Sunday, December 22, 2013

CancerHacker's Top 10 Tricks for Toronto Cheapskates

Just in time for Christmas, here are 10 of my personal strategies to reducing my cost of living in Toronto.

*Update 3-Jan-2014*: I forgot to include Toronto On A Shoestring - another wonderful source of cheapskate knowledge!


Aveda Institute

Aveda offers services performed by their students at a rate of $21 for a first year student or $40 for an advanced student. All services are closely supervised by their instructors. Plus they offer free fringe touchups between haircuts. If you sign up for their newsletter then they will notify you of their all too infrequent sales on their products and their occasional promotions on services - for example, November was free colour with a cut month.

LiveGreen Toronto Card

The LiveGreen discount card is available to everyone who lives in Toronto. The card, which is free, gives you discounts at various stores. All you have to do is fill in the online form. There's even an app for that.

RedFlagDeals Cash Back

Do you partake in Groupons? Did you know that if you purchase your Groupons through RedFlagDeals that they'll give you 2.5% cash back? It doesn't get much more awesome than making money while saving money. (Usual caveat regarding Groupon vendors applies, though. Unscrupulous vendors are out there trying to get free money by offering Groupons that they never intend to honour. Don't let them get away with it! Groupon customer service is there to help and keep Groupon's reputation intact.)

RedFlagDeals also offers cash back on purchases made through many other vendors, including for big ticket items from vendors like Dell, Apple, Travelocity.com and hotels.com. Check out their website for a full listing.

Mineral Sunscreens for Babies/Kids

I am an avid user of sunscreen, but I find that normal sunscreens just don't stay on in the water at all. Mineral sunscreens, however, while not waterproof take a lot longer to fail than chemical sunscreens. Unfortunately mineral sunscreens tend to be much more expensive. I have occasionally found Aveeno's mineral baby sunscreen on sale at my local Shopper's, but here are three options that you can buy affordably every day:


For purchasing from well.ca, use the coupon code CancerSux until January 31 for $10 off any purchase of $40 or more.

DakPig's Toronto Free and Cheap Event Twitter Feed

The great thing about living in a city like Toronto is that there is always something free or cheap going on. The difficult part is keeping track of just which free movies are showing tonight or which bars have craft beer deals on. DakPig does her best to alert her Twitter followers to what's going on each day in T.O.

Toronto Public Library

Your TPL card not only gets you access to their stacks - you also get free access to a large amount of digital content via their website, including Audio Books, eMagazines, and eBooks.  You don't have to leave home and there are never any late fees!

For techies out there, your card will get you onto Safari Books Online. The cautious shopper can browse issues of Consumer Reports. Travelers get online access to Ulysses publications. Through Overdrive, you can listen to 2/3 of John Hodgman's brilliant trilogy (More Information Than You Require and That Is All) read by John Hodgman and including a long list of guests. If you only listen to one audio book in your life, it should be the final book of the trilogy, That Is All. In this audio book, Hodgman has perfected his formula for presenting his written book in live (and hilarious) voice format. One warning though -- you will never fall asleep while listening to this. If you wish to listen to an audio book that will help you get to sleep, try Siddharta Mukherjee's Emperor of All Maladies. The audio version is about 10 pounds lighter (in physical weight) and is read in near monotone.

Ditch Bell and Rogers

No need to put up with sub-par customer service and high prices. Ditch Bell and switch to using a cell phone only or replace your landline with VOIP. (Note that with VOIP your phone service will be vulnerable to any internet service outages, so make sure to have a backup plan for 911.) I replaced my $35/month Bell landline with $10/month VOIP from TekSavvy, since I found that the landline seems to only be called by family members and telemarketers. There are many options for VOIP depending on your level of comfort with the technology. For example, if you are comfortable with configuring your own VOIP ata, I have heard good things about voip.ms.

Ditch Rogers and sign up with Netflix. If you absolutely need access to hockey games and news, install a good TV antenna to get over the air HDTV. There are also subscriptions available via Apple TV and other smart TV services for live broadcasts of sports games. And you can always watch shows (including news and sports) that your region's television stations stream to the web.

Yoga Studio New Member Rates

Most yoga studios offer an introductory rate that is much less expensive than their normal rates. The intro rate often allows unlimited classes for a period of time. For example, the Yoga Sanctuary offers 30 days for $30 and the Yoga Lounge offers 7 days for $30.

Shoppers Eye Studio Sampler Set

This mascara set includes six high end mini mascaras and a coupon for a full sized seventh, allowing you to easily and affordably replace your mascara every month for seven months at a cost of only $39.

well.ca Baby Club

well.ca is the drugstore version of Grocery Gateway. Deliveries take a few days to Toronto, but you never have to leave your home to order Tylenol and immodium again. The prices are comparable to other major drugstores and they always have sales. If you sign up for their Baby Club (no baby required) then you will be eligible for additional discounts and promotions (and 15% off diapers if you do have a use for them). Until Dec. 3, 2014 use the coupon code CancerHackr to get $10 off a purchase of $40 or more.

No comments:

Post a Comment