Why You’re Missing Deals At The Department Store : The Saturday Weekend Review #103

department store shoppingTURNING YOUR EYES ON THE SAVINGS


Department stores in Canada are far and few these days but within the walls of the odd department store still standing are deals that are missed by those frugal shoppers for one reason, frugal dependency.

Yes, we are a society who have become dependent on the big box stores and other discount stores to shop in because we feel we can’t afford what a department store has to offer.

Department stores such as The Bay, Eaton Centre and Sears Canada have all suffered and are crying out for customers to stick around.

Although the Sears department store has downsized over the years Toronto alone closed 5 Sears department stores in 2014. We now have 111 Sears department stores in Canada and of those that closed 965 people were affected. Sears USA has closed over 100 department stores in the past year alone.


Department store shopping


Every Boxing Day the wife and I make our way to a Sears Department store at 6 am when they open the doors. I know you might think it’s crazy showing up at Sears for 6am but over the years it has proven to be busy and line-ups needed to be controlled before entering the store. The good thing about standing in line is you get to chat to people and you know how I love to be nosey. 😉

This morning, Boxing Day was no different from any other year except when we arrived at 6:30am we were one of 3 cars in the parking lot. WHAT? We thought maybe we had gotten the opening time wrong but sure enough the doors to the once popular department store were open but we were literally the only customers in sight.

Roll out the red carpet… that’s what it felt like to us.

Once inside we were greeted and asked if we needed help over and over in each department we went into. You don’t often get service like that but at Sears we’ve been lucky to always have someone approach us to ask if we could use some help.

After noticing Future Shop with hoards of people waiting for the doors to open and Sears crying out for customers it leads me to believe that most people shy away from shopping at the department store level.

Why? All I can think besides what consumers may believe is higher prices is that consumers won’t bother stepping foot inside when they aren’t sure they can get comparable deals to the big box stores or smaller discount stores like Walmart or Giant Tiger. I’m not just talking about Boxing Day either, every day in general.

You can’t even compare large stores to independent shops which are also suffering to grow their customer base which essentially keeps the business alive. More and more we see what used to be the popular places to shop sink lower and lower into non-existence.

While shopping at Sears this morning we managed to spend $172.13 and we saved MUCH more. You can’t beat the great Boxing Day deals at Sears every year or even pricing at their online outlet store. They offer up to 50% and 60% off or more on many items plus a further discount if you use the Sears MasterCard for Boxing Week deals.

My wife was talking to a clerk at Sears yesterday who has been employed for many years who said that the store has changed dramatically over the years but even more so the last few years.

She believes customers shy away because they don’t think they can afford the products they have to offer. The clerk went on to say that she finds great deals all the time at Sears and my wife did not disagree. We enjoy shopping the department store atmosphere.

People want to save money in their budget and they believe there is nothing they can afford in department stores so they opt for discount stores where they presume their money will go further. That’s not always the case.

Upon looking for deals at our local Sears department store today we found high quality products that you can’t find at discount stores and we managed to save a fortune because of the sales.

Sears department stores always have great sales but if you have the “I can’t afford it” mindset the likelihood of you shopping at Sears is slim to none. Try not to think that way as you exclude yourself from some money saving opportunities.

My mother-in-law opted to buy a Christmas gift for our son from Walmart because she felt that was all she could afford when we found deeper discounts on higher quality clothing from Sears.

What we’ve learned is that buying quality is much more important than price so if we can buy higher quality products that will last us and grab it on sale we’d be idiots to pass it up for cheaper products that won’t last a month or two.

A few years back we purchased our Sears water softener and have been 100% happy with the product and wouldn’t hesitate to buy another if we moved and needed one. Originally we were looking at price and did some research but we waited for an amazing deal at Sears because we knew they had quality products and excellent return policies.

Yes, we got the water softener on sale and Sears is willing to price match as well because we also picked up our Panasonic Viera Smart TV a couple of years back. Not only did Sears price match but we got a further 10% off the purchase price of the TV. We have yet to see a better deal on the same TV 2 years later.

Shopping at Sears today sure was nice having the entire store practically to ourselves but at the same time it was a pity to see how Boxing Day isn’t like it used to be. Maybe people aren’t rushing out the doors like past years but I sure hope that we give the department store and even independent shops a chance.

What did we buy on Boxing Day?

  • Men’s hoodie sweater Reg $99.99 Sale $48.99-40%=$29.39
  • Women’s executive tote Reg $69.99 Sale $49.99 -$20=$29.99
  • 2 x Cuisinart Heavy Duty Baking Sheets $39.99-40%=$15.99 (wow, can’t wait to use these)
  • Charcoal Sweater Reg $59.99 Sale $34.99-40%=$20.99
  • Baby Stroller Bag Reg $39.99 sale $9.99
  • Women’s jacket Reg $89.99 Sale $49.99-40% =$20.99

Reg price $439.93 + tax HST= $497.12 we paid $172.13 meaning we saved $324.99!!

Considering these were new products I think we picked up some great deals today. I don’t think we would have found my wife’s jacket at Value Village for that price second-hand.

Prices have gone through the roof over the past few years at many second-hand shops that now it’s worth shopping around even at department stores which some people believe are too pricey to shop in but that’s not always the case.

Final words…. don’t forget about the department store because turning your back on them might mean missed savings for your budget!

Have you found any great deals at department stores in your area?


Around our house and the blog


Tis the season to be jolly. It’s been a busy week with all the festive celebrations going on but it’s been fun celebrating our son’s first Christmas. The weather has been gorgeous without a speck of snow to be seen. It’s actually been feeling more like the Fall rather than winter season.

I know I haven’t been around the blog much but I needed the break. I’ve spent so much time working two jobs and blogging this year that I at least deserve a break at the end and so I took it. Thankfully it was nice to only see a small dip in traffic and that was likely due to the holidays.

I’m pretty sure you had better things to do rather than sitting around reading about your budget, right? Exactly, so now that Christmas has come and gone it’s time to start thinking about your 2015 budget and how you will be paying off your debts.

If cutting back or saving money in your grocery budget is a goal for the New Year, The Grocery Game Challenge will be starting up for 2015 very soon. Hang on to all of your grocery receipts and post your shops every Tuesday. Join a group of many CBB fans who have posted for almost 3 years now.

If you want to start using a budget download ours FREE… yes… FREE right now and get yourself organized before January 1, 2015. Saving money is harder than you think but using a budget takes a huge weight off your shoulders simply because you know what you are spending and how much you can afford to spend every month.

That’s all for now friends. Keep smiling and enjoy the rest of your holidays!



Weekly Blog Posts


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.


Popular Blog Posts This Week


I thought it would be fun to share the Top 5 pages and posts each week for those of you that are new reading Canadian Budget Binder. These are in no particular order but were among the most viewed apart from the posts of the week.

  1. Scanning Code of Practice in Canada: Did you know?
  2. How much should my grocery budget be?
  3. Free Money-Saving Tools (Free Downloads)
  4. How to make money fast without going crazy
  5. Easy Chicken Curry in a Hurry


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.

ziploc bags

Today Canadian Budget Binder fan Jen who submitted this a few weeks back.

  • Here is a Black Friday deal I picked up:
    8 x Ziploc bags 100ct Reg price $3.97=$31.76
    PM sale price at Walmart 8 x $1.97=$15.76 – 4 x $1.50 wub 2 coupons
    No tax day: saved $2.05
    Total $9.76
    $22 in savings plus each box came with $10 in coupons 🙂


Making A Difference


Note: If you are a personal finance blogger (anywhere around the world) and would like your blog to be MAD featured simply drop me an email and I’ll explain the process to you.

This is my way of giving back to the personal finance community through networking and sharing knowledge with my fans. Today  my friend Alicia from Financial Diffraction is here to share her story. Enjoy.

Hi Mr.CBB and Fans!

A little over a year ago, I hit a road block. I had just finished graduate school, was teaching full time at a university (for pennies, the life of adjunct staff) and looking for my first career position. The problem? I barely made enough money to keep up with bills. And after over-indulging for the majority of a five year PhD program, well… I was tapped out.

My emergency fund would cover me for three months when my temporary position ended, but I needed a job, and fast!

After admitting to having $33,000 in debt, I started my blog Financial Diffraction in July 2013. It was a way to keep myself accountable in my debt repayment journey, join the personal finance community that I had been stalking for the previous six months or so, and to give myself an outlet for more creative-style writing than my 9-5 scientific writing.

My site is fairly personal. I am the only author of the site, and mostly share my learning experiences as I navigate my way through adult money management, debt repayment, saving for retirement, and finding the level of trade-off I’m willing to accept for money. In other words, how badly do I want the money from a job I dislike immensely.

Sometimes I go off topic and venture out into other areas that I am passionate about, namely equality for women in the workplace, dealing with that inequality since it is quite prominent in my scientific field, and a few other life lessons I’ve learned along the way. Oh, and if you’re into cats, I have those as well! A few too many honestly, but that is a long story.

When I was starting blogging, I appointed a slightly more senior blogger than I as my mentor (thankfully she accepted). Somewhat surprisingly, she answered my emails full of silly newbie questions, whether they were blogging or money related.

My mentor was also willing to visit and comment on my tiny site before anyone else would. I strive to do the same for other small bloggers. I might not be in the big time, but I always try to be genuine, approachable, and be connected in the personal finance community.

Smaller blogs like mine thrive on comments more than page views, and I always respond. Always. I love the interaction and connection the internet allows all across the globe. Plus, it puts me in touch with other like-minded money nerds. So drop on by my little corner of the internet, and see what all the fuss is about.


Top recipe


fruity new years cocktail

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!! This week my friend Jessica over at All She Cooks shared this delightful Fruity Twister Cocktail which is perfect for the upcoming New Year’s celebrations especially if you love Canada Dry!


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 Broke Girl Rich with her post titled “What to Buy After Christmas to Save Next Year“. The post caught my eye because we are those shoppers she talks about in her post. Picking up those end of season deals are the best way to save money in your budget for the following year.

What did you buy now to save you money next year?


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.

  • Canadian Budget Binder Recipes– Awe, Nicola and I are thrilled to see people searching for our recipes. Thank-you! Here is our recipe index for those with hungry curious minds.
  • Donation to Food Bank instead of a crappy gift– Ha, I loved this one. It’s nice to see someone wanting to give back and not worrying about the commercial aspect of the Christmas holidays.
  • If me and my husband have bad credit how much do my husband and I need to put down on a house in Toronto– I’d probably worry about fixing that credit before you even think about buying a house.
  • Food Challenge Blog Ontario– That’s what I’m talking about. Let’s get the people talking about it so they know CBB is the place to come to save money in the grocery budget!
  • How to pay debt with debt?– Hmm, not sure I want to even attempt to dissect that one. It sounds wrong no matter what way I think about it.

Thanks for dropping by every week for 2014. Next week I’ll be doing a recap of the 2014 year best posts and what I’ve learned. Stay tuned and please join me each week! Subscribe to CBB so you don’t miss a post.


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Photo Credit: Freedigitalphotos.net/feelart

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