Don’t Discount the Discount Store

One of the greatest discoveries for me in the past year has been the rediscovery of Dollarama — Hello Awesome! I can’t believe some of the things you can find there and save a couple bucks.

Granted I don’t buy everything there. When it comes to electronics I’d prefer to spend money on devices that are guaranteed to last. But there is so much there if you take the time to look. As they buy overstocked items from wherever, they frequently have brand name products that are at a fraction of the cost.

Just today as I wandered through I found products from Revlon, Sally Hansen, Nivea and Almay. Other times I’ve found Dove, Garnier, Cover Girl, John Frieda, Rembrandt whitening toothpaste — it’s ridiculous! And they’re all at a fraction of what I’d pay at the drugstore. The trick is to go often enough because their stock always changes.

And not just for cosmetics (also, check the expiration date if it has one), but for simple items that drugstores charge the hell out of. Cotton pads are $1 at the dollar store and for the same quality and quantity at a drugstore you can pay up to $4 (I’ve seen it, gag!). That’s a pretty big markup and even bigger price to pay for something you’ll only be using to remove makeup and nail polish. There’s a bunch of other items that you wouldn’t think twice to pay $5 for at a drugstore but it’s definitely not worth it: nail files, hair pins, q-tips, dental floss. Like I said, it’s definitely worth taking a look!

Cleaning supplies, random holiday decorations (Valentines Day is coming!), art & craft supplies, pet supplies…it’s pretty impressive what you can find.

It feels silly to be writing to tell you about this ‘awesome secret store’. Everyone knows the dollar store. But I think we might believe ourselves to be above it, when really it can have the same products we’d buy elsewhere, only much cheaper! And if you’re hard up on cash, or just want to cut back on spending, or realize spending $5 for a pack of q-tips is ridiculous, then it’s definitely worth getting over yourself and checking it out.

first item on the to-do list

The very first thing you need to be aware of when you’re in a financial crunch is your bank account and where your money is really going. But I know where my money is going! Do you really? You might say you only go out to eat 3 or 4 times a week but that adds up faster than you’d think. And I know just as well as anyone in thinking you only spent $30 in the past week but when you look at your bank account (when you finally bite the bullet) and discover that somehow you’ve spent an extra $40 — it’s more than a little disheartening. Not only that but the fact that you’re afraid to look at your bank account tells you that you know very well you’re spending more than you should. So what’s a girl to do?

Grab your phone and check out http://www.mint.com (or mint.com in your app store). It has a free app for iPhones and Androids (sorry BBs, although you can use the program on your computer)  that allows you to track your bank account and credit cards right on your phone! It’s safe, secure, and super easy to use. You can log-in to the website to create a custom monthly budget for yourself and it sends you friendly tips and reminders of how much money you’ve spent and when you’re over-spending in certain areas. There are tons of other budgeting apps, but after checking a few of them I find mint.com is the easiest to use. The whole point is to really know where your money is going.

It makes checking my bank account not as scary, because I’m realizing where I’m throwing away money on random and useless purchases. It’s helped me get peace of mind back in terms of my bank account…now my bank account isn’t flourishing like a daisy in spring, but at least I’m in better control of it! And by starting a new job today (yeay!) hopefully daisies will be popping up soon.

Welcome!

Hurray! Welcome to my new page.

A few weeks ago, as I was wondering what I could make for supper with my limited groceries, I asked my roommates if there’s some kind of Poor Girl Skinny Diet that doesn’t involve eating only spaghetti and potatoes. After a momentary pause the response was “Tuna, and ice.”

Well now that’s just not acceptable! There’s a whole world of delicious flavours out there that aren’t bad for your waistline or your bank account, and I’m determined to find them.

It’s difficult to eat healthy these days, especially when you’re a student like I am, with the quick and cheap fast food alternatives staring you down as you run between class and work, stomach growling. Fresh fruit and vegetables vary in prices with what’s in season. It can be even more difficult to find the time to make something quick, nutritious and tasty with fresh produce before it goes bad (I’m definitely guilty of that one).

So I’ve decided to find healthy, affordable, easy and quick recipes to help make my life — and waistline — easier to maintain. And why not share this treasure with other people who undoubtedly are going through the same troubles?

But I’m not just focusing on food. I heard a comment a few weeks back about not letting your diet control your life, it makes your eating habits the centre of your lifestyle (I believe that’s what we call an eating disorder..?). So I won’t! I’ll also be sharing fun and easy to follow tips about saving money elsewhere in your life: Beauty products, life style, fashion…All to help us regain control over our very busy lives (and bank accounts).

I hope you enjoy my posts. I hope to have a Facebook page up soon too so you can send me your own ideas and recipes!

Thanks for stopping by,

Kyra xo