Headquarters Blog

December 17 2012

Pass the Potatoes -- And a Cheque for $100, Please!

By Kate Musgrove

A few weeks ago, Slate columnist Emily Yoffe received a question (it's the second one on the page) stating that the reader had been invited over to her brother and sister-in-law's house for Thanksgiving dinner and she, along with the rest of the family, had brought side dishes, wine, desserts and other items to help fill out the meal. But when the day came to a close, the hostess asked for a cheque to cover the costs of hosting the dinner -- a whopping $100 per couple! I thought for certain this sister-in-law was one of a kind, but a similar question appeared in this week's Moneyville -- although in this question, the hostess is asking for a mere $30 a person.

To me, this behaviour is impolite. Having a potluck dinner is one thing, but having a potluck dinner and charging people is pretty much inexcusable. Especially if you don't ask them until after the meal is over! What do you think?


Dinner dilemma:

If you were the OP in this situation, what would you do?

This poll is now closed.

This poll is now closed.

  • I would happily pay.
  • I'd probably pay this time, but never again.
  • I wouldn't pay, and I would let them know that the request was out of line.

Based on 387 votes.


December 04 2012

Oh, Christmas Tree. What Kind Do You Buy?

By Amanda Aikman

Which do you prefer, real or fake? And no, we aren’t talking plastic surgery; we’re talking Christmas trees!

While there’s some debate surrounding which is more environmentally friendly, artificial tree-huggers may be surprised to learn that many experts believe real trees are actually easier on the Earth (due to greenhouse gas emissions and landfill-space requirements). But eco-concerns aside, there’s still the matter of aesthetic preference and practicality. Shedding needles, allergies, hassle of disposal…these are some of the issues of the fresh-cut trees. Tradition, limited storage space, and lack of that “Christmassy-fresh-tree scent” plague the artificial tree folks.

And then there’s cost. You can pay anywhere from $10-$1000 for an artificial tree. But, theoretically, once you’ve paid that price you won’t have to pay it again. While with a real tree you’re looking at an annual investment of $20-$100. Or if you go for a “living” planted tree from a nursery, at least triple that price! Of course, there are deals to be had, as any good RFD’er knows. There’s the IKEA real-tree option – buy a $20 tree, get a coupon for $20 off $75. The Home Depot runs a similar program, with a $25 coupon offer, but trees need to be purchased by the first week in December. Grocery stores, tree farms, your neighbour’s back yard, these are all places you might find your tree for less. Though if your neighbour asks, we’ll deny everything.

Artificial trees can be found at reasonable prices as well, like this 6.5-foot pre-lit tree from ($49, available in green, white, purple, or black). Or this American Slim Pine Tree from ($16.99-$39.99 sale, $24.99-$49.99 regular price).

Personally, I’ve had both my whole life. Growing up, my mother would have her immaculate artificial tree with white lights and Victorian pink ornaments upstairs, and downstairs my dad would have a giant real tree with blinking lights and enough tinsel to throw Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer off course. And now we go chop down our own 9-foot Fraser Fir at a Christmas tree farm in BC each year, but my son has a $10 3-foot artificial tree of his own that we picked up at XS Cargo—I got tired of his “help” decorating the main tree by cramming 30 ornaments on to one bottom bough. So where do you stand – real, fake, both, none?

Hunting for real trees in Langley, BC


November 28 2012

IKEA Comes To Winnipeg!

By Amanda Aikman

Today is a special day in Winnipeg. For those of you not from the home of the Golden Boy and Salisbury House, here's the scoop: IKEA Winnipeg opens today!

As a former Winnipegger, I know how monumental this occasion is (in some circles, anyway). Having spent my formative years in the city, including my first three apartments after leaving home, I am well aware of the envy with which Winnipeggers often viewed the nearest IKEA provinces of Alberta and Ontario. But those days are over, $12 side tables and paper lamps for all!

As a special welcome-to-IKEA gesture, IKEA Winnipeg will feature some Opening Day Offers today (November 28) including: Poang Armchair for $39 (was $79), Expedit Shelving Unit for $29.99 (was $49.99), and the Lack Side Table for $6.99 (was $9.99-$12.99). So rev up your Allen Keys and enjoy, Manitoba!


November 19 2012

Tag Us & Win This Black Friday Weekend!

By Jeff Chan

Calling All RedFlagDeals Shirt & Travel Mug Winners!

Starting Black Friday, November 23 through Cyber Monday, November 26, we'll be giving away $20 Tim Hortons gift cards to people who wear (with pride!) their limited edition t-shirts to the mall. This contest is also open to those who rock the travel mug too!

How Do You Enter?

  • 1. Take a picture of yourself wearing the RFD shirt or carrying the travel mug with you when you shop this Black Friday weekend.
  • 2. Upload the picture and tag RedFlagDeals on Facebook or Twitter. Alternatively, email it to

  • We'll be picking winners all weekend long and contacting them on Facebook and Twitter. Don't be shy! Photobomb midnight line-ups, pose with the cashiers, lay down next to all your shopping bags.

    Have you taken a look at our Black Friday Section? We have all the latest flyers from your favourite retailers including Best Buy, Future Shop, Walmart, The Source, Dell & more!


    November 12 2012

    The Cost of Christmas (Shopping)

    By Amanda Aikman

    According to a recent Financial Post article, Canadians plan to spend an average of $1610 over the course of the upcoming holiday season. Of that $1610, $674 is the amount likely to be spent on gifts ($91 higher than last year’s average).

    Of course, we’re pretty sure that savvy shoppers can spend less than that, or at least get more for their $674! How do you stack up against the national average?


    Holiday Gift Spending

    Where does your gift-giving budget fit?

    This poll is now closed.

    This poll is now closed.

    • Sounds about right to me, sign me up for $674.
    • With my coupons and forum info? Pffft…I can come in at way, way less than that.
    • I’ve always been above average, why shouldn’t my gift budget be as well? Sorry credit cards, time to take one for the team!

    Based on 57 votes.


    November 06 2012

    Black Friday 2012 is Coming Soon!

    By Andrew Lau

    Black Friday isn't far off, and that means it's crunch time here at For those of you that aren't too familiar with it, Black Friday is the busiest American shopping day of the year (it's the Friday that follows Thanksgiving in the US). It's not exactly a long-running Canadian tradition, but it has skyrocketed in popularity north of the border in the past 5 years. You only have to look at the number of Black Friday deals we've covered year over year to see the growth:

    • 2011: 130+ deals
    • 2010: 54 deals
    • 2009: 33 deals
    • 2008: 15 deals
    • 2007: 2 deals

    In 2010 and 2011, we saw a big lift in the number of major Canadian retailers who participated. Big names, including Apple, Dell, Gap, Lululemon,, Newegg Canada, Roots, Walmart, La Senza, Aldo, Chapters, and Sears had Black Friday sales. There was also no shortage of media coverage last year. Our guess is that Black Friday 2012 is going to be an even bigger event.

    Mark your calendars.... Black Friday is November 23rd this year. We saw a lot of sales kick off earlier in the week last year (Wednesday and Thursday), so check in early and often to have a shot at the best Black Friday bargains.


    October 30 2012

    2012 Holiday Season Shipping Deadlines from Canada Post

    By Kate Musgrove

    It's the end of October which means that the holidays are a few months away -- and mailing deadlines might be right around the corner. To kick things off, Canada Post has released a list of Suggested Mailing Dates for cards and packages within Canada and around the world.

    Stay tuned for a list of shipping deadlines from retailers around Canada and the US -- so far, we've only seen an update from


    October 23 2012

    Aiming for Target (and Saying Goodbye to Zellers!)

    By Amanda Aikman

    I recently returned from a family vacation to Disneyland. Can you guess my favourite part? Here’s a hint…it wasn’t Space Mountain, the frozen bananas, or the photo op with Mickey. It was the Target run on the way home!

    I have been a Target junkie for years. Not everyone understands this addiction. I have friends who say they’ve never noticed anything special about the American retailer and that they don’t even bother to stop for soft pretzels and Target popcorn when they’re in the vicinity (blasphemy!). But for those of us who start twitching the moment we cross the border in anticipation of deals on housewares, candy, the latest Target/designer collaboration, and the occasional ridiculously affordable bottle of wine, the bulls-eye box store will always hold a special appeal.

    So naturally, when I first heard that Target was coming to Canada I was a little giddy. Even though it meant the passing of the iconic Canadian Zellers chain. I bought my first bike at Zellers. I worked at a Zellers restaurant briefly when I was in high school. Zeddy and his original home will always hold a nostalgic place in my heart. Speaking of Zeddy's home, you can follow his search for a new one, or apply to adopt him yourself, on Zellers' facebook page. And now, the closer Target gets (select stores are set to open this winter – you can keep up to date on your local store’s progress here), the more I wonder if/how it will compare to the cross-border Target-shopping experience.

    Will the prices be as low? Will the selection be as varied? Will the online shopping be as good as it is in the US? Will the popcorn be as blood pressure-raisingly salty? Will having a Target in walking distance cause it to lose its mystique/appeal? Who knows...but I’ll likely be there on opening day to find out!


    October 15 2012

    What's New: Telus Drops Activation Fees, Globe and Mail Launches Paywall + More

    By Kate Musgrove

    There's a whole lot going on in the Canadian business world. Here's a look at what's new:


    October 12 2012

    National Costume Swap Day is Sweeping the Nation!

    By Kate Musgrove

    If you're looking for a fun, frugal way to get new and exciting Halloween costumes for your kids (or yourself!) you'll definitely want to check out National Costume Swap Day! It's an initiative that started in the US a few years ago and is now starting to take root in Canada! It's just what it sounds like -- you bring your old, gently used costumes, dress-up clothes and accessories and leave with ones that are new-to-you.

    Check here to see if there's a swap in your area. If there's not, you could consider organizing one -- or you could ask around and see if any of your friends with kids are interested in an informal swap. If all else fails, check back here later in the month for some cheap or free costume ideas