Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sniff, Sniff.....Yum.... (A Great Deal)

Every couple of weeks, I need to head into the city closest to me to get I was wandering through the mall, I couldn't help myself from going into Fruits and Passion.  How I love anything smelly for the bath or for the skin.  Immediately, I was handled a card for $5 off any purchase $30 or over.  I thought to myself I won't be using that today.  But then I saw an amazing deal that was going on.   If you buy a refill of the hand soap, you get  the bottle of hand soap for free (a $20 value) I bought the refill, which was $30, used the coupon for $5 off, and I got the free bottle (filled with hand soap) completely free.  So for $50 worth of product, I spent $25.  Gotta love it!

Oh and on a side note, this is their last week of clearing out some old stock at 60% off, so you might want to head there this week!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Shopping With Someone Else's Money

So a couple weeks ago, I was told (among with other teachers) that we each had $400 to spend on our classrooms.  My idea?  A projector...

I think most people think of a projector as something you watch a movie on, but it's so much more.  Besides powerpoint, you can show anything that you could show on your computer-from youtube videos, presentations, pictures, etc.  Visual thing do make a lot of difference in the classroom, and while I don't have a smartboard this year, I can definitly inspire to make learning more fun and more creative.

BUT....$400 is stretching it for a projector.  I searched for a whole week, in all places I could.  I did find a few tips with the searching:
  • as much as you think checking things repeatedly would be a waste of time, it's not.  I found that items did change daily and specials changed daily on major sites like Bestbuy and Future Shop.  I probably visited these sites each day looking for a deal.
  • ask friends where they have seen deals and what's been their experience with different places...
  • last, just because we're in Canada, don't be afraid to look at American sites as they will ship to Canada and the savings can be huge.  Sites like are a great place to start.
So, where did I find my projector?  Well, I almost gave up, and then I remembered  If you go to, they have a tab for shopping.  Click on it, add what you're looking for, and the site will automatically find different items and price it from various places.  So one model may have five different prices from five different locations. 

I found an incredible projector that almost seemed teacher made and it was only around $360.  The same model ranged over $75 more on other sites. 

It made it so easy-you found the price you wanted, and you were sent to the site.  Literally, I found it in minutes, whereas all my other searching took me hours upon hours...

Try the shopping tool at'll love it!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Girl's Dreaded Mission: Finding the Right Garage

Since I've owned my first car (which was when I was 19-a 1987 Dodge Shadow), I've always been concerned about finding the right garage and the right mechanic.  I think as a woman, there are a lot of companies out there that are more than willing to take advantage of a woman.  Now I admit, I don't know a lot about cars.  I have in the past changed my own oil, changed my oil filter, changed a tire, boosted my battery, and can sometimes tell what the issue is.  But honestly, my knowledge is limited, and I find that with each car I've had, I've been more and more limited with what I can do.  I have found too that as I drive more, especially commutting for work, that I've run into more issues...hence the need for a good garage.

When I lived in Portage, I went by reputation in finding my garage.  I asked around, both men and women and settled on Kitson's.  I got to know them pretty well as they were also CAA afiliated.  Never once did they make me feel stupid, inferior, and always gave me options with what needed to be fixed.  On my last Grand Prix (my beloved car in car heaven), I needed to get my breaks done.  They provided me a time schedule of when they thought for long they would last-within a couple of months, I was able to do both the front and back, at two different times. 

One of the other things that I really appreciated was they knew me by name.  While I did go in the ditch a couple of times (nothing major) when I was commuting, they knew who I was, and were open to me giving them weird instructions (like pull my car out, and leave it on the side of the road for me to get it later after school).  They understood that I worked and were open to me stopping by later.

Sometimes you find a garage by mistake or coincidence.  Hence, how I found Birtle Tire.  My first day of moving to Birtle, nobody told me that there was a ditch in front of my house-and when I tried to pull over off the road a bit for the moving truck, well, stuck.  Since then (within 2 1/2 months), they have:
  • pulled me out of the ditch (on a country road)
  • given me a boost when my plug-in quit working
  • given me a tow when my car broke down on the highway
  • fixed a wire to my alternator
  • changed my oil
  • repaired a flat tire
  • and just yesterday, pulled me out of my driveway that I was stuck in
I have never, ever used a garage so much before.  I'm beginning to feel like a real idiot, even though I'm not-I swear I'm not.  But the imporant thing is that they have been amazing-they've been there for me when I've needed them, are friendly, helpful, and care about their client's safety.  They've never once made fun of me and honestly, by now, they have reason to.  They also have great prices. 

The bottom line is that you need someone who appreciates your service and shows that you can trust them.  Maybe it's like the frog and prince scenario:  it takes a lot of kissing frogs before you meet your prince.  It's the same with a got to try a lot of garages before you meet the right one...

Friday, February 18, 2011

In a Different Light: Reusing Old Items in a New Way

A couple years ago I bought the cutest artificial grass plant from Ashley's.  Talk about cute!  Spiky and actually pretty natural looking!  However after a couple of years, two dogs, and a couple knocks of the cabinet, it had seen better days.  The pot had a few chips...

A while back I was able to get this beautiful glass vase from Solomon's in Portage la Prairie for half price.  I think I paid at most $10? 

Well, put the two together and you get....

How cute is that?  Simple, cheap and reused....

So my challenge to you is to take something you love that is at risk of being donated or thrown out...what can you do to refurbish it??

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spring Sales...

It's about that time of year when sales are slowing popping up more and more.  Stores are clearing out old merchandise in order to make way for spring and summer items.  I definitely feel that in smaller urban centers, there are less deals to be had, but you can find them if you look.

Winners right now is clearing out a lot, and I mean a lot!  I was in the store, and one woman even asked a representative if they were shutting down the store because so much was on sale.  That's a great sign of a deal!  I found this mirror that I've been in love with for months....I've literally been oogling it everytime I've gone to a Winners or a Home Sense.  And guess the deal I got???  $20!'s a 2 feet by 2 feet bevelled mirror that is a great piece to go anywhere, no matter where I'm living.  So, be on the look out for some sales near you!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Saving Money in the Classroom with Books

I am an avid reader-I love books.  I love the feel of books, the smell of books, the texture of books.  I love that each time I open a book a new adventure awaits.

This is what I strive to install into my students, a love of reading. 

When I first came to my classroom this year, silent reading was a bit of a struggle for them.  Some appeared to enjoy reading but others clearly didn't.  You could see clearly that in the past, reading hadn't always been made a priority.

Now to defend the school and the teachers, books are extremely expensive.  Our librarian admitted that the majority of books in the school library were over 11 years old and that she hadn't had any control in a while over what novels were purchased.  Kids needs books available-but not just any books.  They need books available that readily interest them, that challenge them, and want to make them learn more. 

I've done what I can with bringing some books into the classroom-in the 2+ months I've been there, I have introduced over 50 books into our classroom library.  But I was still at a disadvantage.  The books I knew that would interest my students the most, were expensive and I simply couldn't afford to buy them.

I decided to do something risky.  I ordered a whole bunch of books from my public library.  Most of the books I ordered are graphic novels-various levels, but all engaging.  Our library is connected to multiple libraries so you can order any book in from any library.  I knew I was taking a chance as if one book goes missing, it's up to me to pay for it.  I brought the books into the classroom and gave a big speech about them-about the risk, cost, etc.  I've had them now in my classroom for nearly three weeks and all has been going great.  We check up on the books each week, and I take some back each week.  Silent reading is now unbelievable.  Students are reading, they are asking for books, and their attitude has changed so much.  I love it! 

So, I'm not telling you to Not buy a book...but seriously, we're all living on limited budgets in this economy-think about using your library more to enrich your life or your child's!


So for those of you who read my blog know that I haven't posted a lot in the last week or two...honestly, it's been hard...I've been fighting for inspiration and for motivation, and it's been hard...

Living without a lot of furniture and things that make a home a home has been hard...harder than I realized...Living on an extreme limited budget isn't easy-and right now everything that I purchase (which isn't much) has to be extremely justified is it worth it.  While I'm falling in love with my little town, I don't feel at home much in my little home...and honestly, it shames me, as hard as it is to admit it.  I'm not ashamed of sticking within my budget.  I'm proud of that.  But I'm shamed that right now it doesn't reflect me or the person that I strive to be.  Before, my home spoke volumnes about's a tiny fragment here or there...

I'm trying to give myself the room to just completely let go and be okay with things as I work towards something better.  I KNOW I'm working towards something better, but it's going to take time....