Saving Money

January 24

Online Stores with Free or Cheap Returns

Posted by on January 24, 2015 at 8:00 PM

Online Stores with Free or Cheap Returns

This is a guest post by a Mooser who loves Bargainmoose and checks it every day and does a lot of online shopping because of her location. Thanks Susan from Saskatoon!

As online shopping gains popularity in Canada, companies are becoming more competitive by offering free or low cost shipping. If you’re someone who shops online to save time, save money,  geographic limitations,  or just because, at some point you will receive something you wish you could return. You may be more inclined to order from an online store knowing you can easily make a return by mail or courier for a small cost, or even better, free.

The following are some points to consider regarding “free or cheap” online returns to ensure you are an educated purchaser. Keep in mind these points only pertain to online returns and do not consider returning the items in store.

Meet the Free Shipping Minimum: Most online stores offer free shipping, or free shipping with a minimum purchase. If you can return items at no cost or for a small return fee, ordering additional items to reach the minimum free shipping threshold is in your best interest.

Evaluate your “Return Fee Risk”: Some stores charge a small return fee or re-stocking fee. Evaluate the benefits of ordering from this company and ensure they outweigh the risks of having to return items and get charged this fee. For example, Club Monaco charges a $5 return fee. Chances are, if you were to shop in store, you’d spend more than $5 on gas and parking so the return fee is justifiable.

Minimize or Eliminate your Return Fee: One way to minimize your return fees is to return multiple orders in one parcel, then contact Customer Service to ask if you can just be charged one return fee. Also, inspect your items carefully when they arrive. For example if you ordered several sweaters and one has a fabric pull, the store will mostly likely accept the return of the damaged item, and anything else you decide to return, at their cost.

Return Policy Timelines: Be aware of the return policy timelines, if you must return your merchandise within 30 days or 60 days for example. Lululemon has the shortest return timeline I’m aware of at 14 days from the delivery date.

Sale items/Clearance/Final sale: Be informed of what you can and cannot return. Some online stores will allow you to return sale-price merchandise, but not clearance-priced. Also note which items are final sale, such as underwear.

Return Method: Note the return method the store utilizes and its convenience. The most commonly used shipping carriers in Canada are Canada Post, Fed-Ex and UPS. Do you live or work near a Canada Post outlet? Will you plan to take your parcel to a Fed-Ex or UPS store, or call to arrange a pick-up? Some stores include a pre-paid shipping label, others you have to request one. If you have to request a shipping label, it will either be mailed or emailed to you.

Now that you’re fully educated on merchandise returns, here are some clothing, footwear and accessory stores that offer free or cheap returns. Be sure to read the return policy for additional details prior to placing an order.

Free Returns:

Stores with minimal return fees:

I’d like to see The Bay offer free returns. You could also check out our list of stores that ship for free, as many of them might do free returns as well.

Bargainmoosers, do you have some stores to add to this list? Are there some stores you wish offered free returns?

Photo credit: Mark Engelbrecht

Moose Rating (2 votes)
January 22

7 Easy Inexpensive Valentine’s Day Decor Ideas For Your Home

Posted by on January 22, 2015 at 8:00 PM

7 Easy Inexpensive Valentine’s Day Decor Ideas For Your Home

Mi amore! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner including all of the hearts, sparkles and kisses that goes with it. The stores are already starting to tempt us with candy hearts and giant stuffed dogs professing their love. I like to spruce up my house with a few decorations for the holiday. While you can find plenty of shiny heart tinsel, I prefer to spend my cash on treating my sweetie instead of elaborate decor. Here is a great roundup of cute and easy ideas that you can put together to spruce up your holiday decor for Valentine’s Day while still keeping things cheap and chic.

1. Valentine’s Day Heart From Wine Corks

7 Easy Inexpensive Valentine’s Day Decor Ideas For Your Home

This cute upcycled craft will not cost you anything if you are already a wine drinker. This cork heart from Sand and Sisal looks amazing and is super simple. Grab a hot glue gun and some leftover wine corks and you are ready to create. Draw a heart on a piece of paper as your guide. Then place corks along the line making sure they touch. Once you have enough to create the edge of your heart you can start gluing. Another alternative would be to fill in the entire heart with corks on the inside also. You could then hang the filled heart on the wall and use thumbtacks to stick little love notes into it for your sweetie. I love that this craft looks expensive without very much effort.

2. Free Valentine’s Day Printable

7 Easy Inexpensive Valentine’s Day Decor Ideas For Your Home

I love free printable pictures to change up the look in my house for any holiday. All you need is a picture frame and a printer. Check out these free printable pictures from Soho Sonnet. Included are 7 cutesy printable pages with lots of hearts, flowers and modern prints and one cheeky one that says “I love you like a fat kid loves cake.” Add these to a picture frames with multiple slots and see if your friends notice the cheeky one. These freebies are available in three different sizes so they should fit whatever frame you already have in your house.

3. Melted Crayon Word Art

7 Easy Inexpensive Valentine’s Day Decor Ideas For Your Home

I really like this cute word art from Pieces By Polly. This blogger used trivets for the decoration above but you could use canvas, wood or even cardboard as your base. Paint a base coat if necessary on your chosen canvas. Then cut out the letters and trace around it on to your canvas. You can choose to spell love, another word or even pick shape such as a heart. I would keep my shape or letters somewhat simple to keep the piece looking clean and modern. Melt the tip of the crayons in a candle then press the melted wax onto your surface around the outside of your shape. Repeat the process until your entire surface except for the letter or shape is covered. I like that this technique can be created on pretty much whatever you have already laying around the house. This would be so sweet for a little kid’s playroom spelling out their name also.

4. Candy Filled Vase

7 Easy Inexpensive Valentine’s Day Decor Ideas For Your Home

It is time to raid the candy section at the bulk store for this sweet craft. I love how simple this conversation heart vase is from A Day In My Life. All you need is two vases, one large that is clear and one small in any colour plus any small Valentine’s Day candy. Place the smaller vase inside the larger vase. Fill the space in between the two vases with candy. Viola!

The smaller vase in the center allows you to put water in for real flowers that your sweetie gives you. You could also throw in fake flowers for effect. If you are trying to give a hint you want flowers for Valentine’s Day, this might be a way to do it subtly. My husband is overall observant but I would probably throw a few flowers in it myself to finish the look. This craft also tastes as delicious as it looks.

5. Coffee Filter Valentine’s Day Wreath

7 Easy Inexpensive Valentine’s Day Decor Ideas For Your Home

Check out this beautiful heart wreath from Soccer Mom Style. I always seem to have cardboard laying around the house so that makes this project super easy. You can buy coffee filters for only a buck or two if you do not already have some. Simply create your shape out of cardboard and cut it out. You can poke holes to put in the coffee filters as this blogger has done or you could hot glue the coffee filters to the cardboard. I like how she painted the tips of the coffee filters red but you could really choose any colour. I will probably add a layer of glitter to mine with some leftover spray adhesive.

6. Paper Heart Garlands

7 Easy Inexpensive Valentine’s Day Decor Ideas For Your Home

If you can staple and cut, you can make this sweet heart garlands from Posed Perfection. This is another versatile idea because you can use any kind of paper and string you already have handy. Solid red, pink and white paper looks great in this garland, but you could easily jazz this up with pages from an old book or leftover scrapbooking paper. For an alternative version of this garland, check out this curlier version at How About Orange that is strung on clear thread.

7. Valentine’s Day Countdown

7 Easy Inexpensive Valentine’s Day Decor Ideas For Your Home

Add a little suspense and excitement to the holiday with a countdown. This decoration idea serves double duty as treats and decoration, my kind of home decor! Click on over to this easy advent calendar style countdown from The House of Smiths. Paper bags, doilies and glitter are all inexpensive to pick up if you do not already have them on hand. The countdown numbers on the bags are made of vinyl, but you could easily write the numbers on yourself with a marker or some glue and more glitter. Fill the bags with whatever treats will excite your favourite sweetie.

Skip the flimsy cartoon hearts this time. Instead use these ideas to create your own decorations. Without a ton of extra effort you can have fun decorations that will look chic in your home.

Photo credit: Photophilde

Moose Rating (2 votes)
January 21

Super Easy Hacks to Reduce Your Cleaning Supplies Budget

Posted by on January 21, 2015 at 8:00 PM

Super Easy Hacks to Reduce Your Cleaning Supplies Budget

It is January and many of us are looking to trim our budgets. While you want your house to be clean and tidy there are some places in your budget you can cut without tons of extra effort.

Laundry Soap

Take a close look at the inside of the laundry soap cup. You may be surprised to realize that there are several line markers but most of us just fill the cup up and dump. If you reduce the amount of laundry soap by only 20%, it will allow your clothes to come out of the wash just as clean. If you have a load of laundry that is particularly big or dirty, then you may consider a whole scoop. The laundry detergent company is usually counting the number of loads of laundry per bottle of detergent based on the smallest measurement on the cup.

The average bottle of laundry soap ranges from $10-$20 per bottle if you buy it in a 36-48 load range. I know I can use roughly one bottle a month for a family of 3. That works out to roughly $120-$240 per year spent on soap. A range of $96-$192 (20% less) spent on laundry soap sure looks better to my yearly budget.

I know some friends who have made their own laundry soap cheaply but I am not impressed. While making your own soap does reduce costs drastically in your budget, I found that bright clothing loses its colour. I even had a friend who used homemade detergent and hung dry all her daughter’s clothes. I still found the bright colours and whites had a tinge to them that does not keep them looking new. Try reducing your soap for a week and give your clothes the sniff test first.

Laundry Stain Pre-Treat

Even with a small child in the house, I have been able to cut down to only a bottle or two a year of stain pre-treat solution. The average bottle of stain treatment costs about $3-$6 per bottle. I know many friends who go through a bottle a month on average, costing $36-$72 per year.

My secret is using the laundry detergent I am already washing with. Grab an old toothbrush and poor the liquid soap into the cup. Pre-treat the stains by rubbing the soap into the stain on both sides of the material. Repeat until all stains have been gently scrubbed, then throw everything in the wash. I have found that about 80% of stains on my clothes come clean with this quick step using soap I was already washing with anyways. This has reduced me to buying only 1-2 bottles of pre-treat a year to kick the rest of those stains in the butt on the second time through the wash.

Dryer Sheets

I remember my mother cutting the dryer sheets in half when I was a kid and thinking she was crazy. I am sure you can hear my know-it-all teen voice now. “Mom, really, we can afford a whole dryer sheet.” In reality for an average size load of laundry, half a sheet works just fine. Your loads will come out fresh, clean and static free. You can also consider the wool reusable dryer balls that we spoke about in a previous post.

Dish Soap

Many of us when making a tub of dish water just plop a big dollop of soap in the bin or on the sponge. The reality is it takes far less soap then we realize to make suds that are perfect for cleaning. A little goes a surprisingly long way, you can always add more soap if you need it.

I also personally find that dish soap is a product where a better brand does matter. I usually average about $2-$2.50 per bottle of dish soap. Despite hand washing all of my dishes, an average bottle will last me a roughly a month. With being mindful this costs me only roughly $25 per year.

Sponges

Did you know you can make your sponge last twice as long? Follow some of these tips and you will also be spreading less bacteria around the kitchen. According to this health article on Canoe.ca  there are several things you can do to extend the life of your sponge. One option is to drop it in the dishwasher regularly on the top rack to disinfect it. You can also try soaking the sponge for at least 20 minutes in vinegar to disinfect it. I find that with this method is effective but time consuming on my part, plus then my home smells like vinegar.

Another option is to microwave your sponge for two minutes in a bowl of warm water and lemon juice according to the Huffington Post. Microwaving the kitchen sponge is a method I use regularly to keep my sponges in better shape and full of less bacteria. I find I get about twice as long a life out of each sponge by microwaving. Please be careful using this method and follow these guidelines.

  • Add fresh or concentrated lemon juice to the water before heating the sponge.
  • Make sure you cover the sponge completely in water inside the bowl. A dry sponge could catch fire or melt.
  • Let the sponge cool. Remember the water inside that sponge is now super-hot if you squeeze it!
  • Not every sponge is safe to microwave so use at your own risk. Never put a sponge with metal on it in the microwave.

Of course, you can also use reusable cloths in your kitchen. Washing these washcloths regularly will also keep your bacteria count down but cost more up front. Wash cloths can easily be thrown in with other loads of heavier duty laundry.

Moose Rating (2 votes)
January 20

How To Shop Smart At Liquidation Sales

Posted by on January 20, 2015 at 8:00 PM

How To Shop Smart At Liquidation Sales

Recently, there have been several companies sadly announcing they are leaving the Canadian market. A few that come to mind include Smart Set, Mexx, Sony Canada’s retail locations and one of the largest retail closures Canada has seen in a while, Target Canada. While this is a sad state of affairs, the up-side for bargain hunters is the liquidation sales that follow. You can save some big bucks at liquidation sales if you shop smart. Here are some tips to think about before you head to the sale.

Shop With Your Brain, Not Your Emotions

I have been a loyal Target cheerleader long before Target crossed across the Canadian border. When I recently heard about Target’s closing in Canada, I headed over there that day. The reality is while I managed to score a few deals in the clearance sections and on some toys that were liquidated after the holiday, I picked up a lot more than I needed. The actual liquidation sales have not even fully started. I am in trouble if I shop with my emotions. My cart was soon full of things I did not need to buy that day including:

  • My favourite Archer Farms brand coffee and trail mix
  • A large supply of Annie’s Mac and Cheese that I cannot easily find on shelves anywhere else
  • Method brand cleaner that I know I can buy elsewhere but would normally buy at Target
  • 3 pairs of Circo jeggings for my daughter
  • 3 boxes of Up and Up brand dryer sheets that I love the smell of but go through only one box of dryer sheets annually.

The reality is that I was shopping with my emotions at a retailer I really liked. I was upset that the products I liked would not be easily available anymore. “I will never be able to get this trail mix again,” I told myself, when I could easily mix the same mixture from items I pick up at other stores. I said, “I love these dryer sheets,” when honestly, who is really so dedicated to dryer sheets that they could not survive with another brand? Do not get me started on the Method Cleaner products…  They are on sale and were a decent price, ok?

Know Who Is Doing the Liquidating

It is important as you step foot into a company’s sale that you try to figure out if the company is liquidating their stock or a liquidation company is taking care of the sale. I find this can make a big difference in how closely you have to watch your price tags.

My experience is that a liquidation company will purposely make prices confusing sometimes, so you spend more. The signage may not be clear once those aisles are picked to bare bones. The difference I find is the liquidating company often purposely will not have clear signage or prices on every item, in hopes that they can steer you to the higher price and make a little more cash. Often the employees at in store sales hosted by a liquidation company are temporary workers who do not know the product they are selling very well.

In my experience, when a company is doing their own closing sale, they often will force prices through much more quickly if you tell them a price was incorrect or lower. That does not mean to take a break from watching the price tags when it is a company handling its own closing sale. I find it is important to know who you are speaking to. If the person in front of you is about to lose their job, maybe you could cut them a little slack in how you approach them with questions about various products.

Price Match

The liquidation companies will often start discounts much lower than the prices that a retail company would usually offer. Sometimes the discounts only start at 10% or 20% off and increase as the sale continues. The liquidation company is trying to make every possible penny and sometimes those “deals” cost more than the friendly retailer down the street or online.

Shop Early & Shop Late

All jokes aside about the ridiculous amount of Annie’s Bunny Mac and Cheese I bought my daughter recently at Target – if there are items at a retailer you like that is going out of business, it is the time to stock up. Some items are just darn hard to find again, especially I find if it is clothing. Now is the time to stock up on those items you would have paid full price for anyways. If there is a particular item you want, I would go early in the sale. Liquidation sales typically last 8 to 12 weeks and lots of items will be snapped up quickly.

It is worth heading back to a sale at least one more time as the sale is winding down. Often later in the sale, items start receiving bigger discounts as the company is trying to liquidate. While items are heavily picked over, if you are diligent you can grab some smart finds later in the sale.

Check Warranties Carefully

This applies even more specifically to large items or electronics. Often the consumer warranties that are included with many products are invalid at a liquidation sale. Though the manufacture may still cover general malfunction, any damage done to an item at the sale is often considered sold “as is.” It can be tricky if a manufacture is insisting you return to store and I can guarantee the liquidation company will not be interested in helping you. Check over items carefully before you buy.

Haggle

Haggling sometimes works and sometimes does not. It is worth a try however as the liquidator just wants to make some money. I have successfully haggled at a liquidation sale when I noticed an item is dented or the packaging was no longer in pristine condition. I found this worked best if you are buying a high priced item or have many other items you are purchasing at the same time. It may take a call to a manager, but if you are patient, haggling may just work.  It is also worth speaking to a manager about a bigger discount if you are buying an item in bulk. “I will buy the entire case of item X,” tends to get their attention a little more, especially if it is a bigger item and you may just get your price.

Bargainmoosers, what is your favourite tip for scoring bargains at liquidation sales?

(Image credit: Mike)

Moose Rating (5 votes)
January 17

How to Save on GPS When Traveling in the United States

Posted by on January 17, 2015 at 8:00 PM

How to Save on GPS When Traveling in the United States

On a recent weekend get-away road trip down to the United States, I decided last minute to sign up for a few days with Roam Mobility so I could access cellular data while I was in the United States of America to avoid the high data charges from my cellular account with Telus.

I thought it would be a good idea so that if I needed directions to get somewhere it would be easier.  It was probably the best $4 that I have spent in the past year.  It was only $2 a day, instead of the $10+ a day it would cost to rent an actual GPS from a car rental company or buy a GPS device (I personally don’t know how to operate them) for hundreds of dollars.

Here’s how you do it.

Sign Up for Roam Mobility

Roam Mobility allows you to talk, text, and use data in the United States without paying the expensive roaming charges through Telus, Bell, or Rogers.  All you have to do is buy a Roam Mobility SIM card (Regular price is $19.99 but often you an get two SIM cards for $15 or a discount on the $19.99 price tag).  With the SIM card you will need to make sure your Telus, Rogers or Bell (or whatever phone you have) is unlocked.   Alternately, if you do not want to unlock your cell phone you could buy a Roam Mobility cell phone instead of a SIM card, that way you have a designated phone.  Bargainmoose also has some great promo codes and deals on Roam Mobility SIM cards.

Sign up for Roam Mobility through their website and then choose how many days you want (you can even prebook it).  The options are talk, text, and data, or just text and data etc.  With the SIM card you will have your own “United States” phone number that you can use (it is yours for a whole year but you lose it after a year of inactivity with the SIM card).  I opted for the text and data plan.  You will be charged (after you give your credit card information) and you won’t have to pay any overage fees after that.  What you pay is what you pay! (Isn’t that a great feeling?)

Using the data (it is 2G data, so it was slow so when you are looking up actual websites, it is slower than molasses) was great because I always use Google Maps even when I’m NOT traveling and just driving around the city.  It was great for whatsapp and texting, as well.

Other Ways to Save on GPS Without Having to Buy a GPS

Another way to save without having to buy a GPS (or rent a GPS if you are using a rental car) is if you input your destination in Google Maps while you have free wifi (in your hotel or accommodation or whatever) you can use these tips by iPhonehacks to input “OK maps” in order to have the map saved offline.  Wired magazine also confirms that this is probably one of the best kept secrets.  It’s not the same as navigation but better than no map at all!  Google Maps directions should also work even if you don’t have data as long as you had data/ wifi when you inputted the original directions.  This is of course if difficult when you have multiple destinations you want to go to and when you’re on the go, which is why signing up for Roam Mobility makes so much sense, especially if you head to the United States often.

Here are some more tips on how to save money by not buying a GPS from HowtoGeek’s blog.

Personally I don’t know how I would have been able to handle driving on those highways without the navigation system (remember the days when we used to have maps on paper format?).  There would have been many wrong turns, I’m sure, which is part of the allure and adventure of road trips, but sometimes you just want to get from A to B without any added adventure, right?

Bargainmoosers, have you tried using Roam Mobility?  What do you use for your GPS navigation system when you are road-tripping in the United States?

Photo credit: Graeme Law

Moose Rating (4 votes)
January 15

6 Clever DIY To Make Out Of Cardboard

Posted by on January 15, 2015 at 8:00 PM

6 Clever DIY To Make Out Of Cardboard

Now that the holidays are winding down you may find yourself with a little extra cardboard lying around the house. Why let all of it head into the recycling bin? Create some amazing DIY projects with cardboard instead. Here are 6 clever things you can make out of cardboard.

1. Winter Wonderland Playset

6 Clever DIY To Make Out Of Cardboard

This little Winter Wonderland Playset from Mr. Printables is made from only cardboard, wood peg cloth pins, paint and a few scraps of fabric and string. Make dolls, a polar bear, a moose, huskies, trees and sled for only pennies. Print out the free printable to trace and then slide the cardboard pieces together to decorate. I really like how simple the details are on this set. It gives the pieces a modern look and I think I could easily recreate them without lots of additional effort. This is an adorable playset!

2. Yarn Wrapped Monogram Letter Wall Decoration

6 Clever DIY To Make Out Of Cardboard

This thrifty little yarn wrapped monogram letter from Catch My Party is a great way to give a little pop of color to your wall. The directions seem easy enough and help you to create an ombre monogram letter. Trace a large letter on to a piece of cardboard. Wrap yarn symmetrically around the cardboard letter while you affix glue to the back to hold the yarn. Since the yarn will be on the back you could probably even use a strong tape and no one would know. I would also suggest trying twine for a rustic but homey look. Embellish with fake flowers, rhinestones or anything else that inspires you and matches your home décor.

This project looks much more expensive than it really is depending on the embellishments and colour pallet you choose. I could see a simple word looking nice hanging on the wall in this style such as “Joy” or “Love.” You could also do a child’s name and decorate it to match the theme of the room.

3. Homemade Skeeball

6 Clever DIY To Make Out Of Cardboard

Grab an extra-long box and consider making this full size Skeeball from My Beau Baby. This game looks simple enough to put together using tape, cardboard and a few balls. You can add blown up water balloons to look like midway lights along the edges for effect.  The blogger notes to make sure you spend extra time on making the bump large enough so the balls will bounce correctly into the various point containers. This particular skeeball was created for a kid’s party. I can see this game also being a great addition any evening of fun. Now can someone construct a ball return out of cardboard?

4. Cardboard and Fabric Bed Headboard

6 Clever DIY To Make Out Of Cardboard

Shhh! No one will know that this bed headboard from the blog Stars For Street Lights is made of cardboard. Check out this quick tutorial as they create an inexpensive headboard using cardboard, 2 yards of fabric, 2 yards of quilt batting, staples and tape.  While perhaps plywood would be more durable, cardboard can be used if you have it handy. I can see this headboard mounted straight on the wall rather than attached to the bed. Best of all if you get sick of your bedroom’s look and it is a cheap fix to change things up.

5. Cute Storage Boxes Covered in Fabric

6 Clever DIY To Make Out Of Cardboard

I know I hope to organize my junk be more organized in my home in the New Year. That usually means spending a pretty penny at the store buying cute bins and totes to help keep my house looking smart. Those of us who can cut and glue can cover old cardboard boxes with fabric using this tutorial from Namely Original. I really like the cute fabrics used in the tutorial. The great news is you could possibly save even more on the fabric by looking at old t-shirts and other clothes to repurpose. Those boxes could be cute with some jean trim and the linings could be old t-shirts. I would also check my local thrift store for clothes, blankets or sheets with fun patterns that can be snipped apart and utilized. This is a great project to do some upcycling. These boxes are easy to create in many sizes.

6. Shirt Folding Board

6 Clever DIY To Make Out Of Cardboard

I like my shirts lined up in a nice neat in a row, but I can never seem to get the same kind of stack they get in the retail stores. Maybe it is because when I cannot fit the last shirt in correctly, I still manage to fit it in the drawer. Use some cardboard and create your own shirt folding board per Instructables. Your shirts will have a nice clean wrinkle free fold every time and slide smoothly into the drawer. I see this coming in handy if you have many dress shirts that you want to be neat. On the other hand, you can just pretend you are Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory with your t-shirts.

So what are you waiting for? Dig that cardboard out of the recycling bin and get your duct tape. Mama needs a new shirt folding board.

Photo credit: Arbyreed

Moose Rating (4 votes)
January 13

Cheap Night In – Let’s Play Cards!

Posted by on January 13, 2015 at 8:00 PM

Cheap Night In   Let’s Play Cards!

During this cold part of winter I often like to play cards with my family and friends. Cards are an inexpensive way to have a little bit of fun and have a few laughs. It is also a great chance to reach out to that neighbour across the street or get to know that coworker at the desk next to you.

Compare this night of fun with a standard night out to dinner for two at $50-$100 and up. Now compare this to a night at the movies for two starting at $25, which for a movie these days means smuggling in your own snacks and does not include 3D or any of the other movie extras. A night in with a deck of cards and a $10 bottle of wine sounds great for a fun night in.

There are tons of games you can play with a standard deck of cards. If you do not happen to have a deck of cards and cannot find one, Walmart will deliver one to you for only $4 per deck. I suspect most dollar stores  also carries playing cards for cheaper. Here are some of my favorite games to play with a standard deck of playing cards.

Bingo (3-5 players)

Most people know the Bingo game that you play with cards and chips. This version of Bingo also goes by Bango or Hoy and you play with a standard deck of cards. Bring a bunch of nickels and dimes to play for cash, or divvy up some snacks like raisins and Smarties to be your currency.

Every player starts by adding something to the winner’s pot in the centre. Each player is dealt 5 cards face down. Ten cards are dealt face down in the centre. If any player has four cards of the same rank (four kings, four 3’s, etc.) all cards are re-dealt.

The dealer turns one card from the centre over at a time and all players discard any cards they have of the same rank without revealing their cards. For example if a king is called, all kings in player’s hands are then discarded face down in front of them. Play continues until one player is out of cards and yells Bingo. Each player must add to the prize pot for each card that is in his or her hand. The winner wins the entire prize pot and then the next round begins.

This game can accommodate many more players if you add additional decks of cards. A friend of mine hosts games with two decks of cards in play and up to 10 players. She says her son’s college fund is growing in her Bingo winning’s bag. When you play with extra people the winning’s pot can get big. For more details on other variations of this game, you can check out more rules at Pagat.

Hearts (Best with 4 players but can adapt to 3-7 players)

Hearts is a trick taking game that is fun to play with a crowd. Deal out 13 cards to each player. Immediately after the cards are dealt, you pass three cards to the player on your left or right depending on the hand. Each hand you alternate passing to the left or right for fairness. The person with the two of clubs leads the first hand also known as a trick. Each player must follow the suit led (diamonds, spades, etc.) and the highest card wins the round. Aces count high above the king card. If a player does not have a card in the same suit as was led, they can then play a heart card. A hearts card will always win the round unless someone plays a heart card with a higher value.

The player who won the last round/trick then leads the next round with any card. Since heart cards will trump any suit on a hand, you also cannot lead with a heart card until a hearts card is played in a previous round. The only exception to this rule is if the only cards in your hand are hearts cards you can then lead with a hearts card. Play continues until all cards are finished.

When we played at my house growing up, we always counted the number of tricks we won each round. The person who won the most number of tricks was the winner. I think we perhaps played that way because I was a kid and it was simpler. There are many variations to this game also and a much more complicated scoring system is more widely accepted with the game. Scoring typically includes accruing one point for each heart card taken and 13 points for taking the queen of spades. Players continue play until one-player reaches 100 points. The person who then has the lowest score is the winner. For full details and variations, you can check out the rules at Bicycle Cards.

Clock Solitaire (1 player)

This is the perfect game for when no one else wants to play or it is just too icy to go out. This game does not require any skill. It is perfect when you want to do something but do not want to think very hard. I like to play when I need a break from screen time. This is also a great game to teach kids.

Deal cards into a circle in front of you. One card is placed for each number on the clock plus an additional card is put in a pile in the centre. Once you go around the circle once continue dealing around the circle until all the cards are dealt including placing one card in the centre each round. Once dealt you should have four cards at each of the 12 positions of the clock plus an additional four cards in the centre. Flip over the first card in the centre then place the card at the matching clock position under the stack of cards you find there. Then you then flip over a card on that pile and repeat. The ace card goes to the 1 o’clock position. Jacks are at the 11 o’clock position and queens are at the 12 o’clock position. Place king cards in the stack in the centre of the circle.

Play continues until all cards are back at their correct stations which means you have won the game. If you flip over all four king cards and there is still other cards facing down, the game is lost. For more rules and variations, see the Wikipedia page for Clock Patience, another name for this game.

There are also lots of free apps and games online that you can play card games without having to have additional players. Pogo.com has a great selection of free card games you can play online with no friends needed for your game night. I personally would rather have a group of people sitting around my kitchen table giving each other heck while we play. The computer version is also a fun way to pass the evening but perhaps less social.

What is your favourite card game to play Bargainmoosers?

Photo credit: Steve Evans

Moose Rating (3 votes)
January 10

3 Household Must-Haves That Will Save you Money

Posted by on January 10, 2015 at 8:00 PM

3 Household Must Haves That Will Save you Money

There are a few things around my home that have revolutionized my way of living and made it much easier.  Things that are so simple, yet so effective and important around the home.  Things that you wouldn’t normally think of being that great, but they are really that great.

Here are some household must-haves that will save you money (and of course time):

Dryer Balls (If you use a dryer of course)

My drying machine takes hours and hours (maybe two hours) to dry.  It’s too wet out in the winter to air dry my clothes and I really do enjoy that warm dry laundry feeling when you pull fresh laundry out of the dryer.  Even when I put the dryer setting on permanent press and add fabric softener, it comes out pretty wrinkled.  The bane of my existence is the weekly ironing sessions to iron out all the wrinkles in my work pants and shirts.

Then recently, I bought some merino wool dryer balls from Amazon.  I put about three dryer balls in and my clothes are fluffy, soft, they even SMELL better (more like laundry and more fresh) and the drying time has been reduced.

The dryer balls work by increasing air circulation, absorbing moisture, and rotating the clothes within the dryer.  The David Suzuki Foundation blog also confirms that dryer balls do work.  They are about $3 a piece, but they are the best three dollars I have spent in a while.  They are shown to reduce drying time by 30-50% and best of all (especially for me, since I hate ironing) they reduce wrinkles!

If you are interested in learning how to make your own wool dryer balls, head to Creative Bug!

What better way to help the environment and yourself by not having to iron as much. Alternately, if you want to REALLY save money, apparently Buzzfeed states that you can make your own dryer balls by throwing balls of bunched up aluminum into the dryer.  I have not tried this myself.

Crock Pot

A crock pot is probably one of the most inexpensive but yet practical tools/ pieces of kitchen equipment available.  For less than $50 for a decent crock pot you can save up to a thousand dollars a year in grocery bills.  According to US News, the crock pot or slow cooker provides leftovers for lunch, takes very little time and effort to prepare meals, and saves you from having to eat out.

Since I am busy working full-time and I pull long hours at work, at the end of the day I barely have enough energy to cook dinner.  The solution is that I batch cook on Sundays and then I have enough meals for the week.  It takes minimal effort and always produces delicious food.  I have made Cuban pot roast, slow cooker chicken, and short ribs, plus other delicious meals that I enjoy throughout the week.  I often freeze meals as well.

Here are a few slow cooker recipes to get you started:

 A Year of Slow Cooking- yes, you guessed correctly!  365 recipes to get you started! (Won’t be short of ideas, that’s for sure!)

New Leaf Wellness- 8 slow cooker freezer ready meals in under 75 minutes (and this includes clean up time!)

Vinegar, Baking Soda, and Lemon

When life gives you lemon, you don’t have to make lemonade, you can just clean.  According to Curbly.com, the must-haves for your household are vinegar, baking soda, and lemon.  With these free cleaning powerhouses, it will eliminate the need to purchase expensive household cleaners.  You can disinfect and clean your cutting boards by running half of a lemon over the cutting board surface.  You can make household cleaner with just vinegar and an orange rind.  You can use baking soda to polish silver, or you can use it as a scrub to scrub off stains and difficult to remove kitchen stains.  Same goes for a bathroom scrub, too.  Baking soda also works great as a deodorizer.  Finally, when your trash can smells funky, just add some baking soda and everything smells fresh again.

There you have it, the three essential must-haves for a happy household!

Bargainmoosers, what are some household must-haves that are life changing for you (or at least household-changing)?

Photo credit: J D

Moose Rating (7 votes)
January 8

7 DIY Fitness Equipment Ideas

Posted by on January 8, 2015 at 8:00 PM

7 DIY Fitness Equipment Ideas

If like many, one of your new year resolution was to get in shape and hit the gym, then it’s possible that you may have already gotten discouraged but it’s important to keep at it! Gyms are packed at this time of year and if those make you nervous anyways, then make your own fitness equipment for a fraction of the cost to help you achieve your weight loss goals.

1. Milk Dumbbottles

7 DIY Fitness Equipment Ideas

Ever heard of using common household items to work out? The milk dumb bottle DIY by Fitness Training At Home builds on that idea, making it even better. Instead of having milk or whatever other contents potentially go bad, fill the jugs instead with sand, concrete and rocks and voila — your very own “dumbbells”!

2. Basketball Kettleball

7 DIY Fitness Equipment Ideas

Kettle balls have an average cost of $40, although some are as cheap as $20 and others much pricier than both these price points. If you have an old basketball or any rubber ball lying around, then make your own kettle ball as per these Instructables. The best part about making your own is that you can control how much you want them to weight and perhaps even make several ones at different weights — all for way cheaper than store-bought ones!

3. Bulgarian Bag

7 DIY Fitness Equipment Ideas

For a total body work out, then a Bulgarian bag is sure to provide the challenge you need. Follow the instructions on 15 Minutes Workout‘s site to make your very own from a car inner tube, sand or any other filler, zip ties and duct tape. Then hit YouTube for Bulgarian bag exercises that you can do from the comfort of your own home.

4. Sand Bag

7 DIY Fitness Equipment Ideas

Do you have an old gym bag lying around? Put it to good use by turning it into a sandbag. Interestingly, this DIY from Running To The Kitchen actually utilizes rice instead of sand but make sure to follow their advice to get the cheapest rice you can from an Asian supermarket — after all, you will be lifting and not eating it!

5. Punching Bag

7 DIY Fitness Equipment Ideas

Here’s a DIY fitness idea that I would have never thought possible: make your own homemade punching bag for under $20 — it could even be as cheap as $5! According to Living Apex, all you need is a shell, sewing capabilities, filler (dirt will suffice) and a hook to hang it. The cost of your bag will depend on the materials you get but overall, this is a very cheap alternative to getting one in-stores!

6. Balance Bars

7 DIY Fitness Equipment Ideas

This one requires some brain power to assemble but luckily, Tom Harvey Training already figured out all of the required PVC pipe lengths and even put together a handy diagram on how to assemble the pieces. Once complete, you will have your very own dip station.

7. Plyo Boxes

7 DIY Fitness Equipment Ideas

Workout DVDs and even cardio videos on YouTube often call for stepping stools but instead of buying one, you can just as easily make one and save money all at the same time. Check out Build Your Dream Body for instructions on how to make his and her plyo boxes for working out at home. I wouldn’t necessarily advice bringing this plyo box to your next fitness class though. 7 DIY Fitness Equipment Ideas

Image Credit: Anita Robicheau

Moose Rating (6 votes)
January 7

3 Easy New Year’s Resolutions To Save Money

Posted by on January 7, 2015 at 8:00 PM

3 Easy New Year’s Resolutions To Save Money

The New Year is a great time to refresh and reflect on some of your frugal practices to save yourself some money. Every year I try to think back over what small tactics worked. Then I come up a new list of little things I can do to save myself extra dough in the coming year. Here is my short list of tactics to save myself a little more money this year, based on some of my own personal vices.

Limit My Coffee Stops with a Gift Card

I admit it – I have a bit of a coffee problem. Even with a perfectly functioning Keurig at home that brews coffee at the push of a button, the allure of a coffee shop can sometimes be too great. Those regular stops at Tim’s, Starbucks, McDonalds or any other shop selling me coffee are not doing my wallet or my waistline any favours. On average, I spend about $3 when I swing through for a cup of coffee. Let us say I go 3 times per week all year. That is $468 out of my yearly budget just on coffee. For this example, imagine I also pick up a sandwich twice a month at $6 to avoid making lunch at home. That adds another $144 to that budget or $612 now spent on coffee shops

One tactic I have used successfully and will use again is to limit my purchases with a gift card. At the beginning of each month I reload my gift card with a set amount. For this example we will say $30. Once the $30 is used up for the month, then you are finished until the next month. If I were to spend only the money on the gift cards instead of spending $612, I have now spent only $360 for the year on coffee runs.

Where this tactic is helpful is those times you feel like grabbing a sandwich. It does not matter what you choose to buy throughout the month on each trip. Once you finish the gift card in a month it is gone. I find myself planning my trips more carefully. I am less likely to pick up an extra item on a whim. I know if I buy that sandwich now, I sacrifice a coffee trip later in the month. I also do not feel like I am sacrificing, as I still can have my regular coffee fix. I found when I used a gift card regularly sometimes at the end of the month I would even have money left over.

Sometimes you can find gift cards on sale that adds to your savings. Additionally some stores like Starbucks or David’s Tea allow you to earn extra rewards such as free drinks for registering a gift card or points card. Keep your eyes out for coupons like these ones for McDonalds  that can help keep your small splurges in check in the coming year.

Repair Something In My Home Or Chuck It

Everyone has something that is sitting there collecting dust that should be repaired. Maybe your sweater has a snag and needs a needle and thread. Maybe that new light fixture you meant to hang is still sitting in the package. Perhaps that toy needs just a little bit of glue.

Broken items cost us more then we realize. They clutter up our home and take up valuable living space. They can sometimes be a safety issue if they contain batteries that might leak or other chemicals that leak into our home. Some of these items are well-intentioned projects we have already spent money to fix. This money is sitting wasted in the bag and is slowly depreciating with each passing day as you run the risk of the item breaking or simply not working anymore.

Here is my plan. One of my favourite sweaters, my husband’s winter hat and the slightly ripped fabric on our couch all need to be patched with only a little effort from me. Both the hat and sweater’s lifespan should be able to extend at least until the end of the winter season, saving a little cash. By repairing the couch now and perhaps buying an inexpensive slipcover I can extend the life of the furniture much longer and keep my cat from making it worse.

Shop The Dollar Store With a List

Does anyone else have this problem with the Dollar Store, where you go in well intentioned for just a few items and end up with a whole basket full? You start browsing the seasonal aisle, the cleaning supplies, the party goods and before you know it, the bill is $30-$50 for your $2 item. If you have this habit twice a month, all year, it could cost $720 and up extra to your budget for the year.

My strategy for the dollar store is to keep a running list on my phone of things I need. If I suddenly realize I must have something at the dollar store I add it to my list. Every two to three weeks I shop only using my list. This then takes care of purchasing those items that really are a good deal at the dollar store such as hand sanitizer, party supplies and overstock shampoo.

This may sound a little like the Grinch but I also only try to go down the holiday aisle once per holiday. It is easy to get lost in the cute and cheap holiday decor. Before long I have thrown into my cart themed window clings, some decorative Valentine’s tinsel, 5 well-intentioned craft kits and more holiday stickers then my kid could ever stick. Once per holiday add the seasonal aisle to your list, then steer clear.

Your savings in this one should help to keep you to your budget. You will still take advantage of the cheap holiday decor and overstock shampoo without filling your house with extra items you never intended to buy. Save yourself that $720 a year.

These are my new year’s resolutions for trimming a little off my budget this year. If I take a closer look, I have saved myself almost $1400 by following these tips.

Bargainmoosers, what resolutions do you have this year to save yourself a chunk of change?

Photo credit: Marwa Morgan

Moose Rating (3 votes)
January 6

How to Save Money on Concert and Event Tickets

Posted by on January 6, 2015 at 8:00 PM

How to Save Money on Concert and Event Tickets

We all know that concert and event tickets can be pricey.  Ranging anywhere from $30 to upwards of over $300 a ticket, we sacrifice a lot of money to see our favourite band or favourite sports team play.  Personally, I am not a big concert-goer or event-goer.  Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy them, watching Usher and Bruno Mars live was amazing but perhaps I am not as die-hard fan as I previously thought I was.  When my friends want to go watch an Opera, I suggest a matinee.  When I went to the Squamish Music Festival (which was pretty amazing because Arcade Fire, Nas, Bruno Mars, and The Roots were playing), the tickets were expensive (not to mention the camping in Squamish was expensive), however, we saved money by camping in a friends backyard and just took a taxi into the festival grounds.  There are definitely ways where you can have your cake and eat it too when it comes to event tickets!

Here are a few ways that you can save on your next concert, sports event, or other event ticket:

 Instead of Tickemaster.ca…Try Bidding

Scorebig allows you to score tickets at 60% less than the typical face value for a ticket.  I find Scorebig is somewhat analogous to Priceline (where you can bid for a hotel stay).  The other commonality is that it is only applicable for tickets in the United States, unfortunately, and not Canada.  Scorebig has tickets for all sports events such as the NHL, NBA, and even has tickets for Broadway and city attractions.

Volunteer

Volunteering is an altruistic win-win situation.  Not only do you feel good about yourself by contributing to society and your community, you will also score free event tickets.  Kiplinger suggests volunteering as an usher because it will allow you to watch free events, concerts, and sports.  My friend previously volunteered for the Vancouver International Film Festival.  Because of this, she was able to watch all the movies and films to her heart’s (and time’s) content for free!  Tickets normally cost at least $15 per film from what I recall.  Another friend of mine works for Rogers Centre in Vancouver as an extra part-time side job and gets to watch all of the great concerts for free or for a big discount.

Buy Direct

Lifehacker suggests that you buy direct from the Box Office to avoid service fees (you know, the one charged by our friends at Ticketmaster).  This also works if the event is sold out, it doesn’t hurt to try at the box office to see if there are any tickets laying around.  In Vancouver, there is another “Box Office” that is called Tickets Tonight, where you can get half-price tickets however you have to pick up the tickets in downtown Vancouver and the tickets are bought the day of.  The ticket prices are half off, so that can be a great deal for some shows!

Try an Aggregator

Just like looking for flight deals on Kayak.com or hotel deals on Trivago.com, which are known as aggregators (the search engine that looks for flights or hotels on multiple websites in order to find you the best deal), there are some aggregators for concert, event, and sports tickets.  According to Seatgeek, you can search for millions of concerts and events in one place.  Another concert and event and sports event aggregator is Seathound, however this appears to target sports events slightly more.  These are established ticket marketplaces and a trustworthy place to buy your tickets (after all, if you’re spending so much money don’t you want to make sure you’re not getting a fake ticket a la Craigslist?).

Nosebleed Seats Aren’t so Bad?

 Benzinga suggests that you don’t be a seat snob.  Sometimes nose bleed seats are better than no seats at all!  Personally I would not pay hundreds of dollars more to see someone closer up, but that’s just my preference.  Why not go in frugal style, grab your zoom camera lens and your binoculars and make friends with people that are sharing the nose bleed seats with you?  It’s all part of the experience, right?

Bargainmoosers, what are some other ways that you save on concert tickets, sports event tickets, or other event tickets?

Photo credit: Jenny Baxter

Moose Rating (3 votes)
January 3

Easy Ways To Save Money Around The House

Posted by on January 3, 2015 at 8:00 PM

Easy Ways To Save Money Around The House

January is already a depressing time of year because of the “December hangover” and the large credit card bill most of us have to deal with.  In addition, with winter in full swing we are spending more times indoors and at home.  With the added time at home warming up, utility bills can add up quick!

Here are some easy ways to save money around the house and to reduce those utility bills to cut the sting out of January and February bills.

Get a Programmable Thermostat

According to Huffington Post Canada, about 40% of Canadian households have a programmable thermostat- however, only about 10% of programmable thermostat owners actually have them programmed.  Most other people just use the thermostat manually (which of course defeats the purpose).  Programmable thermostats can help you decrease your room temperature during the day when you are at work and at night when you are sleeping.  The savings can be very large, considering every degree you reduce the heat by, you will be saving money.  If used properly, a programmable thermostat can save you at least 6.5% on your heating bill.  On a $200 heating bill every month, that’s almost $25 a month in savings.

Watch for Phantom Electricity Usage

Even if you remember to turn out the lights when you leave the room or your home, other powers that be (pardon the pun) can still use electricity.  Phantom power usage is everywhere, from your television set to your laptop, to the cord that you plug your phone into the wall with to charge it.  The Globe and Mail estimates that it can comprise of up to 10% of your total electricity bill.  If left plugged in, a typical home theatre system can cost $125 per year- which doesn’t include the period of time when you are actually using the home theatre system.  A good solution to avoid this useless usage is to get power bars that can be turned off easily.

Get Rid of Cable Television

As mentioned in a previous Bargainmoose saving money post on cutting cable television by yours truly, skipping cable television can save you a ton of money. Considering that the average cost saving of not having cable television is $71 per month, the decision to cut the cord makes some sense.  There are plenty of alternatives to cable television including Netflix, Apple TV, and Roku to name a few.

I have recently subscribed to Netflix and have my hands full already with enough entertainment to last me for an entire year were I to be stranded on a desert island with Internet access.  It is no wonder that Netflix has become wildly popular and its stock has increased at least 3 times its original value earlier this year.

Cable television will end up being like the home telephone.  Available but not always useful or used in our current times- especially when you can avoid boring and time consuming commercials in between programming on “regular” television with Netflix.

Check for Leaks and Drafts

One of the biggest causes of increased utility and electricity bills is unsealed leaks and drafts because you are basically analogous to trying to fill air into a leaking balloon.  Finding them can be tricky as it can be something simple such as a window or something difficult to treat such as the wall.  Popular Mechanics has a great article on 7 ways to save money on leaks and drafts, and they recommend looking at anywhere from your attic, fireplace, wall, and to your windows and doors.

Use a Space Heater Instead

Space heaters are an efficient way of heating up a small space in a small amount of time.  You get the heat where you want it and when you want it.  Instead of heating up the entire room, space heaters can heat up the area where you are hanging out, which is the main idea of course.  For a great article on how to find the perfect space heater to save money and energy and stay warm, check out this article by Life Hacker.

There you have it, five simple ways for you to start the process of saving money around the house.

Bargainmoosers, do you have other easy ways you save around the house?

(banner image credit: James Thompson)

Moose Rating (4 votes)
January 2

6 Ways To Repurpose Candle Jars

Posted by on January 2, 2015 at 8:00 PM

6 Ways To Repurpose Candle Jars

Are you one of the lucky ones to have received a candle or two for Christmas? Candles certainly make for popular Christmas gifts, especially when not knowing what to get someone. Instead of throwing away the container once the candle is burnt out, repurpose it into something more useful with these 6 ideas.

1. Organizational Containers

6 Ways To Repurpose Candle Jars

The easiest way to upcycle candle jar is by cleaning out the wax to then use them as organizational containers for anything you want. You can place q-tips, cotton balls, nail polish bottles, or anything else. Check out lovekisses99’s YouTube channel for tips on how best to remove the wax.

2. Monogrammed Gold Containers

6 Ways To Repurpose Candle Jars

Take it a step further by personalizing your candle jar. After completing the first idea of cleaning it out, you can add a monogram as per Allison Anderson‘s instructions. Glue a crystal knobon to the lid for a touch of glamour and to facilitate using the jar. You could even use it as a small jewellery container.

3. Upcycled Candle Jars

6 Ways To Repurpose Candle Jars

Candle jars often come in very generic packaging filled with the company’s branding and other tacky-looking labels, so  why not repurpose candle jars into even prettier looking candle jars? Visit Lots of DIY for a series of informative pictures on how to make your jars more decorative-looking. There are no formal instructions but all you need to do is spray on a bit of gold paint. Plus, you can write anything you want on the label, like “Hello Winter” instead of “Hello Fall”.

4. Glitter Vases

6 Ways To Repurpose Candle Jars

Similarly to the upcycled candle jar ideas covered previously, you can also turn your candle jars into cute little glitter vases. The Sweetest Occasion has step-by-step instructions on how to do just that with the help of glitter, modpodge and a couple of other handy tools. Once you’re done, add a few fake flowers for a glam decorative piece.

5. Nail Polish Remover Container

6 Ways To Repurpose Candle Jars

Love those nail polish remover containers where all you need to do is dip your finger in to remove the nail polish? These can be quite costly and yet they’re super easy to make. Check out the set of images posted by Gee Collins at Bella Shoot to find out how to create your very own nail polish removing container.

6. Budget Jars

6 Ways To Repurpose Candle Jars

In her article on “How To Chunk Down Your Debt“, Heather Robinson mentioned Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s jar system for better money management. You can read all about it in her article but the general essence of the jar system is that you can’t spend money that you don’t have. Use candle containers to create budgetary jars for either yourself or even your kids as a chore and allowance system as detailed on  With Swallows Wings blog.

(Image Credit: Capes Treasures)

Moose Rating (3 votes)
January 1

7 Day Price Protection @ Amazon Canada

Posted by on January 1, 2015 at 8:00 PM

7 Day Price Protection @ Amazon Canada

Hi Moosers! If you are anything like me, you often buy from Amazon Canada. They have great prices, a small free shipping minimum, and fast shipping. Best of all, Amazon’s catalogue of items is forever expanding so they no longer just sell books, but rather are a great place for tools, toys, household items, pet supplies, baby supplies, and more. Shopping at Amazon.ca can be a bit uncertain as their prices change frequently, so you never know when the item you want is going to be discounted again. Today, I wanted to inform you of a little known price match policy from Amazon Canada known as price protection.

If the price of an item drops lower than you paid for it, within seven days from the delivery date, you can request Amazon.ca refund the difference. This is not an automatic feature; you must contact Amazon customer service and ask for the company to refund the difference. I have personally verified this with an Amazon Canada customer service representative when I was recently asking for an adjustment:

I have checked the order details and I see the price difference. Based on our price match policy, we do price match on the price difference within 7 days past the delivery date. As you are contacting within the time frame, I’ll go ahead and issue you a refund on the price match.

This is considered price protection for customers and is a way for companies to encourage customers to purchase without fear of the price dropping the next day with no recourse. I was asking for price protection on this NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp, which I had purchased for $118.38 (+tax) just before Christmas. It was just delivered on December 29th. When I saw that the lamp had dropped down to $93.65 (+ tax) today, I contacted Amazon.ca’s customer service via chat.

Sometimes it may not be worth invoking the price protection if an item has only dropped a couple cents. In this case, I received a refund for $24.73! It was certainly worth my time and effort to contact Amazon’s customer service regarding the order and politely requesting price protection.

When contacting customer service, here are a few tips.

  1. Always be prepared. Know your order number and have your order open in a separate window in case they need any details.
  2. Always be polite. Please, thank you, and ‘very much appreciated’ will open more doors and windows than a sour disposition.
  3. Always know the rules. Price protection is offered for seven-days from the delivery date. Price changes after that period do not qualify.

I hope you find this information helpful my lovely Moosers. I certainly did and saved a good amount of money thanks to Amazon’s price protection policy.

Moosers, have you ever invoked Amazon Canada’s price protection policy?

(Expiry: Ongoing)

Moose Rating (7 votes)
December 30

Which E-reader Will Save You Money?

Posted by on December 30, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Which E reader Will Save You Money?

With technology so quickly changing and our environmental awareness increasing, typical books are fast becoming a thing of the past with the new-fangled e-readers out there.  Personally, I have not yet made the leap from actual books to e-reader books, but I do have a Kindle app in my Apple iPad which has fared quite well for me so far.  However, sometimes the glare of the books gets to me (e.g., gives me eye strain) and sometimes it’s hard to read at night from the bright background light.  It’s also very heavy compared to some of the e-readers that my friends have.  I am sort of in the market for an e-reader and thought it might be a good idea to share my decision making process, should I take the plunge that many others have already taken, and actually get an e-reader.

Why an e-reader?

There are a few reasons why more and more people are taking the plunge and getting an e-reader:

  • E-ink

One look at what e-ink looks like makes my eyes widen in amazement.  E-ink is very easy on the eyes and there is no glare, and your eyes just feel comfy reading the e-reader page.    You will need an external light source (e.g., a bedside table lamp) for reading in the dark with e-ink (hey, just like regular books!)

  • Light and Packable

E-readers are nice and light, small and portable, and can easily fit into a purse. My iPad on the other hand, cannot fit into my purse and is very heavy especially in the keyboard cover that I put it in

  • Less book clutter

Unless you like to have a bookshelf full of books so that you can appear well-read when your friends come over, less book clutter means well, less clutter.  And that’s usually a good thing

  • e-reader discounts

Usually when you download books (e.g. when you purchase a book) the e-reader price is more economical than the actual book price… plus you get to save money on shipping costs

  • Long battery life

Some e-readers with e-ink have a long battery life, of up to 70 hours of reading time.  This is much longer than the typical iPad.

As you can see, there are many “pros” as to why one would want to take the online purchasing plunge through buying an online e-reader.  Low impact, easy to use, and pretty intuitive to use.

How much to e-readers generally cost?

The price of e-readers vary, some have tablet functionality, some are just strictly e-readers.   In general, expect to pay anywhere from $80 to $130 for an e-reader with e-ink.  However, prices are much higher if you are buying a tablet-type e-reader.

For more information, check out this handy eBay article on how to save money on an e-reader.

Although the prices seems generally quite stable, there are some discounts, for example, during Boxing Week.

Which e-reader will save you money in the long run?

There are a number of e-readers in the “less than $100″ category, including Sony e-reader, Kobo, and the Kindle with the 6″ display and e-ink screen.  Also, the Barnes and Noble Nook is another contender this year.

The e-reader that may save you money in the long run is an e-reader compatible with your local Canadian Public Library.  Yes, that means borrowing books without having to leave the comfort of your own home, and borrowing them on your e-reader.

These include:

  • Sony Reader
  • Kobo e-readers
  • Other devices (such as Kindle), but you will have to download the Overdrive app (which is free to download) in order to download ebooks for free at the Canadian Public Library)

Unfortunately, Kindle devices can only download library books from the United States Public Libraries, therefore a Kindle e-reader was out of the options for me.  You can check out this handy list from Overdrive to see which e-reader will work with the Canadian Public Libraries.  There is a handy PDF chart on e-readers from the Vancouver Public Library website which allows you to see what e-readers would be best for you.   Some of the e-readers allow you direct downloading privileges from the library.

Bargainmoosers, do you have an e-reader?  Which one is your favourite e-reader so far?

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon

Moose Rating (4 votes)