Is customer service affected by the clothes you wear shopping? : The Saturday Weekend Review #65

customer service clothes shoppingIS YOUR MONEY GOOD ENOUGH?

 

I think just about everyone has had someone turn their nose up at them while shopping. If you are the owner of a business with employees who shy away from customers because of their look you might be losing tonnes of cash.

When I read a story about customer service and how you might not get service if you look homeless or dressed like you just went for a run true scenarios starting running through my head.

 

Time to shop

 

The writer called the Fashionista dressed down in gym attire to go shopping at some of the most prestigious stores to explore a Harvard study.

This was where a doctoral student and two professors found that shop assistants in Milan found that dressing down meant more buying power. Meaning that dressing in casual or gym attire might score you the best customer service.

So, armed with her gym wear and looking neat and tidy with make-up and her hair nicely kept the Fashionista and her friend Jeremy went shopping. Jeremy was around more to watch from the sidelines what was going on and he was well dressed. To be honest I would have loved to have done what Jeremy did because I’m always intrigued about customer service and employees.

They visited shops such as Bergdorf Goodman, Chanel, Barneys New York, Saint Laurent and Prada. Needless to say she had varied results but decided that next time she shops she won’t be wearing gym gear.

I applaud her for doing this because it’s important for business owners to realize how treating customers like their money is not good enough no matter what you think they are worth can bite you in the butt.

I’m pretty sure the shops she went to that took good care of her now are smiling because other customers are more likely to want to shop there now. I was not shocked at her results to be honest because my wife has been through the same thing.

Sometimes when it comes to customer service sometimes the customer has to take the reins even if it’s to prove a point. At least my wife is like that because she expects nothing less than excellent customer service no matter where she goes.

To her it’s the law of employment no matter where you work. You should enjoy what you do and do it with a smile or find a new job as harsh as that sounds. There’s no point living your life working in a miserable job if you hate it. Do something about it.

It’s not always about what you wear it’s about what you don’t wear or the accessories that go with the clothes you have or the type of credit card you use to pay for your purchases. Sometimes it boils down to reputation and whether the customer service associates know who you are in order to get some help these days.

 

Window shopping

 

When we were shopping in downtown London UK my wife was amazed at all the lovely shops including Gucci and Prada but noticed that each shop had security at the front door.

She did not want to go shopping in these stores because she felt she couldn’t afford anything anyways besides the security kind of freaked her out. I remember her asking me while we were admiring jewellery in a downtown London shop window why there were no prices. I told her that if you have to ask what the price is than you likely can’t afford to shop in there.

With a shoulder shrug on we went as she guessed I was right but only if you have an unlimited supply of cash I was right. If you are rich, whatever rich means you still need to watch your money.

It wasn’t that she couldn’t afford shopping in the stores it’s that she didn’t want to spend $200 on a t-shirt factoring the exchange rate etc. It’s hard to spend money when you have it on items you know you can find for less that are comparable.

 

Money mentality

 

When you have money and lots of it your life is taken up a notch if you allow it and that’s why you see some rich people go broke. They simply can’t keep up with the lifestyle change and it’s hard for them to move down because they have an image to uphold.

That is the mentality I’ve learned over the years living in the UK with all these high-end luxury shops and it’s no different in bigger cities like Toronto and Vancouver etc. Some of the small town shops are just as pricey for the town they service catering to specific clientele, those with cash.

My wife has told me many times that she can feel a difference in the way people treat her both men and women depending on how she does her hair and dresses. It’s not a surprise because many people judge people just by the way they look and start making assumptions about their life when they know nothing at all.

There have been many times when my wife has shopped and depending on how much effort she put into getting ready that day would reflect on how much customer service she receives.

She also notes that when she goes shopping she makes eye contact with customer service employees and the first thing she does is look for a name tag and greets them first. It’s like reverse psychology because now the ball is in their court.

She has in less than a minute or so shined with a bright smile and outgoing personality and now it’s up to the employee to ask if she needs any help. Each time she goes shopping with her hair done, make-up, boots or high heel shoes and sporting her accessories i.e. rings, handbag, necklace, earrings, sunglasses etc…. she is approached by a sales clerk.

Other times when she throws her hair in a bun and puts on her runners to go shopping it’s more about her putting the effort into the entire experience in order to get anything out of the store.

 

Money is no object

 

Sometimes she’s even pretended to be rich just to see what kind of service she would get. I remember in Niagara Falls we went into this store that was completely frosted with diamonds, high-end furniture, lighting, carpeting etc. and the store name had something to do with being Rich.

I can’t remember but she said let’s go in there and watch this. Sometimes my wife scares me because I never know what’s going to come out of her mouth but I just play along because I know there is a purpose for her.

There was one lady working and immediately she came over to us. We were both dressed up nice for a night on the town and she greeted us and asked if she could help us.

My wife said she was looking for new accessories, i.e. rings, necklaces, scarves etc. Well it didn’t take the pretty Shakira looking sales clerk long to start showing her rings and I’m starting to sweat hoping my wife is kidding.

Then the lady pulls out these colourful bracelets and says they are the “in thing” in California where they were brought in from. She says all the stars in California were buying them up so we should probably own one too. The pieces of coloured yarn cost just over $100 a pop.

The sales lady emulated herself being of the rich and famous crowd by the way she dressed and acted let alone talked with a flair or richness in her voice like money was no object. I also remember a sales clerk once told us that she had to wear what they sold in the store.

It was a form of marketing their product but also a way to make the customer feel as if they are living the experience as well. My wife didn’t end up buying anything but the 20 minutes or so that we were catered to was certainly an experience on its own. Thank goodness because I was getting worried there for a moment.

 

Customer service

 

What is good customer service?

Everyone who walks through the door no matter what they look like is a customer, never forget that.

I’m sure every business owner and customer will have their own ideals surrounding the topic of good customer service. I like to say excellent customer service. An example I can think of is being greeted with a smile and asking if you need any help and where to find him/her if needed.

There are a couple of clothing stores we go to in town and the ladies that work in theses shops which are in the mall are amazing. They take very good care of my wife and have always greeted us and placed us high on the priority list when it came to making sure she had everything she needed.

I also think they like that I go shopping with my wife as many men don’t tend to take much interest in what their wife wears. We both like to give each other’s opinions when we go shopping. It’s likely why my wife likes to shop there time and time again.

How to improve customer service?

If you don’t hire the right staff then your business will suffer. You might even have other employees who want to shine but can’t because of the negative cast in your business so it’s important to know what’s going on. Training and keeping the training ongoing even if it is refresher training courses to motivate your staff is imperative.

Know your staff and know what’s going on or you may just find that you are losing money because your employees are making their own rules of employment.

 

Customer service duties

 

I’m not sure if some employees even know the definition of work and customer service duties. I think many times people think they can handle working with the public or make themselves out to be better than they are.

I’m pretty sure that on the customer service skills list chatting in a corner about other customer experiences or daily life rather than attending to a customer is not part of the excellent customer service skills needed in such a role.

If you work in human resources or do the hiring yourself a customer service resume should be filled with an ongoing positive vibe that cares for the businesses they worked for and the customers.

Sometimes it’s difficult to judge a resume by its cover and it’s not until you bring in a candidate for an interview that you get the opportunity to dig a bit deeper into their personality and work habits.

Sometimes employers are even putting potential candidates through interview stages which is a great opportunity to see how they would act in certain situations as a customer service representative.

If you are a manager or own a business you need to make sure you know exactly what is going on in your business when you are there and aren’t there.

I know I’ve mentioned that I love the show Undercover Boss but it’s amazing when the boss is in the room how customer service skills are taken up a few levels and when the boss leaves some employees are out to play.

 

Milk dip

 

Just look what happened this past week at that Russian dairy plant who were caught on video celebrating the New Year in a vat of milk. Where was the boss? Who was watching over these employees? Sure they may work behind the scenes and not directly with customers but they are providing a product for the customers.

My point is some employees will do just about anything if they can get away with it even if it means not serving customers because of the way the dress, smell or look. Judging a book by its cover is never a good thing.

Remember the Millionaire Next Door book or the movie Pretty Woman. You never know who has money and who doesn’t and just because someone wears their sweat pants and t-shirt shopping at either a high-end luxury store or any store for that matter doesn’t mean you treat them any different from the person who rolls up with security.

Sure some customers can’t shut down an entire store for a private shopping experience like some of the rich and famous but customer service is customer service with a smile.

Have you ever been treated differently when shopping in a high-end store?

Have you been ignored in a luxury store because of the way you dress?

 

Weekly CBB posts

 

If you missed any CBB posts from the week here is the list of posts you can catch up on reading!

 

Fan deals and inspirations

 

Deals of the week Canada

Submit your Brag or Inspiration If you have a brag that you want me to share email me at canadianbudgetbinder (@) [yahoo] [.ca] or fill out my contact form by Friday each week to have your brag considered for the Saturday post.

This week CBB fan Christine shares some of the money saving deals she scooped up. This is just another reason why picking up some coupons is not a bad idea. It’s money in your pocket.

Mr.CBB and Fans,

Here are some of the great deals I picked up this week while I was out shopping.
Jackson’s Pharmacy(Guardian Drugs)

  • 2 Dove shampoo @ $3.49
  • 2 Dove conditioner @ $3.49
  • Tax- $1.81
  • Total- $15.77

The Dove shampoo and conditioner was half price, regular price is $6.99 per bottle. Even without the coupons around for Dove hair products it was still a good deal for me.

Canadian Tire

  • Royale Toilet paper- 4.99- $1.00 coupon
  • 2 x Royale Velour Toilet paper-@ $4.99- $9.98- 2X $1.00 coupons
  • Royale Tiger Paper towels 6 pack- $4.99, $3.00 coupon
  • Tax- $2.59
  • Total- $16.55

The 2 coupons for the Royale Velour came from an insert and the toilet paper itself was marked as a special purchase although the regular Royale was on sale stating $5.00 off. The paper towels were saying I saved a total of $2.48. The $1.00 coupon for the regular toilet paper and the nice $3.00 coupon for the paper towels came from Gocoupons.ca.

Have fun,

Christine

 

Making a difference

 

Makinthebacon

 

If you know a personal finance blogger that is making a difference and want to nominate them please send me an email so I can reach out to them for a feature story.

Note: If you are a blogger who gives back and would like to be featured by all means get in touch with me as I am filling spots up for the rest of 2014 and they are going quickly.

Today I’d like to introduce you to my Canadian personal finance blogger friend Karen from Makin The Bacon.

Hi CBB readers!

My name is Karen, and like Mr. CBB, I’m a Canadian personal finance blogger. I’m the owner, sole writer and editor over at MakintheBacon.

I tend to think of my blog as a bit of everything-travel, lifestyle, food, frugality and fitness, because personal finance tends to be a bit of everything. My blog has a bit of sarcasm, dry humour, and ranting to it as well.  It’s similar to my personality.

I started this blog back in the summer of 2012, thinking that I could make a ton of money right away. Boy, was I greatly mistaken.  It really wasn’t until the end of summer last year that I decided to put more time and effort into my blog, but even now I still find it tough juggling a blog and two jobs.

I wish I could buy more time to work on my blog. However, I really do enjoy blogging about personal finance, so it’s worth it.

With MakintheBacon, I want readers to realize that there’s a lot more to personal finance than clipping coupons and setting aside a portion of your income every month for retirement, savings or an emergency.

Whether or not we like to admit it, money matters and plays a huge part of our lives. It creates positive and negative emotions in us. It allows us freedom.

It gives us power.  I want people to get excited about personal finance, think about it in different ways and be part of the conversation!

Aside from blogging on my own site, I’m a staff writer for another personal finance blog. When I’m not doing either of those things, I like to read, bake (not cook), work out, travel and play Candy Crush.

 

What is a blog carnival?

 

Some fans have asked me “what is a blog carnival?” so a little explanation is due here for anyone reading for the first time or for my long-time fans.

A blog carnival is where a blog or website hosts what we call a carnival of blog posts from around the web. Most blog carnivals have a theme and certain rules for submitting which must be followed.

If you are a blogger and would like to learn what blog carnival directories I submit to each week you can find the information in a previous Saturday Weekend Review post that I wrote.

 

Carnival glory

 

A big thanks to these pages for accepting my blog posts and sharing them in the following carnivals and/or sharing my blog posts with their fans.

Carnivals

Blog Mentions

 

Google search terms

 

 

Google-web-search-terms

Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. Keep in mind any spelling errors below are because I share with you the exact way they typed their search engine query to land on my blog.

Here are a few of my favorite searches that may have even brought you here and you’re reading this, right now.

  • Fractured my foot in Dollarama. What do I do?- Could be a costly fracture.
  • Is the weekend making a difference- Depends on what you are comparing it to lol.
  • Why does my friend call me money bags- I can assume because you spend money like water. Ask them why.
  • I’m alone but happy- Not everyone needs someone to feel happy, happiness starts with-in.
  • Sexy women in kitchen for men- Not this blog

 

That’s all for this week’s edition of The Saturday Weekend Review #64. Have a great week and catch me here again next Saturday with more updates.

-Mr.CBB

 

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Photo Credit:freedigitalphotos.net/Stock Images

 

The power of plastic points

credit-cards-in-wallet

If you’re like most people, you probably have a wallet full of colourful plastic cards that are taking up space and making it harder and harder for you to close the clasp!

If you look through them, you’ll likely discover that while some of these cards are useful credit and debit cards than a few are loyalty cards you just never use.

It’s understandable how anyone can end up with such a collection. Practically every retailer offers a loyalty point scheme. At the time, it can be hard to think of a good reason to refuse and with a little effort, the points we collect with plastic can be worth it … as the following tips show.

 

Be selective

 

Before saying yes to every loyalty point card which is put under your nose, think about how often you shop in a particular store. Is it really worth the effort of filling out the application form?

Think about where you would shop regularly even if you weren’t part of a loyalty scheme. Once you’ve identified these stores then take advantage of the schemes that they offer.

On the other hand, if you only shop somewhere once in a while then do yourself a favour and refuse a card. Owning it may make you more inclined to shop there, increasing your overall spend.

 

Pick credit cards carefully

 

Loyalty cards aren’t the only ones which offer points schemes. Many credit cards reward customers with attractive points which can be redeemed for a range of goods and services.

For Canadians, this is a huge attraction when selecting a credit card. According to a survey by American Express Canada, 89% of Canadians carry at least one credit card in their wallet with more than half (52%) carrying more than one. Of those who own credit cards, 68% claim rewards programs are important.

An Amex Credit Card is an example of a card which pays customers in points for spending. Again, take advantage of this type of scheme for planned or routine purchases like a new set of furniture or Christmas shopping.

It also makes sense to use a credit card for travel-related purchases such as flights and hotels. The accrued points can be used for future vacation expenses.

 

Control spending

 

A word of warning – when you know that every time you spend you are ‘earning’ money, there is the danger of developing a habit of spending more than you normally would.

In order to make a points system on a credit card or retail loyalty card really work for you, stick to what you buy routinely. Once you’ve gathered a useable number of points, decided carefully how to spend it so your efforts are not wasted.

 

Track your history

 

The best tips concerning card management involve looking at your past behaviour to identify patterns and understand your habits. By tracking your history you can not only establish what sort of cards attract the most of your attention but also how much they’re saving – or costing –  you overall.

To track your history you need to record each use of your card and how much it saves or what reward it offers. Compare this against the amount you spent at the time and work how much better off you are through your use of cards. If you find you don’t use them enough to warrant having them then clear some space in your wallet or purse by getting rid.

Understand all the rules

Loyalty cards generally fall into specific categories, offering set rewards for continued spending over a long period time. However, not all loyalty systems operate in exactly the same way so it’s important you understand all the rules for the different cards in your possession.

This means looking into when you can use them and what rewards you may be eligible to claim. Check to see whether the provider of your loyalty card is associated with any other brands or companies as sometimes you may be able to get rewards or benefits from these places too.

To make the most of your must first understand them so ensure you read all of the terms and conditions in full before making any agreements. This is a tip which you should apply to all other types of card – including your credit card.

 

Earn cash back

 

Generally applied to credit cards, cash back is an option which many loyal spenders forget to take advantage of and is therefore something you should look out for. Cash back essentially offers you a small return on your purchases. This may be for a set amount but is more typically represented as a small percentage of the amount you spend.

Depending on the type of card you have, cash back may be available on all purchases you make or only at items which you buy from specific retailers. The important thing here is to know where you get cash back and make the most of it. Don’t go out of your way to buy items in the appropriate places but if you’re shopping there anyway then consider using your card to benefit from the reward.

If you have enough money to pay for these items via other means (such as a debit card or even cash) then you can always use this to pay off your credit card balance straight away so that you aren’t left to deal with the bill later on down the line.

 

Know when to use cards and when not to

 

The most important financial lesson to learn when dealing with cards is to know when to use and when not to use them. At present, a campaign is running in Canada to encourage shoppers to leave the plastic at home one day a week with the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses calling for ‘Credit Free Fridays’.

The main reason behind this is the preservation of businesses (as credit card purchases force retailers to hand over a share of the purchase price to credit card companies) but there are some interesting points to take on board from this incentive.

The main idea is that not every situation is the right time to use a card – whether it be a debit card linked to a bank account, a credit card or even a loyalty card. To ensure that your finances are not adversely affected you need to understand when to use these cards and when to leave them be. Once you’ve mastered this you’ll find it much easier to stay on top of your finances and reap the rewards due to you.

 

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Christmas Shopping: Online or In-store?

ipod-tabletsSHOPPING OPTIONS ARE ENDLESS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

Did you know there are only 40 shopping days left until Christmas? With Christmas being not too far away the rush to get one’s Christmas shopping finished begins.

Whether you plan to pack your suitcase full of gifts and jet off on holidays to see the family or shop right at home you can easily access shopping at your fingertips without stepping  foot out the door.

While some people prefer to shop only in stores there are many people who will choose to do the majority if not all of their shopping online.

Tablets, smartphones and free wi-fi access offered in places like Tim Hortons and McDonald’s, have made online shopping even more convenient than just being able to shop from the comfort of your home.

Though convenient, online shopping may not always be the best the choice when it comes to your finances and your Christmas budget.

 

online-shoppingOnline shopping

 

Online shopping allows you to shop from the comfort of your home or really anywhere you are able to gain online access.

Shopping online you avoid having to deal with overworked sales people, waiting in long lineups or having to drive around aimlessly looking for a parking spot.

Shopping online in most cases can be done 24 hours around the clock.

I like to be sleeping at 2 am but hey if you are up and have some online shopping to do, you can!

More product options may also be available to you as shelf space isn’t limited to what the individual stores can put out as well possibly more options in the colour and/or size of your desired purchase.

It is also much easier to avoid impulse buying when shopping online. Products may be found at a cheaper price as not having salespeople to pay to sell the product will impact the cost. Product reviews are something you can always count on when shopping online.

There are a lot of very opinionated people and self-proclaimed experts out there who love to leave reviews whether they are good or bad. Though some people may go overboard and the reviews may seem excessive at times product reviews are a great tool to use when making decisions to buy online.

Google any product and you’re guaranteed to find thousands of reviews from past customers describing their experience with the company, shipping process and the product itself.

in-store-shoppingIn-store shopping

 

In-store shopping especially around the holidays can be crowded and noisy.

Choosing to shop in-store means that you are limited to shopping when the stores are open, chance waiting in long lines, and we all know that finding a parking spot during holiday shopping season is always fun isn’t it?

A benefit of in-store shopping is that you have the opportunity to physically touch, hold, try on a size, or even possibly be given a demonstration of how the product works.

A common trend lately is under-staffed stores which means you are more likely to find shelves that may be cleared as there is insufficient store staff to keep on top of merchandising the products from the warehouse to the floor.

On the other hand if they are properly staffed you have in most cases someone who can tell you first hand and in-person the benefits or drawbacks of what you are looking to buy and may be able to offer other ideas.

Commission based employees often have added incentives and bonuses this time of year so you may find yourself dealing with salespeople who are a little more pushy than usual.

Price matching where you are able to get the same great deal at one store in another and a potential further discount to beat the competitor’s price is not just for grocery items and may be available to you based on what stores you shop in. Unlike online shopping where you have to wait for your purchase to be delivered you get to leave the store with the product in hand.

 

The cost of free shipping

 

We all love the word free and companies know this and use it in their marketing strategies. Free shipping sounds great but be sure to look into whether or not you have to make a minimum purchase to obtain that said ‘free shipping’. An example of this, orders placed over $25.00 are eligible for free shipping at Amazon.ca.

Buying something you may not have ordered otherwise just to meet the minimum threshold is any easy way for companies to sell more products and for you to spend more of your hard-earned money.

If you cannot meet the threshold without buying something you don’t need than maybe consider going in-store to make your purchase. Free shipping also often means the cheapest shipping option for the company, if you are hoping for your purchase to arrive within a few days rather than a few weeks, free shipping likely isn’t an option for you.

Also keep in mind that Amazon.ca and Walmart.ca for example are Canadian sites and Amazon.com and Walmart.com are American sites and shipping costs will be affected by this. Make sure you are shopping on the appropriate site.

What is best for you?

Truthfully, shopping online is probably the better option in terms of product selection and information availability and depending on shipping costs you are likely to find  better prices than in-store.

Shopping in-store and online both have their advantages and disadvantages. Setting a spending budget and doing some research will benefit you no matter which way you choose to shop.

Remember price matching if you are shopping in-store and like a grocery shop plan, make a list, set your spending limit and stay within it.

If you like to do your Christmas shopping last-minute then in-store shopping is the definitely the way to go.

If you choose to shop online take into consideration shipping times, shopping earlier than later will allow your purchases to be delivered sooner and avoid being caught up or even lost in the holiday rush.

 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

 

In recent years, Canada’s retail market has been trying to keep more of our Christmas shopping in Canada by adopting the American shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Black Friday is held on the first Friday following the American Thanksgiving. With Thanksgiving and Halloween having passed many refer to this as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Stores typically open earlier than other shopping days and the Black Friday deals are usually worth the wait of waiting in line if you choose to brave the crowds.

Working in the retail environment for a few years I have seen line-ups starting 10-12 hours or more before the stores plan to open and the lines wrapped around the buildings.

Black Friday this year will be November 29. Many retailers will intentionally not offer these deals online in anticipation of Cyber Monday.
For those of us, including myself who do not care for the crowds, the long waits in line and all the commotion that comes with some door-breaking deals, Cyber Monday may be when you try to score some discounted Christmas gifts. Cyber Monday takes place the Monday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Cyber Monday was created to persuade people to shop online. Cyber Monday this year will be December 2. Though the deals are offered online and you avoid having to wait in line the deals may still be limited to the number of each product offered so if you are going to shop online shop early!

Do you plan to take advantage of any Black Friday or Cyber Monday Deals? Do you prefer to shop online or in-store?

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The Saturday Weekend Review #44: Holiday flyer gimmicks that gets your wallet fired up

flyers-canada-ontario-november-2013HOLIDAY SALES START NOW… ARE YOU READY?

 

Time to ring in the holidays with flyers, flyers and more flyers. Are you ready Canada?

A better question might be, Is your budget ready?

Boredom for many people can lead to spending more money than they need to, but we should be able to control these urges.

 

Holiday flyers

 

Yesterday I wrote about Halloween coming to an end and the best time to put up decorations so it came as no surprise opening the weekly flyers that the stores have wasted no time with Christmas marketing. The hard part is when the holidays surround us and the flyer gimmicks entice us to shop til we drop.

Many of you know the shelves are already in the making before Halloween is even over. For most stores Christmas is the biggest time of year when it comes to sales and consumer traffic so every day counts especially if the shelves are not ready to go.

The glamour of Christmas for many puts them in the ‘spending spirit’ and it may be tough but it’s a time that we all have to buckle down and get control of our finances.

I know that is easier said than done because we battle the very same desire to window shop when we don’t really need to make a purchase, especially around the holidays. It’s that one awesome sale in a flyer that draws us in or we simply want to see what’s out there.

 

Christmas budget

 

The decision to not fall for all the holiday flyer specials was to pace ourselves and make a plan.

Our Christmas budget has changed over the years and now we draw names at the beginning of each year. The Christmas budget for us is a projected expense which means we save the money all year-long just in case we find it on sale and so we have the cash come Christmas and no credit cards are required. We only buy for one person now and we spend $100 on them and with that name comes a list of what they might like.

The flyers above were sent in to me by a fan who was surprised how the stores word the cover of their flyer in hopes of bringing in scores of customers although many of them seem to have the same deals like the grocery store $0.88 sales at Metro and No Frills.

Food Basics is waving the fans in with a “Mania Sale” getting much more for less. Canadian Tire flyer has Christmas trees on the front claiming “Bright Holiday Deals” to put you in the shopping mood.

Not only do you get the colorful banners at the top of the weekly flyer they make it even more enticing by almost forcing you into the store with a 1 day sale, 2 day sale, 3 day sale or a moonlight or midnight madness sale.

You might also find these words stand out on the flyer because those are the words they want you to remember. The notion of saving combined with being happy is how M&M Meats wants to inspire their customers to shop with them and rightfully so if the consumer will save money in their grocery budget.

Appetizers are a huge deal over the holidays so they will stop at nothing to pass along savings to the customer to get them in the store. They know their products sell and most people like Costco go in for one thing and come out with 10.

The problem with all of these enticing holiday flyers that are coming out is that they drive the traffic, meaning you and I into the stores with our wallet fired up and ready to spend. If we find it difficult as consumers to tighten the strings on the wallet it may be a dangerous holiday game of shopping each week because of the marketing involved during the holiday season. This could only prove to motivate us to overspend unless we have that plan of action and stick to it.

How do you handle the flyer gimmicks and giant sales this time of year so you don’t break your budget?

 

Canadian Budget Binder this week

 

Just in case you missed any of the awesome posts at Canadianbudgetbinder.com this week I’ve got them all below for you.

Happy Reading.

 

CBB at home and the blog

 

Not too much has been happening the past week in our house but we have officially busted the budget again this month which you will read about next week when I post our October budget update.

I’ll also be looking at the numbers closely the next few months to see how the seasons might impact our shopping habits. We have found that the colder the weather gets the more inclined we are to head out shopping or pouring into the stores that have those 50% off signs or end of season sales in the windows. We wanted to start doing more as a couple by getting out of the house and the first place it has brought us is to the shops.

On the blog nothing exciting has been happening although I’m hoping to get a few fixes sorted out with my designer but it’s nothing that you can see on your end.

I did make an oops this past week with the way I presented the layout and it was my error which I later fixed in the day. Now that the blog is on self-hosted I am responsible for any problems that happen above and beyond what my designer has created although he helps me out quite a bit. It’s great to work with someone who cares about his design and the blog owner like he does for Canadian Budget Binder.

Don’t forget to put your clocks back as we Fall behind one hour this Sunday morning Nov 3, 2013 at 2am and enjoy the extra hour of sleep.  I know I will.

 

Fan deals of the week

 

Since garage sales are pretty much done now with the upcoming winter months my idea is to have you the fans submit either an awesome deal of the week that you got, a freebie worthy of mention, kijiji score or other online buy that was amazing or any other major savings you want to brag about.

So, starting today send me in your photos and a write-up explaining the deal, prices and where you got the item and I might choose your steal of a deal in an upcoming Saturday Weekend Review. You can email me at canadianbudgetbinder (@) yahoo (dot) (ca) with your picture and details.

Today our in-house awesome shopper Jen P is sharing her RCSS score from last week which cost her hardly anything out-of-pocket meaning she saved money in her grocery budget. Jen is also an avid grocery game challenge player and has seen her grocery budget decrease over the past 2 years since posting her shops but not without challenges like we all much endure.

Jen-coupon-shop-deals

This shop was at RCSS

  • Catelli pasta 3 x $1.00 – 3 x $1.00 coupons = FREE
  • Country Naturals bologna $4.99 – FPC = FREE
  • 2 pack Playtex sippy cups $9.58 – SCOP (rang in at $11.99) = FREE
  • Pull Ups 2 x $16.74 – 2 x 50% off pink stickers (- $8.37 each) – 2 x $5.00 CZ coupons = $6.74 or $3.37 each boxCoupons $17.99
  • SCOP $9.58
  • Pink stickers $16.74
OOP $7.08 (5% tax on the Pull Ups)

 

Making a difference

 

stumble-forward

My name is Chris Holdheide and I’m honored to be a part of Mr. CBB’s Making A Difference segment. For those of you who don’t know me I’m an entrepreneur, father of three, and a financial junky.

Some of you may have read my blog Stumble Forward which is a blog dedicated to helping others avoid financial mistakes and live a higher quality financial lifestyle.

I started Stumble Forward as way to help others avoid some of the big financial mistakes I made in my younger years. Some of these mistakes include buying a $4500 timeshare, spending over a $1000 on rip off companies to help me sell it, to getting a mortgage that ended up costing me more than I was paying off on it.

In 2008 I decided enough was enough and decide to make a change for the greater good and started my blog to help others get their financial lives on track as well as mine and by 2013 I managed get my budget under control, clean up all of my credit card debt, stash some extra cash way, and even build a brand new house.

In the end my goal is to lead by example by share the painful mistakes that I have made in hopes to help others make a difference with their finances.

 

Blog post sharing

 

I really appreciate when other blog owners recognize my hard work at Canadian Budget Binder and share my posts with their fans or even mention my blog on their blog or website.

Here are the blogs that did just that this past week, so please head over and check them out. If I’m missing you it’s because I didn’t get a ping back so please send me an email and I’ll add you next Saturday.

Just one site shared CBB this week so a big thanks goes out to Urban Departures for recognizing CBB and taking the time to share with their fans. :-)

 

Carnival Glory

 

 

Google-web-search-terms

Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog.

Here are a few of my favorite searches that may have even brought you here and you’re reading this, right now.

  • OSAP please forgive my loan: Oh boy do you have something to learn about money and debts…. nothing in life is free!
  • Money will kill the relationship: That is true, it can.
  • Happiness isn’t in saving money: It is for us to an extent as we tend to balance savings with enjoying life but for others it’s in spending it…depends on your goals.

That’s all for this week’s edition of The Saturday Weekend Review #44.

Join me next week same time, same place to see what trouble I can get myself into.

Have a great week everyone.

Mr.CBB

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The Saturday Weekend Review #36: Video Gaming costs, children and relationships

Yoshi-the-saturday-weekend-review

Get Lost In The Gaming World

It’s been talked about on numerous occasions how video games encourage children to become less active and for some they get lost in a fantasy world and find it difficult to let go of. Some children interact so well with the characters in video games that they do believe they are real which is no different from believing that Mickey Mouse is magical. While garage sailing I tend to be very attentive to what people are selling because everything for sale if all theirs paints a picture of a family.

I’ve also looked at novels that are for sale and you can tell what type of person might be reading these books in the home. One stark discovery is that almost all garage sales that I went to with children were selling off video games. They aren’t cheap either even at a garage sale especially since buying them new might run you upwards of $50 dollars or more depending on the game and the system. I’m not a gamer by any stretch of the imagination in fact I haven’t touched a video game since the 80′s and neither has my wife.

80′s Arcade games

Are video games good for kids?

In 1981 we were given Donkey Kong then in 1986 Tetris blew up the screens, then there was Duck Hunt, Frogger, Pole Position, Centipede, Q-bert and then Pac-Man in 1980 with kids and adults going wild for these games. My wife recalls going to arcades as a child with her bag of quarters that she would get from the bank after swapping in her allowance bills from her paper route. Her recollection of her youth brings her back to spending most of the weekend after her chores and paper route living in a dream world of Arkanoid and Mario brothers which were 2 of her favourite games growing up.

She said she wasn’t happy until she could conquer the Arkanoid game and she did but it cost her many weeks allowance and then some. The game somehow challenged her until the end. She wasn’t going to let the game win and she was prepared to do whatever it would take to bring home the gold. There were times she said when people would huddle around her because she was doing so well.

The game literally encompassed her being on the weekends when she went out to play with her friends only because the arcade was a stone’s throw from her family home. Although her parents taught her about money from a young age she would set aside a portion of her earnings from her paper route to enjoy gaming when she wasn’t at home playing with her other love, the keyboards.

Just when she thought she could start banking her allowance though they came out with a new version of Arkanoid and the gaming started over again but this time she started to see it on hand-held systems where she didn’t need to insert coins. She later learned that the game although many would say is a waste of time and money taught her to never give up when she wanted something so bad if even a win.

In some ways she believes it has shaped her work ethic and the way she tackles her projects on a daily basis. She’s laughing as I type this because she thinks back to all the money she spent and how much work she needed to do to earn that money and she has nothing to show for it. Not everyone feels this way but for her the skills she gained were skills she could have formed via other outlets which may have inspired her further.

Best Gaming

What is the best video game system for kids?

Today new video game systems are much more intricate than they were in the 80′s and 90′s and interactive as such with the Wii, kinetic on X-box and the move on play station where the aim is to get gamers up and moving so they aren’t doing nothing for hours on end. You will find games on iPods, cell phones and really just about any device you can think of today. Like anything in life balance is important.

If kids are spending every waking hour playing video games, adults included they are giving up precious moments in life that could be spent building other successes. Many gamers have went on to become developers and it’s part of their life now so for a small percentage gaming could become their future income source if they are hired by the right organization. The reality is many won’t but for those gamers out there that want to still play or have their kids play I think it’s important to set limitations.

When I was young playing meant we went outside to play and we would run around for hours pretending we were characters we saw in the movies or in our morning cartoon sessions. The boys wanted to be superman and the girls Wonder Woman. We didn’t have scooters and battery operated vehicles to bring us from point A to point B we used our 2 feet and we made out fine.

There’s not much of that these days but if we could only recognize the pros and cons to how we choose to spend our time we’d accomplish much more and the children of the future may just bring us a new sense of commitment to getting the job done and not giving up. Sometimes the problem with gaming is when people don’t know when to stop. If you want to learn how to play kids games you can play along with them especially the educational games because family kids games include everyone.

The cost of games even if you do a trade at shops like EB Games with their trade-in options can get pricey and you can easily break the budget and fast. Alternatively there are video games online for kids which you can download and play that are free or may cost minimal charges. You won’t get back near what you paid for a game but you may be able to trade a few games to get another used game so the cycle of gaming continues on and on. I know many people who have all the gaming systems you can think of and the games to go along with it.

I sometimes think if they only invested the money they spent how much they’d have in 5, 10 or even 20 years time. Leave the video games and get up and get out and enjoy the freedom the world has to offer at no charge but that’s just not a reality in 2013 although many parents are opposed to even bringing a gaming system into the home.

Responsible gaming at any age

Video games are also responsible for marriage breakdown where one partner or the other becomes so engrossed in a particular game or many games and shuts him or herself out from the world like my wife may have done when she was younger trying to conquer Arkanoid.

One ex-couple we knew (We are friends with the wife) the husband was so into his games that he would barricade himself in a spare bedroom with a 2 litre bottle of coke and chips and game all day and night on  the weekends. Nothing would get done around the house and they lived in a brand new home. We are all entitled to down-time in a relationship, heck even I don’t want to be with my wife 24/7 but there comes a time where we need to get ask when is enough is enough.

She was left to cut the lawn and to do the home maintenance because it was near impossible for him to do things as he always complained he was tired from working yet he had no problem staying up pulling all-nighters with his love, the video game. Not only that but he was chatting online to people all over the world who were gamers and having fun while she sat waiting for him to romance her and do things with her. He left his wife to do what she wanted, and that she did. She divorced him one year after marrying him although for most they would say she knew this about him before she married him.

I think dating and marriage go hand in hand and it was something she simply over-looked because she loved him but later realized that she couldn’t compete with a video game. Although there may have been an educational lesson there for her and her when she was younger such as eye and hand coordination and challenging oneself without giving up if she was older and married she might have found her spouse packing his bags.

She says she does remember a negative about playing video games when she was young and that was she became very aggressive. She would easily get frustrated and angry out loud not caring what anyone would think. I’m sure if you are a gamer you can relate to this emotion as many do talk out loud, get angry and very aggressive which could spill into life dealings with people. Today video games are very graphic and some may not be suitable for certain age limits and for good reason.

Are more failed relationships around the corner?

Should there be an age limit to gaming? Well, no one can say for sure since it’s a form of entertainment and education for many but with a world full of so much beauty it would be a shame to see it pass us by living in a world of dreams. I do believe that parents should monitor their child’s use of games, internet usage and to keep the gaming in a common area and not a bedroom. I also think that if a certain behaviour is becoming apparent it’s important for a parent to step in and stop that behaviour before it gets out of hand.

Your child may not only exhibit a behaviour outside of the home and at school but they may just treat you the parent with the same oppressive behaviour in other facets of your parent-child relationship. If you factor in the cost of games especially if you are buying one game a week you are teetering on the realms of a costly sport at best. There’s nothing wrong with a good dose of gaming but I think being responsible and recognizing that balance is very important on many levels for children and for adults.

What are your thoughts about video games in relation to cost, children and relationships?

Did you have a favourite video game growing up?

Garage sailing with Jen

brain-quest-kids

The garage sale season is wrapping up for us here and although many people still have indoor garage sales in the Fall and Winter it’s still a great way to find some hidden treasures at a fraction of the cost. So keep your eyes peeled online especially on Kijiji or on Facebook 24 hour auctions for your area to score some great deals. Jen went garage sailing this morning and oddly enough she found a kids game which are brain games that you can play with your kids for a great price.

Jen and her husband have made many improvements to their shopping habits and their budget. You can read all about it in her guest post, Budgeting With Mr. CBB Got Us Back On Track. Jen shares her weekly garage sale finds with us for the summer to show just how much she can save for her family.

Today I got 4 x Brain Quest deck packs. I’ve heard a lot of good things about these for brain exercises for kids. They were asking $2 each and I got them for $1 each.

Total spent today: $4.00

Gardening and Landscaping

Well, where do I start with our garden. To be honest, it hasn’t performed like we wanted it to and you might be stunned to find out that I’ve ripped it all out. It’s near the end of September and the tomatoes hardly grew up the posts, the peppers were struggling so I don’t know what went wrong this year.

I think back to what Katrina said about planting in the same spot year after year or it was too much rain or my soil didn’t have enough nutrients. I admit that with having to landscape the front yard this year I didn’t give as much attention to the back gardens like I did in the past when everything grew in abundance. We also decided to take out the raspberry bushes which have been there for about 20 years now. We don’t mind raspberries but we aren’t the biggest fans and they take up a huge chunk of our garden.

My aim for the back garden for next year will be to keep it simple. I don’t want to have to spend a fortune watering plants and flowers so I’m going to go with shrubs and few flowers. I will have a couple of hanging baskets instead of the many we have had in the past. The herbs we will continue to grow them in abundance since we use them quite frequently.If we had a bigger garden things might be different but we want to make the most of our space for next year.

How did your garden perform this summer?

Blog update

The blog is almost complete and we are putting the finishing touches on it and soon enough you will see a much more vibrant page for all of you to hang out on with me.

Make sure you are subscribed via email because once I leave free WordPress if you are not subscribed via email you may stop getting my posts in your inbox.

Blog Posts On Canadian Budget Binder This Week

You can now follow Canadian Budget Binder via Bloglovin and continue to get my daily posts in this reader.

If you are a regular reader you would have already received these awesome posts in your email or reader but just in case you missed reading one I’ve put them all together here just for you.

PLUS…. check out the NEW FEATURE I’ve added which is my New Free Recipe IndexYou get all the recipes that I have posted here at Canadian Budget Binder in one spot so you don’t have to go looking for them.

Making a difference

mo-money-mo-houses

Hi there! My name is Jessica and I’m the owner, editor, and sole author of the blog Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses. I’m originally from Vancouver, but this June my husband and I took a big leap of faith and moved all the way to Toronto to pursue our dream careers.

I started my blog just under two years ago as a way to teach myself about digital marketing and to have an outlet where I could write about one of my biggest passions: personal finance. As much as I hoped to develop my web skills from it and maybe gain a few readers (besides just my immediate family), I never expected how much I would learn in the process or that I would become part of a huge community of frugal savers just like me.

Although it’s sometimes challenging maintaining a blog and it was a big risk choosing to use my real name and image to brand it, starting my blog is still one of my proudest accomplishments. My hope is that through my blog I can similarly inspire my readers to challenge themselves, take risks and do things that scare them in order to grow, all while making financially savvy choices.

Blog share

I really appreciate when other blog owners recognize my hard work at Canadian Budget Binder and share my posts with their fans or even mention my blog on their blog or website. Here are the blogs that did just that this past week, so please head over and check them out. If I’m missing you it’s because I didn’t get a ping back so please send me an email and I’ll add you next Saturday.

What is a blog carnival?

Some fans have asked me just what a blog carnival is so a little explanation is due here for anyone reading for the first time or for my long-time fans. A blog carnival is where a blog or website hosts what we call a carnival of blog posts from around the web.

Most blog carnivals have a theme and certain rules for submitting which must be followed. If you are a blogger and would like to learn what blog carnival directories I submit to each week you can find the information in a previous Saturday Weekend Review post that I wrote.

A big thanks to these pages for accepting my blog posts and sharing them in the following carnivals

Carnival glory

Google search terms

web search terms

Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. Here are a few of my favourite searches that may have even brought you here and you’re reading this, right now.

This has to be the first week that I struggled to find some funny Google Search Terms

  • Our agent was late to our open house: Uh huh and what exactly will searching that online do for you?
  • What do women want love or money?: I’m not sure you will find the answer you are looking for
  • A typical budJET: i never thought of my budget as a powerful engine but if you do think about it, it really is!!
  • Mr. Fruit Crisps: Nope not me

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