The Saturday Weekly Review

Postage stamps can hit the budget hard at Christmas: The Saturday Weekend Review #100

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Postage stamps rise in price just as the gas prices do in Canada. The only difference is that gas actually goes down in price just like we’ve seen lately. You’ll never see that with postage stamps.

You know it wouldn’t be so bad if we bought Hallmark greeting cards but when you shop for a greeting card at the dollar store and then stick on a stamp that’s worth almost the same it seems a bit much.

Having friends all over the world seems that the cheapest route for us is using the internet to say, “Happy Birthday”, “Merry Christmas”, “Happy New Year”, “Happy Easter”, “Congratulations on your Wedding, Baby, Pet” etc. well, you get the point. Mind you we haven’t stopped sending cards but we have noticed the difference postage makes to our budget.

I don’t miss opening a greeting card that comes in the post which eventually ends up being tossed in the garbage. My wife and I are always asking each other “How much is the price of a stamp?” but mostly for my International stamps. The permanent “P” Canadian stamp that we can buy means that even if prices go up we won’t have to add extra postage to our envelopes which is great.

The permanent P stamps are a great incentive to buy stamps in booklets and rolls because you aren’t always adding smaller denomination stamps to make up for price hikes if you have extra stamps hanging around. That was always happening to us. We have many small denomination stamps for that reason which I will likely use on my International stamps when the next price hike happens and it will.

I’m not sure why anyone would want to buy any other Canadian stamps. I think we have a pack of stamps that have an amount on them but they have to do with hockey in Canada. You pay for the graphic stamps in the long-run if they aren’t P stamps, but they look nice. Personally I don’t look at stamps on post when it comes in the mail but for some stamp collecting and passion for stamps is big business.


A UK Christmas


I have never sent home parcels to the UK because it would cost me more to send a gift than what the gift was worth. It’s simply not worth it unless your gift or the item you are sending is more than your postage.

My mum sent my wife a Gordan Ramsey cookbook once via the Royal Mail UK which cost her a bit of money but not as much as it would have cost us with Canada Post to send the same cookbook to the UK from Canada.

Now my mum and dad only send cards in the mail but when our son was born they bit the bullet and sent a gift even though we said not to because it wasn’t worth it. So if it’s worth it to you then spend the money to send a box or a card in the mail.

I send cards to the kids in the UK and with that they get a cheque to go and buy what they want. I’m able to offer the kids more money because I’m not blowing it all to post an actual gift. One stamp to send an envelope to the UK costs me $2.50 now where it was well under that price a few years back.

This Christmas I put together a large envelope which included all the Christmas cards, baby photos plus any upcoming birthday cards and sent it off to the UK. My parents will drop off the cards when they go around for the holidays to my siblings houses.

The cost to our budget was a whopping $10.35 instead of paying $2.50 for each envelope which would have cost me more especially to send the photos. I bought a large envelope and bulked it out with cardboard so Canada Post wouldn’t bend the photos.

We don’t send out many letters with-in Canada thanks to the popularity of online e-cards. Most people opt to send an e-card to save on postage. The pros with sending email or e-cards is that they are essentially real-time so no wait-time.

Plus if you forget someone’s birthday you don’t have to worry about saying the card must have got lost in the mail as an excuse. The one big con is that you don’t get to add the personalization like you would if you went out to buy a gift. You can still add all the heartwarming messages you want online and gift them via Paypal or by ordering a gift online.

We are already paying Rogers over $40 a month for internet so we might as well make good use of it. Think of it as stretching the budget. This time of year we send out Christmas cards to our friends in family around Canada and we do send cards in the post which means postage stamps are needed.


Price of Canadian Stamps


I also send out envelopes throughout the year for this blog to fans who win contests and for our Canadian family members birthdays. My wife remembers when she used to send hand-written letters to her friends but hasn’t done that in years. My mother-in-law is old-school and still pays all of her household bills through the post.

She buys a booklet of permanent Canadian stamps every couple of months and pays her bills that way. Since they live a ways out from the city it’s cheaper for her (she says) rather than firing up the truck to drive to the bank. We’ve tried to entice them to set up online bill payments through their bank but they have no desire to do so.

My mother and father-in-law are not convinced the internet is safe enough for their financial transactions so who am I to argue. It’s their money after all. So there are people who continue to use stamps the traditional way and many like us who have toned it down.

I mentioned to her today that the prices might be going up so I’m sure she will waste no time investing in a roll of Canadian permanent stamps. This will cost her $0.85 for each stamp rather than $1.00 if you were to buy an individual stamp. Prices for booklets of Canadian stamps are also $0.85 each which was the price hike as of March 2014.

We’ve scaled back over the years and the latest increase in March 2014 was because Canada Post announced a projected loss of $274 million dollars. I won’t be surprised if we see another price hike in the new year.

A friend of my wife who owns a business says that she spent a fortune on Canadian stamps for the holidays to send cards to all of her clients. Even though she can write the cost of the stamps off in business expenses she couldn’t get over the overall cost upfront as she sends out hundreds of cards.

The fact of the matter is paying to run Canada Post is costly and if people stop using the post then they lose money and we end up paying more for it in the long run. We’ll never win.

So for now I’m paying $2.50 for a Canadian stamp to send off International letter post and there’s not much I can do about it unless I write-up one years worth of cards and send one box for the entire year.

Do you still use stamps? Do you send Christmas cards in the mail?


Around our house and the blog


I accomplished a bit this week but I have so much work to get done. I’ve run into a bit of a problem in the bathroom which is taking me longer to get through. I’ll talk about it more down the road but it’s a costly mistake on time which I have to suck up. I really had no choice but in the future I won’t be making this error again.

Our refrigerator also broke down on us in the middle of the night so I had to work on it for a couple of hours to get it back up and running. Now it’s working better than before so I assume ice build-up on the fan (the culprit) has been in the works for a while.

Otherwise it was a pretty quiet week for us apart from getting our son’s holiday photos done and making a visit to see Santa at the mall. Yes we paid $10 to get his photo taken with Santa. Our son had a great time with Santa and didn’t even cry, a real trooper! The ladies just loved him too as you could hear mall shoppers stopping to comment on how cute he was. That’s because he has my looks that’s why! Ha ha!

Christmas is near so we are finishing up the last of our shopping and next week I’ll be wrapping a couple of gifts and we are done. We won’t be doing any holiday baking this year but we will resume next year. You can find all of our traditional holiday cookies in the free recipe index.

Until next week… have a good one!

How was your week?


CBB blog posts this week


Just in case you’ve missed any of my blog posts this week I will link to them all below. If you have a question that you would like to ask Mr.CBB fill out the contact Mr.CBB form on the Home Page and send in your questions. Mr.CBB will look in his mailbag weekly and pick a question to answer on the blog.


Fan deals and inspirations


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.

Coupon Haul Target Canada November 2014

This week Melissa Mullins shares another of her great hauls from Target Canada.


Making A Difference


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

Fugalwoods cowgirl houndHi CBB Readers:

We’re Mr. and Mrs. Frugalwoods (+ Frugal Hound), the frugal weirdos of and we plan to retire to a homestead in the woods at age 33. We don’t want to hit 50 and realize we’ve wasted our best years behind a desk working for someone else.

Frugalwoods is the story of our accelerated journey to financial independence and we cover everything from our $0.10 breakfasts, to why we bought our house, to stuff we’ve found in the trash, and our tips for saving exorbitant amounts of money. We’ve never been in debt and our monthly savings rate is 65%-85% of our net income.

A common thread through Frugalwoods is our reliance on one another and the strength of our marriage. We feel incredibly fortunate to share the same outlook on life and cannot tell you how important it is to get on the same financial page as your partner.

We wrote an exposé of our happy frugal marriage and the backstory on how we aligned our relationship, goals, and finances. Built on trust, communication, equality, and love, our partnership has flourished under frugality–we focus on each other, our goals, creating a life of meaning, and not on material goods or expensive distractions.

When you’re working towards a concrete goal, frugality ceases to be about what you’re giving up and becomes about what you’re going to gain. If you want something badly enough, you’ll become a frugal weirdo too. We promise.

P.S. Frugalwoods is rife with ridiculous photos of our greyhound, Frugal Hound.


Top recipe


cinnamon swirl sweeties

If you don’t already know I have a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot where I share recipes from other Food Bloggers from around the world.

From now until the end of the year I will be sharing holiday recipes with all of you!! Today my friend over at My Wife’s Muffin is getting the spotlight with their delicious looking Cinnamon Swirl Sweetie Cookies.

They are perfect for the holidays and by far the top recipe for LIKES on my Facebook page for 2014. With Facebook only showing posts to limited fans these days it was nice to see it reach more than a handful.


Editor’s Pick


Every week I will pick a blog post of the week from around the web that I found interesting and want to share with you and an Editor’s top blog post pick.

Editor’s blog post pick of the week goes to personal finance blog Boomer and Echo where Marie talks about whether we are ready to give up cash.  It’s true that many people don’t carry cash these days and many fundraising efforts might be thwarted because of this.

More people are using credit cards so they can reap the reward points and why wouldn’t you when it’s free money. We do all the time and Marie is right often we have to decline a request for a donation because we simply don’t have any cash on us.

I’m not sure about the Royal Bank pilot project she mentions where they give you a wristband and it uses the pattern of your heartbeat for identification purposes and for payments. I agree with Marie that cash is still very important because not everyone accepts plastic.


Google 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.

  • How to steal from a grocery store– I honestly didn’t think you would need to research how to do this.
  • Elders have old-fashioned thinking- We will all have some form of old-fashioned thinking as we age.
  • I wish heaven had Skype– Me too!
  • Bio own battery- Hmm, haha

Thanks for dropping by and I’ll catch you next week!


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  1. I do agree that postage stamps can get really expensive during the holidays, but I don’t mind. I think that people still enjoy getting Christmas cards especially if it contains holiday pictures. At the end of the day it is a lot cheaper than sending a gift.

    1. Oh I agree that people love to get them. I think it’s important though to make sure the cost is in the budget because postage does get pricey especially if someone is sending out boxes.

  2. I have noticed the price of stamps has gone up over the years and international mail would make it even more expensive. I was lucky enough to grab a pack of 100 permanent stamps from Costco for a discount and we bought them right before Canada Post announced the price increases. Once they made that announcement (a few months ago?) all the stamps were pulled from stores. They’re back now but I think a roll has gone up in price quite a bit. I send emails now – cheaper and faster (plus they won’t get lost in the mail)

  3. See this post was timely as I just bought 2 rolls of Christmas themed stamps to mail our Christmas Cards today. I was thinking about the cost and wondering if buying a bunch of our Forever Stamps would be a good investment as the postage always goes up here in the States too. I am not going to run out and buy $500 in stamps but it was something to ponder on the drive home.

  4. Thanks for mentioning my mom’s post on whether or not we’re headed towards a cashless society. I’ve been using Amazon Prime to buy and ship Christmas presents to my friends and family for free. The $79 annual service gives us unlimited free two-day shipping within Canada. Beats using Canada Post and its exorbitant rates and delays.

    Have a great weekend!

  5. We don’t send out nearly as many cards as we used to…. Most go to older family members that don’t have Internet and to a few people that live too far a way to see more than once every few years if that. I get cards free from making charitable donations in the past and from the fact I am listed as next of kin for hubby and my Dad at a number of hospitals with-in 150km. I get address labels from them too, haven’t had to come up with any of those in many years!!! I’ll be doing my cards shortly so they have time to get there in time. The younger generation will get e-greets as I don’t always have an address on some of them.
    I loved what Canada Post did the last time they raised the rates…NOT!!! Pulling the ‘P’ stamps when they announced the increase until after the increase kicked in was not nice!!! There was some howling about that one.
    Melissa got some sweet deals!!! I love the Dove body wash!!!
    Your editors pick looks like I might have to have a look at that one!!!! Did you see the blog post yesterday from PET on home made baby food and the advantages??? If you haven’t it will be worth your time!! Little Mr CBB will be starting solids before you know it…. There are lots of sites and recipes for things like the cereals online as well. My kids ate home made as did the grandson.
    Have a great weekend!!!!!!

    1. Did they pull the P stamps? I guess we never bought any in that time-frame but they are back as we bought some. Mel did get awesome deals, that’s how it’s done! No I didn’t see that post however I’m working with Juanita to put that post together. She makes homemade baby food.

      1. Yes they pulled the P stamps knowing full well if they didn’t people would buy a lot of them to get around the increase….
        The post is worth looking at especially if you and Juanita are working on a post covering that as well.

        1. But they are back now because we bought some. So it must have been short-lived? What is PET though I don’t understand where I was supposed to look at this post?

  6. I thought they had discontinued permanent stamps, but it seems that they only had temporarily suspended them!

    That being said I think we’ll do electronic Christmas letters this year and buy online and ship directly to the recipient.

  7. Postage rates are pretty exorbitant here as well–we do like to send cards at Christmas, but we often get postcard-sized cards, which are a lot cheaper to mail. Thank you so much for including us in your Making A Difference segment. We really appreciate it :)!

    1. Interesting. I’m pretty sure if you send a postcard from Canada that you still pay the same postage as a regular letter. Thanks for stopping by our Making A Difference feature today!!

  8. I agree about the price of stamps is ridiculous. The other week I bought 50 Cdn and 1 US stamps. Some were for Christmas cards (1st time in coon’s age since I’ve sent out cards for anything) and paying bills that I can’t pay online. Because of the quantity and how often I mail anything, they should last a while but I’m now thinking I probably should add them into my budget as a projected expense.

    1. If you know that once a year you need to buy a roll of stamps then yes put them in your PE. Anything you know you will need at some point in time add to the PE and start saving. 🙂

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