Monday, June 28, 2010

You Save Fifty Cents Here...

Looks like this recession is trickling up now.  In the past week I've seen two instances of this effect.  In case you're wondering what I'm referring to by trickling UP, it means the first part of the recession affected the working man and consequently because of him spending less, businesses either went under or were forced to cut back, thus now impacting the b2b's (businesses that service other businesses) who survived in 2009.

But hey, I only took Economics 101 so what do I know...especially since that was way back when UH tuition was cheap and the campus was well maintained.  What I do know is that people are still losing jobs and if there had been course in Money Conservation at the UH, I would've been at the 404 level! 

So off the top of my head, here are a few suggestions for penny-pinching.  There are also tips on conservation and health, too...

1) I've mentioned this before:  BUDGET Basic Cable.  You really don't need "Basic" Cable for almost $50/month when there's $13/month Budget Basic (we get about 30 stations--more than enough!).

2) No don't have to buy fancy Tupperware.  I've been called "Miss Cool Whip Container" and look, this means my ecological "footprint" is that much smaller.  If you can't use all of the containers, recycle the #1's and #2's OR drop them off at a school or daycare OR sell or give them away at your garage sale.

3) Buy vitamin and herbal supplements online.  Even with shipping it's cheaper than shopping at the stores PLUS the supplements are generally higher quality.  I just ran out of calcium and went to Walmart.  Not only were their calcium supplements (all brands!) more expensive, they had a multitude of "bad" ingredients (fillers, preservatives, etc.).  I couldn't bring myself to buy any of them!  Incidentally, my favorite shampoo, Jason Natural Tea Tree Oil Scalp Normalizing Shampoo, which sells at stores for over $9, is just $4.55 at! 

4) Turning off power bars does save a few dollars a month!  If you can't turn off the whole bar, unplug those chargers at least.  I unplug our modem and router every night too. You'll be pleasantly surprised to see your electric bill showing a difference. 

5) If you've got a tissue hog in your household, try buying single-ply toilet tissue.  Usually Safeway has the best price on this. 

6) Rather than buying new books, go to the library.  If you can't bring yourself to do this, go to and buy used books--as well as DVD's and CD's.  You'll save---again, even with the shipping added!  There are bestsellers for just a penny each! (Shipping=$3.99)

7) Something I just started doing is recycling water.  You could buy a contraption from Costco for saving rainwater from your gutters to water your yard, but I do this on a smaller scale by just catching rinsewater from vegetable washing or other "clean" rinsing in a bowl and transferring it into a plastic gallon bottle to use later for soaking dirty dishes or watering the few plants I bother to water.  (Growing vegetables is a great way to save money, but I did not inherit that skill from my dad, unfortunately).

8) I make healthy "snack bags" for Jordan's lunch bag instead of sending chips/cookies, etc. Costco's selling an excellent beef jerky (Pacific Gold) which uses no preservatives or HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). Cut them up into small pieces, add nuts (preferably raw/unsalted), raisins or other dried fruit cut up (I use mango, cherries, dates, or blueberries), Mini Wheats cereal pieces, chocolate chips, a few potato sticks or rice crackers. It's fun to make these bags and you can totally control the ingredients--use your imagination! Make sure to buy the ingredients on sale or by bulk.   By the way, I also put these same ingredients in a small bowl for myself to snack on during the day.

9) Home lunches--or brownbagging--is another obvious money-saver.  Have you tried banana/peanut butter/jelly sandwiches?  Use whole wheat bread and sprinkle some cinnamon on the bananas and you're getting even more health benefits! 

When you make your dinner salad, just make a bit more for your lunch the next day to save time.  Leonard's naturopathic doc, Dr. Ancharsky, recommends at least 6 ingredients for your salads.  Typically I use spinach, lettuce, cilantro, red cabbage, sweet peppers, celery, brocco sprouts, carrots, tomatoes and/or cucumbers.  For kick, add some jalapeno peppers or artichoke hearts.  Top with tuna or chicken or how about salsa and cheese for a Mexican salad? 

Instead of sandwiches, try a wrap.  You'll get less calories this way and you're able to load more healthy fillings.  Costco sells a flat bread in an oblong shape that's ideal for wrapping.  Jordan likes Mexican wraps (similar to a burrito with refried beans, tomatoes, lettuce, sweet peppers, salsa), but again, anything goes and they're easier to eat than a sandwich, too.

10) Lastly, ladies--ahem-- if you place them carefully, you can cut your pantyliner bill in half if you cut your pantyliners in half! Hint: Kotex Longs. Hey, you might think "Awww, it only costs $1.29 a box!" but remember the saying "If you take care of the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves!" And what about Russell Peter's Chinese shop guy? "You save fitty cent here, then you go to another shop, save another fitty cent... then you got a DOL-LAH...then you go to the Dollah store and buy yourself something else!" (video below).

I know I have more ways to save money while keeping healthy, but these are the ten I came up with today.  I'll add more later!  Don't forget.. Russell Peters will be at the Blaisdell Concert Hall on Nov. 27!

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