Category Archives: Loyalty Programs

Treat yo self: Shopping tips from a pro

We all have our guilty pleasures. Whether it’s designer handbags, digital gadgets or daily Starbucks Frappuccinos, we each spend our money in our own way, on things we enjoy.

And as long as you’re sensible about these indulgences, there’s no reason to feel guilty about them.

That was the key message from Angela Koszuta this week, at an event on affordable luxury.

Thanks to her career as a fashion stylist for TV and print, and the writer behind the Toronto Star’s ‘Shop Like A Pro’ column, Koszuta spends much of her time shopping, and so she has plenty of advice to offer when it comes to finding value and scoring deals.

At the event, hosted by Buick Canada, Koszuta outlined some of her top tips for living the good life, guilt-free.

Since I’m personally a fan of sales and deals, I could relate to many of Angela’s tips and tricks for affordable luxury.

Here are five of her tips, and some of my personal insights on why I think they make sense:

  1. Calculate your “price per wear”: A little basic math goes a long way. If that gorgeous leather jacket is $400, but you know you’ll wear it regularly for at least three seasons, it could actually end up costing less, per wear, than that trendy $30 top that you’ll likely wear only once.
  2. Online shopping: This is a bit of an obvious one, but do your research. A quick Google search lets you compare prices at multiple retailers, so you can check whether that dress might be 10% or 20% less at another store, before ringing in the sale.
  3. Outlet shopping: Why pay full price for designer goods when you can find them for as much as 80% off? When it comes to big purchases, it’s often worth the trek to the nearest outlet mall. And the GTA will soon be home to many new outlet options, with the brand new Toronto Premium Outlets opening next month (Bringing bargains closer to home).
  4. Buy timeless pieces: If you’re going to splurge on a designer item, choose one that will serve you well. Avoid spending a lot on a trendy item that will look dated next season; opt for one that you’ll be able to wear for several seasons to come. A high quality handbag in a neutral colour, for example, could last for years.
  5. Loyalty programs: Rewards can add up quickly, and since many loyalty programs are free (Indigo’s Plum Rewards Program, for example – Make room in your wallet for more rewards), there’s really no downside to joining these programs at the retailers you visit regularly.

Bonus tip: Treat yo self. I couldn’t resist using this line from one of my favourite episodes of Parks and Recreation in the title of this post. In the episode, Donna and Tom spend the day splurging on the things they love. Since it’s something they do just once a year, they can justify these luxuries.


So, take it from Donna and Tom. Once in a while, go ahead. Treat yo self.



Filed under Events, Loyalty Programs, Sales & Deals

Make room in your wallet for more rewards

I have a confession to make: I’m a bit of a retail rewards junkie. I join loyalty programs nearly every chance I get, so my wallet is practically overflowing with cards that earn me reward points for the purchases I make at certain retailers.

In many cases, these programs lead to very few tangible rewards. Or if they do, they require you to spend a fortune along the way.

But some rewards programs are certainly worthwhile, and even if they only lead to $10 in savings every few months, hey – it’s better than nothing!

So, as you can imagine, I was pretty excited to learn about the new loyalty program that Chapters Indigo is launching. Plum Rewards is a free new program that earns you 10 points for every dollar you spend in store (at any Indigo, Chapters, Coles, Indigospirit, World’s Biggest Bookstore, SmithBooks and The Book Company locations). Members also get up to 5% off books that are purchased online.

Once you rack up 2,500 points, you can cash them in for $5 of store credit. 4,500 points gets you $10, 8,500 points gets you $20, and so on.

Depending on how often you buy books, it could take quite a while to earn store credit under this program. But on the bright side, there’s no rush to redeem your points: they won’t expire as long as you’re earning at least one point every two years.

Indigo has another loyalty program, irewards, which will continue to exist alongside the Plum Rewards program. Rather than points, irewards provides members with a discount on all purchases: 40% off on bestsellers, 10% off on other books, 5% off on “other” merchandise (a category that’s growing by the day: Still a bookstore, but with fewer books) and 5% off books bought online.

The catch is, irewards membership comes with an annual fee of about $35, which means it’s only worthwhile for frequent Indigo shoppers. The new Plum program – because it’s free – will enable occasional shoppers to jump on the rewards bandwagon, too.

If you don’t share my appreciation for retail rewards, you’re probably cringing at the thought of another plastic card taking up space in your wallet. And I’ll admit, with so many loyalty programs around, it’s hard to keep track of them all. But until my wallet splits at the seams, I think it can handle one more.


Filed under Loyalty Programs