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.

 

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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.

 

Post #62 – Syrian Refugee Day – 86.1% in savings!

$1911.73 in product, $414.34 in cash, $100 in promotional stuff, 27,310 ($48.86) in points

Today SH and I went to drop off snowsuits to http://www.capitalwelcomes.ca/ . IMG_20160228_115736638

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I really liked the slight lumberjack look of these coats and snow pants.

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Wherever we look there is need, and it isn’t a greedy need, it is often a desperate need. We were told by the people at Capital Welcomes that children’s outwear is one of the least donated thing, which I found strange, given that very little kids tend not to wear through that stuff…

In total we dropped off about 40ish coat/coat-snow pant/snowsuits and a bag of toques and a couple of bags of boots. (Thanks to the people that support Boom! Savings! I now measure things in “bags”.)

I would have thought this would have been the big highlight of the day, but SH and I had some time to kill, my family was at an event, and she had time to kill before a meeting so we went the the Shoppers on Rideau, well, one of the Shoppers on Rideau. IT WAS A JACKPOT! They were clearing: soap, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes. We bought everything we could (at the price point we liked). We ended up with 26 bottles of shampoo, 43 toothbrushes, 50ish tubes of toothpaste, and 53 4-packs of bars of soap, or body wash bottles. It was amazing!

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I drove it back to the distribution center and volunteered for about 30 minutes moving boxes while I waited for my family to join me so that my children could see where the donations go.

When they finally got there we put half of the donation in the storage area and my kids pushed the rest out in a cart. Most of the stuff that the Syrian refugees are able to pick-up at this location is used clothing (or new snowsuits, if it is a day that we come in). When they noticed that toiletries were coming out there was a flurry of excitement. It was minorly overwhelming for my kids, someone had gone back to get a volunteer that spoke Arabic, but by the time the person came back it was all gone. I believe, from watching the flurry, that no one took more than they would probably need. I think I saw one person get their hand tapped by another when they may have been taking too much stuff, but it all seemed pretty orderly. It showed the level of need when $550 worth of toiletries went in about 2 minutes.

Because of the promotion being run this weekend (spend $75 and get $10 in SDM gift cards and $10 in restaurant gift cards) I went back out shopping when the family was asleep for the night. It was another major jackpot! I found a TON of stuff I am saving for a post next week, but I also found a lot more soap on clearance. It is all going to Capital Welcomes next weekend! 

The experience there was so good, that MP wants to go back to sort clothing next weekend! Having an 8 year-old volunteer can be pretty tough, but they need someone to sort and match shoes and I think it is something she can handle and not get in the way! 

Happy shopping, happy saving, happy giving.

Post #61 – If I can Teach the Young, I can Teach the Old – 103.3% in savings!

$288.74 in product, $34.05 in cash, $40 in promo gift cards back, 2140 ($3.83) in points.

It has been a long time since two things of happened:

  1. I’ve saved over 100%
  2. I’ve been disrespected by a cashier

Funny how every time I am disrespected by a cashier it is around Bonus Seniors Day when I have a senior who is willing to punish Shoppers for disrespecting me.

Let’s stay positive, so I’m only going to talk about the  savings until the end of the post, and, spoiler alert, I’m partially going to defend the cashiers.

We had my dad and his wife over for dinner, and my father-in-law and his partner. My father-in-law and his partner wanted to see how the magic was done. It is especially magical on Bonus Senior’s Day, if you have a Senior handy. 🙂

The math on this one is really screwy because the total amount of good purchased was more than $288.74 and the amount paid was greater than $34.05, the other stuff was stuff bought by the very generous JP and the very generous and patient JAWN. What happened was JP declined his share of the bounty: the $40 in gift cards and the $3.83 in points, so it all got credited to the $34.05 that was being spent on charity.

(In the end they both won anyways because they bought $119.39 worth of stuff for $90.06 even after forgoing the bonus of the Seniors Day, because they were just using the regular part of it for their savings…So for the Purists playing along at home, the byline for this purchase should be $408.13 in product, $127.04 in cash, $40 in gift cards and $3.83 in points for a savings of 80.0%, but i would never have allowed them to play full price for $86 worth of their purchase, nor would I have allowed them to buy a BIRTHDAY CARD FOR $6.69! BOOM! UNSAVINGS! 😦)

The Cashiers involved tonight could not figure out, without the help of the store manager, that when the cash register told them to give us the bonus card (see picture below) even when the total was under $50 that they should give us the card. If it weren’t for the manager reassuring the cashier would have had a complete meltdown over this purchase:

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Yes, that receipt does say “Pay $1.54, get $0.91 in points and a $10 gift card“…Okay, it doesn’t really say it, but I’m telling you that is what it is saying, because it is true. Let me break down the math for you:

There are 4 things on this receipt:

  1. Baby Food on sale for $1.
  2. Baby Food not on sale for $1.09.
  3. 2 – Claritin 30 packs not on sale for $24.99
  4. Bottle of vitamins on sale for $9.69.

Now, let’s explore the discounts:

  1. Since it is Senior Day and the 2nd baby food is not on sale we remove 20%, or $0.22.
  2. Since it is Senior Day and the Claritin is not on sale we take off $5 per box, or $10
  3. Since the Claritin is expiring we take off $20 per box (note the 8@$5  B Y 5.00- … that means $-40)
  4. Since the vitamins are expiring take off $10…“Wait, aren’t they only $9.69?” Yes, but not when the stickers were put on! The first cashier let this go through, the 2nd cashier would only let us take $9 off.
  5. The total, before the store coupons, but after the Senior Discount was $51, so give 510 points.
  6. The total, before the store coupons, but after the Senior Discount was $51, so give $10 gift card.

Grand total: $70.41 in product for $-9.37! BOOM! SAVINGS!

In total the donation to charity looks like this:

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However to sweeten the deal even more, I am going to try and sell the Claritin and the toothache medicine, because I don’t think charities take them. Whatever I get for them I am giving back to the charity pot of money… BOOM! MORE SAVINGS!

On to the cashiers

Cashier #1) Started off hostile, telling me I didn’t understand how the promotions worked, but was willing to do what I asked, while standing there not doing what I was asking. Finally she called the manager over (who I have seen twice a week (at least) for the past 6 months) and he let her know that I know how the promotions work and she doesn’t.

Once the purchasing was all over, and he heard we were doing this for charity (or most of it since some was for us) she became very nice and was hoping that I also take time to take care of myself.

Cashier #2) Slightly more aged than most cashiers, and it was late at night, and it seems like she was having a bad day, so she was grumpy when I asked for the $10 gift card for my Father-in-Law, she said I hadn’t earned it, despite the “give promo” being on the screen. She said I hadn’t hit $50 (which I had, only before the store coupons, not after) so she didn’t owe me the gift card. I called the manager over and he told her to give it to me, she said “this is disgusting” and grumbled something about seniors not getting a discount on milk…I think it was because the milk was on sale, so not eligible. She never recovered from her unhelpful stance, but in the start of this paragraph I give her a partial out. Also, she was polite until I knew her job better than her.

Happy shopping, having savings, and happy sharing!

 

Post #60 – High School, Shampoo and Chocolates! – 99.8% in savings

$211.68 in product, $60.96 in cash, 33,800 ($60.47) in Points

Today I had the privilege of presenting Boom Savings to a high school class at Norman Johnston Alternative School here in Ottawa. It is a thrill to try and help other people save the way I can. There is no magic in what I do, just math.

I’ve presented at 2 schools now. I couldn’t have had much different audiences: grade 5-6 students trying to buy stuff for the food bank and alternative high school students.

Before each presentation I have gone shopping so we can do a “live example” with the receipt and the products.

Norman Johnston is in Blackburn Hamlet and I consider the Shoppers Drug Mart there to be a good one. I gave myself an extra half hour of transit time to make a purchase…I ended up at the school 15 minutes early, because this SDM was so ripe for the picking.

Yesterday, I had left some chocolates at work, and wished I had them for the students today. I figured it would help “buy” some interest from the students in my presentation. I don’t think I need to buy interest…When one of the students saw me she said “Are you an extreme couponer? SQUUEEEEEE!!!!!”.

Back to my purchase. The L’Oreal deal continues to pay off. I keep thinking “I should stop buying shampoo“, but supplying shampoo to someone frees up their money to buy other things they need, plus Shoppers is paying me to take it out of the store.

At the Shoppers today I bought:

12 bottles of shampoo and conditioner

5 bags of chocolate hearts

1 bag of small boxes of Smarties

I said to myself afterwards “Would people who are chipping in really appreciate me buying chocolate for charity, or for presentations?” … After I looked at the net price, I wasn’t too concerned. The totals at the top are for 3 purchases, the purchase for the school presentation cost me $38.97 and netted me $43.83 in points…For a total cost of $-4.86! BOOM! SAVINGS!

The students, and teachers, were pretty impressed with what I had managed to do. After the presentation I was “stuck” with bags of chocolates that they hadn’t eaten and 12 bottles of shampoo and conditioner.

I was talking to the Guidance Councilor and also my cousin (a teacher) after the presentation. I asked them if they could use the shampoo for their food cupboard in their school. They were more than happy to accept them!

So, I didn’t have to bring anything home, except for an extra $4 in credit from SDM!

Happy shopping, happy saving, and happy sharing!

 

 

Post #59 – Shampoo, Conditioner and Hair Product – 95.1% in Savings!

$1,885.45 in product, $385.67 spent, 163,740 ($292.93) in points!

After we bought all the children’s outerwear on Saturday my focus has been shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products (for those that know I am a shaved head male, you’ll know I am out of my element with this stuff).

This post is about 3 purchases. For those that missed it above we got 163,740 points in 3 purchases…One purchase alone had 109,200!

My neighbour asked me yesterday “What happens when charities run out of need because of you?” – It is a wonderful thought, but it obviously won’t ever happen.

The charities receiving hair product from this post are: The Youville Centre, Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard, Britannia Woods Food Pantry, St. Joe’s Women’s Centre, Harmony House, and Daisy’s Drop In.

Saturday, after buying the outerwear, SH and I took EV to Shopper’s Drug Mart to show her how it is done. EV is the person who has really pushed me to make this bigger. BM and CG planted the seed, but EV was nice enough to cultivate it. 🙂

Anyways, SH and I started taking something off the shelf and EV said “the shelters have no need for this stuff“…My answer, in executive summary form, was “they are going to pay us to leave with this stuff“…The longer answer had all the math…We loaded up on 66 bottles of various stuff. The total bill was expensive, $211.11, but it was 20X the points and there were all sorts of promotions going on so we got 66 bottles for $15.75 BOOM! SAVINGS!

All this for the equivalent of $15.75!!!!!IMG_20160220_234725189[1].jpg

I find I get two reactions from people 99% of them are “What? How on earth do you do this?“. The 2nd is “Do you use Checkout51, Flipp?, Coupons?” …Well, I’m about to step up my game and do better…Most of my savings hasn’t used any of these three things.

I’ve started couponing, which is why these discounts are so big. In fact, I ran out of coupons and could have used $66 more…So really this post should have cost me $66 less. Imagine 206 bottles of hair care stuff for $26? It almost happened I checked 4 stores looking for the coupons I needed. The problem is I had already used all the coupons the stores had in them! 🙂

Yesterday I had to work from 2:30pm to 9pm so I went shopping before lunch. Imagine how bored the Cosmetic Counter at a Shopper’s in Monday mornings. They were very willing to help. At SH’s Shoppers the Manager went around and found me all the bottles that were being cleared for $0.99 or $1.99 (if the were L’Oreal). The reason I wanted L’Oreal is that I had $1.50 coupons and if you bought 3 you got $5 in points. So for $1.50 spent I was getting $5 in points and $24ish in shampoo. BOOM! SAVINGS! 

All of this was being cleared for $0.99 or $1.99!IMG_20160222_134047647[1].jpg

This was the purchase that could have used $66 more in coupons (that I went looking for)…Had I found them, all of this shampoo would have cost $-21 after you adjust for points…too bad I couldn’t find the coupons!).

I was so efficient with yesterday’s purchases that I dropped them off at the charity before I could take pictures of all of it. I didn’t even get a picture of the 50 bottles I bought at one SDM… Life is good!

Happy shopping, happy saving, and happy sharing!

 

Post #58 – $7,044.45 Worth of Children’s Outerwear? Sure, why not! – 76.8% in Savings.

$7,044.45 in product, $1642.26 in cash

Amazing, simply amazing.

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On Tuesday of last week I asked my friends, supporters and donors to kick in money for children’s winter outerwear. I told everyone I could get a 3.33 return on their money, for every $1 they gave me I could buy $3.33 in clothes. I also said I would try to negotiate with Loblaws (which is hard as heck, but not impossible).

PEOPLE STEPPED UP HUGE! Maybe the most impressive thing is that it took only 26 donors to get this to happen!

We collected just under $1,600. SH and I both bought some stuff earlier in the week to try and “prompt” PC Points to give us Joe Fresh bonuses on our PC Plus bonuses for the week.

The good news is SH’s card hit and we got 10% more stuff! She got $160 in PC points from the purchase of $1,600 so we went right back to the racks and bought more stuff!

27 snowsuits

53 coat/snow pant combo

51 coats

27 pairs of boots

16 hats

7 pairs of snow pants

5 early spring coats

Thanks to everyone! If you want to get involved check out:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/boomsavings/

Happy shopping and happy savings!

1234iscoat5issnowsuit678isblackcoat9istan11121314151617isblacksnowsuit18ispink18isthe2coats19is the spring jackets the lighter colour are the bigger ones20 is the coat 21 is the snowuit22 is the pink snow pants, 22 is the black, 23 aer the grey25 are the reindeer hats, 26 is the beaver hat, 27 is the blue hats, 28 is the orange pompom 29 is the aviator hat 30 is the striped hats, 31 is the adult toques32,33,34 left to right35,36,37 left to right38, 39, 40, 41, 42 left to right43

Post #57 – A Great Teaching Experience! – 93.6% in Savings

$260.85 in product, $33.57 in cash, 9,390 ($16.80) in points.

Today I got to share my BOOM! SAVINGS! techniques with a large group of grade 5 and 6 students from Woodroffe Public School’s Me to We Club…A club dedicated to helping others.

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It was AMAZING! The kids were super engaged, often breaking down to complete chatter during my presentation. The teachers would shush the students, but I think most of them were talking “on point”, that is talking about savings.

A few teachers were there, as was MS from Britannia Woods (which includes a food pantry). I wished I could have presented more at their level and less the students level, but I can only present so much!

I definitely got a “wow” out of the teachers when I showed them I got $40 in points for spending $3.85 on $200 worth of shampoo.

Next week I am speaking at Norman Johnston Alternative School. I’m trying to figure out if it will be tougher or easier to present to students that have the ability to absorb more of what I am presenting…

One of my first slides was telling the students that I knew of 11 ways to save money at a store. The first two answer they gave “buy the house brand” (paraphrasing) and “price matching” weren’t even in my list of 11…Ooops…Buying the house brand was so obvious to me that I forgot to include it, and price matching doesn’t really fit into how I work so I forgot to include it too!

I had brought a bunch of groceries to give an idea of how much you can save, and wanted to give it to their food drive after the presentation…Only to find out they didn’t have an active food drive on! LOL Luckily, I gave it to Britannia Woods Food Pantry instead.

Right after that I went to Loblaws to get ready for the big purchase on Saturday!!! Can’t wait!

On the drive home I just had to stop in at Shoppers, I wanted to take a break from shopping in anticipation of Saturday, but the free time was bugging me. Good thing I went in! They put new stuff on clearance every day. For example: $80 worth of baby formula for $15!!!!! BOOM! SAVINGS! 

I also got to buy some more L’Oreal shampoo. The deal on this stuff is just too good.

In all I got all of this for the equivalent of $16.77:

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Post #56 – The Greatest Ivesian Score of All Time (I think) – 98.1% in Savings!

$93.39 in product, $1.80 in cash, 0 points.

I don’t like posting shopping out of order…I almost forgot this impressive trip!

“0 points?, $1.80?, – What is going on?”

“What the heck is ‘Ivesian’ savings calculations?”
Good questions my friends. Let’s start with Ivesian calculations…

I calculate any points I receive for purchasing stuff as being immediately redeemed. So, if I buy $50 worth of stuff for $30, but get $20 in points, I will say I paid $10, since I retain $20 of my purchasing power for a later date. So I saved 80%.

A friend of mine, RI, doesn’t like this calculation, since you are force to return to the store. He likes me to include it in the amount of good received. So in the case above, I bought $50 worth of stuff, and got the equivalent of a $20 gift card, so $70 worth of stuff for $30. Only a 56% savings.
This is all in good fun of course because irrespective of how it is calculated it is BOOM! SAVINGS! 🙂

The only time mine and the Ivesian estimator of savings (damn that is a nerdy expression) line up is when there are no points involved. Like the MONSTER HAUL from last Thursday…

You’ll remember I had a post where I had bought $800 of incontinence stuff for $200 (OH CRAP! I AM 2 POSTS BEHIND!)…Darn, well, last Wednesday I went shopping and they mispriced something, so I had to go back to get it adjusted. Not only did they give it to me for free instead of for the $5 (Boom! Savings!) it gave me a reason to shop more…

The manager was the same guy as the day before. I told him I was going to go look for more deals. He said there was non to have, I had gotten them all the previous day…THERE WERE SAVINGS TO BE HAD!!!!

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The baby food was super clearout prices. I didn’t have any bonus point coupons, but I still liked the prices 66% to 80% off. I loaded up my basket and went to the cashier.

When I got there, there was a woman behind me buying one thing. I insisted she go first. The cashier told her she was lucky because it was Seniors Day and she qualified for 20% off. We both looked at each other and my full basket. I asked if she was willing to “buy” my stuff for me. I told her it was for charity, and she didn’t have to handle the money, just stand there and be over 55 years old.

The cashiers were having a difficult time processing my order (I never blame them, it is tough!) and the woman started getting impatient. I asked the cashier if all she needed to do was scan her card, he said yes, and she was on her way.

So, let’s focus on the purchase now…Pre-sticker and pre-senior discount I was buying $93 worth of baby food for $75. Not bad, but nowhere near good. After the stickers, I was buying $93 worth of baby food for $15 BOOM! SAVINGS!

The total is sitting at $15 on the screen. The cashier hits “evaluate promotion” and like a gameshow the total starts dropping and dropping…The two of them and myself lean in…They are super excited, and I am super nervous. If this hits $0 or negative I was willing to bet they would call the manager and the manager would freak. I was thinking about throwing a chocolate bar on or something…Anyways, it stops at $1.81. $93 of baby food for $1.81 BOOM! SAVINGS! They cheer, I cheer and they start telling the other customers about my purchase for charity…Even I was in shock at this purchase.

When I tried to recreate prices at home (in my scaled down mock-up of an actual SDM…picture scenes from movies where bank robbers have built replicas of the bank)…I realized some of the items had been priced below $0 because of the stickers. If a cashier makes a mistake I will always correct them, so they don’t get in trouble…If they price something wrong on the shelf, that one is on them 🙂

Happy shopping and happy saving!

#55 SPECIAL FUNDING POST

SPECIAL FUNDING REQUEST!
Hello friends and supporters,
This week my target is going to be Loblaws, specifically Joe Fresh. They are selling kids snow suits at 75% off.
I’ve contacted the Snowsuit Fund and they don’t have an existing relationship with Loblaws and the price they pay is more than what Loblaws is offering…So, time to BOOM! SAVINGS! some snowsuits for the Snowsuit Fund!

Who’s in?

The other day I saw winter coats and snow pants on sale for $22.50. I am going to speak to the manager to see if we can do better. The more funds I have, the better the leverage.

How can you help?
I need two things:
1) Someone with a Joe Fresh bonus PC Points offer this week on their card.
2) Cash

I read about transfering points. We can’t.

Look outside right now, then think about having to send your kids out in this weather (or worse, yesterday’s cold) without proper outerwear.