Category Archives: The Small Things

Old Spice Pure Sport Deodorant at Costco: Product Review

Like most men that enjoy not being smelly and gross, I use deodorant on a mostly daily basis. Over the years, I’ve tried just about all types and kinds of deodorants and antiperspirants, and it’s come down to the realization that there is only one type and brand of deodorant that really works for me, and that’s Old Spice Pure Sport, High Endurance Deodorant.

Of course, I buy my Old Spice deodorant at Costco, hence this product review; not withstanding all the awesome stuff you can find at Costco, there’s no denying that this sort of purchases is what Costco is made for. I buy my Old Spice deodorant in packs of 5, for $10.99, which comes down to a mere $2.20 per stick, compared to as much as $5 each when sold individually at the pharmacy.

Old Spice Pure Sport High Endurance Deodorant at Costco: Product Review

Old Spice Pure Sport High Endurance Deodorant at Costco: Product Review

Now, to get to the nitty-gritty details about the Old Spice deodorant; it’s blue, smells nice and unlike antiperspirant, does not prevent you from sweating. It does, however, prevent you from smelling bad, which of course is the name of the game.

Here are the Old Spice Deodorant ingredients:

  • Dipropylene Glycol
  • Water
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Sodium Stearate
  • Fragrance
  • PPG-3 Myristyl Ether
  • Tetrasodium Edta
  • Violet 2, Green 6

It’s worth noting that even though I am quite certain of the spelling of those words – see for yourself on the picture below – most of them make my spellcheck swoon with a passionate desire to correct me. So only normal stuff in there.

Old Spice Pure Sport High Endurance Deodorant Ingredients

Old Spice Pure Sport High Endurance Deodorant Ingredients

I must say that I appreciate the humor in which Old Spice describes itself: “Contains Odor-Fighting “Atomic Robots” that “Shoot Lasers” at your “Stench Monsters” and Replaces them with Frech, Clea,. Masculine “Scent Elves”.” This is awesome.

Now, to the testing portion of this review.

I can say that this product works awesomely for me. I have no way to prove this to you, and of course, everyone is different, so it may not work for you.

That being said, I’ve been using Old Spice Pure Sport High Endurance Deodorant for over 10 years, and it does a great job of destroying my “stench monsters”, and my wife likes the way I smell, so there you go. I put it on in the morning, and it works all day; I rarely if ever have the need to reapply during the day, unless I am doing so extremely strenuous activity, and I avoid that like the plague, so there you have it.

How long does a stick of Old Spice Pure Sport High Endurance deodorant last?

Isn’t that a question that all guys – and gals – have asked themselves at some point? How long will this stick last? You open it one day, use it for a while, then later, the plastic painfully scrapes your armpit, reminding you to throw it out and get another one. But how long does the Old Spice deodorant circle of life last?

Luckily for you, I like to write stuff down, and I’m a stickler for putting on exactly the same number of swipes on both arms every day. Since there are some days in which I will not put on deodorant – sorry baby! – this figure will represent an absolute worst case scenario.

My methodology is as follows: I’ve calculated how long a stick lasts, and counted a minimum number of swipes (both arms); this lets me know how many swipes are in the stick, which for me was 1768 – 68 days, times 26 swipes per day – don’t judge.

Assuming you put on 10 swipes per day, or 5 under each arm, your stick of Old Spice deodorant should last just under 6 months. I put on way more, and my stick lasts just over 2 months.

For me, this comes down to a daily cost for deodorant, and not stinking, of under four pennies. If you stretch out your deodorant as described above, you can lower that to near a single penny a day.

This begs the question: at this price, how come some people still avoid putting some on? Procter & Gamble through all the trouble of making a great product, super affordable, and some still avoid using it. Get with the non-stinking program!

Golden Gate Crystal Margarine at Costco: Product Review

Today I will be reviewing what has just got to be one of the most basic of all kitchen basics, margarine, or ‘oleo’ as the crosswords puzzles would have it. I keep both margarine and butter in the fridge; they may be interchangeable in some instances, but in many ways they are not, and both deserve their place. For the past few years I’ve been purchasing the Golden Gate Crystal Margarine from Costco.

There are a couple of things I like about this margarine. The first, and most important, is the taste. It just tastes right; it has a distinctive margarine taste that is strong without being overpowering, reminiscent of butter, but not quite. I assume here you like margarine, otherwise you’ll be disappointed.

Golden Gate Crystal Margarine at Costco, with Rubbermaid container

Golden Gate Crystal Margarine at Costco, with Rubbermaid container

Without being particularly picky, because I know we’re talking about a bunch of congealed oil here, the Crystal margarine seems relatively healthy; it contains no trans fats, no lactose (obviously), is non-hydrogenated and, in following the fad of the day, contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to all sorts of wonderful things, including increased cardio-vascular health and a betterment of your mood, of all things.

Golden Gate Crystal Margarine at Costco, opened

Golden Gate Crystal Margarine at Costco, opened

The second thing I like about Crystal Margarine is the cost effectiveness; a container or 1.36 kilograms, or 3 pounds, of margarine costs as little as $4.99, which is much less than the Becel containers at Costco, which are around 10 bucks for 2 kilos. This price comes down to about 36 cents per hundred grams, which is very acceptable.

If you shop smart, you’ll be able to find the Crystal Margarine on special at your local Costco, and really stock up. When it’s on special, it really is. Last time it was, I bought 2 containers for $2.99 each, which is just about given away, considering the following: THE CONTAINER!

Golden Gate and Rubbermaid seem to be working in lockstep on this one; each Crystal Margarine container is a wonderful, reusable genuine Rubbermaid brand tupperware-style container, which is ideal for work lunches, leftovers and a million other uses around the house; if you were hesitating between different brands of margarine, you should buy this one just because of its container, everything else notwithstanding.

Between the great taste of Golden Gate Crystal Margarine, its relative health benefits, its ridiculously low price and its really cool, reusable Rubbermaid container, switching to it should be a no-brainer. I’ve been buying this for years – and have the mountain of tupperware to prove it – and I’m going to continue, until they screw it up and change the magic recipe. I hope they don’t; I like tupperware.

Last but not least, Golden Gate is a Canadian company, despite its very Californian logo, with offices in both Ontario and Quebec. It’s great to buy local.

UPDATE – April 2016 – There is a recall affecting the Crystal Margarine sold at Costco, and possibly other places. Please visit their website or contact your local Costco for additional information.

Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise at Costco: Product Review

As my until-recently expanding waistline will be happy to attest to, I’m a big fan of mayonnaise; It is the standard for a lot of my burgers, and we use it a lot in some summer dishes, such as potato and chick pea medleys, macaroni salads, fake crab and many other things. I know it’s not the best for me, but there you have it. Until recently, however, I thought that our big jars of Costco mayonnaise lasted a really long time. It was interesting to write the date I opened the last jar right on the lid so that I could finally quantify my enjoyment, so to speak. It turns out that our last jar of Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise didn’t last quite that long! Maybe we’ve been cooking more. Especially burgers.

Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise

Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise

The standard by which all mayonnaise is judged is, of course, Hellmann’s. We’re talking about commercial here, not home-made. That’s a topic for another day. Now I’m not claiming to be a mayonnaise expert, although I do eat a lot of it, but as far as I can tell, and by going through a whole bunch of huge jars of mayo, is that the Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise and the Hellmann’s taste exactly the same. Same taste, same texture, same everything. Just like it came out of the same factory. Hmmm. I’m not saying it did, I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it had. The only difference is the price.

The current price for a 1.9 liter jar of Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise is $5.49, Canadian currency, no taxes. The going rate for a very similar jar of Hellmann’s is about $7.49 to $7.99, or $2 more. Doesn’t seem like much, but for something that costs less than $10, the difference is huge.

Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise Ingredients

Like most Kirkland Signature products, the Real Mayonnaise lives up to its name and doesn’t have too much terrible or unpronounceable ingredients, which is always a relief. Not to say it’s good for you. Here are the ingredients, in order of importance:

  • Canola Oil
  • Liquid Whole Eggs and Liquid Egg Yolk
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Spices
  • Concentrated Lemon Juice
  • Calcium Disodium Edta
  • Citric Acid

The only thing of concern here is the Calcium Disodium EDTA, which is used to prevent air from spoiling the mayonnaise if you leave the jar open for a long time, or just keep it in the fridge for very long. It is, after all, quite a large jar. This chemical compound is quite toxic when consumed in high amounts, but there’s not much of it in the mayo. Still, something to consider.

The Verdict on Real Mayonnaise

Ok, I’ve considered it. I’m still eating the Real Mayonnaise.

Costco claims that this mayonnaise is 100% made with free range eggs, which I guess is true if they print it on the packaging, but I have a hard time imagining all those millions of chickens running around just to supply the eggs for the Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise.

Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise Nutrition Facts

Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise Nutrition Facts

When it comes to nutrition, the Real Mayonnaise is about what you’d expect; 90 calories per tablespoon, which is a lot, but the main ingredients are oil and eggs, so no surprise there, and there is a relatively low amount of saturated fat, which is good. There is, however, some cholesterol, and you should look elsewhere for your proteins.

Overall, pretty good!

The last jar I bought, and which I just finished, was opened on the 4th of March of this year, 2015, and I finished it last night, June 3rd, so it lasted me exactly 91 days. The jar of mayo cost me $5.49, for a total mayonnaise cost of 6 pennies per day, more or less. Considering that I feel like I ate a lot of mayo, and never held back, I consider this a very low cost condiment and an excellent purchase. 

To be fair, even if I had bought the Hellmann’s mayonnaise, the cost for a similar period of time would only have been 8.7 pennies a day, hardly an expense to break the bank. What you really have to consider is when you buy mayonnaise anywhere else than at Costco, which is where the real expenses start piling up, as Costco is easily half the price of other retailers for this product.

What is certain is that I’m going to keep purchasing the Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise at Costco, so long as it tastes the same as Hellmann’s, and is cheaper. The few dollars I save there, and on countless other things, more than justify the price of my membership at Costco.

Norchem Dishwashing Liquid at Costco: Product Review

You all know how I love a good deal. Not because I’m cheap, mind you, but because I like spending money on important stuff – like my children – rather than on daily necessities. That being said, you still have to have the ‘daily necessities’. They’re not called ‘necessities’ for nothing. You *need* them.

This is why I would like to share with you what is arguably one of the very best deals at my favorite store, Costco. I present to you the Norchem Dishwashing Liquid.

Now it’s not just that this product is incredible; it is just as good or better than any other dish-washing liquid you can buy, such as Palmolive, or whatever. The real difference here is the price. While a single liter of regular dish-washing liquid at the grocery store or general store – i.e. Target, Canadian Tire, can set you back $3 or $4, you get a whopping 10 liters of Norchem Dishwashing Liquid for the low, low price of $8.99!

Norchem Dishwashing Liquid at Costco

Norchem Dishwashing Liquid at Costco

In terms of quality, the Norchem Dishwashing Liquid can stand tall with the big boys of the industry, despite having quite the institutional name and packaging. It smells lemon-fresh, is soft on the hands, to which I can personally attest, having used this for years, and is tough on grease and baked on dirt, as you would expect.

Price-wise, it comes down to 89.9 cents a liter. I’m not certain how long my previous jug lasted, but it’s certainly more than a year. All my pots and pans, cutlery and dishes washed for a year for under $10, that’s *impossible* to beat.

It also is biodegradable and phosphate-free, which I’ll grant you is not huge, since the phosphate-free thing is required by law. We had a rash of crazy blue algae in the lakes around here, and it was found that the phosphates in the water run-off were causing the explosion. No more phosphates, no more blue algae, everyone’s happy and the soap cleans just as well.

If you think that all you could do with your Norchem Dishwashing Liquid was wash dishes, you would be mistaken. In fact, this is where this product really shines! Check out the recommended uses, as printed right on the side of the container!

Norchem Dishwashing Liquid at Costco - Detail

Norchem Dishwashing Liquid at Costco – Detail

So in addition to cleaning your dishes, you can clean your fine jewelry, your car and treated leather, to name only a few of the recommended uses? That’s fantastic, although I’ll admit to not having used my dishwashing liquid for most of these alternative uses. But it’s good to know you can, and that the company is not pushing you into buying a bunch of other products. The only other product I buy for my dishes are the Kirkland Signature Dishwasher Pacs, which I’ve previously reviewed here.

Norchem’s motto seems to be, “we have one product, it cleans everything, and comes in a two-and-a-half gallon monster jug. Use a lot, it’s dirt cheap!

Another great thing about this product is that it is made right here in Canada; it’s not shipped halfway around the globe for me to enjoy. I love the fact that I can support a locally-made product, and that on top of it, it provides me with quality, value and an unbeatable price. If your local Costco carries it, I highly recommend it. If it doesn’t, ask for it; if enough people ask, they’ll start carrying it, believe you me.

Folgers Classic Roast Coffee: Real Savings

On my quest to reduce my daily expenses even further, I’ve decided to cut down on my own brewed coffee. I used to drink to Kirkland Signature Colombian Coffee, however the price went up significantly in the last months, so I’ve had to look for alternatives. What I found surprised even me!

Folgers Classic Roast, 920g

Folgers Classic Roast, 920g

I was always resistant to buying Folgers Classic Roast Coffee, for the simple reason that I saw it advertised on TV. Too commercial. But you really can’t avoid the cost, and the savings.

For the record, I make, or brew coffee, once a day, in the morning. Depending on the day, I make 6, 7 or 8 cups, as measured by the coffee pot, for which I use between 3 and 4 tablespoons of coffee. To be honest, the spoon I use is special, and I’m not sure exactly how much it contains, but it looks to be about a tablespoon.

The pictured Folgers container contains 920 grams of ground coffee, or 2 pounds and 0.5 ounces. I purchased and started using it on October 26th, 2014 and finished it, completely on December 5th, 2015.

I paid $6.88 for the container, on special at Giant Tiger (a Canadian discount Walmart-type store, but much, much smaller).

So I drank coffee for a total of 40 days, every day, for less than 7 dollars. For the mathematically inclined, I drank all the coffee I needed for a paltry 17.2 pennies per day.

If I can maintain this for the rest of the year, and I think I can, considering I just bought a huge batch for the same price, my morning coffee habit will cost me only $62.78 for the year, or just a hair over 5 dollars a month!

I will be posting this under my “Small Things” header. By calculating exactly where you spend your money, you can save a bundle without really changing your habits, but by shopping just a bit smarter!

Look at the specials, use a calculator or even better, an Excel spreadsheet, and buy in bulk when the prices reach the price you want to pay. All you need is a little patience, and some spare room to store your loot!

 

How To Save Money On Coffee

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a real, bona fide coffee addict, which means that I need to have coffee regularly, particularly in the morning and before lunch. In real terms, that translates to about 3 coffees a day, when I’m at work. This doesn’t include the coffee I drink at home, which I talked about in this excellent article.

The coffee machine at work charges $0.50 (fifty cents) per coffee, including all the sugar, cream or milk I could ever need. I drink one coffee before starting work, and one during each of my two breaks, for a total of 3 coffees per day.

A buck-fifty a day for coffee, I hear you say, that’s not that bad. It’s not. Or is it? The devil is in the details, my friends. That innocuous-looking work coffee addiction is quite expensive. Consider this.

  • Cost of Each Coffee: $0.50
  • Coffees per Day: 3
  • Cost per Day: $1.50 … seems alright.
  • Cost per Week (5 days): $7.50 … Ummm. Starting to look expensive!
  • Cost per year: $390 … Holy Mackerel! I knew it! And those are AFTER TAX DOLLARS!
  • Estimated Overall Taxation Rate: 35%

REAL COST: $600 … Yikes!

I knew drinking coffee from the vending machine was not a good long-term idea, but I had no idea it was that bad. I need to EARN $600 to pay for those 3 stupid coffees every day for a year. Ridiculous. I could buy a new Galaxy Tab Pro 4 12.1 for that price. I could make an extra payment on the mortgage, or pay for a good chunk of a vacation.

The thing is, I’m not about to go without coffee at work. Considering the fact that I need the caffeine more than the taste – I mean I’m not a coffee snob, not that I don’t like tasty things – here is the solution. Spoken like a true addict.

Nescafé

The Solution: Nescafé

I got this huge tin of Nescafé at Costco – where else – where I paid about $8 when it was on special. Let’s assume it was not, and that I paid $12, instead. Here’s what it’ll cost me to replace my work coffee with Nescafé, since the coffee machine at work kindly provides free boiling water.

  • Cost of tin of Nescafé: $12
  • Number of Cups per Tin: 260 … that seems like a lot.
  • Cost per cup: $0.046 … just under a nickel.
  • Cost per year of drinking Nescafé: $35.88, after taxes

Net Savings, after taxes: $354.12

There you have it. After a year of drinking Nescafé, I’ll have saved over $300. That it very significant, and just one of the many small things you can do to save money, increase your quality of life without really making any sacrifices.

Can you think of other ways, such as this one, in which to save money? Share in the comments below. I’ll be happy to try out your ideas.

Incidentally, I’ve decided to make this article the start of a new Series, called “The Small Things”, where I’ll share all my ideas about the small changes that we can make to our lives that will end up having a huge impact, financially, health-wise and more. Stay tuned.