat, saying that she remembered seeing a stuffed animal that played music (yeah right, $$$$) so I said “maybe”. When we got in they had $5 packs of Valentine’s Day cards for $0.10. Her and I disagreed on which pack she should get. Then it dawned on me, they are $0.10! I looked like Super Dad for letting her have two treats. I also just realized I paid 25% tax, since they rounded up to $0.25 after tax, I should have used my credit card!

One thing I realized leaving that pharmacy is that I am banking on Valentine’s Day being celebrated for at least one more generation. I think I have enough Valentine’s Day cards to last through M and S’s childhood, so they will have to be passed down to their children. I have seen old cards on Antiques Roadshow, but I don’t think these ones will ever qualify.

When we got to Rexall nothing was really impressing me. I found the clearance section (or so I though) and it was all stuff I didn’t need (when has that ever stopped me?). We then looked down some different aisles and found ALL the discount stuff! This included at least two things marked down $0.00, which was weird to see on a sign. We ended up getting a whole whack of spring toys, including bubbles as well as some Easter stuff. The spring stuff was discounted just over 50% and the Easter stuff was discounted 74%. Nothing makes sense more than discounting stuff BEFORE the holiday that is coming up! Anyways S described the trips to the pharmacies as being “a beautiful day”…I think I have a future Saver on my hands!

Non-prescription pharmacy spending 2015: $286.81
Pharmacy savings 2015: $507.78 (63.9%!)
Optimum Points: 12750

Post #17 – I’ll Just Pick Up A Few Things – 45.4% Savings

$61.34 bill, $50.99 in savings, 0 PC points

Asking me to pick up a few things at the store, when I don’t have the kids in tow, and the store is empty and peaceful is the perfect storm of bargain hunting…Sure I went for sandwich meat, tomatoes and cucumbers, but who can pass up 75% off fresh Ontario lamb? This is what $2.66 in lamb chops looks like to me:

IMG_20150223_221353548(just came out of the oven…so tasty…taking break…)

…and I’m back…

I try not to find all the good deals when I am there…Really I try, but I fail, and I find everything. Mind you, today I was well behaved, at least with not buying treats. When I first walked in the really good PC chips were 50%. I stared for an eternity (under 2 minutes) before passing them by. I also saw some good quality cheese marked down 75%, but I passed by that too.

For the 2nd time in my life I have bought discounted, uncut, fruits or vegetables. I couldn’t find the roma tomatoes that my kids love (and was only 1 of 3 things on my list)…so I got a different type of tomato and thought to myself it was weird that they didn’t have any…For some reason they moved them all to the clearance section, and they weren’t even soft! I got 60% off tomatoes I was looking for! BOOM – SAVINGS!

(Damn, fresh lamb is such a treat, I couldn’t imagine paying full price though!)

There were A LOT of toys on sale. If you kid likes Barbie (boo!) or Hot Wheels head over to the Gloucester Loblaws tomorrow! There were a lot on sale. I don’t buy my kids Barbie, and I don’t think they would enjoy Hot Wheels…but I did find a gift I really enjoyed…and couldn’t stop playing with…Always good to find gifts at 50% off!

Another thing I found on sale was normal paper plates for more than 50% off…I don’t think I’ll ever figure out Loblaws’s rational for putting things on clearance…

Total Spending: $61.34

50% Off: $23.47

Sales: $7.52

Repriced items: $20.00

PC Points: $0

Year to Date:

Total Spending: $1509.59

50% Off: $249.97

Sales: $314.80

Repriced items: $475.40

PC Points: $64.20

Post #16 – Optimum Points, Optimum Savings! – 62.8% in savings!

$102.59 bill, $179.29 in savings, 11330 Optimum points

Before I even start I want to give a special shout out to Winnipeg Centre MP Pat Martin…his purchase of 50% off underwear caused him to miss a vote in the House of Commons! Best quote from him: “It is a matter of civic pride for Winnipeggers that nobody pays full price for anything, 50% off is like catnip to a Winnipegger…” I must be a displaced Winnipegger!

I have become in love with shopping at pharmacies…if you have read any of my posts you will understand…They are a source of immeasurable (measurable) savings. They put useful things on sale, useful like Valentine’s Day Chocolate! Today I got 90% off Valentine’s Chocolate, the other day I got 86%. What do I do with all this chocolate I buy? I “force” it on my students at work…They don’t seem to mind. One thing that seems interesting is that the Shoppers Drug Marts seem to operate independently when trying to clear product. The chocolates I got for 86% off at one store was only 50% off at another.

Keeping myself under control can be a bit of an issue. The other day I went to the pharmacy to buy $2.20 worth of cold and flu medicine (because I knew I could get it on sale from $9.49) I ended up leaving with $145 worth of stuff for $41! (it is part of this post). Coffee, laundry detergent, all sorts of stuff we need!

Today was 20x Optimum Points. I haven’t used Optimum Points before last week…so they are new to me. I went on-line and read how to maximize their use…They can be amazing, if done properly. Normally, you need to spend $9,500 to get $170 in savings (This is not a typo). However, if you buy on 20x points day, and redeem on bonus redeem days, you can spend $475 to save $200, which is amazing for a points program. You just have to be careful to use the points properly and understand how the program works!

One of my big scores yesterday was finding peanut brittle for 70% off! BOOM! SAVINGS! How much did I eat? Exactly none. I brought it to the GeeGee’s Basketball game to share with the staff and referees (and students bold enough to ask for some). The difference between cheap and frugal!

Non-prescription pharmacy spending 2015: $246.16

Pharmacy savings 2015: $420.56 (63.0%!)

Optimum Points: 12610

Post #15 – Free Milk February – 41.6% in savings

$122.36 bill, $81.63 in savings, $7.80 in PC Points

For those of you with kids, you know they drink a ton (not literally) of milk, for those of you without kids…Kids drink a ton (figuratively) of milk…It always bothered me that this never went on sale and made a big difference in the grocery bill.

I’ve always managed to get coffee on sale, but could never get milk on sale. It felt like I was pouring liquid gold to top up my discount coffee…I even debated switching to whitener, briefly…

Last month, Cheerios started running a promotion where you could get free milk from coupons in specially marked boxes of cereal…and cereal was on sale…So, so far this month I have only paid $2 for milk…and that was only because I found some on clearance at a pharmacy and couldn’t pass it up…

This trip to the grocery store was pretty ho-hum otherwise… I did manged to get parlay a 20% off pork PC Points deal with half price pork, giving me the pork (and bacon!) 60% off the original price. I guess a lot of people could get excited by the idea of 60% off bacon

This post is short (kind of) because I am really excited about the pharmacy post I am about to type…Keep an eye out for Post #16!

Total Spending: $122.36

50% Off: $3.75

Sales: $52.72

Repriced items: $17.36

PC Points: $7.80

Year to Date:

Total Spending: $1448.25

50% Off: $226.50

Sales: $307.28

Repriced items: $455.40

PC Points: $64.20

Post #14 – Valentine’s Day Grocery Shopping with One of my Little Valentines – 35.3% in Savings

$114.45 bill, $56.98 in savings, $2.40 in PC Points

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Today is a special day in the grocery story. The day when you see wide-eyed men rushing around the story buying all sorts of stuff that will be 50% off tomorrow (flowers and chocolates galore!)

Today M made out like a bandit, and well, I did alright. 35.3% isn’t the kind of savings you will get from a pharmacy, but it is pretty good when I am buying necessities.

Here is what M managed to get for free from the store today: a calendar (so did I, yippee! and it is a 2015-2016 calendar!), a chocolate covered strawberry, 2 chocolates, 1 cookies, some cinnamon hearts and a piece of cake…Not bad, especially considering she doesn’t pay for the groceries…

Post school Valentine’s Day (I mean the day after kids hand out Valentine’s Day cards, not the kind after you graduate) is the time to stock up on Valentine’s Day cards for the next year. Just like after Christmas is the time to stock up on tape and wrapping paper…Today Loblaws had all their boxes of cards marked down to $0.25…including the $5 boxes! BOOM – SAVINGS! It is important to get timeless classics that the kids won’t grow out of…baby pets, women playing sports (awesome theme!) and some car and truck ones…All told, I bought $24 worth of cards for $1.50! A 93.75% savings! The savings were so good, I debated buying all of them and opening a kiosk next year to sell them!

Have to get to bed early tonight, so I can beat the rush buying post Valentine’s Day chocolates tomorrow!

Total Spending: $111.45

50% Off: $11.45

Sales: $39.80

Repriced items: $5.73

PC Points: $2.40

Year to Date:

Total Spending: $1325.89

50% Off: $222.75

Sales: $254.56

Repriced items: $438.04

PC Points: $56.60

Post #13 – Thrift Shops and 2nd Hand Clothes – Immeasurable Savings!

Skip to the bottom to see the amazingness I bought at an estate sale today! Two pairs of pants, a shirt and some leather boots! Some guy was nice enough to buy them 40ish years ago and store them for free for me!

When I first thought up this blog, I wondered if I would include something on 2nd hand clothes…I know there are a lot of bargains to be had, but it is a lot different than trying to save a few bucks at the grocery store.

I’ve been thrift shopping well before it became cool, and even had Macklemore’s coat before he did…

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There are at least 3 things I won’t hesitate to buy 2nd hand:

Trucker Hats (Mesh backs)

I started wearing these at Ultimate a long time ago…I actually had to convince VC Ultimate to start making them…But if you wanted to have one that you could get really sweaty playing, you had to buy it 2nd hand, for $1 or 50 cents. The brand new ones are good, but they are too expensive to wear in games!

Vintage Clothing

I think it goes without saying that if you want to buy vintage clothing you have to buy it used. I think that might be part of the definition of vintage. Do you think you could buy this thing brand new?

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Dress Clothes

This one might be a bit more surprising, but at least for men this is a great place to shop. There are lots of men who wear a tie once and then never again. It just isn’t their style. They wear dress clothes to weddings and funerals and never thing they are going to go to another one so they donate the clothing. I bought a worn-once (looking) Mexx dress jacket for $3.80 in December, it was amazing! I frequently get “lightly worn” big brand name (Tommy Hilfiger) for $9.99 or less.

So, why am I posting this today? T and I were supposed to go see a photography exhibit at Ottawa Archives today. It was her Valentine’s Day present to me, and was super sweet. But, they were closed because it was a long weekend…So, we ended up at an estate sale instead (long story)…Turns out it had been going on for 3 days already, and they were just trying to get rid of the odds and ends…Included in the odds and ends was this amazingness!

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I got the shirt and pants for about $2.70 each and the NEVER BEFORE WORN LEATHER BOOTS for under $20!!!! They must be at least 40 years old and still had the original packaging stuffing in them!!!! AMAZING!

M was heart broken, and then confused, as to the fact that the boots weren’t for her and that they are for me…

Post #12 – I HAVE DONE THE IMPOSSIBLE! – 74% in savings

$43.16 bill, $122.98 in savings!

I know you might be asking yourself: “Didn’t Gavin just make an amazing purchase at the pharmacy just yesterday and didn’t he say he was going to cut back on grocery spending in February?” – Here is the thing, I am going back to the gym so I decided I needed to do some retail therapy because of how bad I felt after hearing the cost…I’m working with a trainer, and it is friggen expensive…Best way to deal with spending a lot of money? Making yourself feel better by spending more money…or in my case saving it (by spending it)

For $43.16 I got all of this (click to enlarge):

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Yes, what you are seeing is:

17 boxes of healthy harvest spaghetti ($50.83 value)

2 boxes of Lindor Chocolates ($21.98 value)

4 bottles of mouthwash ($25.96 value)

1 package of daytime cold and flu relief ($9.49 value)

3 boxes of whole grain brown rice Minute Rice ($14.97 value)

5 containers of The Keg steak seasoning (1 is actually missing) ($27.45 value)

2 Valentine’s Day presents (1 is missing) ($15.46 value)

I know what you are waiting for is how I achieve the impossible (well Canadian impossible, I’ve seen it done on Extreme Couponing)…For one of the items, I got paid for every item I bought! The mouthwash was listed at $6.49 and they put a $5 off sticker on it, then reduced it to $3.99. SO THEY PAID ME $1.01 FOR EVERY BOTTLE I TOOK! 

When I was purchasing them the Cashier was grumbling about $5 off a product that was $3.99. I told her I was going back to get the rest, and I did. Unfortunately there were only 4 bottles. However, there was a more expensive mouthwash, at $9.49 with $8 off. So I thought to myself, if this is also on sale this week, for anything less than $8, I can make more money…I went to the mouthwash section and couldn’t find it, but most were on sale. I knew I couldn’t price check it with the same cashier, or she might put an end to my ways. So I price checked it at the pharmacy, it was still $9.49 😦

The reason I went so crazy with the purchases today was that I bought a few boxes of the spaghetti and they were marked $2.99 with $2 off, but when I got to the cash, it was $2.29 with $2 off. The only right thing to do when they charge you $0.29 for $2.99 worth of pasta is buy it all up! I ended up with the 17 boxes. Unfortunately it was only the first two boxes that he rang in that were $2.29, the other 15 were $2.99…which was still a solid deal.

When I got home is when I realized that the Keg seasoning, which was priced at $5.49 with a $3 off sticker was actually $3.99 with ah $3 off sticker, so they were only $0.99…This caused me to go back to the store twice tonight…finding so many glorious deals!

On a side note, you may have noticed that I bought clearance medicine. I have either stooped to a new low, or a new high, depending how you look at it. As I was putting it in the cart, I could just picture the shocked look on PMo’s face when I was doing this…Why him? I don’t know…he certainly isn’t judgy… 🙂

Non-prescription pharmacy spending 2015: $143.57

Pharmacy savings 2015: $247.27 (63.3%!)

Post #11 – I Friggen Love Pharmacies! – 75% in Savings!

$11.94 bill, $36.00 in savings!

When I was a kid, the only time I liked going near a pharmacy was the day after a major chocolate giving holiday (hint: go chocolate shopping on Sunday!).

Now, I look at them like little mystery grab bags, or the community chest cards from Monopoly…They are just sitting there, waiting to be explored…always with crazy discounts!

The key to frugal shopping is stocking up when something you need is cheap, and never get yourself in a position where you end up having to buy it at full price: “But Daddy, I really need toilet paper!” … “Too bad, Daddy didn’t plan well enough!”…

Months ago, I found Folgers coffee on sale for $5/kg ($5/KG!!!!!), so I did the natural thing and bought 7 kilograms of coffee…I really should have bought 70 kilograms (I am also feeling remorse at not buying more of the $4.44 boxes of 50 Lindor Chocolates, because my students right now are burning through my supplies). Well, months have gone by, and I am down to my last 2 kilos of coffee…Coffee is not something I can live without, but certain isn’t something I want to pay full price for either…

Today I found coffee 75% off at the pharmacy! I was driving home with Geeg, and she will occasionally indulge me with a random stop at the pharmacy for no reason (Children of today: This is the correct use of the word random, stop abusing it!). $8 tins of coffee for $2!!!!! I bought everything they had in the store, which was unfortunately only 7 containers (just under 400g each).

They also had pop for $0.50 down from $1.89 and a lonely mint Aero chocolate bar for $0.50 down from, I think, $1.39. I passed, because seriously, who needs that junk? 🙂

Non-prescription pharmacy spending 2015: $100.41

Pharmacy savings 2015: $124.29 (55.3%!)

Post #10 – Frugal February, or “Help, I have a problem!” – 41.8% in savings

$127.22 bill, $82.79 in savings, $5 in PC Points

So I’ve decided that February is the month where we will try to dwindle the stock piles of food we have in the house…all the cans of soup, the boxes of macaroni and cereal, and more importantly all the meats in the freezer…

So, I figured the only thing I will need to buy this month is: bread, milk, fresh fruits and veggies. This is a bit of an exaggeration…we have enough meat to make it through the month but probably not other stuff, but still could be a cheap month.

Today was the first test, since it was my first grocery shop of February…Things were going totally smoothly at the start. I walked up to the cartfuls of heavily discounted stuff, enjoyed looking at them, and proudly walk away. “I am strong” I incorrectly concluded.

Arriving at the discounted salads was fine, I was supposed to still be buying fresh fruits and veggies…but I unraveled when I got to the meat department…I just couldn’t walk by meats discounted by 75%!!! Impossible. Also, knowing that two of my PC points deals this week involved meat just made it worse…I caved…I bought meat…but not as much as I would usually…and there were some BEAUTIFUL steaks they were basically giving away.

JOB OPENING:

I realized while I was shopping that I need to hire an Assistant, and not an Assistant in the usual way. I need someone to roll their eyes at me and say “Really, Gavin?” when I start picking up organic Cookie Monster mini frozen waffles just because they are both clearance priced and 50% off (bought two packs! BOOM! – SAVINGS!)…I figure the pay could be about $5 per shopping trip…plus 1% of everything you stop me from buying…So this job could put some kids through college.

Also this week, I cashed in 4 free 2 litre milk coupons…and did manage to save $9 on 3 jugs of laundry detergent…So I got some pretty good stuff for the $127 I spent…The problem is just that I had only intended to spend about $27 🙂

Total Spending: $127.22

50% Off: $19.38

Sales: $41.96

Repriced items: $21.45

PC Points: $5.00

Year to Date:

Total Spending: $1214.44

50% Off: $211.30

Sales: $214.76

Repriced items: $432.31

PC Points: $54.20