There's a time and place to be snotty but sometimes being overly polite and gracious is more likely to get you a deal.
—Jeremy Bradley, author
Maybe it's something in the water. Maybe it's genetic. But Winnipeggers are famous for sniffing out the deals.
One Winnipegger has decided to mark this fact, by writing The Official Guide to Being a Winnipeg Cheapskate.
SCENE asked author Jeremy Bradley to tell us five ways Winnipeggers can be thrifty, in case they weren't born here:
"The Official Guide to Being a Cheapskate in Winnipeg" by Jeremy Bradley (Creatspace)
1. Canada's Scanning Code of Practice: check shelf labels and if the prices don't match up (and the item is $10 or less) you get one free at participating retailers. Look for the Government of Canada sign by PIN pads and at the register. Many big box retailers participate in this through the Retail Council of Canada
2. Effectively ask for a discount: There's a time and place to be snotty but sometimes being overly polite and gracious is more likely to get you a deal. The book features a section about how to simply ask for a discount. In addition, there are also tips on how to get things free.
3. Travelling on the cheap: Most people visit a major airline or hotel's website when travelling. Some people consult a travel agent. But doing a little research on your own is often cheaper. Everybody knows Westjet.com or Expedia.com or Travelocity.com, but often these are the most expensive sites.
The website igougo.com compares prices on nearly a dozen travel websites and lesser known sites like CheapOAir.ca or OneTravel.com can offer you Westjet flights cheaper than Westjet. Also, many hotels offer a "best rate guarantee" meaning that sometimes they compete with their own corporate website when it comes to pricing. Read the book for more details.
4. Properly plan to pay for pets: are the over-priced pet store toys worth it? What about pet insurance? It might seem like a good bargain at the time but are you really using insurance as often as you are paying for it? Plus, consider creating a bank account for your pet where you transfer $10 or $20 per month and have a savings when it comes time for annual shots or any unexpected vet bills.
Author Jeremy Bradley (SpeakFree Media Inc.)
5. Reducing household costs: little changes throughout the year make a big difference. Unplugging items not in use, turning down the furnace and cuddling with a hot water bottle at bedtime, filling containers of sand and putting them in the back of the toilet to reduce water usage, reusing as many items for various purposes -- all things many people think won't make much of a difference really do add up.
My Hydro bill went from $200/mth when I first moved into my house (Hydro's budget program takes the last 12 months of the previous owner) and I now have it down to $89/mth. Jeremy Bradley launches The Official Guide to Being a Winnipeg Cheapskate on Sunday March 10 at 2 p.m. at McNally Robinson Books. His book is available at McNally, Costco, Walmart, iTunes and Amazon.ca.
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