Saving In the City

Yesterday I was a little worried about my husband Peter. He was not at home yet at 5:00 and we had a dinner invitation for 6:00. Finally, at 5:15, he came rushing in with a large box under his arm. A leaf blower! On sale for $39.95!! But he had had to go to 4 Canadian Tire stores, using up 1/4 tank of gas, before he scored one.

Living in the city is more expensive than living in the country. Quite possibly it’s because we are doing more. Like us, most seniors have more free time, and less income. Money is precious. We all try to cut corners where we can.

And, with more time on their hands, many people really enjoy hunting for a bargain, scouring flyers for coupons, and rushing to stores for sales. Stores know this. Shoppers Drug Mart is a prime example.The management understands that we seniors will be shopping here a lot in the future. Every Thursday they welcome us as we arrive with our lists, and stand in line to get our 20% discount. Other stores such as The Bay have monthly deals for seniors. Hotels, car rental agencies, and some restaurants offer deals too, although sometimes they “forget” to mention it, pretending we are much younger than we look.

Here, in our new home in the city, we have had a year to suss out bargains. Besides our local Shoppers, The Bay and so on, we have found other deals. One of the big savings is eating out at lunch time. We have discovered a great Thai lunch place with specials: for only $10 we get soup, and a main course which is big enough to provide leftovers for the next day. The local pub has a different special every day of the week. If it’s chicken souvlaki this must be Tuesday. The nearby IKEA has Swedish meatballs, or salmon and vegetables for only $9.99. All you have to do is walk through the warehouse, avoid temptations, and get in your 10,000 steps.

Of course, the best meal deal is at COSTCO. How can you beat $1.50 for a hot dog with condiments and a refillable drink? And if you’re still hungry, you can wander around the store and sample rice crackers, chocolate-covered blueberries, sausage bites and granola. Then you finish off with a soft ice cream cone for $1.35. Seniors are not the only ones who take advantage of COSTCO. Families often sit down on Friday nights for “dinner” after they have shopped for their weekend supplies.

Saving on gas is another adventure. Radio stations regularly announce the gas stations with the best price. People often show up in their pyjamas after hearing that the price will go up 2 cents at midnight. Some gas stations always have the lowest price, and the longest lines. But when you’re over 60, you have time to sit in line-ups, as long as you have the latest sudoku puzzle with you.

Peter’s big mission in our new neighbourhood has been finding free parking spots. The parking is expensive on our main street where the banks, bakery, drug store and his favourite Sunnyland produce store are located. His go-to parking spot is at a local restaurant with a handy lot, which is mostly empty in the mornings until 11:30.When the restaurant opens up for lunch, he parks on a nearby street where the parking is free.

Yesterday morning he came home elated! He had been forced to park in a pay-to-use spot because he was late for an appointment. As he was reluctantly pulling out his wallet, his guardian angel was standing right there. She approached him with a parking receipt only half-used. After thanking her, maybe a little bit too profusely, he calculated the money he had saved, added in the Canadian Tire coupons in his wallet, and went in search of the leaf blower. When you’re 70, days like these can make your life pretty exciting!


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