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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 RedFlagDeals.com shoppers can spend less than that, or at least get more for their $674! How do you stack up against the national average?

Poll

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.
    26%
  • With my coupons and RedFlagDeals.com forum info? Pffft…I can come in at way, way less than that.
    49%
  • 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!
    24%

Based on 57 votes.

Comments

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 RedFlagDeals.com. 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, Amazon.ca, 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.

Comments

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 Amazon.ca.

Comments

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!

Comments

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:

Comments

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

Comments

October 09 2012

Free Pumpkin Carving Stencils and Templates

By Kate Musgrove

Fall is in the air, and with that comes fresh apple cider, costume contests and elaborately carved pumpkins! To help you out on that last point, we've complied a list with dozens (or maybe hundreds!) of free downloadable pumpkin carving templates. So whether you're looking for the perfect scary cat or the best Justin Beiber you can carve, read on!

  • Reader's Digest: 27 free stencils that range from simple to silly.
  • Parenting.com: 18 kid-friendly stencils.
  • Redtri.com: 12 templates, including Vampire Pac-Man.
  • Stoneykins.com: 100 free templates plus some other templates available for a cost.
  • Better Homes and Gardens: 25 dog breed pumpkin stencil patterns and about a dozen for cats!
  • KraftCanada.com: tons of templates -- and pumpkin seed recipes, too!
  • TMZ.com: 13 celebrity pumpkin templates including Beiber, Ice-T and Susan Boyle.
  • HP.com: several pumpkin templates and lots of other printable freebies.
  • Dremel.com: if you have a Dremel tool, this site has twenty patterns to tackle.
  • Disney's Family.com: For 2011, you'll find lots of new Disney character pumpkin templates to try.
  • PinkRayGun.com has a great variety of interesting templates including Thor, Walking Dead Zombies, Stephen Colbert as well as characters from Harry Potter, Twilight, Star Trek, and more.
  • MarthaStewart.com: Unsurprisingly, MarthaStewart.com has a huge selection of templates, pumpkin creature instructions, and more.
  • Better Homes & Gardens has some free stencils and pumpkin ideas, as well as carving tips.
  • ThinkGeek.com: There's always a good batch of geeky, funky, user submitted pumpkin templates here. You'll also find a good selection from 2009, from 2010 and 2011.
  • CartoonJr.com: Here, you'll find some great looking Star Wars themed pumpkin stencils.
  • CBC.ca: The CBC logo looks a bit odd in jack-o-lantern form, but there more standard templates that you might enjoy (and they look kid-friendly as well).
  • Nickelodeon site nickjr.com: A good choice for kids with 10 free templates of Nickelodean characters like Dora the Explorer and Moose.
  • The History Channel: Not a bad variety of interesting beginner and advanced stencils... ever seen a Benjamin Franklin jackolantern?
  • PumpkinMasters.com: You'll find 10 free patterns, some simple and some complicated.
  • Celebrating-Halloween.com: over 25 traditional/conventional pumpkin stencils
  • Hersheys.com: 30 Pumpkin stencils, (10 each for easy, intermediate, and advanced)
  • FabulousLiving.com: You'll find 9 "Rock and Roll Heaven" pumpkin stencils with icons like Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, and Elvis.
  • Cyberhaunt.com: Over 20 traditional Halloween themed stencils available.
  • FantasyPumpkins.com: There's a variety of impressive (and challenging) looking patterns. Some geared towards kids as well.
  • BandOfCats.com has 28 cat-themed pumpkin stencils / jackolantern ideas.
  • DLTK-Holidays.com has a few dozen basic templates for you to explore. Many are simple and kid-friendly.

Have fun and practice safe carving!

Comments

October 01 2012

What's New: Top 100 Canadian Startups, Top 10,000 Most Common PINs and More

By Kate Musgrove

Here's a look at what's new, Canada:

Comments

September 26 2012

The Lack Hack: Affordable Furniture With a (Re)Purpose

By Amanda Aikman

I'm pretty clever, if I do say so myself, but it turns out I'm not the cleverest of them all. I discovered this unsettling truth when I spotted the ApartmentTherapy.com post: Hacking the IKEA Lack: One Table, Ten Different Ways. I fancy myself fairly inventive when it comes to repurposing items around the house (though my beer cooler/toilet bowl tank never really took off), but I had no idea the lowly Lack (retails for $9.99-$14.99 at IKEA.ca) could be transformed into everything from a kitchen centre to a LEGO-building station.

With the change of seasons I've been itching to do some redecorating, not always the most practical activity in the fall with the expenses of the holiday season on the horizon. However, with my eyes opened to the Lack hack, I've started hunting down other interesting IKEA hacks. I've got big plans. Why spend a fortune on new furnishings when I can just reinterpret the items I've already got? Wonder if I'm up for the challenge of transforming my son's loft bed into an At At Imperial Walker, or building a floor to ceiling Billy/Benno Bookcase library room? Okay, maybe I'll start with the Lack/LEGO table and work my way up.

Have you created/recreated your own furniture-hacking masterpiece? Brag about it in the comments section!

Comments

September 25 2012

Does Shopping Canadian Matter to You?

By Kate Musgrove

Despite some mixed messages (I'm looking at you, Bellingham, WA shoppers petitioning for American-only hours) heading over the border to shop seems to be more popular than ever. The increased tax-exempt limits announcement this summer was greeted with cheers and excitement from pretty much everyone....except Canadian retailers. So, I'm wondering where you stand. Do you make a point to shop Canadian? Or do you make a point not to shop Canadian?

Poll

Currently:

How important is it for you to buy Canadian-made products or to shop from Canadian retailers?

This poll is now closed.

This poll is now closed.

  • It's not important -- price is really the only factor I consider.
    49%
  • I buy Canadian when I can, but it's not always feasible.
    39%
  • I make every possible effort to buy Canadian products.
    10%

Based on 3076 votes.

Comments