Why I Thrift!

Thank you to Fox Taylor for this blog. I love how she uses creativity to satisfy her wants by visiting thrift stores to find gently used items at a fraction of the cost.

Fox on an Island

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I have been big into thrifting for clothes and household goods since I was about 15 (17 years ago! Ah!) and have no problem telling everyone about it. A lot of the time people are surprised; a former boss once asked me how I had so many clothes because I basically never wore the same thing twice, and when I said I buy everything for super cheap second hand she was shocked. The next person to walk into the office heard her blurting out Did you know she’s never bought anything new?? That’s not true, I do buy new clothes from time to time, but I’m going to show you in this post why I don’t do it very often.

I bought a beautiful Matt & Nat wallet a few months ago and have wanted to get another one of their products. I am currently borrowing J’s black backpack to…

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Finding Zen, Yoga you can afford

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How to find zen at a cost that doesn’t cause anxiety

 Over the years I have experienced income loss or reduction for a variety of reasons. Most were because of circumstance, but the last one was by choice when I decided to leave my managerial position and to work part time.   One of the reasons why I made the decision to trade money for time was because I wanted to reduce stress and to pursue other activities.  Job stress and burnout were key factors in making this decision.  One of the things that I wanted to pursue was to find a positive means to deal with stress.   I wanted to join a yoga class, practice yoga and explore new routes to the discovery of the benefits of meditation.  When I looked into the cost of taking classes a couple of times I week I put on the brakes.  If wanted to stay in my own neighborhood and take classes it would cost me $50.0 for a month long introductory pass and then after that 20.00 for a walk in class unless I bought a package.  I looked at other yoga studios an found several packages with prices at variations such as this:

Single visits $10.00 – $20.00 per visit
Intro prices $50.00 per month
Monthly memberships  $89.00 per month to
Bundle prices eg 10 classes $170.00, seniors rate 10 classes 150.00
$113.00 regular $99.00 seniors 55+

We live in a stressful world and yoga and meditation have become increasingly popular over the last few years.

According to the American Ostoepatic Assosication http://www.osteopathic.org/osteopathic-health/about-your-health/health-conditions-library/general-health/Pages/yoga.aspx
some of the physical benefits of yoga include:

Yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome,” explains Dr. Nevins. “Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia.”

Other benefits include:
Increased flexibility
Increased muscle strength and tone
Improved respiration, energy and vitality
Maintaining a balanced metabolism
Weight reduction
Cardio and circulatory health
Improved athletic performance
Protection from injury

In the end, I opted to join a friend and together we went to the Calgary Women’s center.  They offered a couple of free instructor led sessons per week.  They have mats available for those that need them and they bring in volunteer instructors from popular Calgary yoga studios.  It did not have the ambience that you get in a high end studio but it was enjoyable and we here happy with it.  I particularly appreciated that they made the practice of yoga available to all women including those that would not have had any means to have been able to afford to participate in yoga otherwise.  Yoga classes, combined with the gear required to participate can be expensive.  Lululemon is a very popular store to by yoga clothing at, but its price range is above the reach of many of us. Although much of the research that I did is specific to Alberta, Canada where I live, you could use these tips in your area as well.  Here are 10 ways to find options for those that would love to participate in yoga but would like to spend less to get their zen.

Classes:

  1. Calgary yoga studio Bohdi Tree offers a “Karma” program with yoga classes for $5.00. Check their schedule for dates.  Other yoga centers may offer similar discounted classes.
  2. Groupon https://www.groupon.com/local/calgary/yoga   A check of Groupon Calgary found 13 different options and prices for yoga prices.  Again, a check of Groupon in your area may yield similar results.
  3. Look at community resource centers such as Calgary Women’s association. They are currently offering both yoga and zumba classes.  There is no charge and they have gear if you don’t have your own.
  4. If there is a studio close to your or one that you would like to try, see if they have a program wherein you can sign up for introductory classes if there is no ongoing commitment. The cost for a month of introductory classes ranges about $40.00 per month
  5. If you can’t get out, there are many online yoga classes on Youtube for any level of fitness and experience and it’s absolutely free.
  6. Google other places where there is free yoga offered: http://www.avenuecalgary.com/Things-to-Do/Where-to-Take-Outdoor-Yoga-in-Calgary/
  7. The City of Edmonton offers drop in classes at a variety of facilities around the city for as little as $8.00 that will allow for participation in Instructor led yoga classes

 http://www.edmonton.ca/activities_parks_recreation/drop-in-fitness-schedules.aspx

Gear:

  1. Thrift shops and second hand stores are a good place to find expensive items such as used Lululemon products. Walmart, Costco, and Target and bargain chain stores sell gear and clothing than are non-designer for good prices.
  2. Here is a website that provides good alternative Canadian places where you can buy yoga wear: http://musicbycalla.com/2015/03/26/8-places-to-buy-yoga-gear-that-arent-lululemon/
  3. Lululemon  facebook page.  This page is a US based site wherein members offer used Lululemon products for sale.  Some sellers do ship to Canada.  Not sure it would be a great deal with the exchange rate and shipping but some may find it helpful especially if you are looking for items that are difficult to find:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/lululemonbuyselltrade/

Namaste

 

Couponing in Canada: How to save money and get great deals

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The Canadian equivalent to Extreme couponing

I admit in a guilty sort of way that I have watched the odd episode of “Extreme Couponing” on tv in the past.  As cheap and frugal as I am it didn’t really catch my attention because I know that some of what they can do with coupons in the US is not an activity that can be duplicated in Canada.   In Canada we aren’t able to benefit from double coupon day where the grocery store accepts your coupon and then doubles the value of it. Coupon stacking wherein you can present and use more than 1 coupon per item is also not a widely accepted practice.  Most places of business will only accept one coupon at a time whereas on the TV show a savvy shopper  scouts out the deals and then hands in enough coupons so that the purchased products are so deeply discounted that the store ends up owing them money – or something like that.  Secondly, there is the stockpile of goods. Even if I could build up a huge stockpile of goods I  have no where to keep them.

But here in Canada, coupons are still being used creatively.
Here is a recent shop posted by one of the the ladies on the Alberta Only Coupon and Product Training Post Facebook site (link below)

Amelias Haul

Total retail = $329.70
Paid = $104.30
Total savings:  $225.40

Tide pods – regular 4.97, on sale for $4.47 then the $3 p&g coupon = $1.50 each
Finish – regular $10.99 on sale for $7.99, $8 rebate = free
Sunlight dishwasher tabs – regular $10.99, on sale for $8.99. Coupon stacked for a total of $5 off each = $4 each
Blue wilderness cat food won in a draw
Olay – regular $7.99, on sale for $2.79 and 75 cent coupon = $2.05 each
Old spice deodorant – regular $7.99 on sale for $3.99 with 75 cent coupon = $3.25 each
Starbucks drinks – regular $2.99, on sale for 2 for $4 with $1 off coupon = $1.50 each
Herbal essences – regular $3.98 on sale for 2 for $5 with $1.50 off wub2 = $3.50 for 2
Mouthwash – I think it was $5 regular (this one I forget), on sale for $3.50 with $1 off coupon = $2.50 each
Schweppes dark ginger ale – regular $1.97, on sale for $1 with a $2 off wub2 = free

In my own clunky attempt on combining coupons with sales today  I did buy 1 loaf of bread at No Frills.  Along with the bread that I paid $1.88 for, I received 200 PC points, and 1 qualifed for a .50 rebate from the Checkout 51 app.  I’m up to about 3.00 worth of rebates there, I started last week and I can cash in and they will send me a cheque once I amass $20.00 worth of rebates.

I’ve clipped the odd coupon here and there and always use the restaurant fast coupons that come in the mail, and I’ll have a quick once over of the flyers to scout out nearby sales.  Recently though my my daugther in law signed me up on an Alberta based  Facebook couponing page.  The members of this site practice what I would best describe as “Coupon/sale Combining”  and at first glance it is a definite move toward a Canadian equivalent of  Extreme Couponing.  I dug further and found out that this is something that is actually rather established in Canada and is quickly moving forward although I suspect its popuarity appeals to a  younger demographic,  particularly for young families with kids. I researched it a found a lot of places and ways to obtain coupons for things like diapers, baby products,  laundry detergents and cleaning products as well as grocery coupons.  I can certainly see how a  young family that uses these kind of products, and a lot of them,  would benefit from couponing.  Additionally, it appears that some of the members of these groups are successfully using more than one coupon to purchase a single product.

The old school way of collecting as many flyers as you can and then spending hours cutting them out has morphed into a more high tech search.  There are apps, websites and Facebook sites to help you in your search for sales, coupons and cashback deals although it appears that there is still some old school organization of your coupons involved.  (Meaning according files)

Here are a couple of Facebook sites to get you started:

Alberta Only Coupon and Product Training Post:  Their mandate:  “The purpose of this group is to learn how to start couponing, trading and overall saving money for you and your family”. 

This is a closed group and it is only meant to serve those that live in Alberta
https://www.facebook.com/groups/987963061290997/  They do a great job of explaining the ins outs of how coupon/sale combining works and what and where  you can and can’t combine or double up on the use of  your coupons.  They also encourage trading coupons that you don’t need and passing on the savings to others in the group.  Additionally you can arrange to exchange items in your stockpile for items that you need from other members stockpiles.

SaveaLoonie.com has both a Facebook page and a website with blog, and this is a great site for gathering information, finding printable coupons.
Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/canadiancoupons
Website:  http://www.savealoonie.com/

So in the name of  “Coupon/Sale Combining” here are the Coles notes on how this works.  (And ladies if you are old hat at this, it is all new to me, so please correct me in the comment section if I am off base with some of this).

First:  Find out where the sales are and see if you have any coupons that you can combine with one of these sales . A good app to use for this is the Flipp App  https://app.flipp.com/

Second:  Find Coupons for items that you would use. Visit a few of the websites available.  I have listed several below to get you started. Print these off those that you would use and organize them.

Third:  Hit the stores when your items are on sale armed with your coupons and buy as many of each item as you need or can get especially if the coupon/sale offers will reduce the original cost of the item significantly.

Forth:  Check your Checkout 51 app and upload snap shots of your receipts for further cashback on qualifying purchases.
Checkout 51:   https://www.checkout51.com/

Fifth:  Take a picture of your score and post your victory  on your facebook page.  Then the option is open to trade items that you have more of than you will need.

Below is a list of other great websites and blogs loaded with flyer info and printable coupons that you can use in Canada:

Hope this helps you save a little money.  We could all use a little more jingle in our jeans.