Better Than Employee Discounts

October 24th, 2014 by

So I went shopping for that last piece of item today and sure enough I did a price match. It’s always interesting when the customer service reps are also surprised at how much cheaper a competitor is selling the item for. You can’t help but to think it is a price error. Overall, saved about $5 on top of the lower price due to a price beat guarantee.

I was then talking to my friend who actually works for the company that I bought the item from and he was telling me that the item itself is about 20% off the retail price if he was to buy it at a staff discount. Based on the numbers, it looked like I saved about 30% off the retail price which means it was 10% less than what a staff could buy it for. Even in these cases where if you are the employee of a company you still need to shop around for deals huh? That would be funny if the same held true for people who actually work for the manufacturer of the items as opposed to simply the retail outlets that are reselling them.

Spending Less Than Your Payment

October 23rd, 2014 by

I am doing a charity event on the weekend and I have one more item that I need to buy in order to be able to participate in it. The interesting thing was just today I received a small payment for some work I did a few days ago and his amount actually fits in well in buying the item. The thing is, I always dislike the idea of spending an entire cheque at once even if it is like bonus money. As a result, I tried to deal hunt as much as possible.

By the looks of it, originally the item is about $120 at some local big box stores here. I was able to find the item for about $85 online. So I figure if tomorrow I go in with a price match request I can get the whole thing for a little over $90 all in. That kind of deal I could live with as I am still saving a significant portion of my funds. Good old price matching always helps too.

BC Welfare Food Challenge – $21 For A Week – Part Seven Final Day

October 22nd, 2014 by

It’s the final day of the welfare food challenge and a lot of interesting things happened as everyone probably knows in regard to the shooting in Ottawa. For this post I’ll try to stay on topic with the food challenge. Video recap below.

I was thinking for today that I would drop by a different grocery store on my way home and to the supermarket as technically if the challenge was to continue I would have to buy some grocery items again. I knew one thing for sure was that I was going to go to the supermarket and buy a can of sardines as I am out of meat today.

I was pleasantly surprised as the prices didn’t seem too bad as I found sound decent deals. Based on the deals, I could kind of see what types of different fruits, vegetables, or meats I could eat for next week if I was to continue.

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Of course, I didn’t buy anything from these places as I still have my food for the day. At the same time, it isn’t too rare to find good deals on fruits and groceries. But as always, do the shopping or you really pay for it. For example, look at these two prices for strawberries I saw today:

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I was looking for that 69 cent sardine and to my surprise it looked like It was all sold out. They instead tried to sell a different brand at 79 cents a can instead. From experience though, it’s not uncommon to see products sill lingering around the same section. I then noticed a part of the rack was covered which looks empty. However, upon further inspection I did find the 69 cent can of sardine.

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Shows you that it doesn’t hurt to check. Paying for the item generated a funny outcome though. Usually I would use my credit card to get cashback points. However, for some reason I decided to just use 75 cents in cash. I was then surprised as to why the cashier gave me 10 cents in change.

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After looking at it, I realized it was because Canada has been getting rid of the penny and so in this case since they don’t have pennies they have to round up the change you receive. So as a result, I actually gained 4 cents. This makes it as if the item cost was 65 cents. Unexpected surprise.

After all this, my last meal was made for the day and the welfare food challenge for me is over. In the end, I still have some leftover oats and rice. In the beginning of the day my remaining food fund was $2.97. With the sardines I bought for 69 cents and the 4 cents I gained as a result of the no penny scenario my remaining funds are $2.32.

Throughout my journey, I personally did not once feel I didn’t have enough food or that the quality or type of food I was eating deprived me from being energetic or attentive as normal. If anything, the challenge for me personally was more about not being able to take advantage of free offers or figuring out what foods are best.

Financially speaking, if I factor in all the things I could have gotten for free or the fact that normally I would have the full monthly food funds at the start I know for sure I would have saved even more money. I can say for my specific situation, $21 a week is not enough if I insisted in buying convenience, luxury or comfort foods. At the same time, not taking a little time to actually shop for deals as opposed to relying on a one stop shop solution.

Does that mean because of my experience that everyone else who can’t do it are simply lazy or entitled for example? Of course not as everyone else’s circumstance is different. And that is one of the disheartening points about all this I think. Because the challenge itself seems to be about spending and survival, I can’t personally say it is not possible as I just showed it is.

You can have someone on one side of the extreme try to discredit or ignore my experience such as claiming it is somehow impossible for me to do well with the food I had, but then you would have another person from the other side rebuttal that with other points like saying the money I had left. It essentially turns this into a shopping debate.

I recognize that the spirit of the competition was supposed to raise awareness for those who can’t financially make ends meet for whatever reason and they need help. To me personally, that can mean many things as opposed to just rate increases. What I do know for sure is that there are a lot of people within my demographic who feel it is a non-issue because for most people if they can’t see how it directly affects them in an immediate way then it is simply someone else’s problem. You can change the topic to anything else such as say the recent BC teacher’s dispute or the BC Justice system problems and the same will hold true.

I think we all agree that the point of a welfare system is to help people get off of it. I am only one guy and highly doubt that me doing this challenge is all of a sudden going to create drastic changes. Like most things, I think the real challenge is education about the topic and having open access to raw information that people can actually understand. Because a person like myself truly is ignorant about the topic as a whole.

So that’s this financial blogger’s take on whether or not food wise you can survive comfortably on a $21 a week budget within the Lower Mainland. Whether you agree or disagree with me is going to be different for everyone. But hopefully it at least made everyone think as either way I strongly believe issues like these affect everyone.

The Attack On Canada

October 22nd, 2014 by

Imagine turning onto the news and looking to see a title saying “Canada Under Attack.” I must say, a lot of confusion was running through my mind.

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As I listened to the reports I started to learn that at a War memorial in Ottawa Canada a masked gunman had shot a Canadian soldier point blank. Of course with all the world news in general about wars this has created heightened security petty much throughout the country. This video seems to be the most prevalent so far.

And here today I thought it would be a normal day where I would do my final entry for the food challenge. This just isn’t the type of stuff you would imagine that would happen in your home country. Kind of puts things in perspective too where usually we worry a lot about things like money and one event like this makes everyone put that on pause. Hope everyone remains safe.

BC Welfare Food Challenge – $21 For A Week – Part Six

October 21st, 2014 by

What a hectic day this was as well as learning some interesting public feedback about this welfare food challenge. Sorry, rush post today as I am blogging and cooking at the same time. Video below for my day’s recap.

Today was interesting as work wise I agreed to do so many things which kept me busy all day. For one of the work I did, as mentioned yesterday meals were provided to people and this is what my friend got just as an example of the food I could have gotten too:

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I didn’t take it though as that would go against the rules of this food challenge. The interesting thing was this generated curiosity from people on why I wasn’t eating. I then explained to them about the challenge and the reactions were interesting. Essentially, people either thought it was a good way to create awareness, thought it was funny or was very cynical about it in general. That got me thinking on how maybe the way the message is being communicated isn’t ideal for everyone.

For example, I was reading some comments online where many people want to support the cause of poverty, but when they see certain pictures and the shopping habits they can’t help to focus and criticize that only. Example, buying canned beans as opposed to packaged ones where you have to make yourself. It seems to make people lose focus.

I haven’t been able to read everyone’s experience, but knowing those kinds of attitude and comments made me think that maybe this puts me in an interesting situation as I don’t think anyone is going to say I didn’t save a lot of money for example. It’s too bad I didn’t find anyone who was willing to show me how they shop as a welfare recipient too as it was something I wanted to do in the beginning of this challenge. Because as I mentioned in the beginning, everyone has different circumstances which I feel is something we all need to understand to see what the solution is.

One day left for the challenge. I am pretty satisfied so far on my spending and just hope all the supermarkets didn’t ninja change all of the prices as I will probably need to make one small final purchase. Giving my final thoughts will be fun too and hope to read more opinions on the matter.