Monday, March 7, 2016

Frugal Actions Add Up

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all well and that you had a lovely weekend. I have been quite busy running a lot of errands that had accumulated during my time of convalescence with a cold and just generally trying to catch up to everything I fell behind in.  I am not completely well and haven't caught up yet but I have made very good progress and I've almost gotten rid of my cough.

Photo from my archives. I need colour to counterbalance a gray day :-)

It has been awhile since I did a frugal post and I wanted to review and share with you some of my recent frugal finds because it astonishes me just how much savings can be had if one is diligent.

As always it gives me great pleasure when I can spend less money on something and stretch my dollars as far as they will go.  It not only gives me a sense of accomplishment but it provides me with a little breathing room to help me meet my many obligations. Two friends in Kenya have been so ill and require lots of medical help.  Kenyan university students need help with school activity fees and my sponsored children and their families need gifts to help offset food and other costs.  Things can get a little tight especially when things like medical and school costs are not always predictable.  I just have to do the best I can as the people truly do need the help.  Anyway, without further ado, the following is a detailed account of some of the larger savings I've realized recently.

First up with savings this week was saving money at the grocery market. In Canada we do not get the deeply discounted groceries that our American neighbours to the south and our friends in Great Britain and even in Africa can get.  I read with a bit of envy the prices one can get for food elsewhere. I've shopped at my local IGA for many years.  However it has been sold to Save-On Foods.  When I went shopping on Friday the store shelves were getting rather bare. I didn't need a lot of things because I had done some shopping the previous week.  But one of my neighbours stopped me on the street on Thursday night and and told me there were 25% off bargains to be had.  So the next day I went to the store where I discovered that the discounted items were not as many as I expected.  But I did pick up some items I need and saved $31.81.The store will make the transition to the new ownership in about another week or so.

Earlier in the week I also saved money at the local pharmacy where I have built up significant points (about $270 worth). I built these points over a few months through careful shopping on sales and during points promotions.  I wanted some books and magazines this week but I don't normally purchase them outright anymore.  I decided to use points since I had so many of them.

I purchased 2 health books and 3 magazines (two decor and DIY magazines and one financial magazine).  The total cost was $60 and I still have a balance of $210 in points.. I generally use these points to purchase things I may not otherwise buy.  Things like health supplements, electric toothbrushes or replacement brushes or other more expensive items. Whatever I do purchase I try to get it when it is on sale and stretch my points further. For example, the two health books I purchased were discounted at 25% each.  Here is a snapshot of the current rewards balance after buying the books and magazines.

Long ago I made a decision not to purchase books and magazines due to the high cost and the resulting clutter. However from  time to time I do break down and buy new books and magazines though it is a rare occasion.  Mainly I borrow books from the library so they can be returned and not added to my shelves.  When I do buy books it is usually from the thrift store and sometimes the used book store. My preference is the thrift store as the books are cheaper. Once I'm done with the books I give them back to the thrift store for resale or to someone who wants them.

This week was an exception to the rule as I purchased two books on Friday during on line sales. I debated about whether to purchase the electronic books or the paper versions.  In the end I opted for the electronic books so I could have instant access to them.  Also, one of the books is rather heavy and difficult to carry around. If I have the electronic book it is more likely to go with me when I leave the house.

The first book entitled  How to Get Dressed  ($10.49 on sale, regular Kindle price $14.99, paperback price $19.99) appealed to me partly because of all the positive reviews it received.  I was also interested in it because it is supposed to have a lot of tips about clothing and dressing. As you will read later in this post, I've been putting together a new wardrobe and doing so at clearance prices and so this book might help with a few issues in terms of pulling the wardrobe together. I haven't started reading it yet.

The next book is by Amy Tan, one of my favourite authors.  If you'd like to read a summary of her book you can find it here.   I borrowed the audio CDs for this book from the library last year but I simply couldn't sit and listen that long and I never got too far into the story.  The kindle edition is $4.99 while the hardcover price is $34.99. I purchased the electronic book and it is working very well for me. I've already gotten well into the story.  In general  I do prefer reading from a paper book but from time to time I like having electronic access to a book.

It seems to be my week for buying books because the very next day I purchased another 5 of them from the thrift store.  These are the titles.

  • Comfort Me With Apples by Ruth Reichl  $1.00 ($10.50 new) 
  • Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner  $1.00 ($4.99 new)
  • The Ivory Trail by T. V. Bulpin  $1.00 (This is a rare book that costs $78 on Amazon Canada)
  • Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda $1.00 ($19.99 new) , and
  • A Guide to Navajo Weavings (Reference) $5.00 ($36.34 new)
One these books are read they will go back to the thrift store for resale with the exception of the rare book and the reference book on Navajo rugs.

When I am out and about and doing errand, I sometimes have to stop and have a snack or a meal.  Sometimes I stop at McDonald's fast food restaurant.  I've often noticed that there is a survey notice on the back of the receipt but I've never completed one until now. After I completed the survey I was given access to the coupon in the photo below.  It amounts to an approximate value of $5.50  value and is a time limited offer which must be used by March 22, 2016. I may get a chance to use it and I may not but it is free so I've printed it and put it in my wallet just in case. I very seldom drink their soft drinks so I hope they will substitute a coffee or a water.

I mentioned earlier that I've been putting together a new wardrobe and a lot of it is for warmer weather though not exclusively. The Clark's sandals in the photo were discounted from $130 down to to $34 and came in a multitude of colours. I found them on another site for $10 less at the regular price but the marked down price was only $66.

The colour I selected was pewter (or shimmery silver). I wanted to buy the sandals in red but pewter will go with more of the clothing and is a little more interesting than black or navy.

Amongst the new items of clothing I've bought recently are maxi dresses (all the rage) and some light cardigans.  I'm afraid I don't have any photos but the key thing is that they were all heavily discounted.  The dresses were originally priced at $89.99 and discounted to 29.99.  The sweaters were discounted from $49.99 each to $19.99. I actually got an additional 30% off of the discounted prices because I mainly shop flash sales where additional discounts are offered for a short period of time.

Right now my biggest issue is not the cost of the clothes because I've been getting rock bottom prices.  The difficulty is knowing what size or sizes to buy since I'm purchasing on line and sizing is not always consistent which can be frustrating. I've been losing inches (not weight) and some of the clothing I bought last Winter and Spring are already ill fitting in some areas.  Now I'm ordering smaller sizes most of which fit.  But anything so heavily discounted cannot be returned so I have to be very careful what to purchase so funds are not wasted on non-returnable items.

Last but not least, I purchased a bracelet and a black onyx pendant in the thrift store. The bracelet was only $1. and the pendant was $5. I've seen comparable pendants on line for at least $50 or more. I don't like to spend much on jewellery except for a few quality pieces.  The rest I spend little on because I don't change my jewellery too often so it would be a waste of money.

When I'm out and about running errands I do try to eat healthy and don't  just stop at McDonald's. 
On Saturday I stopped for Japanese food.  I had another dish of deep fried shrimp (breaded in panko crumbs) not pictured here, but I didn't like those so much.
I thoroughly enjoyed the snacks you see in the  photo below.  
Even my snacks were 40%  during happy hour though I would eat at this place even without the discounted prices.

Snacks from left to right.
Miso soup, Sushi (tamago, salmon, tuna), Seaweed salad

In summary I think you can see that with diligence many bargains can be had when shopping for food, clothing, books.  One can also find sales on many other things or good deals at thrift stores or even things for free on sites like Freecycle or Craigslist.  It really depends what you are looking for but it pays to spend time to find the deals.
I know my efforts are not the very best and lowest prices around. I know people who will spend far less than I do and only purchase second hand clothing or get them free through clothing swaps and that kind of thing.

However I am pleased with my results.  Personally I prefer to purchase new clothes that haven't been worn by anyone else except me. That is just my quirk. That means I have to find them at sale prices. The same goes for shoes. I don't mind buying 2nd hand when it comes to kitchen items, certain linens, furnishings or books. I always find it fun to shop around and see what kind of deal I can get.

 I'm leaving you with some beautiful scenes of the waterfront taken last month.

Thanks for stopping by. 
Enjoy your week!
(March 8, 2016)
Joining in with Lady Fi at Our World Tuesday


  1. Beautiful post with so much interesting!!

    Love the food and and beautiful pic from your place

    About money..Here in norway everything is expensive..But at least we got clean food..We eath healthy and not so much fat people around because we are constantly hearing what to eat on the radio television..ect ect..Smoking is stricktly forbidden(Even somplaces in the woods)
    Shooping!!Wow I can shop to i drop if i had the money!But no..we buy expensive so the clothes last for years..also shoes!
    Norwegians are strange I think.But one thing we do more then before.Is travel.We travel and travel.Africa Russia Asia..anywhere sometimes only for the long weekends..Before we had summerholidays on our cabins in the mountains..but that all history now..

    Ok This was a long reply from me..Wishing you a great weekend and all good to you:))))

    Its intersting to hear how you are doing..

    Greetings Anita

  2. Love all the savings you have accumulated. I love Clark's shes but the price ouch! Thanks for sharing..

  3. With a little thought and shrewdness a fair amount can be saved. Macdonalds only lets you do the survey once. Wendys lets you do the survey everytime if it's on the phone.

  4. Yum on the Japanese food. I love what you had. I do love Sashimi sushi though. You are an amazing shopper. Wow! I got a bag of clothes from my mom recently. I don't need to buy any sweaters. Love the views of Vancouver in the last two images.

  5. Hi, i smiled at how the blogpost revolve around in some creative frugality. And i love the beautiful photos at the last frames.

  6. you've made it so well, saving all this money! i hope, you'll feel much better and wish you a happy week xx

  7. You've had some great finds! I love hitting the thrift stores, Salvation Army and such now and then -- although the real thing is trying to get rid of the stuff I have so I have room to add fun finds! I can't resist books, though. Thrift and library sales are just the best! Three cheers for you!

  8. Hello, it feel good to save money any kind of way you can. I love the Clark's shoes, they are comfy. Beautiful views of the waterfront. Your flower is pretty. Have a happy day and week ahead!

  9. Very wise to watch where your moneys going, and nice to have a few treats along the way x

  10. I should be staying with the 'thrift' part on my blog because, that's how I started out back in 2010, featuring all the 'thrift finds', but not have mentioned about the discounts and savings which you have done such a great job on, Penny! I love to save on everything from grocery items, to pharmacy, to Thrift shops, which we have some of the finest, here, in S. Florida! Love the beautiful waterfront photos at the end of your post! Have a wonderful week ahead!

  11. Really interesting posting. I am going to look into the books. I like the shoes and think you got some good bargans for sure! We all love to shop and everything is so expensive now.

  12. What an interesting post Penny. Enjoyed looking into the books and the thought of that Japanese food made my mouth water! Thank you for sharing. Hope that cold is all gone now.

  13. Oh, the size inconsistencies are maddening! Nothing worse than trying on something and it is too tight! And why do they even use spandex in large sizes? No one needs those curves to bulge!

  14. I enjoy Amy Tan but haven't read that one yet. I'll be interested to read your review. That Japanese food looks so good.
    Grocery prices in the US are not cheap everywhere. Where I live now in SC they are much higher than when I lived in Minnesota and I'm having a hard time adjusting. The small town grocery store is so limiting. I try to stock up when we go other places but it's not the same as when I had access to a great farmers market, a co-op I belonged to for 25 years, and a variety of supermarkets.


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