Uncategorized


I haven’t blogged in a very long time. I find it easiest to blog in times of sorrow and without too much sorrow these days I haven’t felt inspiration to write anything worthy of being read by the public.

Today I got an idea, however, to do a blog on my money saving tips. Everyone likes to save money and I think saving where you can is smart, no matter who you are. Saving money isn’t always easy because it can require waiting to buy something until it goes on sale or shopping around for the best deal before you buy. I am going to do a list of what i think are best ways save, please comment if you have others!

1. Use coupons!!!! I used to think I was above coupons until I realized I am definitely not above saving money! Coupons are readily available all over the place. My favourite sites are smartcanucks.ca and save.ca for the best up to date info on the latest opportunities to save. Another great thing to realize is that most brands offer regular coupons for their products, for instance Procter and Gamble, who have a large line of products, have a site called brandsaver.ca and will mail you the coupons you tell them you want and sometimes even free samples. Stores used to be more confused when I brought in printed off coupons but now it seems to be more normal for them to see. If you’re one of the lucky ones who gets the coupon books in the mail, look at them before you throw them out — these are often the same ones you can get online but sometimes they are different. The key is though is to remember that even if there is a coupon if it isn’t something you need, don’t buy it — coupons can tend to draw people towards buying things they normally wouldn’t and that makes couponing counter productive.

2. Shop around!!! Some people say they don’t have time or they couldn’t be bothered to do their research and that is how stores make their money. Retailers know that many people don’t know what the price is elsewhere because they just want to go to one store get everything they need and be done. For some people this might be necessary, or it might not matter, but for those of us who want to keep as much of our money in our own pockets shopping around is key. For instance we know where our yogurt, coffee and cereal are least expensive so we usually make a trip to grab those items and other things that might not differ much in price from another store and then do the rest of our shopping elsewhere. Obviously too much shopping around could be a waste of your time and gas if you drive from store to store to buying the best deals but it never hurts to know where to get the best deals.

Shoes and electronics are definite things you should shop around for. Luckily if you have a specific item or place in mind you can easily do a search online for price ideas. Most “name brand” shoes and electronics are carried by various retailers so you have different choices as to where you can buy what you are looking for. Stores are always having unique sales so make sure if you have something specific you want to buy that you see who sells it and how much each store has it on sale for at the time you want to buy it. If there is no price difference at the time you want to buy then choose the store you prefer or better yet, the one you can collect some kind of loyalty points at — Sport Check, Shoe Company and Visions for Airmiles, Best Buy for BB Rewards, etc.

3. Never pay retail for most of electronics, household items, beauty products, toiletries, furniture, appliances or over the counter pharmacuticals. All of these things (which is most things) go on sale ALL the time. The key to making sure you get a good deal is being patient, obviously there are times you might be in need and can’t wait, but most times you can.

Toilet paper is regular about $12 but usually once a month Shoppers and Safeway have it on sale for $5 — that’s huge savings on something you use a lot and just flush down the drain. Another huge potential savings is on laundry detergent and fabric softener. Laundry essentials go on sale regularily, just like almost everything, and it’s often for up to 50% off the regular price. Other great deals you see all the time include cleaners, like Lysol, Method and Mr. Clean, various brands of soap, body wash, toothpaste, shampoo and deodorant, all marked down at least $2-4. The best thing to do when these types of things are on sale is to stock up with a month or two supply while they are on sale so you have enough to last until they go back on sale. It’s extra savvy if you can manage to find a coupon to use while they’re also on sale.

Over the counter meds can be quite costly, especially for those of us who have allergies. Luckily for us, over the counter pharmacuticals like Tylenol, Reactine, Claratin, Aleeve and even vitamins go on sale regularily as well — they even usually have online coupons!

Some say that shopping at the Walmart and Superstores of the world are the best ways to save on that stuff anyway, no need to worry about Shopper’s or Safeway because they are too expensive. I usually buy from Walmart or Superstore if the product isn’t on sale and I really need it, because their regular prices are usually always the lowest, but Safeway and Shopper’s sale prices are generally the best you can get.

Name brand beauty products usually sell for the same price at all vendors, it doesn’t vary much unless they go on sale. Shopper’s beauty boutiques can have 30-40% off some of their top brand names like Vichy, Roc, La Roche Possay, etc. so look out for them and stock up on the expensive products you need while the going is good! Why pay $30 for your cleanser when you can pay $20?

For bigger ticket items, any of you who can’t afford to, or don’t want to, spend the kind of money Pottery Barn and the like charge for furniture, or you are intimidated about needing a new fridge, remember that there are stores like The Brick, Leon’s and even Sears that have a variety of products always going on sale. Promotions for furniture and appliances are always happening and you can usually barter a bit at the Brick and Leon’s or get better pricing when you bundle things (ie: washer and dryer; fridge and stove; couch and love seat).

Electronics, like everything else listed above, are always going on sale as well. TVs, computers, tablets, video games — you name it, it will likely go on sale. If you can wait a couple of weeks to buy a new TV you could save big. Stores bank on impusle buying and if you can be the opposite of an impulse buyer you will save yourself a lot of money. You should usually always choose Best Buy as well. Best Buy will match the price of any store that has the product cheaper, which rarely happens for me because they’re usually always cheapest, and the process is generally painless. Another great thing about Best Buy is that if you buy a product that goes on sale or is marked down even less than you bought it for you have 30 days to get the difference refunded. I bought my boyfriend a video game he wanted for Christmas that cost $60 and I went in a week before Christmas to see it marked down to $40. I went to the customer service desk, didn’t even have my recipt just the credit card I paid with, and they found my transaction and refunded me $20 — I do suggest having a receipt to ensure you get your refund though.

4. Try not to pay retail for clothes and shoes either. As a woman it is hard to resist a cute shirt or nice pair of boots but shopping is one of the worst hobbies you can have, especially when it’s on clothes and shoes. I used to buy all kinds of expensive clothes and shoes, and although sometimes it’s good to pay for quality you can over pay for a lot of crap too. Stores like Smart Set, Fairweather, Le Chateau & GAP have some really over priced items. What makes the overpricing worse is that when they mark them down they are generally a fraction of the price, how crappy does it make you feel when a top you spent $60 on gets marked down to $25 or even just $40? The best part is a lot of these shirts end up getting snags or those micro holes we never know how we get and the lifetime of that $60 shirt is cut short. Unless you need an outfit for something specific or you just have money to burn, watch your clothes and shoes spending and watch for the sales. My favourite store to get sales on name brand clothes is The Bay. The Bay always has something on sale but when they have Bay Days or seasonal clearances the mark downs are up to 70% off! I’ve gotten $140 Ralph Lauren dresses for $40, $60 bathing suit tops for $20, $90 pants for $26, $110 BCBG dress for $30… and the list goes on. Why pay more when you can be patient and pay less? Also remeber not to buy just because it’s on sale! How many of us buy something because it’s on sale and never wear it? Always be selective, even with sale items, don’t lower your standards just increase your awareness to pricing.

5. Don’t stay faithful to brands or retailers. Sorry to tell you but as loyal as you are there is no trophy at the end of 5 years to thank you for being a loyal shopper. We are all just another number to most retailers and as helpful as staff can be, you’re still not getting anything out of being loyal. If the same product is cheaper somewhere else, go there. If Purex is $4.99 and you usually use Royal but it’s regular price at $12, buy the damn Purex!

Some people do need to use specific products due to allergies or like to use specific products because of preference but most of us don’t have allergies and preference is subjective. For most things, brand doesn’t make a difference and for people with allergies there are still coupons and sales for your items!!

6. Don’t be afraid to shop online. Sometimes online shopping is an even better deal than in store sales because often times you can also find online promo codes that will give you further discounts than the already marked down pricing that you would get in store. One of my favourite sites,  bargainmoose.ca, usually has the most reliable codes but sometimes the retailer’s Facebook or Twitter accounts will provide special codes to their followers beyond those you find on savvy saving websites. Make sure you are getting free shipping to make the online purchase worth it though — or find a free shipping code! Indigo usually has really awesome online pricing.

Advertisements

Lately I have taken notice of the large number of public/private sector career swaps. Specifically, a lot of women I work with seem to be rushing out to have children or newly returning after taking years of leave to raise their children. It’s kind of difficult not to notice the changes, as it seems to be creating quite the scramble when it comes to re-staffing, workload adjustments and keeping our departments running smoothly. What I also find interesting, and which makes sense, is that women tend to start making these significant changes in their career roles leading up to the time when they decide to have children or the time when they have decided they are done having children. A lot of women in the public sector have left private sector jobs in preparation for upcoming motherhood or, soon after returning from having their last child, leave for the private sphere.

Due to the significantly better benefits offered and more leniency in leave timelines when women go on maternity leave, it’s hard not to be attracted to what the general public service offers a working woman (or man) who is interested in taking paternity leave. With over 90% of your salary still being paid out while on your one year leave, the financial burdens of having a child are that much less than the average family who generally don’t see that much of their income coming in when they take leave. Additionally, from what I can tell, there is a lot of effort put into accommodating maternity leaves and even accommodating extra time off if requested once the one year lapses. I’ve never really worked in the private sector seriously, or long enough, to notice any trends in their maternity leaves or the way they handle them. I do however see, especially in an higher level role, the private sector (or even the upper echelons of the public sector) potentially having a bit of anxiety and distaste when their female employees approach the topic of needing time off in increments of a year to have babies.

I would say the age range for mat leave is around 28 – 37 years old. Noticing that this demographic is somewhat older than those on episodes of Teen Mom,  further indicates to me that they, more likely than not, chose to become established in their careers before deciding to have their children.

What I begin to wonder though, as a young women getting into the groove of things (ie: life), is where I will fit in to this? With 4 years to go until I fall into “the range” will my fertile years begin to work against me? Do employers look at your potential to “move up” based on the possibility of you leaving to start a family? Do newlyweds have a stigma among employers? My current employer seems to embrace marriages and new babies, but I do notice that there is underlying sighs of “this again” when they realize they have to completely re-staff to backfill leaves and the coming waves of baby booms, but I still wonder how everything works in minds of those people in the background making the staffing decisions.

If I choose to be one of those women who want to have a career and a family will the choice to do both work against me? Is it enviable that men remain in high ranking leadership roles largely due to the fact that you can, most often than not, count on them to be the ones continuing to work when they have children? If I want to have children in the next 5- 10 years do I remain in the public sector to reap in the benefits of their mat leave “packages”, or do I go where the wind takes me and potentially risk moving into a private sector job that resents my choice to raise a family?

Further to the aforementioned questions, if I wanted to become a woman of power and obtain an executive level position do I have to wait to work my way up until I am out of my child bearing years? I feel as though it is rare to see higher ranking women in their late twenties or early 30s, unless they are women who have chosen not to have families, and that kind of disappoints me. Do we have to choose one or the other? Do we have to remain in lower level “minion-esque” roles until we are done with having children? Does taking maternity leave in the middle of your prime career development years kill your progress?

I’d like to think that this ever developing world we live in is becoming more accommodating to people’s lifestyles and trying to promote a “work-life balance” but I still can’t kick the feeling that there is an underlying resentment towards women who want motherhood and a career. Does one of these roles need to take a backburner or can you have it all?

I guess my question in summary comes down to — does having a uterus and wanting to use it work against women in the working world?

 19 days after our Canada Day celebrations I figured I would make this post.

Lately I have been making a point to see more of my own country, in part due to the fact that I don’t have enough money to do much extensive travelling at the moment and in part due to the fact that I realized I haven’t really explored it much. I happen to live within a short distance of some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, and I don’t take advantage of it the way I should. I’ve officially travelled quite a bit of British Columbia now and lots of my home province, Alberta. I have yet to venture east or north, but considering my job and recent amazement with my latest findings I think I will make a point of taking those north and eastward trips.

Below are a few pictures I have taken on my recent ventures — enjoy!

So it has been a long while since I have not only blogged, but even longer since I have blogged with substance. What a travesty, I know!

In my defense, my mind has not gone to mush and I still have many wonderful and enlightening things to say, I just haven’t really had time to sit down and put them into text. A lot has happened in the last little while — I acquired a manfriend, continued the search for a new home, took on more tasks at work, went to Mexico to ring in my 23rd birthday and road tripped from Vancouver Island to Calgary which included a stop to see Pearl Jam in Vancouver. Crazy hectic if you didn’t get my drift.

Most would imagine a week and half off with a vacation in Mexico and a mini road trip would be the best way to unwind. Unfortunately most wouldn’t expect to get sick for 2 and a half days in Mexico from eating a salad because endless tortillas, cheese, baked goods and salsa were starting to take their toll on me. If only I realized the salad would take a larger toll.

Although our resort was nice and it was great to finally experience a Mexican vacation like everyone else there were elements that just didn’t make it everything I was hoping it would be.

Word to the wise, don’t try and be healthy in Mexico!

I have had the pleasure of being in the presence of certain people lately who speak ever so “proper” and I love it! It is always such a pleasant surprise for me to encounter another person who can use eloquent words. It is also lovely when they can connect their words using some of the beauties that come from a colourful vocabulary. I would love if more people would avoid restricting themselves to using like a million and a half times or the same adjective twelve-hundred times in the same sentence. Life is just more enjoyable when you can use pretty words, or at least words with some shazam to them!

Some words I adore:

– allure, alluring, allured
– nostalgia, nostalgic
– epiphany
– euphoria, euphoric
– distraught
– endeavour
– repertoire
– cowardice
– candor
– irate
– ensue, ensuing, ensued
– deplorable

How’s that for an interesting blog? Just thought I’m remind you how much of a nerd I like to be, woot!

My computer is out of order, my internet is being cancelled this week and I am living in utter cardboard chaos while I trudge through a move. I never thought not venting my sentiments through blog for such an extended period of time would be so hard for me.

I miss you WordPress.

My daily Dalai Lama insight quote today ties my last two posts together so conveniently:

I am open to the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations hinder my path.

Isn’t that just something?

Next Page »