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A Visit to the 2017 Canadian International Autoshow

A Visit to the 2017 Canadian International Autoshow

By Paresh Pandya

February is typically met with a sense of malaise. The cold winter season is still in full force, the excitement of Christmas and New Years has worn off, and the dreaded tax season starts. But all is not doom and gloom! The Canadian International Autoshow also takes place in February. It's one of Toronto’s most exciting family event and 2017 wasn't any different.

This year’s event saw a record breaking attendance level of 20,218 on opening day. To tie in with our country’s 150th birthday, the theme of the show was O’Canada and this was celebrated by a number of notables:

  • the North American debut of the audacious Aston Martin AM-RB 001 hypercar
  • the North American reveal of Jaguar’s slinky F-type 400 Sport
  • CIAS’s first Global vehicle debut of the 2018 Hyundai Accent, an event which was live streamed around the world
  • plus 16 other fabulous concept cars on display

With over 650,000 square feet of floor space, the show was packed with a wide array of vehicles, interactive exhibits (including virtual reality demos), guest speakers, and vendors. Another perennial favourite were the freebies some manufacturers gave away, including the ever-popular recycled shopping bags (Toyota’s are my favourite).

With so many vehicles on display it’s hard to choose a favourite. Here are a few that caught my eye that will be of interest to the average Canadian shopper:

2018 Toyota Camry

Canadians love their Toyotas as evidenced by their consistent leading sales figures each and every quarter. The Camry is no exception. With a reputation for reliability, comfort, and retained value (winner of the 2017 Canadian Black Book Best Retained Value award in the mid-size category) it’s always big news when this staple under goes a model revision. Two models were on display, the sporty XSE and the eco-conscious Hybrid XLE. Unfortunately, they were not open to the media, however the models did a good indication of what to expect. Aggressive styling on the XSE not typically associated with the brand with large air scoops, blacked out grilles and pillars, a rear air diffuser, and a blacked out roof to complete the makeover. With a lower stance and wider track, the new car injects a sense of capability not found in the outgoing model. A new interior imparts upscale ambitions with a larger 10” colour display option, premium soft touch materials, and an available heads-up display. Expect to see this model hit Canadian markets later this summer.

2018 Hyundai Accent

Making its global debut (the first time this has happened at CIAS), the Accent represents Hyundai’s relentless pursuit for providing value without sacrificing style or content. Borrowing styling elements from its bigger brothers Elantra and Sonata, the new Accent uses Hyundai’s own high-strength steel to give the car a solid chassis and improved rigidity. This gives the car improved driving dynamics, reduces road noise, and should help with its crash test ratings. With a longer and wider footprint, the new Accent is larger than the outgoing car it replaces, and although it’s classified as a sub-compact, it would be easy to mistake this for a compact sedan. Fuel economy has also improved by 7 percent through the use of lighter materials and a rethinking of how parts are engineered (the transmission was reduced by 2kg, a testament to how serious Hyundai takes fuel economy). With available options like a touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a segment-first available autonomous car braking system, the Accent will no doubt be a strong contender in the market place. The 4 door sedan will also be available in a Canadian exclusive 5 door model, giving consumers plenty of choice to meet their needs. Look for both models hitting showrooms later this year.

Cadillac Escala Concept

This stunning concept is an indication of what to expect from the brand in the coming years. The 4 door flagship sedan starts with a beautiful blacked out grille complemented by a monochrome badge and flows to the rear with strong shoulders and a fastback roof commonly found amongst German competitors. Recalling the large vertical tail lamps of yesteryear, the concept takes this detail and successfully integrates it into this thoroughly modern example of what it means to be a Cadillac. Under the hood a twin-turbo V8 ensures there will be plenty of power on-tap for the driver, while inside the cabin is outfitted with sensible cloth seats, wood trim, and a panoramic glass roof lending to a sense of openness. Some concept details will disappear if it moves to production, like the trick trunk floor which rises to help load and unload the matching custom designer luggage.

With so much going on at the show it’s no wonder the Canadian International Autoshow continues to break attendance records. I can't wait to see what they have in store for 2018!

New Forum Feature: Thread Hiding

New Forum Feature: Thread Hiding

By Thomas Kenzaki

Today we released a new feature to the forums called Thread Hiding. This will allow you to hide any thread which you do not want to appear while browsing a forum. There are times when you'll see the same thread which you have no interest in appear over and over again and now you have the ability to remove it from your view. To do so just follow the steps below:

Enable thread hiding here: Account & Preferences

where to find

You'll then see an eye icon next to each thread while browsing the forums. Clicking this icon will hide the thread and the next time you refresh the page it will be removed from your view. If you accidentally clicked this icon, want to make a thread visible again or just want to see what you've hidden, you can view those threads on the same page where you enabled this feature.

how to hide

We hope that you'll enjoy having the ability to hide threads and that it will make browsing the forums a more organized and enjoyable experience. If you have any comments or questions about this feature please let us know in the comments below. Note that this feature is only available for registered users so if you don't already have an account with us, sign up today.

Costco's Membership Fees Will Increase in June 2017

Costco's Membership Fees Will Increase in June 2017

By Kate Musgrove

Costco has announced that they are increasing their membership prices in the US and Canada effective June 1, 2017. After the increase, an Individual membership will cost $60 a year (up from $55 a year) and an Executive membership will cost $120 a year (up from $110 a year). This is their first membership price increase since 2011.

Costco generates about 75% of its operating income from membership fees.

If you're a current Costco shopper, is the fee increase a dealbreaker for you? If you're not a current Costco shopper, you've still got several months to get a membership before the price increase takes place on June 1, 2017.

BCBG Max Azria to Close All Canadian Stores

BCBG Max Azria to Close All Canadian Stores

By Kate Musgrove

BCBG Max Azria has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US and Canada and will be closing all 51 of its Canadian stores. It is said to be looking to continue selling the BCBG line in Canada's Hudson's Bay stores. It's currently unclear if all BCBG stores in the US will close -- currently, only 120 of the total 175 US stores are actively slated for closure.

At this time it's unclear how many jobs will be lost from the Canadian store closures.

BCBG is a reference to the french slang term "bon chic, bon genre" which means "good style, good attitude."

Sunrise Records to Move into 70 Former HMV Locations Across Canada

Sunrise Records to Move into 70 Former HMV Locations Across Canada

By Ambia Staley

In move that some might call risky, Sunrise Records announced this past weekend that it plans to take over 70 retail spaces soon to be vacated by HMV.

Canada's biggest music retailer, HMV announced plans in January to close all of their locations by April of 2017, after failed restructuring and attempts to turn a profit in a market that is largely turning to digital consumption of music and movies.

Regarding the decision to purchase so many locations once used by their former competitor, Sunrise president Doug Putman says, "The reality is there is a large amount of customers that want that physical product that they can touch and hold and have". He also noted that by lowering head office costs, renegotiating leases, and having a more in depth catalogue, Sunrise can succeed where others have failed.

Putman purchased Sunrise in 2014 from Malcolm Perlman, who had closed all but 5 Sunrise locations in the years leading up to the sale. Since his takeover, Putman has opened up 5 more stores in Ontario, all of which he claims are profitable.

The 70 purchased spaces are located in malls across Canada including locations in Edmonton, Burnaby, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Mississauga, and Saint Bruno. The new Sunrise locations are expected to open later this spring once HMV has liquidated their stock, vacated the spaces, and removed their signs.

Are you surprised to hear this news? Do you think Sunrise Records can succeed where HMV has failed? Let us know in the comments!

March 2017 Video Game Release Dates

March 2017 Video Game Release Dates

By Ambia Staley

March 3 Update: new titles with confirmed release dates have been added on March 23 and 30.

It's almost March, and that means a big month of new video game releases is ahead! On March 3, the latest console from Nintendo, the Switch, hits store shelves, along with one of the most highly anticipated game titles of 2017, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for both the Switch and Wii U.

While there's plenty to play this month, if you're looking for previously released games, you can also check out January and February's list of released games here on RedFlagDeals.

It's time to strap on your boots, get your sword ready, and set out to save the princess -- here's a look at what's coming out this March:

  • 1-2-Switch (Switch) - March 3
  • Human Resource Machine (Switch) - March 3
  • I Am Setsuna (Switch) - March 3
  • Just Dance 2017 (Switch) - March 3
  • Little Inferno (Switch) - March 3
  • Skylanders Imaginators (Switch) - March 3
  • Snipperclips (Switch) - March 3
  • Super Bomberman R (Switch) - March 3
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch/Wii U) - March 3
  • World of Goo (Switch) - March 3
  • Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey (PS4/PS Vita/PC) - March 7
  • Birthdays the Beginning (PS4/PC) - March 7
  • LEGO Worlds (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - March 7
  • Loot Rascals (PS4/PC) - March 7
  • Nier: Automata (PS4/PC) – March 7
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands (PS4/Xbox One/PC) – March 7
  • Danganronpa 1-2 Reload (PS4) – March 14
  • Star Trek: Bridge Crew (PS VR/Oculus Rift/Vive) – March 14
  • Styx: Shards of Darkness (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - March 14
  • Mass Effect Andromeda (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - March 21
  • Toukiden 2 (PS4/Xbox One/PS Vita) - March 21
  • Troll and I (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - March 21
  • Battle for Orion 2 (PC) - March 23
  • Rock Band VR (Oculus Rift) - March 23
  • The End of an Age: Fading Remnants (PC) - March 23
  • Dreamfall Chapters (PS4/Xbox One) – March 24
  • Mario Sports Superstars (3DS) – March 24
  • Has-Been Heroes (Switch/PS4/Xbox One/PC) - March 28
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix (PS4) - March 28
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix (PS4) - March 28
  • MLB The Show 17 (PS4) – March 28
  • PaRappa the Rapper Remastered (PS4) – March 28
  • Strafe (PC) - March 28
  • Thimbleweed Park (Xbox One/PC) - March 30

Release Dates TBA

  • Old Time Hockey (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
  • Outcast: Second Contact (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
  • Overload (PS4/Xbox One/PC/Mac/Linux)
  • The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ (Switch)
  • Routine (PC)

Note that video game release dates may change due to various reasons, but we'll try to keep this list updated as news becomes available.

Will you be picking up any of March's new game titles? Do you plan on purchasing the Nintendo Switch? Let us know in the comments below!

Loblaw Resets All PC Plus Passwords Following Security Breach

Loblaw Resets All PC Plus Passwords Following Security Breach

By Simon Hung

If you’re a member of the popular PC Plus loyalty program, you’ll need to create a new password to access your account, because Loblaw has reset all account passwords following a security breach.

PC Plus is used in over 20 Loblaw-owned grocery stores across Canada and this is the second time in less than a month that the company has issued a security notice to its members regarding the breach, which compromised an unknown number of accounts and resulted in points being stolen.

Upon entering the PC Plus site or opening the app, all members will need to create a new password, even if they had already changed them recently -- note that password changes cannot be done through the app and must be done via their website. Loblaw has issued a statement saying that the breach was likely a result of some members using weak username and password combinations across multiple sites.

It’s unknown when exactly the breach occurred, but a thread was created in our Shopping Discussion forum in December 2016 after a member discovered that their points were missing. Any PC Plus members who suspect their points were stolen should contact customer service via email or phone (1-855-672-7587) to have their points reimbursed.

The 2016 Free Tax Software Roundup for Canadians

The 2016 Free Tax Software Roundup for Canadians

By Simon Hung

Spring may not begin until March, but tax season is already here and it’s easier than ever to file your income taxes with the help of tax software.

NETFILE -- Canada Revenue Agency’s electronic tax-filing system -- will begin accepting electronic transmissions starting February 20 and the deadline for most individuals to file their 2016 personal income taxes is May 1, 2017.

There are dozens of programs you can use to file your taxes and many are completely free! To help you decide which one is right for you, we’ve listed a few NETFILE-certified programs -- note that any pricing reflects the suggested retail price, but you can often find paid software for less at stores like Best Buy or Costco.

Free programs are exactly that -- free. There's no financial commitment, but some programs offer a "pay what you want" option and accept donations. All of these free programs will file your tax return with the Canada Revenue Agency, but some are basic iterations of software and offer more features with a paid upgrade.

Free Programs
Program
Platforms
Overview
Price
Web
Full program is free, promises a return in under five minutes, website design is dated
FREE!
Windows
Full program is free, comprehensive return options
FREE!1
Web, Windows
Returns for all tax scenarios are free, able to import past returns, extra features require paid upgrade
FREE!
Web
Full program is free, clean interface, maximum refund guarantee
FREE!1
Windows, Mac
Full program is free, step-by-step tutorials available
FREE!1
Web, Windows, Android, iOS
Basic returns are free, mobile apps available, extra features like deduction searching require paid upgrade
FREE!
1These programs accept "pay what you want" donations.

Free-to-start programs operate with a "try before your buy" strategy, where you're able to use the full program and fill out your return, but you'll have to pay a fee to actually file your return with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Free-to-Start Programs
Program
Platforms
Overview
Price
Web
Website is buggy, free to fill return, must pay to file with the CRA, cheapest paid option
From $5.99
Web, Android, iOS
Mobile apps available, free to try and fill return, must pay to file with the CRA
$9.99
Windows
Cluttered interface, free to try and fill return, must pay to file with the CRA
From $7.99
Windows, Mac, Linux
Linux support, free to try and fill return, must pay to file with the CRA
From $6.99
Web
Free to try and fill return, must pay to file with the CRA
From $9.98
Windows, Mac, iOS
iOS app available, free to try and fill return, must pay to file with the CRA, step-by-step tutorials, confusing website
From $9.95
Windows
Comprehensive return options, free to try and fill return, must pay to file with the CRA
$12.99
Web, Windows, Android, iOS
Mobile apps available, more features than free version, free to try and fill return, must pay to file with the CRA
From $19.99
Web, Windows
Can import from other software, free to fill return, must pay to file with the CRA
From $17.95
Web
Free to try and fill return, must pay to file with the CRA, website design is dated
$12.99

Paid programs require an up-front payment before using the software, but these programs are usually very robust and offer more features to help maximize your refund. These programs are also generally well-known and have a history of providing reliable tax returns.

Paid Programs
Program
Platforms
Overview
Price
Web, Windows
Paid version includes features like multiple returns, auto-fill, curated tips and product support
From $14.99
Web, Windows, Android, iOS
Mobile apps available, available in most retail stores, includes features like multiple returns and deduction searching
From $14.99
Web, Windows
Paid version includes features like multiple returns, business returns and product support
From $21.99

Whichever program you decide to use, there are some general tips that you should keep in mind when filing your taxes.

  • Free programs offer a maximum of 20 returns per computer, as mandated by the CRA, since the software is meant for individual use only
  • Gather all necessary tax forms and receipts before filing your return to streamline the process. H&R Block has a useful checklist you can use for reference
  • Filing your return online is instantaneous, but it's a good idea to file early to avoid headaches and last-minute procrastination panic -- note that some individuals may also be subject to a late-filing penalty
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions in places like our personal finance forum or seek advice from a professional for more specific questions
  • You can file your taxes the old-fashioned way by downloading your province's tax package and sending your return to the CRA via mail

Taxes used to be a major headache, but many of these programs are easy-to-use and you won't even need to dust off your calculator to file your return! Be sure to let us know which program you'll be using this year and share any other tax tips you have!

Free Family Day 2017 Events Across Canada!

Free Family Day 2017 Events Across Canada!

By Ambia Staley

Family Day is just around the corner, and if you plan on spending it with your family, you might be looking for some fun and affordable options -- and what better option is there, than free?

Whether it's called Family Day, Louis Riel Day, Islander Day, or Nova Scotia Heritage Day in your province, there are plenty of events going on in most cities, including free skating at local ice rinks, or free games and activities at local libraries and community centres.

If you're looking for something free and fun to do over the long weekend, then mark your calendars and take note, as we've journeyed through the internet and compiled a list of some free events happening around Canada!

Alberta (Family Day: February 20)

Calgary (February 17-20) -- GLOW Downtown Winter Light Festival
Calgary (February 20) -- RBC Free Family Skating
Edmonton (February 20) -- Family Day at City Hall & Churchill Square
Edmonton (February 20) -- Family Day at the Legislature

British Columbia (Family Day: February 13)

Brnaby (February 13) -- Family Day Pancake Breakfast
Surrey (February 10-13) -- Free Skating, Swimming, and other Activities at Recreation Centres
Vancouver (February 13) -- BC Family Day Activities at Douglas Park Community Centre

Manitoba (Louis Riel Day: February 20)

Winnipeg (January 12 - February 26) -- Arctic Glacier Winter Park
Winnipeg (February 20) -- Community Day at the Forks

Nova Scotia (Nova Scotia Heritage Day: February 20)

Halifax (every day) -- Free Skating at Emera Oval

Ontario (Family Day: February 20)

Province-wide (February 18-20) -- Ontario Family Fishing Event (no license required)
Various cities (February 20) -- RBC Free Skating Events
Toronto (February 20) -- HarbourKids North
Toronto (February 20) -- Family Day at Purina PawsWay
London (February 20) -- Family Day at the Kinsmen Fanshawe Sugar Bush
London (February 20) -- Free Skate Presented by the Heart & Stroke Foundation
Oakville (February 20) -- Make Your Move Family Day
Kitchener (February 20) -- Family Day Activities and Events Around Town

Prince Edward Island (Islander Day: February 20)

Charlottetown (February 20) -- Islander Family Fun Day
Stratford (February 17-20) -- Stratford Winter Fam Fest 2017

Saskatchewan (Family Day: February 20)

Province-wide (February 18-20) -- Family Fishing Weekend (no license required)
Regina (February 20) -- Storybag Drop-In at Sunrise Library
Saskatoon (February 17-26) -- Waskesiu Snow Days at Prince Albert National Park
Saskatoon (February 20) -- Cameco Family Day Skating Party

Note that while these most events are advertised as free, certain things such as food, or equipment rentals may require additional payment. We've excluded Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut from this list as they do not have a statutory holiday in February.

What are your plans for the long weekend? If you'll be attending any of these events, or know of other free events in your area, let us know in the comments below!

Zellers: They’re Still Alive, If You Know Where to Look

Zellers: They’re Still Alive, If You Know Where to Look

By Simon Hung

Tucked away in a nondescript mall in Toronto's west end and a shopping plaza in suburban Ottawa lie two remnants of a past era. Two relics from Canada's bargain shopping heyday of yesteryear -- the two sole survivors of a franchise that once numbered over 300 in the 1990s.

Zellers became effectively extinct in 2011 when parent company HBC sold the leases of all 220 locations to the Target Corporation for their ill-fated expansion into Canada. However, reports of their death were greatly exaggerated, as many didn’t notice HBC’s quiet revival of the Zellers brand two years later and there are two locations that remain open today -- one at 1255 The Queensway in Etobicoke, ON and another at 2065 Robertson Road in Nepean, ON.

Zellers in Nepean, Ontario.

They’ve been open since 2013, but you won’t find much advertising for these two stores. In fact, the stores aren’t listed on the HBC store locator and you won’t find any mention of them on the HBC corporate website -- it makes sense, given the stigma surrounding the Zellers brand after their sale and association with Target.

But these aren’t your typical Zellers stores. Instead, they act as outlet centres, selling past-season, clearance and open-box merchandise from Hudson's Bay and Home Outfitters at a discount. Products are sold as-is with no returns or exchanges and selection typically varies depending on the season.

At over 95,000 square feet, the Zellers in Etobicoke acts as the surprising anchor store in an otherwise unremarkable Kipling Queensway Mall, with other tenants including Sobeys and a number of small businesses.

Zellers in Etobicoke, Ontario.

Those who remember Zellers will be hit with a sense of nostalgia upon walking into the store. It’s an esoteric yet familiar feeling, as the massive store features drab lighting, crude organization and handwritten signs -- there’s an organized chaos about everything that preserves that classic Zellers vibe.

Crowds were sparse and there was no music to keep your mind occupied, which meant you could easily hear patrons rummaging through stock or the pitter-patter of shoppers walking around the store. It’s not the most ideal shopping environment, but you do feel a strange, almost tranquil sensation when perusing the store.

Apparel

At a glance, approximately 70% of the floor space was dedicated to apparel, with a bounty of clothes, shoes and accessories marked down by up to 70% off, some with extra savings on top of the label price. Most of the items seemed to be summer or fall fashions and included casual shirts, sweaters, pants and sleepwear from brands including Calvin Klein, Dockers, IZOD and more.

Apparel was the most prominent section in the store.

There was a notable lack of any outerwear (with the exception of HBC’s iconic red Olympic mittens) and items were loosely arranged by brand, with sizing generally on the larger side across the board.

There was a plethora of shoes available, including this wall of boots.

The footwear section was the most chaotic area of the store, with many customers jockeying for space along the shelves and walls packed with various shoes -- from sandals to sneakers to boots -- all organized by size.

Appliances and Kitchen

Both major and small appliances were available in this store, with refrigerators, ovens and dishwashers among the most prominent major appliances. Most major appliances featured an extra 15% off the label price while small appliances were priced as-is.

There were over 100 refrigerators lined along one side of the store.

There were a few notable small appliance deals including a Vitamix Pro Series 300 Blender for $487.99 (regularly $649.99) and a T-fal OptiGrill for $155.99 (regularly $249.99), but almost all small appliance products were open-box (the Vitamix blender included no box at all), indicating that these may have been product returns at one point. While the savings were significant, purchasing an open-box product would be a gamble, as all sales are final and there’s no method to thoroughly test items in-store.

Products with open or damaged packaging was a very common sight.

Cookware and dinnerware sets were also available, but with the same caveat as small appliances, as most boxes were either open or damaged. Dinnerware in particular was noteworthy, as most products also included an extra 50% off the label price, which made some sets as low as $25.00.

Furniture and Home Décor

Towards the back of the store lay row upon row of couches, sofas, recliners and chairs at up to 60% off, along with a small selection of mattresses. Most chairs were priced individually while most mattresses featured an extra 25% off the label price. A delivery service is available for an additional fee.

One side of the store was lined with chairs.

Home accoutrements included some canvas artwork, a small section with towels and bath accessories, along with a few aisles of bedding, including sheets, blankets and pillows. All home décor products were new and priced as-is. Colour selection was not great, particularly with bedding, as there was abundant stock of neon orange and bright green sheet sets available.

There were no big-ticket electronics like televisions or video games and the deals weren’t outstanding, but this store does serve a niche of bargain hunters who don't mind the limited selection or roughed-up packaging. It isn't for everyone, but there are deals to be found for the savviest of deal hunters.

The days of this location may be numbered, as the Kipling Queensway Mall is slated for demolition in the near future and as a result, could make the Nepean store the last surviving Zellers location by the end of the year.

Overall, the 2017 Zellers experience was one part thrift store, one part outlet store, with a shopping experience similar to Winners but with far less selection and some questionable product quality. For a chain that once thrived and went to the brink of extinction, Zellers has found a way to survive and outlive the likes of Target, American Apparel and HMV. It may not be the Zellers you once remembered, but its spirit lives on in these two very unique stores.

Shoutout to wilson_wu for creating this thread in our Shopping Discussion forum, which served as the inspiration for this piece.

12 Multi Purpose Makeup Products That Will Save You Time and Money

12 Multi Purpose Makeup Products That Will Save You Time and Money

By Ambia Staley

If you're one of those people who wear makeup on a regular basis, but find your makeup bag is getting full and your wallet is getting empty trying to keep up with the latest Instagram beauty trends, you may be looking to simplify your routine. Luckily, that's a lot easier than you think, and it doesn't involve cutting out "unnecessary" steps like brows, highlighting, and contouring! Simply take one look in your makeup bag, and you'll find that many of your favourite products can serve multiple purposes in order to get you the polished look you desire.

Pulling out fewer makeup items when you get ready in the morning is not only a great way to keep your wallet filled, but it could also help shave time off your daily routine, which could then be used for more important things -- like sleeping in an extra 5 minutes in the morning. Whether you're thrifty, pressed for time, or just plain lazy, check out our list of multi purpose makeup items that will help save you time and money!


1. Clear Mascara as Brow Gel

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara in Clear - $3.46 at Walmart

Clear mascara is typically used to prime, groom or separate your eyelashes, as well as build natural looking length and volume. Now that bold and well sculpted brows are a trend that does not seem to be going away any time soon, you can pull double duty with the clear mascara and use it to set your brows and keep any stray hairs in place.


2. Translucent Powder as Lash Plumper or Dry Shampoo

Translucent powder already has a variety of uses when it comes to completing your makeup, such as setting your foundation, concealer and other face makeup. If you're looking to make the most out of the colourless powder, you'll be happy to know it serves a few other useful purposes as well. If you're looking for voluminous lashes, but don't own a lash primer, simply apply one coat of mascara, and then dust the translucent powder on your lashes before topping it off with a second coat of mascara.

Translucent powder is also an essential for many people with oily skin, as the powder is known to soak up access oils while helping your makeup stay put. If you wake up finding your hair a little greasy, but don't have time to shower, you can substitute your translucent powder for dry shampoo in a pinch. Simply shake a little of the powder into your roots and then rub it in with your fingers to soak up access oils in your hair.


3. Lip Balm as a Highlighter, Brow Gel, or Cream Eye Shadow Base

Lip balm is probably one of the most versatile products to keep in your makeup bag. Not only is it great for moisturizing and adding some sheen to your lips, but if you're looking to add a dewy glow to your skin, you can pop some balm along your cheekbones and other areas of your face in place of a highlighter. In addition to it's use as a highlighter, the thicker formula of colourless balms make it useful in place of a brow gel to tame your brows in a pinch.

If you're a fan of cream blushes or eye shadows, it's also useful to keep balm on hand to help transform your favourite powdered makeup to the cream variety. Simply mix some balm with your powdered eye shadows or blushes for a more sheer and glossy look. The bonus of switching out some powders in your makeup routine with lip balm is that the moisturizing effect it will have on your skin-- which is especially great during dry winter months.


4. Lipstick as Cream Blush

A lot of people have trouble matching their lipstick to their blush, and a quick Google search will reveal an almost endless amount of articles on the subject. Save yourself the study time and avoid a potential makeup disaster, by simply using your lip colour on your cheeks as well!


5. Blush as Lip Colour or Eye Shadow

Just like lip colour can be used as a blush, you can use your favourite blush to add colour to your pout. Both cream and powder blushes work for this shortcut, and they tend to give lips a matte finish, which is the trend for lipsticks right now. If you're going to use your blush as a lip colour however, just be sure to prep your lips with balm first as most powders and even some creams can dry them out.

If you're looking for a great pink or red eye shadow, but find them a little hard to come by, you can easily blend some cream or powder blushes onto your lids for a rosy flush. Just be careful not to go overboard with the pinks or reds, or you'll look less like an English Rose, and more like someone with a severe pollen allergy that just stumbled into a rose garden.


6. Eye Liner as Eye Shadow or Highlighter

NYX Slide on Pencils - $10.00 each at NYX

If you're without your favourite eye shadow palette, or find it way too complicated to create a smoky eye, there's no need to worry, as your favourite eyeliner pencil can also work as a shadow! Simply colour in the areas of your lid you'd like to dress up, and blend it out to achieve the look of a shadow. It's also a much easier to work with than a shadow if you need to layer on colour, as it's less messy and much more precise.

If you've got a nude eyeliner handy in your kit, you can also use it as a precise highlighter for your face in narrower areas like your cupid's bow, the bridge of your nose, or the inner corners of your eyes -- just be sure to clean off the tip of the pencil before sticking it in your waterline to avoid potential eye infections!


7. Clear Lip Gloss as Highlighter or Brow Gel

If you're using a clear lip gloss to add shine to your lips, you can also use it to add shine to areas of your face you'd like to highlight. Glosses tend to be a bit sticky, so it might not be the ideal thing to swab on your cheeks, but it's great in a pinch as a dewy highlighter.

The slight stickiness of most glosses will however come in handy when it comes to your eyebrows. If you're looking to keep the stray hairs in place, you can set your brows with a bit of lip gloss instead of a brow gel.


8. Contour Palette as Eye Shadow

If you want a more natural eye makeup look, just reach for your contouring and highlighting palette! Most people who match their controur correctly will own a colour a few shades darker than their own skin colour, making it the perfect shade to naturally define the outer corners of the eyes as well as your crease for subtle shading and definition. If your palette has a highlighter included, you swipe some of it along the inner corners of your eye or the centre of your lids to make your eyes appear bigger and more awake.


9. Eye Shadow Palette as Contour, Highlight, Liner, or Eyebrow Filler

Eye shadow palettes can be a bit of a splurge for some people, but if you choose the palette wisely, it will be useful for so much more than your eyes. Pick up a great nude pallete, and you'll have a series of browns and other neutral shades great for various areas of your face. Use a brown shade a bit darker than your skin tone as a contour for your nose, cheeks, chin, or anywhere else. Use a light beige, tan, white or another pale colour as a highlight for the bridge of your nose, cupid's bow, brow bone, or other areas you want to stand out. If you tend to go overboard with the contour and highlight, the small size of the eye shadow cake in palettes may keep you from applying too much.

If you find that your typical pencil, liquid, or gel eyeliners are a little bold for your taste, the browns and blacks in your eye shadow palette can also be used as a softer alternative for lining your lids. Various brown shades of shadow can also be used to fill in sparse areas of your eyebrows as an alternative to brow pencils and tinted brow mascaras.


10. Lip Liner as Lipstick

Rimmel Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses Lip Liner in Cherry Kiss - $6.99 at London Drugs

This one may be obvious to most people, but if you're looking for matte lip colour that won't budge, just grab your nearest lip liner pencil and fill in your entire lip instead of just outlining the edges! Just be sure to moisturize your lips beforehand, as liners are known to be quite drying, and the lip liner can accentuate your flaking lips.


11. Eyebrow Pencil as Eye Liner

If you're looking for a bold eyeliner, this one is probably not the option for you, but if you're looking for a soft and subtle liner, you can try lining your eyes with your brow pencil. The wax in a brow pencil is typically a bit harder and more matte, but if you line your lids and blend it in, you'll be left with a more subtle and natural look to accentuate your eyes.


12. Mascara as Eye Liner

This last option probably sounds a bit strange, but if you're used to drawing on dramatic winged liner every day and you've somehow forgot your trusty liquid or gel eyeliner, mascara is a great substitute and it's a lot safer than using a Sharpie! You'll need a liner brush to pull this one off, but if you've got one handy, just use your brush to take a bit of product from the mascara wand and use that to line your eyes the same way you regularly would with your favourite liquid or gel liner!


The possibilities with makeup are endless, so there are probably an abundance of ways to use products that we missed on this list. Are there any cosmetics products that you use for multiple purposes? Share your tips in the comments below!

Tim Hortons’ Roll Up the Rim to Win is Back for 2017

Tim Hortons’ Roll Up the Rim to Win is Back for 2017

By Simon Hung

It’s the annual tradition that unites Tim Hortons lovers and contest enthusiasts across Canada. A tradition so deeply ingrained into Canadian culture that it’s severed friendships and produced DNA test lawsuits -- it’s Roll Up the Rim to Win and it’s back for 2017!

Prizes this year include a 2017 Honda Civic, LG 55" 4K TV and more!

This year, there are a total of 294,069,480 contest cups available throughout the country with over $77 million worth of prizes available to be won, including:

  • 40 2017 Honda Civic Coupe EX-T vehicles (1 in 7,498,772 odds)
  • 100 $5,000 CIBC Prepaid cards (1 in 2,999,509 odds)
  • 150 LG 55" 4K UHD televisions (1 in 1,999,672 odds)
  • 24,000 $100 Tim Card prizes (1 in 12,498 odds)
  • 49,007,531 food prizes, including coffee, donuts and potato wedges (1 in 6 odds)

There’s also an overwhelming chance that you’ll see PLEASE PLAY AGAIN at least once, but that shouldn’t deter you from playing, as the thrill of the chase is part of the fun -- click here to view the official contest rules.

Interestingly, contest cups are not distributed evenly across the country, as you’ll find more cups in certain areas of Canada. We’ve charted the estimated cup distribution numbers below.

Region
Applicable Provinces
Number of Cups
1
British Columbia
20,916,600
2
Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut
48,792,480
3
Ontario
154,202,040
4
Quebec
36,783,480
5
Atlantic Provinces
33,374,880

As a result, the number of prizes also varies by region and we've listed the total number of major prizes available in each region.

Region 1
Region 2
Region 3
Region 4
Region 5
2017 Honda Civic Coupe EX-T
3
7
20
5
5
$5,000 CIBC Prepaid Card
7
17
53
12
11
LG 55" 4K UHD TV
11
24
79
19
17
$100 Tim Card
1707
3982
12,586
3002
2723

In addition to the usual in-restaurant method, you can also play at home if you buy eligible Tim Hortons products, including ground coffee or K-Cups. Upload your receipt with the item listed and you could win one of two 2017 Honda Civic Coupe EX-T vehicles, one of five LG 55" 4K UHD televisions or one of 10,000 Tim Cards ranging in value from $5.00 to $100.00 -- click here to view the official play-at-home contest rules.

Roll Up the Rim to Win is on now until April 14 at all Tim Hortons restaurants and you have until May 4 to claim any prizes. Good luck and be sure to let us know if you win anything!

Shoes.com, OnlineShoes.com, and ShoeMe.ca Shut Down

Shoes.com, OnlineShoes.com, and ShoeMe.ca Shut Down

By Ambia Staley

In a sudden move, online retailer Shoes.com announced on January 27 that it would be halting business immediately.

All 3 of the company's online properties, Shoes.com, OnlineShoes.com, and ShoeMe.ca were taken offline, and its two physical stores in Toronto and Vancouver were closed on Friday.

Shoes.com employs approximately 200 people, who were also made aware of the closure on January 27. The company said in a press release that employees will be compensated through the end of January, although a small group are expected to stay on over the next few weeks as the retailer ties up loose ends.

The company is said to be working with its lenders in order to come up with a plan to liquidate its assets. Shoes.com also intends to file bankruptcy for all or some of its companies.

Shoes.com, OnlineShoes.com, and ShoeMe.ca reportedly served 8 million people across Canada and the United States. There's currently no word on liquidation sales, or how current customers can process returns and exchanges.

Are you surprised to hear about the sudden closure of Shoes.com and ShoeMe.ca? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

HMV Canada to Close All Stores Nationwide by April

HMV Canada to Close All Stores Nationwide by April

By Simon Hung

HMV, once one of Canada’s most popular physical media stores, has announced plans to close all 102 Canadian store locations by April 30, 2017.

The news comes after the company filed an application for receivership with the Ontario Superior Court, which was approved on Friday, January 27.

First opened in 1986, HMV had been struggling in recent years and the announcement doesn’t come as much of a surprise to many, as the popularity of physical media has sharply declined with the rise of digital streaming.

Most of HMV Canada's head office staff has been laid off and in court documents, the company is said to owe $39 million to HUK 10 Ltd., a restructuring firm that lent money to HMV. The documents also indicated that the chain owes $56 million to various music labels and was losing $100,000 per day -- the company would have required upwards of $5 million annually to remain open.

Expect to see clearance sales in the coming weeks as stores clear inventory, making it a great opportunity to look for music, movies and memorabilia. Their website currently notes that everything is up to 30% off, but expect steeper price cuts as we inch closer towards the closure date.

Surprised by the announcement? Looking forward to sales on Nicolas Cage movies? Leave a comment to share your thoughts about the closure or any fond memories you have of HMV.

McDonald’s and A&W to Introduce All-Day Breakfast in February

McDonald’s and A&W to Introduce All-Day Breakfast in February

By Simon Hung

Breakfast sandwiches are no longer just for breakfast at McDonald’s and A&W, because both fast-food franchises have announced plans to introduce all-day breakfast nationwide in February!

McDonald’s will start serving all-day breakfast on Tuesday, February 21 while A&W will launch their all-day breakfast menu on Monday, February 27.

You'll be able to pair a McMuffin with french fries starting in February.

Earlier this month, we wrote about how McDonald’s was testing all-day breakfast at 17 restaurants and it looks like the testing was a success with the quick expansion. A&W, on the other hand, has experimented with all-day breakfast at 40 locations and the response has also been positive.

Both franchises will offer a limited menu at first with the possibility of an expanded menu in the future. McDonald’s will offer McMuffins, hash browns, hotcakes and sausages while A&W will serve their Egger sandwich, wraps and hash browns.

Let us know if you’re excited about this news and if you’re on Team McDonald’s or Team A&W in the comments!

February 2017 Video Game Release Dates

February 2017 Video Game Release Dates

By Ambia Staley

The new year started off strong with plenty of exciting game releases all throughout January. February's release list is much shorter than the previous month, however there are still a few anticipated titles being released, including Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS and Android and Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book for PC.

If you're looking for something new to play, then it's time to get your snacks ready and your consoles booted up and check out the list of February's video game releases below!

  • Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance (PC) - February 1
  • Fire Emblem Heroes (iOS/Android) - February 2
  • Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World (3DS) - February 3
  • A House of Many Doors (PC/Mac) - February 3
  • Husk (PC) - February 3
  • Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book (PC) - February 7
  • Nights of Azure (PC) - February 7
  • Splasher (PC) - February 7
  • WWE 2K17 (PC) - February 7
  • Nioh (PS4) - February 9
  • De-formers (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - February 14
  • For Honor (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - February 14
  • Sniper Elite 4 (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - February 14
  • Berserk and the Band of the Hawk (PS4/Vita/PC) - February 21
  • Halo Wars 2 (Xbox One/PC) - February 21
  • Night in the Woods (PS4/PC/Mac/Linux) - February 21
  • Ys Origin (PS4/Vita) - February 21
  • Lego Worlds (PS4/Xbox One/PC) – February 24
  • Constructor HD (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - February 28
  • Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4) - February 28
  • Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns (3DS) - February 28
  • Torment: Tides of Numenera (PS4/Xbox One/PC) – February 28

Note that video game release dates may change due to various reasons, but we'll try to keep this list updated as news becomes available.

Will you be picking up any of February's new game titles? Let us know in the comments below!

RFD Quick Tip: Use Any Credit Card with Visa Checkout or Masterpass

RFD Quick Tip: Use Any Credit Card with Visa Checkout or Masterpass

By Simon Hung

When it comes to deal hunting, speed is essential and entering your payment information when shopping online can become tedious, especially when using a mobile device.

That’s one issue Visa Checkout and Masterpass are trying to simplify, as the two payment platforms have grown in popularity, with more merchants accepting the platforms online -- both platforms store your payment and address information to let you checkout quicker at participating merchants.

A common misconception with both is that some believe that you can only use a Visa card with Visa Checkout or a MasterCard with Masterpass -- that isn’t true! In fact, most debit and credit cards from Visa, MasterCard and American Express are compatible with both!

Look for the Visa Checkout logo when shopping online for a faster checkout.

Aside from a faster checkout, other benefits include increased security, as you don’t need to enter credit card information on multiple sites and the platforms are backed by two industry leaders in payment security. There are no additional fees and some merchants periodically offer increased savings -- in the past, Best Buy has offered $20.00 off $100.00+ purchases with Visa Checkout while Indigo has offered an extra 20% off all orders with Masterpass.

Masterpass lets you shop quickly and easily wherever you are.

Visa Checkout currently has a more extensive merchant list that includes Best Buy, Cineplex, Roots and Staples while Masterpass is accepted at merchants including Indigo, London Drugs and Newegg. There are some merchants that accept both platforms and both are committed to adding more stores in the future.

Merchants that accept either payment platform usually display their logo before your checkout process. To get started, visit the Visa Checkout or Masterpass websites to learn more and enroll!

Apple Exchange and Repair Program Roundup

Apple Exchange and Repair Program Roundup

By Simon Hung

Last week, Apple quietly ended their iPod Nano Replacement Program after five years, which let first-generation iPad Nano owners exchange them for a current-generation iPod Nano due to a battery defect.

Apple isn’t immune from manufacturing issues with their products and while antennagate, bendgate and other scandals with the -gate suffix usually make the headlines, Apple does address some of the more widespread issues through their Exchange and Repair Extension Program, usually free of charge.

There are currently 15 exchange and repair programs in effect, dating back to 2008 -- note that devices out of warranty but eligible for repair will be covered by the repair program. We’ve listed the active programs as of January 2017 along with a brief synopsis of each issue. If your device is listed, click on the program for more information and details on how to verify eligibility.

iPhone

Apple will fix iPhone 6 Plus devices affected by the "touch disease" -- for $189.
  • iPhone 5 Battery Replacement Program -- some iPhone 5 devices sold between September 2012 and January 2013 may experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently. Affected devices are eligible for a new battery replacement, free of charge.
  • iPhone 5 Sleep/Wake Button Replacement Program -- some iPhone 5 devices manufactured through March 2013 may have a defective sleep/wake button that stops working intermittently. Apple will repair affected devices, free of charge.
  • iPhone 6 Plus iSight Camera Replacement Program -- some iPhone 6 Plus devices sold between September 2014 and January 2015 may produce blurry photos due to a faulty iSight camera component. Affected devices are eligible for a new iSight camera replacement, free of charge.
  • iPhone 6 Plus Multi-Touch Repair Program -- some iPhone 6 Plus devices may exhibit flickering or unresponsive displays after being dropped multiple times. Also known as the “iPhone 6 Plus Touch Disease,” Apple will repair affected devices for a reduced service fee of $189.00.
  • iPhone 6s Program for Unexpected Shutdown Issues -- some iPhone 6s devices manufactured between September and October 2015 may shut down unexpectedly. Affected devices are eligible for a new battery replacement, free of charge. There are also unconfirmed reports of the program being extended to iPhone 6 devices in the near future.

Mac

  • iMac (27-inch) 3TB Hard Drive Replacement Program -- some 27-inch iMac computers sold between December 2012 and September 2013 with a 3TB hard drive may fail under certain conditions. Affected computers are eligible for a new hard drive replacement, free of charge.
  • MacBook Air Flash Storage Drive Replacement Program -- some MacBook Air computers sold between June 2012 and June 2013 with 64GB or 128GB of flash storage may fail due to faulty SSDs. A firmware update was issued to solve the issue, but if this didn’t solve the problem, Apple will repair affected computers, free of charge.
  • MacBook Bottom Case Replacement Program -- the casing on some MacBook computers sold between October 2009 and April 2011 may separate from the bottom of the computer. Apple will repair affected computers, free of charge.
  • MacBook Pro Repair Extension Program for Video Issues -- some MacBook Pro computers sold between February 2011 and December 2013 may exhibit video issues and unexpected system restarts. Apple will repair affected computers, free of charge.

Peripherals and Accessories

Some USB-C cables included with the 2015 12" MacBook may fail and are eligible for a free replacement.
  • Apple 5W European USB Power Adapter Exchange Program -- some Apple 5W European USB power adapters shipped from October 2009 to September 2012 may overheat and pose a safety risk. Customers with an affected power adapter are eligible for a redesigned adapter, free of charge.
  • Apple AC Wall Plug Adapter Exchange Program -- the two prong Apple AC wall plug adapters designed for use in Continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Argentina and Brazil may break and create a risk of electric shock. Customers with an affected wall plug are eligible for a redesigned adapter, free of charge.
  • Apple Ultracompact USB Power Adapter Exchange Program -- the metal prongs on some Apple USB power adapters included with the iPhone 3G or sold as a standalone accessory may break off and remain in a power outlet, creating a risk of electric shock. Customers with an affected power adapter are eligible for a redesigned adapter, free of charge.
  • Apple USB-C Charge Cable Replacement Program -- some Apple USB-C charge cables included with MacBook computers or sold as a standalone accessory through June 2015 may fail due to a design issue. Customers with an affected cable are eligible for a redesigned USB-C cable, free of charge.
  • Beats Pill XL Speaker Recall Program -- the battery in the Beats Pill XL Speaker may overheat and pose a fire risk. All owners of a Beats Pill XL Speaker in any colour are eligible for an Apple Store credit or electronic payment of $395.00.
  • USB Power Adapter Takeback Program -- some counterfeit and third-party power adapters may not be designed properly and could result in safety issues. If you have safety concerns, Apple will dispose them in an environmentally-friendly way, free of charge.

Some of the more notable products include the iPhone 6 Plus and 6s -- even if your phone doesn't exhibit symptoms but is eligible for repair, it may be worthwhile to take advantage of any free repair programs to extend the life of your device. On the other hand, most of the other repair programs are for older hardware and may not be worth a repair, but it is nice that Apple has maintained support for obsolete hardware like the 2009 plastic MacBook.

Repairs or exchanges can be handled online, at an Apple Store or an Authorized Service Provider. Let us know if you've ever taken advantage of an Apple repair program or if you're planning to have your device repaired in the future!

Bell Increasing Prices for Internet, TV and Home Phone

Bell Increasing Prices for Internet, TV and Home Phone

By Simon Hung

Bell customers will have to pay more for their services as of February 1, 2017, as the telecom giant has issued an official notice detailing an upcoming price increase to internet, TV and home phone services.

The increase varies depending on service availability and region, with the biggest price hike coming to internet subscribers. We’ve detailed the affected services and extra monthly costs below.

  • Internet (all tiers, excluding Dial-up and High Speed LD bundle) - $5.00 increase
  • Fibe TV (all packages, excluding Starter) - $3.00 increase
  • Satellite TV (all packages, excluding Starter) - $3.00 increase
  • Home phone (all packages) - $2.51 increase

In what feels like Canada’s most unpopular annual tradition, Bell has attributed the price increase to higher operating costs and an investment of $3.5 billion to upgrade and maintain their network infrastructure. The company also noted a 40% increase in network traffic and listed a number of recent innovations including 4K broadcasts, fibre-to-the-home internet and updated apps.

The timing of this move is ironic, as many independent ISPs have recently cut prices and increased bandwidth thanks to a recent CRTC ruling. If you’re looking to save on internet, leaving Bell for a third-party provider could save you a lot of money in the long run.

If you’re with Bell, let us know if this news will prompt you to switch to another provider. Be sure to also visit our Ongoing Deals forum, where you can find a number of telecom deals found by our forum members!

Response to Data Breach Discovered on January 9, 2017

Response to Data Breach Discovered on January 9, 2017

By RedFlagDeals.com Staff

On January 9, 2017 at approximately 10:00 AM EST, we were notified of an unauthorized access to our forums database that occurred in 2013, resulting in usernames, emails and passwords being obtained by an unauthorized third party.

What happened?

In August 2013, a security vulnerability was exploited in our old forums platform – vBulletin – which allowed an unauthorized third-party to access our user database. This particular weakness was eliminated in subsequent security updates over the years, meaning such an incursion could not reoccur.

What information was compromised?

The database contained RedFlagDeals forum usernames, email addresses and an encoded password hash and salt.

Was the information stored in plaintext?

No. Your password is never stored in plaintext on RedFlagDeals servers. The leaked database may contain a text version of your password, which was reverse-engineered by the third-party using the password hash and password salt.

Why weren’t users notified immediately?

The compromised data did not surface until this past week – the stolen information has not been readily accessible over the past three years.

We have been investigating the breach to uncover what exactly happened which has resulted in some delays in response times. We apologize for any frustration this has caused but we want to provide all users with factually accurate information.

Who is affected?

All users who registered before August 28, 2013.

What are you doing about it?

We have disabled passwords on all accounts registered before August 28, 2013 and logged out all users. Logging out users was essential, as anyone with your information could have logged in and remain logged in as you, even after you changed your email or password..

What should I do?

We advise all affected users to change their passwords as soon as possible by visiting the password reset page. You will be sent an email with a temporary password you can use to log into your account. Afterwards, go to your account settings page to create a new password.

In addition, we strongly recommend changing the passwords to any other services or accounts you may have that utilize the same email address or password.

What security measures do you have in place to prevent this from happening again?

We migrated to a completely different forums platform – phpBB – and a new authentication system in August, 2016. This type of incursion would no longer be possible.

This new authentication system has additional layers of security and resides on separate servers. If our forums were to be compromised, your information is safe and cannot be obtained. We also conduct regular penetration tests and security updates.

I am still having trouble with my account. Who should I contact?

Please send an email to support@redflagdeals.com and we will address your issue as soon as possible. A thread in our Site Suggestions forum is also available if you have more questions.