Thursday, October 20, 2011

Montreal Deals of the Day

$116 for a 2 Person Local Getaway Including One Night Stay and Ski Lift Tickets at Hotel Le Chantecler ($232 Value)  

$39 for a Haircut, Wash, Blow Dry, Full Colour, and a Scalp Massage at La Nesamarie Salon ($110 Value) click here 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Group Buying Sites

Group Buying sites I have been scouring relentlessly looking for bargains in key areas of self improvement or relaxation.   I won't do impulse buys.  I will however buy things at significant discounts that are meaningful for me.

I admit its easy to over do it.  I tend to look at the sites and if I see something I want, I close the web page and think about it.  I'll mule over it for a while.

Recently I thought about getting a month long yoga studio membership, a house cleaning service, lazer hair removal, a day at the spa, and a gift certificate for clothing.

I bought two of the above five items that caught my eye.  They were all reasonably priced and useful items to me.  However each time I think about buying, I close the purchasing window after reading the terms of the purchase and looking at a map at the location.   I see how long its gnawing at me.  I think about how probable it is I could forget about it and not use it.

The most expensive purchase I made thus far (275 dollars) I spoke with three people about before I bought it.  The purchase wasn't in my monthly budget, and the service was further away than I liked especially considering I will be visiting it repeatedly.  However when I look at the cost and the value to me.  I think I can make the additional effort to get there on my days off work in the fall.

My second rule is that I can only have two unused certificates at any one time.  I can't buy any more services until I take my day at the spa and refill my self-improvement cash reserve.  What about you?  Are you a fan of group buying websites?

Here is a link connecting to several in Montreal

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Thousand Islands tours

I have been wanting ever since I passed the thousand islands on my first trip the Quebec, to travel to the Thousand Islands.  It just looked so majestic.  I didn't know where to go to do a reasonable tour.  Which is why when I saw wonder tours was running a special of 40% off their bus trips I decided to jump on it and bought two tickets.  I called in advance to be sure my 2 year old could sit on my lap.  They said it was fine.  So I got my family the bus trip for around 70 dollars.  We had to pay 20 dollars each to take the 1 hour boat tour of the US and Canadian islands.  It was beautiful.  I am glad I did it.  It would have been cheaper to just drive there I realized after, but it was nice to just put my feet up and let someone else drive me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Upper Canada

Cheap girl's been very busy organizing multiple days out.  I went to a little town called Upper Canada in Ontario.  It's a running colonial city, replete with old fashion ways of making cheese, bread, and pies.  They operate a small restaurant.  You can go in and see what a house would have looked like in the early 1800s.  I wasn't expecting too much from the trip but was pleasantly surprised by how nicely it was done.

I didn't get a rebate on the adventure sadly.  However I think the 44 dollars we paid in entry fees was well worth it.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My daughters room makeover

So I posted over a month ago that for my annual spring clean I was trying to make over my house. In particular I wanted to tackle my living area, my daughters room and my front and back baloneys.  I wanted to do it all for 300 dollars, or as much as possible for 300 dollars.  I posted my challenge before I got my new job so I can probably add to the budget.  However for the fun of seeing what I can do with 300 dollars, I will keep to that budget until it gone.

I made over my daughters room via a bedroom set I found on craigslist.  I also bought a very dirty table and chair set from the same woman, which I am using both in the front and back balconies.  I will post that later because I am not done cleaning and organizing the outdoor furniture.

I bought the entire kit for 110 and paid a mover 90 dollars to get it to my house.  I spent 200 dollars total.

My daughters room looked like this before, the dresser was in bad shape when I purchased it.  I covered the paint chips with wall art.  My daughter further destroyed it by ripping wall art off the dressers and pulling off the remaining paint.  The dresser was also a little too big for her room.  Overall it was ugly and thats why it was on my list to redo

Her room looks like this now

I still want to change her lamps, the curtain, and perhaps the wall art.  I'll do that as sales pop up.  However the furniture is the perfect size and that little 3 drawer thing in the corner is a gorgeous antique secretary desk, worth far more than I paid for the entire set.  The entire set is real wood.  I love it and I am very happy with my purchase.  My daughter brags about her room.  What do you think of it?

Now the most challenging part of the challenge is actually getting the living area improved with 100 dollars, which is unfortunately all that I happen to have left in the budget.  I will show you my balconies in the coming weeks.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Using all my resources

I got a new job last month and so cheap girl has spending money again.  It feels so good.  The amazing thing about my three jobs is that each one has its own perks.  I've decided to use all three.

My new job, which I won't talk about in detail is my main job.  My salary pays all my expenses, will allow me to save a little, and in a year will provide matching retirement benefits.  Its kinda a dream gig for me.  It will let me use all my talents on some youth who are struggling.  They also have a gym located on site available to employees at lunch, which is an amazing perk.  I use it every day I can.

My on call job which isn't something I do every week but it pays me a little more than my third job.  They provide a quality free lunch and therapy if I ever need it.  Therapy, which runs about 120 bucks a visit, is not covered by our medical system, and its nice to know I have it available if I feel I need it. The reason they provide it to employees is because it's an emotionally draining job.  I feel blessed to have the option

My last job, which I do 5 hours a week, allows me to relax.  I can also sign up for training on pretty much any computer program you can think of.  I think that's pretty cool.  I start doing photoshop tutorials for free. This job is pretty much minimum wage.  I only do it because I love the environment plus it hardly feels like working.  I look forward to that job every week.

I think I happen to be extremely luck with all the perks I have at my three jobs.  Yet I found that few people use the gym at my work.  Few people take the free time at my third job for self development let alone taking the free tutorials.  I can't say how many people use the therapy at my second job but my guess is that very few actually do.  You see people often over-look whats right in front of them.

What free activity or support can use at work, at school, or in your community to improve your life?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Furniture Upgrade Challenge

It's time to spring clean.  The loveliest time of the year for the bargain hunter willing to take gently used items from yard sales, online classifieds and dare I say: the trash.

University students are moving away. Organized students sell their furniture inexpensively, while disorganized students throw out furniture at the last minute.  You also have people like me who don't have the capability to donate larger items.  If I set something useful out for the trash 9/10, someone comes to take it before the garbage men. Its the neighborhood give away.  I actually got a great bookshelf a couple months ago this way.

I started hunting for free furniture while in university and found fabulous finds like a lovely microwave, a breadmaker, a fabulous three shelf console table, a bookshelf and bags of designer clothing for free.  It was great for me, having had come from an impoverished background in small town that didn't waste.  When I moved to a city of rich college kids who threw everything away, was like a little bit of heaven to me.  It's not great on the environment but for someone without a lot of resources it can be a gold mine.  My college apartments at 19 and 20 were decorated like a designers, mostly with what other students thought was trash.  If you're thinking that's not possible you'd be mistaken.  I mean it wasn't a millionaires apartment but it was the same as any middle upper class college classmate.  No one knew how poor I was, and I preferred it that way.

My personal challenge:  I want to upgrade my daughter's furniture, get patio furniture for the front and back of my condo, and get a nice wall unit or armoire for my entertainment center.  Those are my focuses for this year's spring clean.  I don't have a time frame.  My total budget is 300 dollars including moving fees and taxes.  I have a few other little things I would like to change that aren't my priorities this year but I may end up upgrading if they are available.  I find that buying used is better without a strict plan, otherwise you miss the best deals.

Do you think I can do it?  My timeline to finish is August but I will post pictures when I can.  The first picture is a bookshelf I got free a month ago. It also has one shelf of mystery novels that I got free from craigslist.

What about you is there anything you want to upgrade this year?