BOUGIE EXPERIENCES ON THE CHEAP

How to Live Bougie Without Money 

As you can tell by the name of this blog, I like to enjoy nice things at a fraction of the price! There is one place that I often check for deals on name brand shoes, clothing, bags, kitchen gadgets, electronics, etc. This well kept secret, which not many people have discovered yet is...Amazon Warehouse Deals.


I first came across Amazon Warehouse Deals through my friend. I went to her house and saw literally hundreds of pairs of shoes, and she told me she got some of the cutest flat, booties, rain boot, heels and such for dirt cheap price on Amazon Warehouse Deals. So I decided to check it out.


How to Access Amazon Warehouse Deals


If you're on Amazon.ca, you can search it on department drop down menu, "Amazon Warehouse Deals". Here is the direct link.



Once you're on the page, you'll notice that the webpage looks a bit different than the normal Amazon site; there are different categories to choose from. I usually use the left hand side panel to filter by categories when digging for a good deal on Amazon Warehouse, as it's more comprehensive than the icons.



If you're on Amazon.com, you can also find the page on the drop down menu. But notice that on the US site, it's called "Amazon Warehouse" instead of "Amazon Warehouse Deals". To-may-to vs. To-mah-to, no biggie. Here's the direct link.



The categories are also a bit different compared to the Canadian site.



What is Amazon Warehouse Deal?


Essentially, Amazon Warehouse sells returned products. Now you might think "I don't want to use anything that other people have previously used". Well, from my experience, all of these products have never been used and have been certified or reviewed by some Amazon employees to ensure they are like new and not defective.


On average, the discount on these products are typically at least 50% off, often times, up to 90% off, making them a really good deal for bargain hunting! All the products are also subject to the same return policy as regular "new" Amazon products, meaning you can return them if you don't like it, giving you additional assurance.


When you buy an item from Amazon Warehouse, it'll be categorized into different levels of "usage":

  • Used - Like New

  • Used - Very Good

  • Used - Good

  • Used - Acceptable

I've purchased products from all different levels and honestly, even at the lowest level "Acceptable", I find that most product are not used, but the original packaging might just not there, which isn't a big deal for me!


You'll find the usage level of the product when you click into it, and there will be a brief (likely standardized) description of the usage, like these shoes below:



Tips on Amazon Warehouse


1. Filter, Filter, Filter Because there are so many different products on Amazon Warehouse, it'll take forever to look at every single products. So the best advice based on my experience is use the filter options when searching for a good deal. For example, when I look for shoes, I usually filter by the gender, the shoe size and sometimes the types of shoes I want (athletic vs boots vs sandals, etc.). Of course, if you are just browsing, then the least amount of filter applied would give you the maximum results.


Below is a screenshot of how I typically filter and add the products to my cart.



2. Buy Now if you really want it. Save for Later if you're not sure.


Since these are returned products, often times there are only 1 or 2 of them in stock at the significantly reduced prices. If you see something that you really like or want, my advice is to buy them right away, as they might be gone a few hours later (yes, I'm speaking from experience on lost out The North Face winter jacket for $50!).


If, however, you are still not 100% sure of whether you want to buy or the price is not as low as you'd want, my suggestion is to add it to your cart and "Save for Later". Here's the thing, if there is nobody buying the products within two weeks or so, Amazon will drop the price, in the attempt to get rid of it. That's right, prices on Amazon Warehouse can drop even lower! Typically, I've seen ~10-20% drop in one go, and if there is no one biting still, they will continuously dropping the price until it's gone.


Therefore, if you're not sure, add the item to your "Save for later" list, and when the item's price has dropped to an ideal price, check out immediately!



3. Take advantage of Cross-border trips


Typically, Amazon.com has a lot more inventory and more options when it comes to Amazon Warehouse products. Therefore, whenever we head south of the border to America, we would order items from Amazon Warehouse. Some hotels allow you to ship parcels without additional fees, but what we found most convenient is actually ship it to the Amazon lockers.




With Amazon lockers, it's available 24 hours and you can unlock it with the code that Amazon sends to your email when your package is delivered to the locker. The only thing to remember is that the item will only be available in the lockers for 7 days. If you don't pick up, it gets sent back to Amazon. This means, you will probably want to time your order date to 1 to 2 days before you travel.


Likewise for those visiting Canada from the States, you can do the vice versa and order things that might not be available on Amazon.com or take advantage of the weaker Canadian dollar!



My stash from Amazon Warehouse


Over the years, I've basically purchased at least one item from Amazon Warehouse every 2 week. The most common categories I check out are:

  • Shoes and Handbags -> Shoes -> Women

  • Shoes and Handbags -> Handbags

  • Home & Kitchen -> Kitchen & Dining -> Small Appliances

  • Sports & Outdoors -> Snow & Ice Sport -> Skiing

  • Clothing & Accessories -> Women -> Outerwear

Here are some of the prizes from my deal hunting sessions on Amazon Warehouse:


Shoes:




Jacket:




Kitchen Appliances




Ski Equipment




Others



And more...


For those who have setup 2021 New Year Resolution to save more money, Amazon Warehouse might just be the thing you need to fulfill the resolution without trade off to buy new things!


Until next time and Happy New Year,

Your BC Girl

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

As you might be able to tell from the name of this blog, I take pride in getting deals and freebies on quality experiences. So when I'm traveling, accessing and enjoying airport lounge for free is one of my jam.


Recently, I was flying from Calgary back to Toronto and had the opportunity to check out the new Westjet Elevation Lounge, which was opened on Nov 2, 2020 (Yup, during Covid!). Of course, the access for myself and a friend was free with the Priority Pass Membership that comes with my Amex Platinum card. You can checkout the full review in the video below!



How to access?

If you don't have a Priority Pass Membership that comes with your credit card, you can also access the lounge for free if you are / have:

  • Westjet Reward Platinum or Gold - Unlimited Access + up to 5 family member + 2 free guest vouchers per year

  • Westjet Reward Silver - 4 pass access per year + 2 free additional guest vouchers per year

  • Traveling on their Business class 787 Dreamliner (link to previously announced route, which of course has changed due to Covid)

  • LoungeKey, LOUNGE CLUB and Diners Club members based on their membership

You can also pay to per use at $59 for Westjet travelers and $65 other airlines. But let's be real, who pays for lounge access these days anyway?


Where is the lounge?

It's located at the Calgary International Airport, Domestic terminal, Concourse B. Even thought it's in the Domestic terminal, international passengers can access as well. Only those traveling to the United States can't access. To be honest, this lounge is more hidden than we thought, not a lot of signage (or maybe I'm blind) and we had to ask a few people to finally find it.


Covid Protocols

The protocols during this period is pretty standard. Must wear a face covering. Must sanitize hands before entering. Order via a QR code that leads you to their menu directly online. Once your food is ready, the server will bring the food directly to your table, so you don't need to leave your seat once you sit down and removed your mask.



Food and Drinks

The lounge starts serving breakfast from 7am to 11:30am and then 11:30am onwards, they switch to their Lunch and Dinner menu and start serving alcohol. Here is a picture of the menu but again, you have to order through their website.


Since we arrived to the lounge at around 11am, we were able to try both the breakfast and the lunch menu. For breakfast, we ordered the Hot Breakfast and a Fruit Plate with croissant.




The hot breakfast had a big portion of eggs, bacon and potatoes. The fruit plate had thinly sliced melon, cantaloupe and apple, but the main surprise was the croissant. Even though it was not warmed up, it tasted like one of the croissants I've had in Paris! It was THAT good! Next time if I go back, I'd ask them to warm it up for me, I bet it will even be more delicious.


For the first round of drinks, we got a latte (left), the Principals without Boundaries cocktail (middle) and the signature Westjet Elevation Cocktail (right). Seriously, wow! The cocktails are so good, and they definitely did not cheap out on the alcohol! I'd pay $15 for this cocktail if I'm going out for drinks, which says a lot considering how cheap I am!


Right after we devoured breakfast, we ordered lunch. The special of the day is Alberta beef brisket, which is what I ordered, along with a butternut squash soup.




Holy moly, when I put the brisket in my mouth, it literally melted. This beef brisket reminds me of a meal I had at Canoe in Toronto ($$$$ restaurant), but this is better because it's free! It was so good that I ordered a second serving! Even the mash potato and beans were good sides I would add extra money for at a restaurant. The butternut squash soup tasted fine and probably got over shadowed by the brisket a bit.


For the second round of drinks, we got a Cave Spring Gamay Noir red wine (left), Most Daring Soprano cocktail (middle) and Shadier than a Palm Tree cocktail (right). The Shadier than a Palm Tree drink has a smoked cinnamon stick on top of the drink, the attention to details on these drinks are impeccable! Kudos to the bartender!


I was very very pleasantly surprised by the food and the drinks. For those who have been to the Amex Centurion lounges, known for their food and drinks, I'd say the Westjet Elevation Lounge was just as good if not better!


Based on a back of the napkin math, this meal would probably be at least $75 CAD per person if I were to enjoy it at a normal restaurant, with 1 appetizer, 2 entrees, 1 fruit plate as dessert, and 2 drinks each (we were a group of 3 that day). However, all this we enjoyed for FREE with our Priority Pass (also free)!


Overall super impressed with the new Westjet Elevation Lounge. Hopefully, they can maintain the quality and service next time we visit! Have you been to the Elevation Lounge lately as well, leave a comment about your own experience.


Until next time,

Your BC Girl

Recently I posted a video on Youtube talking about my ski experience at Banff during the 2020/2021 ski season. In this post, I want to dive a little deeper on the Mountain Collective Pass.

What is Mountain Collective?

Like all the other ski passes, you pay 1 price and get access to different resorts around the world. This year, Mountain Collective offers 23 Destinations around the world:

  • 12 Resorts in the United States

  • 5 Resorts in Canada (+1 Bonus resort not listed)

  • 1 Resort in France, and yes it's Chamonix

  • 1 Resort in Japan

  • 1 Resort in New Zealand

  • 2 Resorts in Australia

  • 1 Resort in Chile


You get 2 day tickets to each of the 23 resorts, so total 46 days of skiing or snowboarding. Additional days are 50% off, and there are NO BLACKOUT DATES. It's actually pretty sweet!


Bonus Resort: Many people don't know, because it's not advertised on the Mountain Collective site, BUT you have one free day at Norquay Banff. All you need to do is go to the counter at Norquay and tell them you have the Mountain Collective pass, and they will give you a free lift ticket for the day!



Mountain Collective vs. Ikon vs. Epic

There are many posts out there that go through the comparison between all three passes, like CNN, The Points Guy, NY Time, The Clymb to name a few. For myself, the reasons why I picked Mountain Collective are simple:

  • No blackout dates (You need to pay a premium for Ikon or Epic for no blackout)

  • Has all the good Canadian resorts...out West (sorry, Blue Mountain!)

  • and most importantly, IT'S THE CHEAPEST!

Except for Mountain Collective, all the other passes are going to run you up to ~$1K, which is a bit too much money for a Bougie Cheap girl like me!



How much do you actually save?

Quite a bit actually. Typically if you use 4 free days at 2 Canadian resorts, you usually make your money back. For us, we skied 2 days at Lake Louise and 2 days at Sunshine and basically is $1 shy from making our money back already. Meaning if we were to go to any other destinations to ski this season (please don't be a bitch COVID), the tickets would basically be free!



When to Buy the Pass?

For the past 3 years, I've purchased the Mountain Collective Pass at a particular time of the year. For context, the Mountain Collective pass is sold in USD, and being Canadians, we need to add a whooping 30% on the dollar (1 USD = ~1.3 CAD) plus the foreign exchange fee on our Canadian credit cards. However, every year around November, right before Black Friday, they usually have an "at-par" promotion. Meaning you can use pay the USD price in CAD, which is basically a 30% savings + foreign exchange fees saved!

Reminder email from Mountain Collective on the at par offer


This year we got our pass for $489 CAD! Last year our pass was $508 CAD and the year before was $475 CAD. The reason why the price fluctuates is because the pass itself has tier pricing, based on the number of pass sold. So the price depends on when you buy. When the pass first becomes available for sale (usually summer time), the pass is at its cheapest, think early bird pricing. Once they sell out the set number of passes at the early bird pricing, the pass price goes up to the next tier. Once they sell out the set number of passes at that price, it goes up again. Until they sell out of all the passes. So if you are in anywhere but Canada, it's best to buy the ski passes as early as possible. If you are in Canada, waiting for the at par pricing is still better than the savings from early bird pricing.


Are you allowed to share the pass?

Well, that's a no. Have I tried, you ask? 😏


Since you bring the purchase confirmation email to the ski resort to pick up the pass the day of, I've given my email to my friend's wife who was going to Niseko in Japan. I also gave her a picture of my driver's license since they sometimes do ID check. It worked like a charm! However, I would be careful though as if they catch you not being the passholder, they have the rights to terminate and deactivate your pass immediately and for the rest of the season.


What's new with Covid?

This year, you have the option to get some of the lift tickets shipped to your house from Mountain Collective. This is partly because they want less people crowding the service desk, picking up the passes at the resorts. I also heard that many of the season passes issued by the resorts themselves have been sold out, so maybe another reason for them to better control the crowd indoor.


Many of the ski resorts also have new operational guidelines. For example, you have to wear a mask at all times, both indoor and outdoor. This wasn't too big of an issue because I normally wear a balaclava anyway when I ski. Of course, 2 meters apart while waiting in line for the ski lift or gondola. Oh yeah, and now you can refuse to share the lift or gondola with other skiers and boarders if you don't feel comfortable, without feeling bad at all!


I think everyone had the same idea to stay outside during Covid, so during the weekend, there are a lot of people. Like A LOT! The video below is 9:30am at Lake Louise, just 30 minutes after they opened. The amount of people waiting in line to go up the gondola was insane! So make sure you go right when they open to avoid the crowd!



The cafeteria situation is also not great yet. I don't think they have fully figured it out yet, operationally. With limited seating, the number of people that are allowed indoor reduced significantly, meaning you have to wait up to 30 minutes outside in the cold just to get in, just to line up again to buy food. And then line up again for a seat. So lots of time wasted if you didn't bring your own food and have to eat at the chalet.


At the Temple Lodge at Lake Louise, they actually started using QR Code Menu, like many restaurants. And you can order and pay directly online. Then the waitress would bring the food to you, meaning once you sit down and remove your mask, you don't need to get up at all until you're ready to head back to the slopes. I thought that was pretty neat.


Conclusion

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed using my Mountain Collective at Sunshine and Lake Louise in Alberta. Even though I'm not sure if I can ski again during this season with the rising numbers of the cases in Canada, it was nice to enjoy the mountain for a few days. And of course the best part is that I've made my money back on my Mountain Collective!



Have you been on any ski trips recently or planning to ski this 2020/2021 season during the pandemic? Be sure to leave me a comment to let me know which ski resort you're planning to hit up. Also, don't forget to subscribe and be a part of the BC crew! Remember, Bougie on the Cheap, Keep your pockets deep!

1
2
 
 
20190304_104248-01_edited.jpg

About the Blog

Hi everyone! Bougie on the Cheap is a blog that showcases how an average Jane like me can live relatively bougie with limited financial resources with a few tips / tricks. Read on and enjoy!