Tag Archives: shopping

Buying a Car 2013 Style


Now that my husband has retired, we decided to take a lot of car trips around the Western United States. The only problem was our car situation. I drive a two-door RAV4 that’s wonderful around town since I can easily park it in any postage stamp-sized space. It’s not a road car, however. My husband’s sedan-sized Honda was just a little too low for either of us to get into comfortably considering we’re both starting to get stiffness and a little pain in our knees. So it was definitely time to get a newer, higher car for those road trips we’re anticipating.

Since we’re Consumer Reports subscribers, we got out the magazines and the hunt was on. We quickly decided on four cars that seemed to meet our needs, all of them small SUVs. Since there’s an auto mall about ten miles away with dealerships for all four makes, we set out thinking we would take two days to find out more about the cars and test drive each one. We started at the Honda dealership.

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Computer Shopping

ComputerI can hardly believe it but I’ve now owned my latest laptop — a Dell Inspiron — for nearly three years. When first purchased, it was all sparkly and new and fast and well, just about everything I wanted. It’s still pretty darn fast and the hard drive has gobs of space on it, but it’s starting to show its age with periodic crashes and freezes. And most annoying, the wifi routinely requires tinkering. And the stupid thing weighs a ton (well, not really, but it feels that way when stuffed in a bag or pack along with everything else I need to carry).

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Shopping or Hiding?

The Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States is termed Black Friday, and signals the start of the holiday shopping season. It’s become rather controversial the last few years as stores open earlier and earlier. This year, instead of beginning Black Friday sales at midnight, some stores opened on Thanksgiving evening.

My local online paper featured several stories about people who began camping out as early as Wednesday afternoon in front of Best Buy to be first in line for the sales. Just the thought of it made me cringe. Stand in line for concert tickets? Yes, I did that in my youth (and hope to never do so again). But camp for days to get a sale? No.

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Thrifty Treasures

DSCN9214Thrift stores are the land of magical things. On any given day you can luck into such finds as an antique leather pouf from Turkey, sporting fringe and little bells and embroidered all over with camels, or vintage blue and white mixing bowls, or collectible porcelain. I even found a grotesque wallet once, made from the entire skin of a large bullfrog with a zipper in it’s stomach.
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Outlet Shopping

Outlet-storesIs it just me, or are outlet deals not as good as they used to be?

I went down to Niagara-on-the-Lake this weekend, to catch some Shaw Festival and outlet shopping. “My Fair Lady” wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, but then the Rex Harrison/Audrey Hepburn movie is so firmly engrained in my head that I’m afraid I’ll be hyper-critical for the rest of my days.

But I did hope to catch some good deals at the outlet mall on the Canadian side. I know the outlet malls on the US side are larger, but I seriously could not be bothered crossing in one day. (I also considered, but discounted, going to Borders.)

So I stayed in maple leaf land, and by and large I was a little let down. I managed to get a birthday present for my father at the Coach outlet, but only because it was a small item, and it was an additional 30% off. But for things like jeans, shoes, and other clothing, the deals are no better, and sometimes worse, than regular season sales. And the parking lot was tiny. And it was just swarming. Swarming. I don’t go out of my way to outlet malls, but now I’m wondering if some of them are even worth dropping by, if I’m in the area.

Do you go outlet shopping? Or do you live near one?

– Jean AAR

Your Sofa is How Old?

red-sofaI’ve resisted for a number of years, but have finally realized it’s time to do it. Yes, I  absolutely, positively must replace my old living room furniture.

My sofa and loveseat looked quite nice when I originally purchased them. But they’ve finally started to show their age. No matter how many new pillows I place on them, the  basic furniture is just looking a bit too worn. I try to be frugal, so shelling out money for a new sofa hurts. But it’s long past time when a slipcover will do the trick.

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To give or not to give … vouchers

gutscheinI love giving books for Christmas and birthdays, but for some people this is not feasible, as they don’t like reading or don’t like movies, or I just don’t know enough about their tastes to choose just the right gift for them. This leaves me with edibles (excellent gifts! as long as you’re sure about people’s tastes, and in this case, food allergies …), pretty pieces for decorations (excellent for those who like to decorate their houses – otherwise, not), vouchers and … cash. Continue reading


schokoConfession time: Sometimes, when I have to do some work I really dislike, I bribe myself with rewards. It’s not very grown-up in me, but what can I say? It often works. So when it’s time to weed the vegetable bed, or tidy my desk, I tell myself, if you finish that now, you may go to the cinema later, or order a CD online – whatever works. Continue reading

One Day Sales


One thing about New Zealand is that for a relatively large piece of land, they have a small population.  Picture the UK minus Ireland, spread 4 million people around it, elongate it like a fish, and you have New Zealand.  Which means the people have a highly developed sense of communication and travel.

One way this manifests itself, besides a really good courier service, is the internet culture.  With so many people living far from urban centres, there’s a highly developed willingness to buy stuff over the internet.  The Kiwis are addicted – and I mean addicted – to TradeMe, the eBay equivalent.  They buy a lot over the internet.  And they absolutely excel at One Day Sales. Continue reading