Unemployed student, lover of food, drinks, and cats, committed to "livin' la vida loca"…on a budget.

Whoever said “money can’t buy happiness” didn’t have a good recipe for crack!

“When I go to hell, I mean to carry a bribe: for look you, good gifts evermore make way for the worst persons”
-John Webster (1580-1634)

A lot of people (with the exception of John Webster) say money can’t buy happiness.

I wouldn’t know because I never any, HOWEVER, word on the street is that money CAN buy you grades.…not that this means much if you’re as broke as I am.

So what’s a sad unemployed soul like me supposed to do if I have a final presentation tomorrow that I haven’t prepared for, and my bank account is almost empty?

Five bucks definitely ain’t gonna buy an A+.

…but crack might.

Allow me to introduce you to the solution to all of your future problems:

Cap’n Crack Bars (For less than $5.00!)

Inspired by Domestic Rebel’s Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of Cap’n Crunch Cereal ($1.50 at Dollarama)
  • 1 bag of marshmallows ($1.00 at Dollarama)
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter ($2.00 at Dollarama)

Optional:

  • 3  T of margarine or butter— (I’d only use this if you can steal it from your roommate like I diddon’t judge me, she’s eaten almost all of my miracle whip, and half a loaf of my bread)
  • 6 Reese’s Cups ($1.00 at Dollarama) Not necessary,but these add a nice kick that might make the difference between a C, and a B-.

Directions:

           Melt marshmallows, peanut butter, and margarine on oven top. Once blended, add Cap’n Crunch and stir until coated. Press into a 9 x 12 pan with a greased spatula. Freeze, divide into squares, and feed to your professor!

           Word of Caution: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MAKE THESE WHILE SUFFERING FROM P.M.S. There’s a 90% chance that you’ll eat the first batch three batches, and your $5.00 recipe is suddenly going to cost $15.00.

I don’t use the word “crack” lightly, but these are almost worth eating somebody’s face off for…I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it has something to do with the 85% fat and sugar content. At the very least, these should earn you a participation mark or two.

Bribe away young broke asses, bribe away!

5D Free Tampons are the Best Tampons…Period.

Disclaimer: If you have a Y chromosome, you should probably leave right now and go hang out in your man cave for awhile.

Being poor sucks. Being poor and having your period sucks even more.

I think I can safely speak for everyone with ovaries when I say: menstruation is huge pain in the ass (and many other body parts).

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But I’m not just talking about the obvious inconveniences of mother nature’s monthly blood bath. Sure, Imagethe cramps, uncontrollable tears and ruined underwear are annoying, but you know what else is annoying?  TAMPON PRICES.

I’ve paid up to $12 for a box of “feminine hygiene products” which is completely ridiculous, considering the fact that a bag of cotton balls and a roll of string costs $3 at Dollarama (week-end D.I.Y. project?).

This is a major issue for me, because:

  1. I don’t have $12.00
  2. I’m starting to experience intense abdominal pains, and inexplicable bitchiness (you know what that means).

As somebody who is very opposed to paying for things, and has little to no sense of shame, I took matters into my own hands.

It’s creative complaining time!

Dear sir or madame,

After hearing such great things about your tampons, I took a leap of faith away from my previous favourite brand: O.B. tampons to try out your product. Needless to say, I was very regretful. This decision resulted in one of the most embarrassing situations of my life!

I left the house for a family dinner last Sunday expecting my period, so I tossed a tampon in my purse to be safe. In the middle of the first course I started feeling a bit moist if you know what I mean, and promptly fled to the bathroom. I was grateful that I’d remembered to pack a tampon, until I opened up the package and realized that there was an applicator but no cotton! I had to use toilet paper instead, but by the end of dinner, my khakis were completely soaked with menstrual blood and my whole family saw.

It was humiliating!

I’m not sure if there is anything you can do to repair this situation, but I just thought that you should know.

A new but disappointed customer.

Please note: I don’t even own khakis.

Two weeks later, and voila! Free coupon for a full-sized box of tampons, and more importantly $10.00 worth of savings that I can now spend on Midol, dark chocolate, and mass quantities of ice cream.

Now leave me alone, I have to go yell at people for no reason and eat six pints of Haagen Dazs.

4D 5 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Buy at Dollarama

Aloha, ladies and gents! Let’s begin today with one of the most annoying quotes of all time:

“Nothing in life is free.”

-Everybody’s Parents, and A Million Crappy Songwriters

FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE!

If you’ve read any of my past few posts, you’re well aware that almost everything can be free if you use the right strategies. That being said, if you’re opposed to the idea of spending your Friday night writing fake complaint letters or loitering on street corners for free swag, then you’re still in luck… ’cause even if it ain’t free, you can probably get it for less than $2.00!

Let me introduce you to:

“5 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Buy at Dollarama

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  #1: Hair Dye: “Elegant Effects Colour Creme” ($2.00)

ImageI’m completely aware of how sketchy the idea of a two dollar box of hair-dye sounds,but I can personally vouch for the quality of this product. I bought “001” in Natural Black to touch up my roots a couple months ago, and it worked just as well as the L’Oreal Preference stuff I normally use, but for $10.00 – $12.00 less! If you don’t have high-lighted hair and your colour is in stock, then save some moolah and pick up a box of “Elegant Effects: Permanent Hair Colour Creme”.

#2: Shampoo and Conditioner: “Sunsilk Hydra TLC” ($2.00)

ImageOnce again, I’m aware that using Dollarama hair products seems a little bit extremely questionable, but I actually almost jizzed my pants when I found this on the shelf. This particular shampoo and conditioner is the only stuff I’ve used for the past five years or so, and it’s AMAZING! I usually buy it at Shoppers Drug Mart or Wal-Mart for as much as $5.99, so two bucks is a steal! Go grab yourself a bottle or twelve!

#3: Pregnancy tests: “Pro-Care One Step Pregnancy Test” ($1.25)

ImageTaking care of a baby is expensive, but knowing whether or not there is one growing inside of you doesn’t have to be! For a grand total of $1.25, you can find out if there’s a bun in your oven…Plus, if you are worried it’s not going to be accurate, you can buy four for $5.00, which is still significantly cheaper than the usual $10.00-$20.00. (Not that I’d know, Mom! …just making assumptions.)

#4: Lingerie: “Assorted Styles and Colours” (2 for $1.00 – $2.00)

ImageI really have nothing to say about this. These are some of the most hideous undergarments that I have ever had the misfortune of seeing, and most of it felt like sandpaper. That being said, if you buy this underwear I am 99% sure you will never find yourself in an opportunity to get pregnant, and you can spend your $1.25 on something more fun than a pee stick.

#5 cat food: “Meow Mix Original Choice Kibble” ($2.00)

ImageI know that you’re all experts on how to get free cat food, but this is a ridiculous bargain-especially if somebody already ripped out the free coupons from your copy of Canadian Pets Magazine ( I PLEAD NOT GUILTY)! The same bag of food is around $7.00 at other stores, so stock up.

Note: this product received a formal seal of approval from my roommate, Babylegs.

So there you have it.

Cold, hard, photographic proof that anybody who tells you “nothing in life is free” is a liar. More accurately, A LOT of stuff in life is free, and you can get almost everything else for two bucks. This was just the tip of the ice berg, so stay tuned for “5 More Things You Didn’t Know You Could Buy at Dollarama” and “5 More” and “5 More After That“, etc. etc.

Let me know in the comments section if you’ve recently found any treasure at the Dollar Store!

3C Street Corners, Julia Roberts, and Booze Samples: “How to get free shit: Part 3”

As we discussed in my last post, sometimes mothers give bad advice. Such as telling you not to whineOr urging you to stay off of city street corners no matter how desperate you are to make some cash.

I’m here to tell you otherwise! It’s time to put on those thigh-highs, and buy your mom a copy of “Pretty Woman” on blu-ray. Julia Roberts didn’t land Richard Gere by hanging out in residential family neighbourhoods. 

How to Get Free Shit Part 3 : Street Corners 101

I’m going to apologize right now if I got you excited about an opportunity to finally wear that red pleather tube dress you bought on a whim when you were 18, because you don’t actually need it. I’ve got no hate for anybody who actually makes their living in 6-inch platforms and zebra print, but today’s topic is a bit more PG.

FREE SAMPLES!

Today we’re talking about hunting for free samples, which can almost always be found on major intersections in big cities.

I’m going to be specifically referencing Toronto, Canada but the same thing most likely applies to any large metropolis.

There’s really not much to elaborate on about this tip, because it’s so simple!
Step 1: Walk by some of the popular corners in the city (especially on sunny week-ends) and collect your free swag.

Step 2: Go home, change your shirt and put some sunglasses on, walk by the same popular corners in the city, and collect your swag again!

Yonge & Dundas Square

Step 3: Repeat.
In my experience, some of the most bountiful intersections in Toronto are:

  • Yonge & Dundas Square
  • Queen & Spadina
  • Queen & Soho
  • Bloor & Yonge
  • Bloor & Bay
  • Yonge & Eglinton

These are some of the hot spots in my downtown  neighbourhood, but I’m sure there are many others. AND a lot of the time these “sample crews” drive around in a company vehicle visiting different locations throughout the day, which makes getting multiples of your free swag a lot easier (please refer back to Step 2).

As for anybody who’s thinking “This seems like a lot of work for a free sample. GET A JOB!”  I am not talking about the free samples of cheese cubes that they give away at Loblaws- although free cheese is still awesome. Most of the time these companies are giving away full-sized products and awesome stuff that you’d be buying anyways (If you had more than $4.53 in your bank account)!

Some stuff I’ve collected:

  • Free vodka coolers at Dundas Square!

    Energy Drinks

  • Panties
  • Granola Bars
  • Potato Chips
  • Ice Cream
  • Kit Kat Bars
  • Bagels
  • Tampons
  • ALCOHOL (Most recently, four cans of Bud Light Lime, and a Palm Bay vodka cooler)!

Honestly, if they make it and sell it, you can probably find it for free on a corner… you’ve just got to do a bit of street walking! Hoop earrings and leather mini skirts are optional.

One last word of advice: If you see a rusted van with tinted windows offering you food or free booze, this probably isn’t something you want to stop and sample.

If any readers have collected their own freebies lately, share the who/what/when/where/why!

HAPPY SAMPLING!

2E Complain your way to success: “How to get free shit: Part 2”

“Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.”

Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Cute quote, Randy—but I’ve got one thing to say.

WHATCHA TALKIN’ BOUT WILLIS?!

Randy has obviously never been so broke that he’s had to steal his roommate’s socks because he doesn’t have enough quarters to do laundry (hey, at least I stay out of the underwear drawer). Randy sounds like the kind of guy who has always had the luxury of cheese with his macaroni and “J” on his PB and J. Randy is clearly that guy we all hate who uses a Brita water jug, and actually buys a new filter every week.

And if not? Well that’s Randy’s problem, because he’s not complaining enough!

Complaining 101

Contrary to popular Randy Pausch’s opinion, complaining is EXTREMELY likely to help you achieve your goals. Most specifically, if your goals involve getting free swag.

Now I’m sure this goes against a lot of things you’ve been brought up to believe in. If your mom read the same “How to Make Sure Your Child Isn’t a Whiny Bitch” book that mine did, you’ve probably been taught the following :

  • treat others the way you want to be treated
  • say please
  • stop whining
  • stop whining
  • stop whining

Complaining 101 (2.0)

 START WHINING!

I was first introduced to this valuable trick of achieving happiness in life and a full stomach  a couple years ago after a miserable dining experience with my sister at East Side Mario’s.

In a nutshell, our waitress was a walking argument for why minimum wage should be lowered. Not only did she fail to provide me with a single refill for my bottomless iced tea, but she forgot the bread-bowl, and didn’t realize that she’d forgotten to tell the kitchen what entrées my sister and I wanted until two hours after we had ordered!

When I politely explained that this mishap had completely interrupted the rest of our night’s plans and asked for some kind of compensation, our waitress replied (with a stank face and an extremely witchy voice):

“Not really, these things happen.”

The rest of our conversation went something like this:

Shitty Waitress McGee: I don’t know what you expect me to do, you’ve already eaten your food.

Me:  Is there a manager that we could talk to?

S. W. M.: Talking to a manager isn’t going to change anything.

Me (inner monologue): It’s. On. Bitch.

One nasty e-mail later, and I receive a friendly phone-call from the restaurant manager informing me that a $50 gift card is in the mail, and S. W. M. “ had been dealt with accordingly”.

YAHTZEE!

Complaining 101 (3.0)

 I know what you’re thinking.

“But what if I’m one of those unfortunate people who’ve only received optimum customer service and above average food while dining!? I don’t have anything to complain about!”

This doesn’t matter anymore. You’re officially too poor to worry about that. Or to be honest.

Have you ever had one of those “wouldn’t it suck if…blah blah blah happened” thoughts? Those thoughts are the unborn fetuses of future complaint letters!

For instance:

“Wouldn’t it suck if I opened up my Kraft Dinner and there wasn’t even a cheese packet?”

It sure would, and here’s what I’d say if it happened…or if it didn’t happen, and I wanted free KD.

            Dear sir or madame,

            I might be the biggest fan of Kraft Dinner I know! I eat it at least three times a week. It’s my favourite food, even better than lots of the pasta at restaurants like Olive Garden!

            That being said, I was extremely disappointed by my last purchase which was missing the best part… The cheese! I dumped out all of the noodles to make sure the packet wasn’t at the bottom, but it wasn’t! And who wants to eat plain boiled macaroni noodles? $1.79 down the drain.

            I am a big fan of Kraft products, but this isn’t the first problem I’ve had with them lately. Just a few weeks ago, I purchased a large block of velveeta cheese for my famous Easter cheese sauce, and there was a slit in the plastic and half of it was crusty! I didn’t complain this time, because I thought it might have been a shipping incident and wasn’t worth the trouble…but now it seems to be a trend.

            I’m not sure if there is anything you can do to repair this situation, but I just thought that you should know.

 One month later:

Oh hi, $1.50 coupon from Kraft.

I’m not kidding, this works. You just have to put your mind to it…and if you don’t feel like putting your mind to it, then let me introduce you to http://www.pakin.org/complaint. A free complaint letter generator!

The possibilities are endless, so get out there, start complaining, and let me know how it goes!

A cursed chest of unemployed treasure.

Guess what I did today, and yesterday, and the day before…!?

EMAILED ABOUT 25 RESUMES AND DROPPED OFF A MILLION APPLICATIONS IN 28 DEGREE HEAT!

Guess what I didn’t do today?

GET ANY JOBS!

I just didn’t want you guys thinking I’m some lazy happily unemployed deadbeat who wastes all of her time taking photos of her cat wearing different hats, watching re-runs of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and rolling around in empty boxes of Kraft Dinner while wearing nothing but a purple Snuggie.

Yes, I spend a large portion of my day doing all of those things (AND I AM NOT ASHAMED!), but I’ve also been busting my butt on the job-hunting scene for the past six six months. I’ve scored dozens of interviews and been promised by many managers that I can “expect a phonecall within the next few days either way”, yet I haven’t been contacted by anybody!

But whatever-TOTALLY don’t even care, because in times like this, instead of accepting the fact I might be Toronto’s most un-employable soon-to-be U of T grad, I prefer to convince myself that all of these managers and business-owners were spontaneously murdered minutes after interviewing me. (Be right back, e-mailing a pitch for an episode of Criminal Minds.) I’m also 99% certain that this bloody sting of murders is the best way to explain why I didn’t hear from Cute Guy #1, #2, #3, and all of their twin brothers after the first date…that, or people are on to the fact that I buy all of my make-up and pantyhose from Dollarama.

Sometimes it’s sad to think about all of the untimely deaths of all of these people who want me in their life. Almost as sad as it is to think about the fact that I’ll probably be alone and poor forever! I’ve gradually started to accept my fate though.

I was watching the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie the other night when it all started making sense. I’M THE DEAD MAN’S CHEST! I’m basically a living breathing chest of cursed pirate treasure. (Not that kind of chest, pervs…although on a side-note, that pill I take so I don’t have to buy groceries for myself AND a baby amplified my bust-line by about 12, and I can’t afford to buy a new bra that fits. Feel free to contribute to my lingerie fund.)

But back to the point. YES I’d be a great asset to your company! YES I’m great at making sandwiches, I’m fertile, and I’d be the best girlfriend you’ll ever have! But here’s a little disclaimer: if you try to call me back, you’re probably going to get shot–everybody else seems to.

It’s a hard knock-life, but I find solace in the fact that there’s somebody out there worse off than me.

For instance, the manager at the Tim Horton’s down the street from me, the supervisors of almost every department at Sobeys, and that super hot blonde guy I met at the bar two weeks ago who hasn’t responded to my last eighteen text messages. May they R.I.P.

1F The best things in life are free! (How to Get Free Shit: Part 1)

I got mail today! And not just any mail… every broke student’s dream mail.

FOOD VOUCHERS!

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Your eyes are not deceiving you– that says: one free tin of Fancy Feast Gourmet cat food, and a free $10.00 bag of Kitty Chow!  I get to pick the flavour too!

I was a bit worried about starving to death within the next few days, but now I get to live off of premium tuna and salty fish flavoured cheerios for the next week. There’s a party my place, and I’ll bring the kibbles if you bring the bits!

Or maybe not. If we’re going to get technical about it, then I have to confess: the envelope was actually addressed to my roommate Babylegs, and it turns out she is a bit possessive of her mail. (side note: if it’s sad that the most exciting part of my day was opening my cat’s mail, don’t feel obligated to tell me.)

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It looks like my Friskies Fiesta is going to have to be postponed.

But all cat jokes aside– (and trust me, I have a lot of them), free cat food is still free of cat food! Especially when your cat refuses to pay rent.

Translation: GETTING FREE STUFF ROCKS! And it’s actually a lot easier to do than you’d think.

In case you’re wondering how I managed to uncover this wealth of kitty-related freebies, there was an ad on the back of some random “Pet Life” magazine which I stole from the doctor’s office for a free care package for my “newborn kitten”. All I had to do was fill out a little questionnaire and pretend that my cat is about eight years younger than she is (I now understand why my mother made me bend my knees and act like a twelve year-old so I could order off the kids’ menu until Grade 10).

This leads me to a new blog segment I’d like to introduce: The Best Things in Life are Free: A Comprehensive Guide on How to Get Free Shit!

Tip #1: COUPON HUNTING

Coupons are everywhere if you look in the right places!

Here are a few examples of “right places”:

  • Magazines and newspapers …and you don’t have to buy them. Steal ’em from your doctor’s office, pick them out of your neighbour’s recycling bin.
  • Junk mail I used to throw out flyers and promotions, but junk mail can be a gold mine for freebies and heavily discounted greasy food. Free fries with the purchase of any large soft drink? Don’t mind if I do! Free cheesy bread with the purchase of any two topping pizza? Count me in!
  • Online If you’re not googling “free stuff” or “coupons” at least once a day, you’re probably missing out on dollars upon dollars of swag every week! One of my favourite sites is: http://www.canadianfreestuff.com/ Current offers include: half priced bagel sandwiches at McD’s, and $3 off of polysporin. Now you can raise your cholesterol and tend to your cuts and burns at the same time…ON A BUDGET!
  • Receipts Read the back of your receipts. At least 50% of the time, there’s some website you can visit or a survey you can fill out to receive free stuff on your next visit.

There’s no shame in free swag, so put on your coupon hunting hats, and go and get it tigers!

Coming soon: How to Get Free Shit: Part 2 a.k.a “The Complain Game”


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