Monthly Archives: October 2013

Budget Hack: Grocery Store Gifts!

Find out how Christa Clips saved 64% on these candles and turns them into hostess gifts to be proud of.

Find out how Christa Clips saved 64% on these candles and turns them into hostess gifts to be proud of.

I love scented candles and like to keep some on hand for when an inexpensive “giftie” is in order. The ones at home decor stores are always so inviting with their pretty packaging and price tags which show how much we would have paid full price in a designer shop. One of my favourite budget hacks is finding a grocery store alternative to gift giving and today I came home with 6 of these Air Wick scented candles to use as upcoming hostess gifts. The sale price is in effect until Thursday, October 23, 2013 at the Loblaws family of stores if you’re interested in scooping some up, as well!

  • Regular price $9.99
  • Sale price $6.99
  • I paid just $3.66 each after coupons
Stretching the savings on these coupons which require a minimum threshold take a little bit of calculating and an understanding of coupon lingo.  Both are easy peasy!

Stretching the savings on these coupons which require a minimum threshold take a little bit of calculating and an understanding of coupon lingo. Both are easy peasy!

Not a couponer? No problem! These tear pad coupons were right there on the display: no coupon binder or advance planning required. The key to this budget hack was making the most of the coupon. Those who are familiar with coupon fine print do have an edge up when figuring out how many coupons can be used together, so if you’re confused about what “one per purchase” or “cannot be combined with other offers” means, check out the guide that I wrote for Canadian Coupons Coupon Fine Print 101: Understanding the Restrictions.

The coupon I found and redeemed is for $5 OFF when you spend $10 or more on Air Wick products. Stretching my savings to the max took a simple calculation to find the “sweet spot” – it turns out that purchasing these candles in multiples of 3 makes them the cheapest and maximizes the coupon value. Here’s an example of what I mean by finding the “sweet spot”:

Buy 1 candle on sale for $6.99, not eligible to use the coupon because total is less than $10
Buying 2 candles works out to $4.49 each ($6.99×2=$13.98 less 1x$5 coupon = $8.98 total)
Buying 3 candles works out to $3.66 each ($6.99×3=$20.97 less 2x$5 coupons = $10.97 total)
Buying 4 candles works out to $4.49 each ($6.99×4=$27.96 less 2x$5 coupons = $17.96 total)
Buying 5 candles works out to $3.99 each ($6.99×5=$34.95 less 3x$5 coupons = $19.95 total)
Buying 6 candles works out to $3.66 each ($6.99×6=$41.94 less 4x$5 coupons = $21.94 total) and so the pattern continues

The price is right, but I would NEVER give a gift from a grocery store!

Some of you may be thinking that you’d never dream of giving a gift that clearly came from a grocery store, no matter HOW much you paid for it. For me, the whole point of a budget hack is getting high quality products for a fraction of the cost by pitching in just a little bit of time + effort. Here’s how I turn these $3.66 candles into hostess gifts to be proud of …

With just a few quick steps, you can turn a grocery store candle into a charming and budget friendly hostess gift.

With just a few quick steps, you can turn a grocery store candle into a charming and budget friendly hostess gift.

Start by getting rid of any incriminating evidence! Remove packaging, stickers, logos, etc. and don’t leave any goop! Goo Gone is my weapon of choice. For candles, in particular, watch out for brands with labels which are etched or painted onto the glass – they are sometimes impossible to remove!

Shine anything that is glass or plastic. A quick wipe with Windex or vinegar makes a world of difference and bumps the gift up from grocery cart to designer shelf quality immediately.

Wrap with flare! A little cellophane, tulle or tissue paper et voila! Dollarama also sells lovely little mesh bags, funky Chinese take-out containers, and every manner of scarves which make creative wrapping as well. If you’re near a Michaels store, be sure to stop in for similar gift wrapping items and use your 40% or 50% OFF coupons (print or mobile). I NEVER pass a Michaels without popping in for one item; you can usually only use one coupon per visit.

Add a card. A handwritten note demonstrates that your “giftie” was thoughtfully chosen and reinforces your gratefulness for whatever it is you’re thanking someone for. Again, Dollarama and Michaels have very inexpensive options. I particularly like these small ones that were in the $.50 bargain bin at Michaels. There are 8 in each pack!

Trim the wick to 1/4" to keep the rim free from soot. GooGone is great for removing stickers & labels.

Trim the wick to 1/4″ to keep the rim free from soot. GooGone is great for removing stickers & labels.

Keeping a small supply of “gifties” on hand means I’m never caught without something to give to the hostess, and more importantly from a budget point of view, I’m never caught slipping into a boutique or home decor store and paying full price when I’m in a pinch!

Throw in your 2 Cents below! What are your favourite budget hacks when it comes to gift giving? (It’s ok – we won’t tell your friends & family what they’re getting for their next gift!)

My Thanksgiving Laundry Fail

Fall can be a challenging season for air drying laundry.

Fall can be a challenging season for air drying laundry.

This fall has been a dream for this dryerless dame – lots of sun and just the right amount of wind to keep the “smells” of autumn at bay (think farming community!).  Thanksgiving Sunday was no exception and even though we were hosting family for dinner, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to hang out a couple of loads first thing in the morning.

Everything, including jeans, was dry by 4 and I opted to tuck the dryer racks under the gazebo instead of hauling them to the basement to fold later. It’s not that it would have taken more than a couple of minutes to move the 3 racks, it was more a question of “where will I be most motivated to fold the clean clothes tomorrow?“. I choose the sunny backyard view over the basement, any day!

Last night it rained.  No, it poured.  And the outer perimeter of clothes got drenched.

Thankfully it’s sunny today and I’m confident that the laundry will air dry again with no damage done. If it had been a wet day today, though, a trip to the laundromat to use the dryers would have been in order. So far, in the past year, we’ve only had to do that once.  Everyone has their “eek, I’m flying to Cuba tomorrow” underwear emergencies every now and then, right?!

Fall can be a challenging season to dry indoors: we don’t have the furnace on yet nor do we get full sun through the patio doors until the last of the leaves have fallen.  So even if I’d put the clothes back in the washing machine for one more spin cycle to get out the excess rain water, I don’t know that the jeans and heavier knits would have dried indoors on their own.  Let me rephrase. I’m not sure that the jeans and heavier knits would have dried before starting to smell like wet dog. I’ve heard that happens (;

Our 10 month total spent on drying clothes is holding steady at $3.

Where do you Find all of those Coupons, anyways + What do You Do with them Next?

3 Quick Steps to stretch the value of each and every coupon!

3 Quick Steps to stretch the value of each and every coupon!

I’m often asked this question when I am grocery shopping: “Where do you get all of those coupons, anyways?!”. It’s more often by the cashiers than by fellow customers because I’m still somewhat of a closet couponer and carry a small coupon binder! Maintaining a steady flow of incoming coupons in the mail plays a key role in my success as a couponer. I don’t like to print out coupons unless they’re for a $15 mail in rebate, for example, or will contribute to me getting FREE products (i.e. a $2 OFF coupon with a 50% OFF sale price AND a $1 Checkout 51 rebate). I also don’t visit too many stores other than Walmart now that price-matching is so seamless with the mobile Reebee app and since Walmart doesn’t often have tear-pad coupons, I’m not usually well stocked-up on those. Imagine my delight when it turned out that one of my Blissdom roommates was a real life tear-pad-putter-upper! (more on that in a future post!)

I follow these 3 steps to make each coupon worth even more

I saved over $300 last October by using coupons and try to devote a few minutes each day to placing new orders! I found lots today and should have a good mail week next week! As I mentionned in my full post over on CanadianCoupons.net (that’s where you’ll find my daily blog posts about couponing), I have a regular routine after I receive coupons in the mail:

 

  1. Check Flyer On Fire to find out if the product is on sale in any flyer
  2. Check Checkout 51 to see if there is a CashBack Rebate offer for the product
  3. Use my Reebee app to price match the item at Walmart

This is how I was able to turn a $1 OFF Rice Kripsies coupon into $4 in savings, for example, and I am not likely to redeem any of the new coupons that I ordered today unless there are 1 or 2 other layers of savings to match them with.

To find out what I exactly what I ordered today (and to order them, too!), visit my Binder Maintenance blog post over on Canadian Coupons – the website was my sponsor for Blissdom Canada Conference again this year and I hope to do them proud by playing my role in the savings revolution!