Saturday, February 25, 2012

Strike Season Is Here!

First it was the HST increase to 15% after NDP took office.
Then gas prices started to rise.
Power goes up and up…
No wonder everything is increasing in price.

It is not surprising that everyone is asking for more. That’s we are hearing folks like HRM Transit, Dal, etc. are going on strike. Sigh! Tough times ahead for those living in Halifax, NS – one of the most expensive places to live in Canada.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Buying Groceries Pt 2

Another thing you need to know when shopping for stuff in the store besides getting discounts or bargains are what to buy and how to buy things:

  • Before you feel that you are getting ripped-off, it is important to understand that unlike most developed ASEAN countries like Malaysia or Singapore, most items do not carry a expiry date here. Unfortunately Canada’s government does not have a very strict enforcing mechanism to ensure that retailers and producers come up with expiry dates for perishable products. So, sometimes you’ll have to bite your tongue and get with it.
  • Confusing labels, yes it is a common sight here in North America that product labels and the offers shown in the brochure may appear the same!!! But do not be easily fooled, check and double check!!!
  • Fish and cold cuts – if you’re buying fish, sometimes it is better to head to the fish monger and ask them to weigh it for your, rather than buying the fish that has been readily packed. That’s because the packed fish is weighed with the packaging itself and thus cost more than if you were to get the fish off the counter. The same applies for cold-cuts like your ham or prosciutto. Take for example, Atlantic Superstore’s PC brand 125g of prosciutto cuts in a package cost CAD$ 4.99 but may cost your CAD$ 3.44 over the counter. The same applies for things like bacon, tilapia, salmon, etc. as well
  • If you need to buy nuts or bulk items like oats, choose to shop at either Costco where these items are sold in large containers but are way cheaper. Or if you’re not a costco member, then head to the store called “Bulk Barn”. Students get 10% discount on Wednesdays.
  • Sometimes, you may want to look at shopping in stores like No Frills.

Buying Groceries Pt 1

So you’re a newcomer to Canada. Here are some useful tips when going shopping for groceries:

  • Elderly shoppers would be able to get discounts when shopping at most of the stores like Atlantic Superstore/ Sobeys – but you may need some kind of identification for that
  • Students do get some break as well. For example in Halifax NS, students can shop on Tuesdays at either Sobeys or Atlantic Superstore to qualify for a 10% discount on top of total amount spend (p.s. doesn’t not apply to pharmacy products and for Sobey’s, you’ll need a minimum purchase of CAD$ 25 for it to apply). Of course you’ll need to show your student ID first.
  • Pete’s frootique store in Spring Garden Rd or @ Bedford has a Pete’s customer loyalty card which gives a discount upon the tenth transaction using the loyalty card.
  • Look out for bargains. Go online or check out the weekly brochures from the stores itself.
  • Collect coupons and use them at the counter. Don’t worry, most coupons can be used as many times on the same item which means that you can use 2 of the same coupon on a single product. And most of the time, you can still use the coupon despite the fact that the product is already on store discount and/or you apply your student/elderly discount. Where to get coupons? Besides the coupon section of stores, you can subscribe online to and order your coupons. Check out magazines as well.
  • NOTE: its pretty common that stores personal do not update their price tag from time to time  (be it on the shelf or in their system). Thus always make it a point to check your receipt after making payment to make sure that you that you’ve paid the correct amount for the items you’ve purchase. When you realize that you may have overpaid for e.g. your apples, take it to the customer service outlet and point out the mistake. Most large supermarkets like Sobeys or Atlantic subscribe to fair price policy in which if they have overcharged you, then you are eligible to the item for free!!!