Free Appetizers at Popular Restaurants

Loyalty programs = Free Appetizers

restaurant with text


In a tight economy, restaurants want your business. If you are going out to dinner and want to add a free appetizer to your meal here are links to the websites of  10 Canadian restaurants where you can get a free coupon for an appetizer and other free goodies just for signing up for their loyalty program.   I read that some people have been able  print off and use these coupons more than once.  I have an email account that I use for this purpose so that I can keep free offer in an inbox separate from my main e-mail address.

Montanas Appetizer and free birthday dinner


Red Lobster (Fresh Catch club), appetizers

Swiss Chalet, Rotisserie Mail   also you can redeem points from your Scene card

Boston Pizza , Free appetizer for signing up, Free dessert on your birthday Free individual two-topping pizza for your first anniversary

White Spot Restaurant,   a coupon for $5 off your next dinner purchase just for signing up.

Olive Garden, Free appetizer:

The Pickle Barrel

Chili’s: Chilis’ works on a point system, you get 60 points just for signing up, this is enough for a free item from the menu, a free dessert on your birthday and more.

East Side Marios:  Free appetizer when you sign up for their newsletter

If you live in the U.S. there are probably even more options available.  Here is a link that I found that shows 400 places to get free meals on your birthday.

Bon Appetit







Dollar Store Deals

Name Brand or Dollar Store Brand
Facial Cleansing towellettes

We all have things that we consider to be “essentials”.   This is a price comparison of facial towellettes. Arguably, washing your face can accomplished with a facecloth and soap, but many of us have become reliant on pre-packaged towelettes purchased at the drugstore.  They are quick and handy to use  The usual supply is a one month package of about 30 of these wipes. There are many varieties available, mostly offered by well know cosmetic makers and they cost about $8.00 -$13.00 per package.

olay montage

Available at Walmart Olay Regenerist $12.56 for 30 wipes

I have not tried these.  They sell for $12.56 for 30 towellettes.

ks photoshopped

Kirkland Signature $15.99 for 150 wipes

These are great.  There are 5 individual packages in the box for $15.99.  They come from Costco  and they are very good product.  A box of these costs $15.99 and there are 5 packages in the box, for a total of 150 towelettes.  All in all it is a good deal and a good product – if you have $15.99 to spend.

good facewipes

Purchased at Dollarama  for $1.25 for 25 wipes

If you don’t have $15.99 to spend on a bulk purchase the facial cleansing towelettes above $1.25 for a package of 25 and are available at Dollarama. Although they are not as luxurious as the Kirkland,  they are a relatively decent alternative.


Purchased at a Dollar Store for $1.25 for 30 wipes

The ones pictured above are like sandpaper.  I purchased them at a different Dollar store than the wipes pictured above but they are not the same quality.  I would probably not use them.

The Dollar store, often overlooked, can become one of your new best friends when you are on a tight budget or practicing frugality.   The Kirkland Signature at $15.99 for 150 towellettes  are a good bulk purchase but if you are short on cash or on a tight budget there is a decent product available for $1.25.

Deal or No Deal: Self Pedis and Self haircuts


spend save

DIY: Hair Do or Hair Disaster?

I used to binge watch a show that we have in Canada called “Til Debt do us Part”.  Its a reality tv show featuring  Gail Vaz Oxlade, a financial writer, who is very knowledgable about managing money and helps people that are anything but, to learn how to corral their debt and live within their means.  She also did or still does host a show called “Princess” that is about young women (mostly) that rack up all manner of debt living like princesses, usually by means of working low paying jobs, living for free with their parents, bumming money from anyone that will give it to them and piling up debt on their credit cards.

One of the common themes that I noticed in these shows is that many of the  women really feel that a pedicure is not a want,  rather it is a hard limit need.  Asking them to give up the weekly pedi is akin to asking them to sleep in their car for a week.  The suggestion that pedi’s can be given up is often met with extreme reluctance.

I understand that for some people proper footcare is not negotiable.  I am only addressing the cosmetic aspect of footcare.

Because of my overspending during this past month of March, I am back on a Budget of Austerity.  As a result I am doing my own pedi’s.


My at home DIY Pedi

This cost me nothing, is quite passable, and to be honest I am not a fan of the pedicure anyway. A tube of Gehwol Med Salve for Cracked Skin costs about $20.00 and lasts me about 2 months.  For me it virtually eliminates rough heel skin so going for a pedicure is a waste of money anyway as the pedicurist has nothing there to file and grate away at. All I really need is a cut, file and a polish change.  A polish change would have cost me about $10.00 at a nail salon.  A regular spa pedicure costs about $28.00 in my area.

Here is the URL wherein you can purchase the Gehwol product.

As long as I can bend over to reach my feet I am capable of doing my own pedicures.  The only reason for me to go out for one is laziness and because I don’t feel like doing it myself.  If you feel the same way, don’t want to do it yourself, and want to save some money to have it done professionally, there is always Groupon.  I found 7 Groupons for manicure, pedicures or combo packages in my area.

Here is the URL for Groupon

I did for years cut my own hair, but as soon as was financially possible, I gave that up.

bad hair bird

DIY haircut possible outcome

Unless you are a professional hair dresser or are doing very young childrens hair, I think that it is safe to say that most people should avoid the self haircut route.  A botched pedicure can be safely hidden.  It is much harder to hide a botched haircut.

The verdict
DIY Pedicure:  Good Deal
DIY Haircut:  Bad Deal


Deal or No Deal: Shoes that look like Toms

spend save

I love Toms shoes.  I have several pairs, starting with the first pair that I bought while I was on vacation in the States.  I paid US $60.00 for them.  I find the price to be similar here in Canada.    They are comfortable, durable and they make my feet look smaller than they are, although I own both of the pairs of shoes below and they both fit even though one pair looks so much smaller than the other.  Not sure about that.  Here are a couple of pairs of shoes that I own:

Toms 2

Real Toms and Not Real Toms

Here is a pic of another pair of Not Real Toms

GT Toms

Giant Tiger Not Real Toms

The Real Toms pictured on the left hand side of the top pic cost US $60.00.
The Not Real Toms on the right hand side of the top pic cost C $2.99 and were purchased in a very generic clothing shop in a mall.
The Not Real Toms on the bottom pic can be purchased at Giant Tiger for C $10.00

While I am willing to bet that the Real Toms are probably better quality, if I blow through the others I am not going to be overly heartbroken about it, because I spent next to nothing on them.

Final Verdict:  Good Deal



What is a HighEndCheapskate


lady with drinks

A HighEndCheapskate is someone that recognizes the fluidity of the economy and has learned how to define and meet their needs and wants under a wide variety of financial circumstances. A lot of people consider themselves to be thrifty, money conscious, and deal savvy by nature.  But there are also a lot of people who have never really thought much about it.  They spend as they please, seldom looking for cheaper alternatives until for whatever reason they have to.  Then, with no tools at their disposal, they are left wondering how to fill their needs and wants on perhaps a drastically reduced budget.

Despite the good advice that while you may starve as your are working your way through College, you are working to secure your financial future. Life does not necessarily heed that advise, and throws financial curveballs at you from time to time.  These curveballs that create negative income change may be planned or unplanned, such as a termination of employment, a maternity leave, retirement, or just a desire to work less without rendering your standard of living unrecognizable.

Here is an example of the difference between a tightwad,  Average Joe and a HighEndcheapskate. These are all people that have different concepts as to what constitutes saving money.  Suppose you take a vacation.   Its time for dinner.  The tightwad may not even be there.  He may be too cheap to take the trip at all, so he is at home.  If he is there, is there and he and his party hit up a fast food burger joint.



Average Joe is the guy at the beach front patio restaurant paying full price for his meal.   The HighEndCheapskate is the guy at the table next to Average Joe.  He is enjoying the same ambience and maybe even the same meal, but at half the cost because he remembered to purchase his groupon for the restaurant before he departed for his trip.  Average Joes Bill is $100.00, HighEndCheapskates bill is $50.00.


HighEndCheapskate is about having the mindset and tools to get the best bang for the buck. It is about creating a lifestyle that combines financial thrift with savvy in order to get what you need or want in good or challenging financial circumstances.  Its a mindset of achieving wants and needs and the means of obtaining them by utilizing tools such as prioritizing, resisting impulse buying, researching options, and sometimes making compromise. It is about refining your spending habits to get you through good times and bad. It is the ability to deal with anticipation of income reduction and creating and navigating these situations in order to not just survive financially, but to meet the challenges and to thrive is a financial crisis and thereafter.

Bang for the buck, creating new expections and a new mindset in order to fulfill your needs and wants is what being a HighEndCheapskate is all about.   It is a combination of being thrifty, frugal and debt free, (0r working toward it),  and having and doing as much as you can while working with what you have to work with.  Being cheap for the sake of being cheap is like having a method without any madness at the end of it.  There are reasons to be frugal, such as:

1.Survival Mode:  Survival mode is about meeting immediate needs and moving forward after income loss or reduction. People that have suffered income loss that are trying just to get by and meet basic needs and dealing with the fact that it is difficult to meet these needs.  There are wants too.  Just because you are flat broke doesn’t mean that you don’t have wants.  It requires creating and adhering to a basic and tight budget, a budget of Austerity.

2.Ongoing Cheapskate:  People that are a step past Survival Mode.  There is enough income coming in to get by, but there is an ongoing need to acquire needs and wants creatively.  There is more flexibility in the budget.  Example:  Date night of dinner and a movie on Cheap Tuesdays.

3.Cheapskate Splurge:  The Budget of Austerity can be relaxed a bit in order to accommodate the desired purchase.  Example: not booking a flight with points and paying cash because you found a great deal on flight that does not involve a 9 hour layover.

The idea behind HighEndCheapskate is to become competent to handle your finances by recognizing the fluidity of the economy and being able to transition from one mode to another in order to survive and thrive through the tough times and the good times.