We’ve reached that point in the year where from now on, all the months end in -ber. September, October, November, December… My favourite, seriously. It’s also the time you tell people, I can’t believe it’s already [insert month here] because you know… where did the last 6 months go?
Maybe it’s because I’m not in school anymore but September marks the beginning of sweater weather, pumpkin chai (not my favourite), crisp Fall weather, and the watching the leaves turn from lively green to all sorts of vibrant red, orange and yellow hues – I mean, what’s not to love about the Fall season?
The good news? Canada is expected to see an extended, pleasant Fall season – can’t really complain when you don’t have to deal with the headache that is driving in the winter.
The last couple of posts on the blog have been lifestyle oriented, and… I like it! I’ve seen some holiday stuff pop up and nothing has jumped out at me on the beauty front. I’m more invested in buying things for the kitchen or the bedroom so perhaps that will change the trajectory of the blog. Let me know what other non-beauty content you’d like to see – I know I’m behind on putting my travel posts from the last 2-years or so, so those are definitely in the works. On another note, I did start writing this post in September and it sat in my drafts folder for far too long but figured the content is still relevant. So yeah…
What is everyone up to these days?
1. The Canadian Telecoms Dance
I spent the last few weeks reviewing my budget for the year and although the COVID-19 shutdown allowed me to get ahead in terms of my monthly savings in the Spring, I knew September/back-to-school season is one of the best times to shop around for offers.
Those of you in Canada know that we pay some of the most expensive wifi/mobile plans on the planet. It’s not a joke so it’s a mark of adulthood to call your mobile or internet provider’s Retention and/or Cancellation departments a few times a year to see if you can haggle your way to a Retention / winback promotion. With WFH being the reality for the foreseeable future, of course Canada’s big three (there are 3 national telecom companies and each have bought out 3rd party the discount brands depriving Canadians of competition) have restricted any new/existing customer offers/retention plans.
My internet promotion was due to wrap up in September, and after 2 weeks of calling
Robbers Rogers, ended up walking away due to their not being able to extend the pricing of my existing promotion. Effectively I’d double my monthly Internet bill for a flimsy 75mbps internet connection and during this process, they managed to bungle up my bill which gave me a shocking bill of $200 whereas I was paying $45 inclusive of taxes before.
I’m all about trimming the excess “fat” in my budget so when word got around that Fido (Rogers’ discount brand, so yes technically I’m still with Rogers) was offering $30 of their 150mbps plan (which meant that I’m keeping the same monthly price but getting twice the number of devices that can be connected), and a $150 gift card to Walmart and/or Amazon, you can bet I got on that right away. Rogers’ mess up resulted in me not having internet for 3 days which meant I had to decamp to my sisters’ to work while waiting for the new modem to arrive but the saving and having the gift card made up for it.
I also managed to lower the cost of my monthly mobile plans; I’m with Telus’ discount brand, Koodo (I was with Telus for 4 years in 2009 when I was paying $110 for 500MB – you read that right – of data) and called up their Retention department to see if they’d be willing to match up a mobile plan offered by Fido for back to school. And bless the lady who I spoke with – she increased my data plan by 30% while reducing my bill by $20/month. While that doesn’t seem like a lot of savings, combined with the internet win above, it felt like a very productive weekend all around!
2. Home Improvement
I’m sure I’m not in the minority when it comes to preparing the home ahead of the winter months, where combined with the regular flu season, we may be looking at a prolonged stay at home. Toronto has been seeing cases climb up as the weather cools down and people are staying indoors more.
As a result, I’ve been stopping by Home Depot, IKEA, Homesense/Winners every time I need to run an errand/do groceries and picking up supplies for home DIY projects I can work on in case we have another lockdown. I’ve got around 12~ projects on my list so far.
3. Shopping Local
At the beginning of the pandemic with many small businesses facing threats of permanent closures due to cratering sales and not having the deep pockets nor channels available to larger businesses, social media was very active in encouraging buying local to support small business owners. I’ve been enjoying the discovery process and thought I’d share a few of my favourites in and around the GTA area. Many of these shops have an online store you can take advantage of as well.
01. Face Masks: SlowMadeCreations rayon/linen-based face masks have been my favourite from the last few months. I’ve tried the Gap and my sisters loaned me the set they purchased at Costco a while back and none came as close as being comfortable to the ones I have from this store! Montreal-based, double-layered with a pocket for an air filter and a nose-clip, this mask fits very well, comfortable, and feels thin enough that it doesn’t feel like I’m constantly running out of breath when wearing it for a long time. I just re-ordered 3 more masks (making a collection of 5 reusable masks I have from this store) today!
02. Doughnuts: I can’t believe how insane the cravings for good doughnuts were during the lockdown. I’ve been frequenting my local shop every two weeks to get my fix in case they shut down again. Here are a few favourites in the GTA area you should know about: Donut Monster (technically located in Hamilton, but they are one of the GTHA’s popular destinations for good doughnuts!), Daddy O Donuts, Cops Donuts, Glory Hole Donuts, Von Donuts and The Rolling Pin.
4. COVID-19 Wave 2
Back to school, work, office and the relaxed gathering rules meant numbers in Ontario have crept up fairly quickly. Back to school also meant a lot of shopping at IKEA / Costco and so on so maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise to me to see the stocks at IKEA being so low.
Similar to what was happening in February, I’ve started stocking up here and there. Bought that extra Costco toilet paper, flour and stocked up on yeast in case we all become breadmakers again. I feel a lot of people and doing/thinking the same. Barring the back-to-school situation, every time I’ve been at Costco over the summer, I’m seeing high volume of customers and fairly long line-ups to check out, even if I make a point to go earlier in the day or on the odd days when people aren’t doing their errands (i.e. I some time take Tues/Wed off after a long weekend to use up my vacation days for the year).
How are you preparing for the second wave of COVID/potential lockdown? What have you been up to recently?