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How To Investigate Whether A Sale Price Is Worth Your Money : The Saturday Weekend Review 2016 #154

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The Saturday Weekend Review logo- sale priceDON’T LET THE SALE PRICE BLIND YOU


It’s amazing how many of us won’t blink an eye when shopping and see a sale price that silently shouts pick me, pick me. We believe we are reading the truth, but are we really?

I’m betting that most of you have made your way to outlet stores across the country in search of quality products with a bargain sale price. Who wouldn’t, especially around the holidays when expenses can run high for any budget.

Just recently we went to the Toronto Premium Outlet mall and to be honest there wasn’t as many deals as we thought we would find. In fact many of the prices were higher or just as much as we would pay had we bought the item at the mall. Some of the products we found with lower price tags may have been end of season or on a sale rack. I’m sure there were lots of deals to be found at the outlet stores although we were looking at specific items.

Stores bank on customers believing that if they don’t buy it there than they will be paying more money somewhere else. Don’t let someone else tell you how and when to spend your money even if they aren’t saying it to your face. Marketing works wonders and makes some people rich and other people poor.

Most often the consumer has limited power over prices but what we do have is the ability to decline a purchase. People want the best prices and they will flock to whoever claims they have it but how do you know if that price really is the best price? Well, it’s all hit or miss really and a bit of research. Most times marketers know all they have to do is put a sign up that says “Sale” to sell just about anything they want.

Sitting outside of the Kate Spade store which was jam-packed with mostly women looking for purses my wife couldn’t bring herself to spend hundreds of dollars on a purse. To most outlet store shoppers they believe that they are getting the best prices around.

We equate the word “Outlet” with deep savings and that’s not always the case. I’m guessing since the store was 50% off that night that consumers knew where the deals were at. I just think some products are overpriced to begin with so when a shop has a sale you believe you are getting the best deal.

So many people are struggling to make ends meet that looking for that bargain or deal of the week is part of the weekly shopping trip. I know in our house we hardly ever buy anything at full-price. We are always looking for a great sale price but when does that sale price become the problem? It becomes the problem when we believe everything we read.


Is that sale price worth it?


I enjoy watching CBC Marketplace and tonight they featured a show with the hashtag #SaleFail, “When Is A Sale Really A Sale” where they investigated popular outlet store Winners. At Winners you will find men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, toys, housewares, bath and beauty, toys, high-end food products, furniture and more. When I was living in the UK I would shop at TK Maxx which is Winners but under a different name but same pricing strategy and tags.

T.K. Maxx, often styled T.K.Maxx and sometimes referred to as TK Maxx, is a company that operates stores throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Austria and The Netherlands, totaling 407 stores in Europe in December 2014.

The company is part of the TJX Companies, which also owns ‘off-price’ retail chains TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods, and Sierra Trading Post in the United States, and Marshalls (separate from the U.S. Marshalls chain), HomeSense, and Winners in Canada. – Wikipedia

CBC Marketplace found products at Winners that were not accurate after some research. In fact the CBC Marketplace researchers were able to find some of the items they purchased online for less than the Winners “Compared At” prices.

This my friends can be very blinding to consumers because we want to believe that the shops are telling the truth. Sadly, when it comes to your money guard yourself from marketing ploys waiting to grab your attention and your money. Although this may not be a ploy it may just be a system that needs reviewing.

One Winners shopper found that she might not be getting as good of a sale price as she thought when she found a pair of pants for $29.99 labelled with a “Compare At” of $80.00. Not only did she find the Winners price tag but also the MSRP (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price) stating $29.99 on the pants. There was no deal at all. She was paying exactly what the manufacturer suggested she pays. I would have been equally as frustrated like Jennifer Johnston who found the pants at Winners.

Not everything the CBC Marketplace researchers found was stating a “Compared At” price that was inaccurate but even just finding a few items is enough to question how valid the marketing campaign for Winners really is. If they are getting consumers through the door claiming they are offering a better price compared to others maybe we should know more about how they come up with their pricing system. It’s not quite that easy though.

The reality is that you are always going to find variable prices on the same products no matter where you look. If I was to buy an item at Winners and the price tag said $59.99, “Compare At” $250 well I’d be a more than a bit skeptical about purchasing it.

Consumers practically drool over savings and the words “Sale price” or “Discount” that it only takes seconds for the inner sale calculator to go off. I need to get 10 or I really need to buy this because… and we justify the purchase based on the sale price. What I mean is that it’s easy to get excited when we believe we’ve found a smashing sale price that we tend to overlook whether we are truly getting the best price.

We’ve all done this!


Protect your wallet


A post on CBB written in 2012 ago targeting pricing in the food industry touched on ways that consumers can save money by knowing prices. The same premise holds true for just about anything you take your wallet out for because if it has a price tag you likely can compare prices for that product. Unless of course it’s a one-off item and the only company that sells it is the manufacturer.

You don’t want to drive yourself crazy investigating every product you buy but if it reads as too good to be true, it likely is. Also, when you’re buying quality you will pay for quality and if you opt for cheap stuff, you’ll get cheap stuff. Question the price of something that claims to be high-end but the pricing is very low.

If I told you I was selling you a Gucci wallet claiming it was authentic for $20 would you buy it? Probably not because you would think it’s a knock-off. Not everyone thinks this way though, but we should. My point, think before you buy.

If you really want to know if you are getting the best bang for your buck and you have a smartphone with data, look it up while you are at the store. Better still, if you aren’t convinced sleep on the purchase and do some online investigating when you get home. The choice is really yours in the end how you spend your money but don’t be fooled by the wondrous sale price that captures your eye.

I remember when my wife was pregnant we went into Winners shopping as I needed a new pair of jeans although I didn’t find anything I liked. My wife loves Silver jeans and happened to find a pair for $59.99 in her pre-pregnancy size and she did the “Happy dance”. That means she does a quick jiggy by turning in circles which is only slightly embarrassing. What can I say, I married a happy-go-lucky woman. That’s right even my wife gets all fired up about finding a sale price on something she needs.

She normally pays about $110 for her Silver Jeans so this was a bargain for her and she knew the comparable price. Being savvy about prices my wife inspected the pants and sure enough they were authentic Silver jeans. The comparable price tag was accurate, so she purchased them.

There have been other instances when we shop around the store and review the “Compare At” price and we say, “No thanks” because we know we can find it cheaper. Once you are a price-driven consumer you almost detect these things right away or throw caution to the wind. If the store doesn’t keep up with their merchandise rotation or reduced racks then prices can fluctuate in the market which means that “Compare At” tag ends up not being as accurate as it once was.

These days many stores such as Canadian Tire, Walmart, grocery stores and other popular stores offer price matching. Price matching means that if you see an item of the same brand and size that they will offer you the same price by matching it. Many stores go above that and offer a greater discount just to get your business like 10% more back in Canadian Tire money. Sadly not all stores can do this and clothing makes price matching even harder as many stores sell select fashions.

It’s also easy for items to get lost in the shuffle at stores and we know this because The Scanning Code of Practice has proved time and again that stores are far from perfect. Store staff may miss changing prices on products or they label items with the wrong price or fail to change a price in the computer system. Fair enough.

In the UK I never had a problem with anything I purchased at TK Maxx however I really didn’t rush home to check prices as I didn’t have much to compare prices to back then. I believed what I read on the price tag. Was I misled? Maybe, maybe not. I’ll never know but the fact remains that the Winners retail giant has its work cut out for them now that discrepancies have been found.

Whether the store continues to investigate further than what CBC Marketplace found or change their pricing strategy is left unknown. One thing  for sure with all of this media coverage consumers will be smarter about what they spend their money on and  wonder whether the sale price is actually worth it.

Take the advice from New York shopping expert, Author Mark Ellwood who spoke with CBC, “Put your hand over that higher price and focus on just the cost of the goods because that higher price means absolutely nothing.” He’s right. Don’t be fooled by the sale price, fool the store buy getting the best discount price somewhere else!

Have you ever bought something with a sale price only to find out you paid more than you should have because the item was cheaper somewhere else?


CBB Week At A Glance


I wasn’t sure what the first week of the new year was going to bring me but so far it has been nothing short of surprises. The first surprise is that there has been hardly any snow which hasn’t been this way since I married my wife years ago. It’s a nice change but I’m sure for those businesses relying on the snow it’s not the weather they had hoped for.

Talks are in motion for me to apply for a full-time position with my second job so I can cut back on hours at my first full-time job. I’m looking forward to the interview but know that I’ll have my work cut out for me as it’s no easy interview being in front of a panel of experts.

This past week was a sad week for my wife as she lost a few friends to suicide. Yes, 3. It was a stark reminder just how precious our lives really are. One of them in particular was in part due to having no job, no money and no support system. She was not living in Canada at the time. As we get older we don’t often reach out to everyone we’ve connected with over the years via social media on a daily basis. If you have some close friends make it a habit to check in on them to even say hi. They might just appreciate that you were thinking of them.

On the parenting front we are in the process of potty training our toddler which means a bit of a mess but nothing too over-the-top as of yet. He has made significant process as he now sits on the potty but uses it more as a chair to just hang out in. He knows what it’s for so now we just have to motivate him to use it.

A potty-training video we watched recently with him said it was fine to colour on the toilet and I laughed. Then I realized, how many people probably text or read emails while hanging out in the bathroom. I suppose that’s comparable.

That’s all for now!

Don’t be a stranger.

If you’re lurking here and reading my posts say hi as I love talking to the fans. I want to hear what you have to say about the topics I write about.

Have a great week everyone!



Awesome posts published this week


Just in case you’ve missed any of my blog posts this week I will share them all below. If you are looking for past Saturday Weekend Review posts scroll down to the bottom of this post where I will list up to 5 previous weeks for you to read.

If you have a question that you would like to ask Mr.CBB fill out the Contact Mr.CBB form on the Blog Home Page and I’ll do my best to reply to each one. If you want to share a story via a Fan Question please ensure that there is minimum 500 words and lots of details…we love details! I’m more than happy to chat via email to bring your story to life.

New: If your story submission gets chosen and published you will be entered into a yearly draw for a $25 Gift Card or $25CDN via Paypal if you are from the USA.

Right now CBB is posting Tuesday (Grocery Game Challenge), Thursday (Personal Finance Post), Saturday (Personal Finance and Weekly Wrap-Up and a Frugal Recipe on Sunday!

Popular Post this week: A must-read > The Scanning Code of Practice


Budget Brags


Submit your Deal or Brag:

Saving money while grocery shopping is essential in the CBB family and that’s why we share our grocery shops every week in The Grocery Game Challenge .

Join the Budget Brag Challenge 2016 and WIN!!!

What I love the most is when my fans share their amazing shops with me whether it be groceries or other deals they find at a garage sale, online or freebies!  This year 2016 if you submit your Budget Brag you will automatically get entered into a yearly draw for a surprise gift card.

For 2016 I challenge all of you to stop and think about your purchases and ask yourself whether you are getting the best deal. Sometimes we can be fooled other times not as we’ve learned from today’s post. If you do score something amazing I want to hear about it.

If your Budget Brag gets chosen you get an extra ballot! So start sending in your brags with a photo and write-up telling me about your deals. If you are from the USA and win I will Paypal you the money in CDN dollars. Open to Canada and USA only.

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

New blanket

Hi Mr.CBB,

I wasn’t planning on spending anything yesterday while in London but I couldn’t resist this blanket for $50.00. The MSRP was $129.00.


Thanks Dee for sharing your brag this week. You’ve been entered in the contest.


Making A Difference (MAD)


Welcome to the 2016 Making A Difference series!

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. I’m currently booking for February 2016!

This is my way of giving back to the personal finance community through networking and sharing knowledge with my fans. Today it is my pleasure to share with you the blog Thousandaire run by Adam Woods a physicist in Boulder Colorado.

Thousandaire logo(1)

Hi Mr. CBB and Fans!

Thousandaire is a fun and entertaining personal finance blog catering to young adults. It has funny videos, musical parodies and clever rants about personal finance, money news, taxes, economics, politics and all sorts of other stuff that used to be too boring for you to care about. Yes, personal finance can be intimidating and boring. But not Thousandaire. We ensure that no one is ever bored when learning about money.

Our mission is to teach our readers to be thousandaires today so that they can work toward being millionaires in the long run. We feature advice on budgeting, cutting expenses and how you can stay true to your financial goals as a young professional. If you can watch a YouTube video, then you easily learn personal finance too.

What makes our blog unique is that we help readers set reasonable goals and expectations and help them stick to their goals with motivational posts and easy to use advice. It can be funny or it can even be controversial.

We share financial experiences, blunders and lessons learned by our author. We have crazy videos, investing experiments, contests and whole lot of other things just to point out very important financial tips and lessons.

If you want a good laugh along with some solid financial tips, then is definitely the blog for you to read. It is the most entertaining place to get personal finance information and economic commentaries on the web.


Top Recipe


Key-Lime-Pie(1)Food and grocery shopping is a BIG part of CBB because food is a large part of the budget which people struggle the most with.

If you are someone who would rather buy convenience meals or products consider cooking homemade meals or baking from scratch.

Not only will you save money but you will be proud of what you accomplished and you’ll see that from the smiles on those you feed.

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.

I also share recipes on the blog once a week on Sundays either made by my in-house home blog cook Nicola Don or myself. This is a fun, interactive blog where we talk about everything that happens in our world.

This week our Top Recipe Pick goes to Chef Andrew Zimmern for this gorgeous Key Lime Pie and I believe it may just be the best looking key lime pie I’ve ever seen. Now, I may just have to make it.


Top DIY Project


homemade portable pillowcase beds
homemade portable pillowcase beds


I don’t know who came up with the idea of homemade portable pillowcase beds or who this photo belongs to but I found it in my Facebook feed a few days back. I thought the idea was brilliant because friends of ours had bought their kids an expensive kids couch to chill out on and watch television. It’s amazing how much money you can save if you just think outside the box and even re-purpose items in and around your house.


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 all of you. Please head on over and give the post a read and let them know that Mr. CBB sent you if you comment. Thanks.

Editor’s pick (That’s me Mr.CBB) goes to Ramit over at “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” for writing such a compelling post about generosity titled, “The Most Generous Thing I’ve Heard In A Long Time“. He’s now just inspired me to put this at the top of my list for 2016.

When I think about a Rich Life, I don’t just think about wearing a beautiful suit or having the nicest apartment. I think about being generous with my time and money. In fact, sometimes a little helping hand can go further than a $10,000 check.

Would being generous be one of the words your friends would use to describe you? I think many of mine would say so but I won’t ever know unless they told me. I hope the consider me a good friend that looks out for them. Great read… don’t miss this one.


How readers find CBB


Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. Any spelling errors below are because I share with you the exact way they typed their search engine query to land on my blog. Some of them are serious and others are meant to have a laugh.

  • How can I earn money in Canada?– I don’t know, a job comes to mind.
  • Pics of people stealing from Dollar Store– Won’t find that here
  • Husband refuses to budget– Fire him right away.
  • Cheapest time to do laundry– When you are in the shower
  • Can we repay OSAP if we move?– No need to it’s free if you move. Of course you can. Call them.

Thanks for dropping by The Saturday Weekend Review 2016. That’s all for this week friends but make sure to be back here next week to enjoy the next edition in the Saturday Weekend Review Series.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my daily blog post by entering your email address on the home page and verifying the subscription email once it is sent to you. I never share your email and you can unsubscribe at any time with the click of a button although I hope you stick around forever.

Note***If you don’t verify the subscription via the email I send you right after you subscribe you won’t get my daily blog post*** I’d hate to not have you here so please click “Subscribe” in the email.



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  1. I have definitely fallen into the trap of buying a “sale” item only to realize that it wasn’t really that great of a deal. I have also fallen into the trap of buying something that I didn’t really need or want because it was so inexpensive. Both frustrate me to no end! We are in the process of packing up our house to move. As a result, we have been really cleaning house: passing things on that are no longer of value or interest to us. As a result, we are very hesitant to let anything new into the house. This has been such a great exercise as I have been extremely choosy about any purchases we make. This has helped us avoid the “sales”!

  2. I saw an article on the CBC marketplace episode on winners. It was then I realized that I am one of those people who does not even look at the comparable prize. I shop at winners most times because they have quality items and that is just speaking from my experience. I have clothes and outfits from there that I have had for years and still wear. I never look at the comparable price because if it does not make sense for me to. If I can’t afford or feel like the sale prize that winners has is too much, I am not buying it. Like your wife, I do most times have an idea of what price range the actual items costs so I use that to judge if the price is good enough for me or if it is within my budget.

  3. I used to get jeans for my tall slim boys at Winners but quit when the prices started going up and the quality went down. I paid more than I was used to for pants for both boys and neither pair lasted worth the money the last time I went there. It really does pay to know your prices for anything you want to buy. My daughter has gone to the Old Navy outlet in London over the years and she goes straight to the clearance racks for the deals. She has dropped $100.00 there in one trip but she came out with a big bag full of deals and she was happy as could be!! My SIL went there a few months back and found herself a pair of jeans that fit great for under $10.00!! The cashier told her that a lot of the clearance stuff is returns from online sales. Nothing wrong with it, just returns that, maybe, didn’t fit right. I might go there with one of them sometime, just for the look see!!
    I remember helping with potty training the grandson, sitting in the bathroom reading book after book to him!! It takes time but you get there eventually!!
    Suicide is so sad to hear about. The older boy knew a few that went that way while he was in the military. Gentle hugs for your wife….
    I have seen that thing with the pillows for kids before!! Looks great!! The grandson has one of those couches that a friend bought him when he was smaller. He’s getting big for it mow but still lays on it to watch TV. Falls asleep on it too!!
    Hope you have a great weekend!!

    1. Hi Christine,
      I agree that there are better places for bargains on clothes other than Winners. We’ve used coupons for other stores and gotten better deals. I don’t mind buying second-hand shirts but my jeans I’m picky about for proper fit. Yes the potty training has been fun and I hope that he gets through it fast. I might see if I can get a friend of ours to help us make one of those pillow beds. I’m sure our son would love it. Have a great weekend Christine.

    1. Yes I agree. We did a bit of that when the coupon craze was on in Canada however we have lived off our stockpile for the past 5 years which has been great. We saved thousands of dollars on everyday items. We didn’t stockpile much food and of the items we did most of it we donated or are still slowly getting through. We don’t do much stockpiling of any food these days unless it’s a great deal and we need it.

  4. I worked at a JC Penney when I was in high school and when we had things advertised as “the biggest sale of the year” routinely the items cost more than their normal sales price. So much of it is advertising meant to try and get the consumer to think they are getting a great deal when they are actually paying the same or more for the product.

    That is why smartphones are great to use when shopping because you are quickly able to check and see if you are actually getting a good deal or not.

    1. That’s pretty much it. Well said. I don’t have a smartphone but my wife does without data so if no free wi-fi is available then we wait until we go home to do some research.

  5. Hi Mr. CBB! New follower here, and since I’ve never been much of a lurker (just try to shut me up!), I had to post my first comment!

    I have been scammed a few times into believing I was getting a good price on an item. I know it has happened at Winners on several occasions, but it used to happen all the time with groceries. I would shop at a high end store and proudly purchase a bunch of ‘sale’C items, only to discover that Walmart’s regular prices were much better than the other store’s sale prices. It’s embarassing, really. I’m happy to report that I am making smarter choices nowadays (by being aware of normal prices for frequently purchased items, shopping at Walmart all the time, price matching, cashback offers, etc), and we’ve cut our grocery bill in half! 🙂

    1. Hi,
      You are not alone. Many people fall into this trap so knowing your prices is key to spending less and sticking to a grocery budget. When I moved to Canada I had zero knowledge of pricing but now since I’ve focused on prices and have posted in the Grocery Game Challenge over the years I’m confident to say that I know prices very well and am able to make a decision whether I want to buy something or not at the grocery store.

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