No Frills Flyer in Calgary – Best Deals of the Week (May 24/19)

Hooray, it’s time for a NO FRILLS flyer deals post! Today it’s all about the incredible $2 bargains you can get at No Frills starting tomorrow – May 24 and ending May 30, 2019. This post one day ahead of time will allow you to make your budget shopping list and get prepared to do your No Frills haul! (Have you guys seen the No Frills hauler commercials? So funny!) These prices apply to all of Western Canada and northern Ontario, including Geraldton, Kenora and Thunder Bay.

No Frills $2 Deals in Calgary, AB this week

  • $2 for 2 cans of Habitant pea soup – this is a STOCK UP price of only $1 a can! I am totally planning on getting at least 6 cans of this yummy old-fashioned pea soup, which is a great lunch.
  • $2 for a 1 lb package of fresh strawberries
  • $2/lb for frozen chicken breasts (skinless/boneless)
  • $2 – package of Campfire Bacon, 375 gram size
  • $2 for Country Harvest bread – VERY good stock up price on this! Lots of varieties on these whole grain loaves of delicious bread.
  • $2 – 6 oz. clamshell fresh blueberries – Pretty good price, one of the lowest of the season so far!
  • $2 – package of 3 Romaine Hearts – the tender romaine hearts make it easy to chop up and prepare into Caesar salad meals for at home, or prep for lunches to take to work. Top with some of the sale price chicken breasts – just saute them up with some seasoning, and slice the cooked chicken right on top!
  • $2 – 8 count tray of mini cucumbers – These delicious baby cucumbers are extra fresh and crunchy! Might as well add some slices of these to your lunch box with some dip as a healthy and satisfying mid-afternoon snack.
  • $2/2 Ataulfo Mangoes – I’ve never tried these delicious looking mangoes. Has anyone else? Please leave a comment!
  • Limes – 5 for $2 ($0.40 each) – This time of year we start to want to add freshly sliced citrus to our icy still or sparkling water. Or, make a batch of fresh homemade limeade!
  • Marc Angelo 2-pack chicken or pork souvlaki, 120 grams – These yummy little chicken skewers are a great simple lunch or dinner option with some lemon rice and tzaziki sauce on the side. Yummers!
  • Old Mill English muffins$2 for 2 packs of 6 my hub is an English muffin fiend, and this is a STOCK UP PRICE folks, so get a few packs as I intend to do. His favourite is to make homemade ‘breakfast sandwiches’ like they serve at Tim’s or Starbucks – by toasting an English muffin, then topping with a fried egg and a slice of good quality ham. Wrap it in aluminum foil and you can take a hot breakfast with you on your commute!
  • Cadbury’s family size chocolate bars – My favourite chocolate, bar none! (See what I did there?) $2 each
  • Oasis health break or smoothies – large size of 1.36 to 1.75 L – $2 – Haven’t tried these before, but this seems like an awfully good deal for a premade jug of smoothies. Have you guys had it? Which is your favourite flavour?
  • Tetley herbal tea tins (20s) or Red Rose 60 pack of tea bags – $2 – Tea drinks, rejoice!
  • Dawn or Ivory dishwashing liquid – 479/573 ml – $2 – The best dishwashing soap around.
  • Exact brand pads, liners or tampons $2

Here’s hoping you get some amazing deals this week at No-Frills. If I missed something fantastic, please leave a comment for all of us below.

Great deals on pantry must haves on Amazon. Happy shopping, folks!

And…while you’re doing some serious grocery hauling at No-frills, take a moment to view a few of our favourite Amazon pantry finds this week. Just click on a photo to shop!

McDonald’s Dollar Drink Days are Back for the Summer

Icy cold drinks – for $1, $2 or $3

Hi all – our favourite cheap drink days are back at McDonalds! For $1, $2 or $3 you can treat yourself to something icy cold and perfectly refreshing.

Here’s what McDonald’s is offering on this, their 10th Anniversary of Dollar Drink Days!

  • $1 gets you any size fountain drink OR McCafe iced coffee
  • $2 gets you a real fruit smoothie in fantastic fruit flavours like the New Banana Mango Pineapple or old favourites like Strawberry Banana
  • $3 is all it takes to treat yourself to a small Oreo frappe topped with whipped cream – it looks fairly irresistible! (A Vanilla chai tea or Coffee iced frappe are only $2!)

McDonald’s summer drink days will cool you off as the temps go higher. And all while sticking to your budget. Enjoy, bargaineers!

How Can I Pay Off My Student Loan Debt?

You go to university or college to help you to get a good job. But for most of us, we need to get a student loan to be able to do this. It seems easy enough, but we soon realize that we have taken on a small mortgage which is hard to pay off once we leave school. It is like having a huge, heavy stone around our necks and we do not know how to take it off. You know you need to pay off your student loan debt, but how?

Step 1: Assess Your Student Loans

The first thing you need to do is figure how much you have in student loans and from what sources. In the Canada student loan program, you can have a federal loan and/or one or more provincial loans. Once you have done this, you can then rank your loans from largest to smallest. For example, you might have a federal loan of $15000, a Manitoba loan of $10000 and an Ontario loan of $5000. Once you have created this list, you move on to Step 2.

Step 2: Figure Out Minimum Payment

The next step is to figure out the minimum monthly payment to cover the accrued interest on each loan. In our example above, we figure this out to be $150 for our federal loan, $100 for our Manitoba loan and $75 for the lst one – our Ontario student loan. Once we have done this, we can move on to step 3.

Step 3: Target Smallest Loan

Now we need to look at our smallest loan and see how much we can pay over and above just the interest payment to pay down this loan. In our example above, our smallest loan is the Ontario loan at $75 per month to keep the interest off our principle amount. Suppose we can add another $75 from our household budget and pay $150 per month on this student loan. Then: just keep doing this until the loan is gone! That is the goal of course – getting each of these burdensome loans GONE. And then we are ready to move on to step 4.

Step 4: Rolling Payment to Next Loan

Rolling payment means taking the amount we were paying on our smallest loan and then adding that amount to the next smallest loan. In our example above, this means adding $150 per month to our $100 payment of our Manitoba loan. You’re really making progress now! Now it will be a total of $250 per month on our Manitoba loan until it is gone. We then move to Step 5.

Step 5: Rinse and Repeat

We now take the $250 we were paying on the Manitoba loan and add this to the $150 we are paying on the federal loan. We now will pay $400 per month our federal loan until it is gone. Just like that your loans will be gone!

Conclusion

The process above seems simple enough, but the reality is that it will take effort. You need to be disciplined enough to stick to the plan. Also, you need to be patient because it will take some time to pay it off, depending on how large your student loan debt is. However, if you stick to it, that heavy burdensome stone around your neck – called your student loans – will finally be removed. You will be free at last!

Aeroplan Rewards Program: is it Worth it?

Craving a vacation? Will Aeroplan help you get there sooner?

Is the Aeroplan rewards program worth joining? It’s an interesting question. Many would say yes as Aeroplan has about 5 million active members in its rewards program. And it makes sense as many of us love to travel and most of us like to receive some sort of reward or perk for our spending. It almost seems to be an ideal program, but is it? Let’s do a little digging to find out!

Income, Income, Income

Most rewards programs have certain criteria and Aeroplan is no different. You can apply for an Aeroplan credit card currently offered through TD Bank and CIBC. At TD Bank, you have the Aeroplan Visa Infinite credit card which currently has an offer of receiving up to 30,000 bonus Aeroplan miles. The first 15,000 miles are given to you when you make your first purchase on the credit card and an additional 15,000 miles is rewarded to you when you spend $1000 within the first 90 days after opening your account.

Sounds great! Where do I sign up? However, there is a catch, as this card requires you to have either $60,000.00 in annual personal income or $100,000.00 in annual household income. Currently, I do not have either scenario so I could not apply for this card. However, at CIBC, they have multiple Aeroplan credit cards including the CIBC Aero Platinum Visa card where you only need to have $15,000.00 in household income. But with less income comes less benefits. First, you would only get 5000 Aeroplan miles when you sign up. Also, you would need to spend $1.50 to get 1 Aeroplan mile. Whereas on the Aeroplan Visa Infinite card, you only need to spend $1.00 to get 1 Aeroplan mile.

Plus, if you spend at eligible gas stations, grocery stores, drug stores, or at https://aircanada.com, you can get 1.5 miles for every dollar spent. You can even get twice the miles with the Infinite card if you shop at Aeroplan partners or online retailers. So from the comparison of two Aeroplan credit cards, this program seems to cater to people with larger incomes as you get more reward miles in the beginning and can earn more reward miles faster.

So How Does it Work?

As mentioned earlier, as you make purchases with your Aeroplan rewards credit card, you earn Aeroplan miles. The more miles you earn, the more you have to ‘spend’ – redeeming these miles for either flights or other merchandise.

How many miles do you need to redeem for Aeroplan rewards? If you go to the Aeroplan website and go to their rewards chart, it lists the miles you need to redeem your miles to go to a certain location. For example, if I wanted to travel to a province next to the one I live in, I would need to redeem 15,000 Aeroplan miles. If I wanted to travel to eastern Canada to visit my family for example, I would need to redeem 25,000 Aeroplan miles for an economy flight. If I wanted to travel to Australia, I would need to redeem 90,000 Aeroplan miles for an economy flight. You can also redeem at the Aeroplan online store for gift cards and other items. However, the selection is a bit thin as the main item for redemption for Aeroplan is flights.

How Long To Get Aeroplan Rewards?

Another interesting question. Let’s use my scenario to give you an idea. As mentioned earlier, I would qualify to get the CIBC Aero Platinum Visa card. This means I would start off with 5000 Aeroplan reward miles. Suppose I wanted to save up my reward miles to visit my family in eastern Canada, I would need 25,000 Aeroplan miles to make the trip. So that means I would need to spend enough to get another 20,000 Aeroplan miles. With the card available to me, I can only earn 1 mile for every $1.50 I spend. This means that for me to earn 20,000 Aeroplan miles, I would need to spend $30,000.00. That’s a lot of money! How long would this take based on my current spending habits?

First, I could not use the credit card to pay for my rent which is my biggest expense, as they do not allow payment by credit card. So if I used my Aeroplan rewards credit card on all my other current expenses, it would take me over 2 years to earn enough miles to go on a flight to visit my family. That’s a long time! I could speed up the process and make more purchases, which would of course see my expenses go way up. I could also go to the Aeroplan store and purchase through Aeroplan’s partners and see if I can get more miles with purchases.

If I did not want to redeem my miles for a flight, I could go to the online store and purchase items such as the $100.00 Best Western Travel card for 14,000 Aeroplan miles. As you can see, it would take a long time to receive any Aeroplan rewards and you also run the risk of increasing your spending habits which has negative consequences.

Is Aeroplan the right program for me?

In my scenario, the answer is no. It would take me a long time to earn enough Aeroplan rewards miles to redeem for any flight based on my current spending habits. If I increased my spending habits, I run the risk of spending beyond my means and having a high balance on the credit card. This could be disastrous economically as the current interest rate on the CIBC Aero Platinum Visa card is 19.99%. Also, why would I want to purchase a $100 gift card for 14,000 Aeroplan miles? This would mean I would have to spend $21,000.00 to get this reward. It makes no sense!

So, is the Aeroplan rewards program worth it? If you have a high income and you have a lot of expenditures (ie: you have a business and spend a lot for inventory) then this card can be quite beneficial to you. However, if you’re in a situation similar to mine and do not have a huge income and have modest spending habits, it is not worth it. It would be simpler and cheaper just to save up some money and find a deal on a travel site like Expedia if we wanted to travel. The Aeroplan rewards program is a popular program but it is not for everyone. It is definitely not for me.

Does Amazon price match? Comparing 5 products at Amazon and Walmart

Love them or hate them – let’s compare prices!

In the hunt for the lowest prices, many of us choose to shop at Amazon online or Walmart in our town or city. Before you next head out to shop, though, it’ll be helpful to know who really does have the lowest prices. With this in mind, we ask: “Does Amazon price match?”

To discover if Amazon price matches Walmart, we’ll compare 5 totally different products. Then, we’ll make our entirely unscientific – but hopefully helpful – verdict! All of the prices listed are current as of time of writing.

As always – clicking on a photo will take you directly to the product page for more information. If you make a purchase, I make a small commission without your being charged a penny more! Thanks all. 🙂

Starbucks coffee 24-count K-cups (Dark French Roast)

Price at Walmart: $19.97 Price at Amazon: $19.97 PRICE MATCH!

Boy, has this blog been coffee-centric lately! And no, I won’t apologize for that (as I sip on a homemade latte, and think longingly of making another.) So, first up is a bulk pack of 24 K-cups for your Keurig coffee maker. Want a delicious Starbucks coffee without leaving home? Voila! And yes, the prices are exactly the same – to the penny! Who has the better price on K-cups? It’s a tie.

Brita Mini Plus Water filter pitcher

Price at Walmart: $22.47 Price at Amazon: $22.47 PRICE MATCH!

Hmmm, are you sensing a trend here like I am? Yes, again – to the penny – the price at Amazon.ca is exactly the same as Walmart’s flyer price. This handy 6-cup pitcher is pretty cute in a shade of oceanic turquoise, and comes with one filter to get you started. The better price on Brita? It’s once more a tie!

Ninja 72 oz. Professional Blender

Price at Walmart: $88.00 (Markdown from $108.00) Price at Amazon: $198.22!! WALMART WINS BIG!

Okay, so in an attempt to see beyond price matching with flyer items, I wanted to check out another product – one not featured on this week’s Walmart flyer. Instead, I just searched for this product on Walmart’s website. This super heavy-duty Ninja blender has very high ratings, but we want to know who has the best price. At less than half the price, Walmart kills this price comparison! So, maybe we’re starting to see a trend – that it truly is flyer specials that Amazon price matches.

Pampers Pure Protection diapers – 4 month size – 52 count

Price at Walmart: $22.97 Price at Amazon: $27.99 — Walmart Wins!

These new, more natural Pampers diapers have different prices at our two mega retailers. Even though they are featured currently in Walmart’s Baby Book flyer, this is not price matched by Amazon. So, Walmart has the lower price on Pampers diapers, but let’s be fair. Sometimes a poor, exhausted new parent just wants to flop on the sofa and order some diapers online! We feel you, new parents, we feel you.

Tide Pods 72-count

Walmart price: $18.76 Amazon price: $18.76 — PRICE MATCH!

And there we have it – another price match product from Walmart’s current flyer! This mega pack of 72 Tide pods make laundry SO quick and easy, and almost effortless. Just pop in a pod! And yes, the price is exactly the same.

Our verdict: Does Amazon price match?

I think it’s fair to say that YES, Amazon does price match some of Walmart’s deals of the week in their flyer. But, it doesn’t appear that all prices are exactly the same – so make sure to check online before purchasing. And, if you’re planning an Amazon order – just do a quick check first on some of your favourite products to see if Amazon has lowered their price to match Walmart.

So, bargain hunters – the deals are out there! And we are determined to find them. I hope that this article helped you to make some wise shopping decisions, and keep a few extra nickels safely tucked away in your wallets.

10 Best Frugal Living Blogs

Frugal living blogs keep us happily on a budget!

Frugal blogs are some of my very favourite blogs to read. While browsing through them, I am inspired, determined, and ready to take action to make an keep my budget! I love reading all of the creative ways that people around the world are finding to stay on budget, and still have a pretty amazing and fun life!

Many of my favourite blogs are from the UK – typical, since I’m a bit obsessed with that entire region! But, on my favourites list there are also a few favourites from Canada, and the US, too. So, here we go – here are some of the best budgeting/frugal living blogs online:

  1. The Non Consumer Advocate – This quirky blog has been a favourite of mine for years. Katy is a married registered nurse with a great income, and yet she lives life simply and fully. And is conscious of every penny! She’s currently funding her two college-aged children through university. While you’re there check out her 5 Frugal Things posts, which are the ones I always check for! (She came up with the popular concept first – kudos to her!) And, also take time to read through the comments section – her readers are true blue frugalites and I love reading their tips, too! Bonus points for: using beans so often! I need to up my bean game.
  2. Mean Queen – Life After Money – This British blog features Ilona, another quirky character that is a true inspiration to those of us who are trying to live a frugal life. Her frugality may at times seem extreme – such as how her meal plan may feature almost entirely marked down groceries! (In reality, I sort of respect that! HA!) And, she’s been blogging regularly for over 10 years! Quite a feat. Bonus points for: her artistic flair and downright individualistic attitude. (Oh, and even more bonus points for the fact that she loves cats so dearly. So do I!)
  3. SimplyFrugal.ca is a Canadian website/blog that features Canadian focused deals and bargains. Taya’s beautifully laid out website features all sorts of practical tips that are organized in such a way that makes finding the information you need a breeze! This includes budgeting tips, household tips such as organizing ideas, and much more. There are also sections that help you find Canadian coupons, and special deals. She even has exclusive Canadian coupon codes, so definitely worth your while to visit.
  4. Shoestring Cottage – is another British money saving blog. Oops, I guess my obsession with all things British is really showing itself here! This is another comforting blog that eases you in to your frugal lifestyle – especially if being money conscious is a relatively new idea to you. Jane posts frugal recipes, tips on saving on secondhand clothes, and is another one who posts Five Frugal Things posts that are awesome fun to read.
  5. Costco East Fan Blog and Costco West Fan Blog are two new blogs I recently discovered, and am amazed by! Each Monday, the writers go on a shopping trip to Costco locations in Canada to find all the secret sales and deals for that week! This is an incredible resource for Costco members who like to plan ahead, and budget for their shopping trip. These tips help you know when it’s time to stock up on a truly great deal on your favourite Costco items! (Whether that is toilet paper, spices, or OTC medicines.) And, I LOVE that they have two separate blogs- one for Eastern Canada, and one for Western Canada – because Costco sales can definitely be dependent upon region.
  6. Notes from the Frugal Trenches – is what I call a ‘comfort blog.’ Just as we sometimes reach for a piece of (ahem! I usually reach for a BAR of) chocolate or a bag of potato chips, there are some blogs that bestow upon us the same feeling of comfort as a portion of our favourite comfort foods. FT is a Mom of 3 living in Toronto, and has what may seem like overwhelming challenges in her life. And yet, she carries on like such a trooper, and makes life sweet on a very limited income. Her kindness emanates from her every word. Bonus points for: Her humanity. AND, how she squeezes delicious meals for herself and her children on a very VERY tight budget. Inspirational indeed.
  7. The Frugal Girl – is an incredibly popular American blog that features recipes, reviews, “What I Spent, What We Ate” posts about grocery spending, and much more. A very easy-to-read blog.
  8. The Frugal Canadian – is a site with all sorts of freebies and contests for Canadians, and other money saving ideas. All Canadian content, which is super helpful!
  9. Nana Pinches Her Pennies – is an American blog that is lovingly low-tech, and very raw in its realness. The writer shares her tips on how to live on a very low income. When you read her writing she sort of feels like your own Grandma, too. Bonus points for: wanting to hug the brave writer!
  10. Our New Life in the Country – is a beautifully written blog about a woman named Sue, who with the love of her life switched from a busy town life to one settled in the Welsh countryside. This blog is actually retired now, but Sue has created a new blog about even simpler living in a trailer (caravan) that she writes at A Smaller Life Living Simply. Bonus points for: the adorable pug named Suky!

This list of 10 favourite frugal blogs is, of course, just scratching the surface! The Internet is awash with beautifully written blogs that really help us frugalites try to stay on budget. Please leave a comment if one of the above frugal blogs is your favourite too, OR let us know about one we didn’t include. Happy frugal living, all!

Dollarama Calgary – Price Showdown versus Amazon (#1 April, 2019)

Well, hello bargaineers! Thank you so much for dropping by. Today, we have the first in a series which we hope will become a popular feature around these here blog parts. And that is: our first showdown of price comparisons at Dollarama versus Amazon. Which one will win? You’ll just have to keep reading to find out.

Dollarama is a very popular Canadian dollar store chain that features products that are $4.00 and under. (We won’t even get started on how customers felt when their price point went up to that $4 point. No sir, we won’t even go there!)

Today’s trip was in a Calgary Dollarama location (the Midnapore location to be exact – which is especially helpful if you want to know where to find these goodies!), and here is what I found… Let the price showdown begin!

  • Betty Crocker heavy duty burner liners – $1.50 for 6 – These handy liners do exactly what they claim – line the burners of your electric stove to make that icky job of cleaning around the burners a much easier job. On Amazon, a pack of 6 is $9.77. Now, I’m not saying the quality may be exactly the same, but the price WIN goes to Dollarama!
  • Sunlight + Oxi Action dishwasher power pacs – $4.00 for pack of 20 (or $0.20 per dishwashing pac.) These handy little pacs make it a breeze to get your dishes sparkly clean right in the dishwasher. But, does Amazon have a better deal? On Amazon a pack of 95 is $14.47 – or only $0.15/pac. This time – win to Amazon!
  • Purina DentaLife Chews dog treats – pack of 10 for $4.00 (or $0.40 each) – These dog treats by Purina help to reduce tartar buildup on your dogs’ teeth – a healthful snack, indeed. (Even if we ARE a little partial to cats…(link)) The specially shaped treat helps to really clean all surfaces. But, what about the price difference between Dollarama and Amazon? A quick search on Amazon revealed that – ta dah! – the price is IDENTICAL. Well, to be exact you’ll save a single (extinct) penny on a bag at Amazon. It’s a tie!
  • Bodycology pure white gardenia OR Vanilla lotion – $3.00 for 12 oz. bottle – Umm, this one is sort of crazy! Maybe this lotion is no longer in production, and therefore in high demand? The same lotion is selling for as much as $50 on Amazon! Woohoo – maybe go get some and resell it! You’re welcome. BIG WIN to Dollarama!!
  •  Royal Chinet 16 square dinner plates $3.50 for 16 (about $0.22 each) – Sometimes you just need a paper plate – such as when the whole family and all your dozens of cousins (that rhymes!) come over for a BBQ. These little babies are made in Canada, are recyclable, biodegradable AND compostable. Check, check, check – we like an environmentally friendly paper plate.  Okay, then, Amazon – what can you offer? In a large pack of 150 round plates for $26.15 – you’ll pay $0.17 each. So, a win for Amazon!

So, according to my limited mathematical skills – I think we ended up with a TIE! Wow, I didn’t see that one coming. Now, there are a few things to keep in mind. With Dollarama, you can just pop down to the store and pick up the products you need and well, Bob’s your uncle. Whereas on Amazon, you have to wait a while to receive your purchase – but, with Prime 2-day shipping, it is pretty ridiculously quick. And you don’t have to leave home to order, either! Yay for PJ pant shopping time.

You’ll likely have also noticed that you have to buy larger quantities at Amazon. That case is particularly true with our example of the paper plates – a purchase of 16 plates versus 150! So, if you use a lot of paper plates, saving on each one is a great deal. But, if you just DON’T NEED over 100 plates, then a jolly quick jaunt down to Dollarama will likely do you just fine. Oh, how I love taking a jolly quick jaunt there – okay, terrible English accent off. AND REMEMBER: prices at Amazon can change at a moment’s notice. So, prices quoted at Amazon were the prices current at the time of writing.

Okay, bargaineers – what has been YOUR greatest find at Dollarama lately? Which do you prefer – online shopping or local shopping? Please leave a comment so we can all benefit!  I do hope this little experiment has helped you to stretch your shopping dollar just a bit further. Watch out for our next price showdown – coming soon!

Starbucks Reward Program is Changing!

The sweet smell of Starbucks in the morning!

Have you heard? Starting April 16, 2019, the Starbucks rewards program is changing! Cue the dramatic movie music please…

Starbucks Rewards basically rewards you with 2 stars (or points) for every $1 you spend at Starbucks locations. Right now, when you achieve 125 stars you get a free item of your choosing – basically anything on the menu! This has up to this point included pricey lunch options such as salads and sandwiches. (My favourite Starbucks hack was to occasionally save up my stars and get one of their delicious salads for a free lunch.)

But, starting April 16th, you’ll have more ways to spend your accumulated points, or stars. Some people will love these changes, and others might sneer. (Most of us hate change anyway. Slowly easing my own hand up in admission…)

Spending Starbucks Stars

Whereas before, you needed 125 stars to get a freebie, soon you’ll need as few as only 25 stars! Now, we will have a greater choice as to what we want to spend our beloved stars on. BUT, we will also need to save for longer for more expensive options such as those delicious Starbucks salads I mentioned earlier.

Here is what you’ll soon be able to use your stars to get:

  • 25 stars – customize your drink with extra pumps of syrup, substituting alternative milks, or adding an extra shot of espresso
  • 50 stars – (and this one seems like the BEST deal to me) – a free bakery item, or a hot coffee or tea. The Starbucks graphic showed a croissant, but I’m sure there will be more options on the free bakery item at this star level.
  • 150 stars – handcrafted beverage (like lattes, mochas, or cappuccinos) OR a hot breakfast (breakfast sandwich or oatmeal). Since I’m a latte lover, this means my favourite freebie will now cost me 25 more stars. Cue the tears into my coffee cup! (Okay…I’m nearly over it already.)
  • 250 stars – Lunch! These items include a protein box, salad or sandwich. This is twice the amount it used to be!! Meaning, it will be a very infrequent treat for moi, now.
  • 400 stars – This is something new. At this level, you can get a bag of coffee OR choose from a selection of Starbucks cold or hot drink containers, such as travel mugs. This might be something to save up for! Or, this could be a good choice if you want to save up for a gift for a friend.

Bonus Starbucks Stars

I’m assuming that the beautiful Starbucks bonus star offers we receive as registered Gold Card members will not change. I love receiving special bonus star offers in my email! I’ve received up to 200 bonus stars for purchasing certain items. So, hopefully we will still be receiving these awesome bonuses, which really do help the old star balance build up quickly.

Remember – it’s only a good deal if you were going to buy the items anyway! Like many, I have been caught up so much in collecting my beloved STARS that I purchased extra items (like lattes or breakfast sandwiches) that I hadn’t planned on buying in the first place. It’s all a matter of balance, people!

My conclusion on the new Starbucks Rewards

Right, so my take on the changes to the Starbucks program is this: I’m okay with it. (Not really an earth shattering opinion, now was it?) Sure, it’ll take me a little longer to save up enough stars for a luscious handcrafted latte, BUT it’ll take far less time to get a free regular coffee or tea! My husband loves Starbucks tea, so we might just switch our freebies to those from now on. And, since he can get a refill on a tea when we sit and work in a Starbucks cafe – well, he can get a freebie times two!

Please let me know in the comments below what YOU think of the changes to the Starbucks program. Do you like them? Or are you downright disappointed to this change in your daily caffeinated drink?

Real Canadian Superstore – Mega Deal on Aldo or Roots Gift cards

Ooh boy, do I love a bargain! While searching through my Flipp app, I noticed that the new PC/Superstore flyer has some awesome bargains available! Http://flipp.ca

The one that caught my eye is 10,000 PC Optimum points when you buy a $50 Aldo or Roots gift card. So, if you’re in the market for some beautiful Roots clothing or handbags, or shoes or sandals at Aldo – why not get $10 worth of groceries for free at Superstore!

Great Deals on 5 Must Have Kitchen Gadgets

I am a bit of a nut when it comes to kitchen gadgets – having worked in housewares for 12 years, I LOVE finding a great kitchen deal! Gadgets should work well, help solve a kitchen problem – and if they are multi-taskers, then even better! Here are some bargains on must-have kitchen gadgets that really will ease some daily cooking and kitchen tasks. (Please note that Amazon links are affiliate links. If you click through and purchase, I will receive a small commission. This is my coffee money, for which I dearly thank you.)

Oxo Good Grips Avocado Tool

To say that everyone is still obsessed with avocados may in fact be understating the fact! Avocados are a superfood, filled with nutrients and healthy fats. Plus, they taste incredible! But, they can be a little tricky to deal with – so this tool makes it easy to cut safely into the fruit, remove the pit AND slice it right in the skin. $11.97

Tovolo Collapsible Microwave Cover

A messy microwave is something you can avoid if you simply cover your food while cooking it! Instead of reaching for plastic wrap, try this Tovolo cover instead. This Tovolo cover is sturdy, yet collapsible, so it is easy to store while flattened. (Traditional microwave covers were so bulky that storage was a real issue!) The 10.5 inch size makes it awesome for covering most bowls and plates. Simply pop the cover over the plate before popping in the microwave, and prevent the worst splatters and messes. It’s also dishwasher safe, making it a breeze to clean up. $11.60

Silicone Frying pan handle cover

This handy silicone sleeve fits neatly over most standard frying pan handles. I find that this works especially well on my cast iron skillets – trust me, I have badly burnt myself on those before! If you have too, then you quite literally feel my pain. This heavy-duty cover also provides a better grip on the pan, and is oven safe to 475 degrees F or 250 degrees C. At $6.00, it’s worth getting a couple to have on hand when one is in the dishwasher.

Mason Jar Spoon Rest (NEW ON THE MARKET)

I’m a real sucker for a cute spoon rest.So, when I saw this pale blue Mason Jar ceramic spoon rest, I swooned a bit. (I swooned for a spoon? Sorry…sometimes I can’t help myself.) A spoon rest is exactly what it says – a dedicated spot to drop your spoon in between stirring whatever gorgeous food you’re creating. This handy gadget keeps your counter tops clean. And, when it looks as cute as this little fella – well, you won’t even mind keeping it out as a decorative piece. $16.99

Aerolatte Handheld Milk Frother

Can you say HOMEMADE LATTE? I knew you could! This handy little gadget creates great fluffy foam for your homemade lattes, cappuccinos and even gourmet hot chocolates. All I do is brew coffee extra strong in my coffee maker. Then, I heat up about 1/4-1/3 cup of milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds. (Your microwave times will vary, of course.) Then, use your Aerolatte to create gorgeous mounds of milk foam! Pour your coffee in over top, and sweeten and add a sprinkle of cinnamon to the top. Starbucks, eat your heart out. 🙂 This adorable Cow Print version is $25.13.

I hope you enjoyed today’s Amazon finds. If you’re a kitchen gadget freak like me, then maybe you discovered something new to add to your collection of kitchen must-haves. Okay, off to get more coffee!