Post #66 -What is Self Worth Worth? – 93.3% in savings

$2955.13 in product, $201.79 in cash, 1780 ($2.81) in points

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On Tuesday night I got to go to Tampon Tuesday. It was a real pleasure to be there, I got to meet an actual Couponer (I hate it when my total is above $0), met women from several different charities (including the woman from St Joe’s Women’s Drop-In that received the hair dye), but most importantly we (JC, HS, HS, and my mother) got to deliver about $2,000 in feminine hygiene product. We brought so much it didn’t even make it into the event, it went from one car to another.

The woman from St Joe’s was thrilled when she found out that we had donated the hair product. The women loved it. It is really rare for women’s shelters to get hair care products. I realized why, or at least part of why. If someone is going to buy $20 worth of stuff for charity, how many would think to buy $20 worth of hair dye, or shampoo? Just about no one, because everyone recognizes the need for more basic stuff. That being said, a little luxury goes a long way.

Since I’ve started doing this in earnest I don’t  look at stores the same way, especially when it comes to charity shopping. I used to stick to the basics: baby food, toothpaste, etc, etc…Now I see almost everything as a potential donation (except maybe perfume). A store is filled with things that people with money are willing to pay for. If people weren’t willing to pay for it, it wouldn’t be in the stores. Anything people are willing to pay for, someone without money would like it. Therefore everything in the store is a welcome donation.

Yesterday I went reconnaissance shopping for a project I have for CM for a school food drive. I found some cookies and crackers on sale and had to wait to buy them to make sure she was okay with it. While I was there I overheard some staff talking about how they were going to change a shelf. I didn’t hear any details, but I knew something was changing.

This is what changed:

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Then this is how we changed it:

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Nearly $3,000 worth of haircare product to charity!

We left some stuff on the shelf. We didn’t want to donate “Dumb Blonde” and there were a couple of things that were too specialized (we felt).

So amazing…Can’t wait to deliver it all!

Happy shopping, happy saving, happy giving.

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Post #65 – Guest Post! – When the Student Becomes the Master – 94.6% in Savings!

$784.71 in product, $58.76 in cash, 10254.6 ($16.19) in pointsIMG_20160307_210746058[1].jpg

Everything in the picture above was $1 each! ONE DOLLAR! That includes the $30 Burt’s Bees and the $20+ Clearacil and the home ear infection kits…Everything was a major score…BOOM! SAVINGS! 

The Ivesian savings for this post is “only” 92.5%…Which is fitting because RI was the guest shopper.

To say he “knocked it out of the park” is an understatement. After getting his delivery and seeing the receipt I could picture him standing over my bloody corpse saying “This is how you play the game, son”.

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Luckily we are both on the same side, the side of big savings for charity!

I could not believe the deals he found…they were amazing.

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A great find RI, and thanks for being a part of BOOM! SAVINGS!

Happy shopping, happy saving, happy giving.

Post #64 – Nobody Should Have to Want a Toothbrush – 83.2% in Savings!

$825.89 in product, $138.74 in cash, 12,399 ($19.58) Optimum points

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A few weeks back I got a message from one of the members of Boom! Savings! Charity Shopping Club (www.facebook.com/groups/boomsavings) saying that she knew of a school that was running a oral hygiene awareness compaign.

As a way to remind parents of the availability of free dental care programs, a local school is hoping to send home a toothbrush and tube of toothpaste with every student.

Yesterday I finally heard from the teacher, so it was time to mobilize. Shoppers’s was having a sale for $0.88 (from as high as $3.49) and a 20X the points event for members who get their e-mails, so it was pretty inexpensive. The dentist office I go to was also willing to get involved when they heard about the number of toothbrushes I had bought this weekend (139!)…They donated 62 toothbrushes, which was great!

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The more I get involved with various projects the more aware I become of what “need” actually is. The numbers are staggering, I’m pretty good with numbers and even I was able to turn a blind eye to them.

Some stats from CHEO (http://www.cheo.on.ca/en/poverty):

  • One in six children in Canada lives in poverty.
  • 373,000 children living in poverty in the province of Ontario.
  • 38,500 Ottawa residents go to a food bank in a month. 15,000 of them are children.

I used to be able to go on my merry way, donating at Christmas to Toy Mountain, The Food Bank and various other charities. Now I am starting, just barely starting, to understand what need is.

Every item we have donated, every single one of them, is going to someone with a story to tell.  Quite often when we think of those in need we will default to those we may consider “lazy” or “abusing the system”. It is an easy way to avoid having to think of war, famine, domestic abuse, addictions, mental health issues and the dozens of other reasons that someone may experience “need”. If you want to think of people that are abusing the system, think of the abuse at the other end: corporate greed. “That homeless person is obviously abusing the system, get a job!”…”Oh, that CEO is worth $9,500,000,000..yeah that makes sense, he works hard for his money!”…Anyways, enough preaching…well, maybe not…

I’ve come to the realization that what is important, other than immediate support, is to try and give children the support they need to become a productive part of society as an adult. If we can support children, especially in their teens and 20s, and give them the break they need they can hopefully make it on their own and become self sufficient. If we fail to support them, they have a strong possibility to become someone who will need a lifetime of support.

Despite all the gloom in my post, I am starting to see small victories with businesses. Given the amount of shopping I am doing (read: daily) they have become much more comfortable dealing with me, in fact, even encouraging me and pointing out where the deals are that day. I have also started hearing stories of business people going out of their way to help, which is great. Our system still needs some fixing, but there are good people everywhere you look.

Happy shopping, happy savings, happy sharing.

 

Post #63 – The Dawn of a New Era – 82.5% in Savings!

$341.79 in product, $67.37 in cash, $6 in coupons, 1,280 ($2.02) in points

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At 82.5% today was not a good savings day. I personally score a lot of coffee, and before the charity aspect of this really took off I would be bragging about the coffee…But I’m going to stick to the stuff for charity. Today was a trial run for moving into couponing, both paper and virtual. I now understand why the people on extreme couponing take so long to prepare…Couponing is tough! This is going to be an adjustment!

Probably the biggest news of today is the fact that Loblaws is starting to offer to convert Optimum points to PC Points, which is amazing. Optimum points are incredibly easy to earn, but PC Points are much more flexible, comparable to cash. THIS IS A BOOM SAVINGS DREAM COME TRUE!  The reason this is so important is we can now perpetually take advantage of bonus point offers. Before today, we would amass a large number of Optimum points and would have to sub-optimally (no pun intended) cash them in. It was sub-optimal because you can’t earn points on cashed in points. So we wouldn’t be able to take advantage of “spend $50, get 12,000 points” or whatever…Now we can, because we can convert Optimum points to PC Points, go to Loblaws to buy Shoppers gift cards and repeat the process! AMAZING!

When I took a look at the stuff we bought today, I realized that the expansion of what we can do is really exciting. In the picture above we will be helping:

  1. Syrian Refugees (http://www.capitalwelcomes.ca/ , https://www.facebook.com/welcomingsyrianrefugees/)
  2. Students who need the support of an Alternate school to complete high school (http://www.normanjohnston.ocdsb.ca/)
  3. Teenage mothers who have the support of the Youville Centre (http://www.youvillecentre.org/)
  4. Tampon Tuesday (www.tampontuesday.com)

Tomorrow night I am going to post a big Thank-you/summary of February, but for now know that I thank all the people who have supported or contributed this project.

Happy shopping, happy saving, happy giving.