Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Shopping on a tight budget

My roommate Ashley was complaining that she didn’t have anything classy to wear out for an awards dinner. She explained that it was a one time event and she didn’t want to spend a lot of money for a elegant outfit.

So I helped her find a classy outfit for under $30 dollars. To read more please click on this link.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Brown Bag Lunches

Do you remember those brown bags your mom use to put your lunch in? Well I do. Brown bagging your lunch is great way to save some money. Instead of eating out everyday for lunch, you can save some money and bring your lunch. Sometimes I have a hard time coming up with things to put in my lunch. (Image from Laurier website)

So I found this website called “15 Fresh Brown Bag lunch Ideas”. It is pasted below so check it out. Start packing good and healthy lunches and same money too.

It's Laundry day!

Everyone does laundry. Some people do their laundry once a week but for others it’s everyday.(Image from OWTK website)

Believe it or not we use a lot of water while doing laundry which can be costly. Over the past few weeks I have been observing my family’s laundry routine.

My mom does her laundry everyday because she is a nurse. She likes to keep her white pants clean and very white. My Dad is a once week kind of guy. For me, I also do my laundry once week.

This past weekend, our family’s dryer was broken, so I had to be resourceful. I placed some laundry outside to dry (when it wasn’t raining), other items I placed inside by the heat vent to dry. I also took 1 load to a friendly neighbor to use their dryer.

So next when you’re dryer is broke, think outside the box and are be resourceful

Cook whats in the fridge!

Tonight roommate and I used what was left over in our fridge. So we didn't have to go out and spend money. Take a look at our sweet dinner and save.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Reaching out!

Lately,I have been wondering what one of my audience members has to say about thrifty shopping. So I reached out to Janae Griffin, a student at Towson University. She recently was laid off from her job and I was curious how her spending has changed, so I asked her few questions.

1. Since you lost your job recently, how have your spending adapts changed?
Not that I have ever been a big spender, but my expenses have really been cut in half! I pinch my pennies a lot now when I go shopping. Before I lost my job I would treat myself to a a little something extra when I go to the market, or I may go out to eat or visit a shoe store . Now a days I am sacrificing a lot of my leisure activities to save my money for big bills such as car payments.

2. What do you find yourself saving now?
Food is usually my biggest expense aside from my regular bills so I find myself saving by making a big trip to the market maybe twice a month and then fixing my meals to go rather then stopping at a fast food joint. Before I didn't have the time to invest in making my meals but now that I have no job I have a lot of time on my hands! Also I'll do things like buy all of the components of a salad and make it up myself rather than buying those bags of salad for convenience. Little things like that make a big difference.

3. Where have you made cut backs in your budget?
I have cut back on going out for leisure activities such as the movies or going out to dinner. Also I put less gas in my car and try to limit the places I go. Before I would just fill my gas tank up and telll all of my friends "Hey let's go out" but nowadays if it's not school or home then I am not driving to it,lol.

4. When you go shopping, what stores do you go into first? Also do you find yourself looking at the price tag more?
When I do get the time to shop I go into H&M and New York and Company. Right now shopping has been completely cut out of my budget so I don't have to worry about looking at prices! But when I do something like market shopping I definitley look at prices and add things up as I make my way through the store to make sure I am not overspending.

5.Any advice for other people who might be in the same situation or future concerns.
SAVE SAVE SAVE! Even if it is a dollar a day try to save. You will be a happy camper if you have a couple of dollars sitting on the side after you've lost your job. Also apply for your state's unemployment benefits!

Thank you Janae for letting me interview you. Good luck saving!

Monday, March 23, 2009

How to shop Thrifty

Thrift shops are great places to find things that other people have out grown. Another great thing about thrift shops is you’ll sometimes find buried treasure.(Image from The Insane Writer)

But how does someone new to thrift stores, shop at a thrift store? Well after doing some research, I found the top 9 things you need to keep in your mind while shopping at thrift stores from article called “How to shop at thrift stores”.

1.Find thrift stores and secondhand stores in your area. Big cities tend to have more of them but you can find these stores in just about any town.

2.Decide why you are going. Are you just looking for cute stuff in general or do you have something in mind?

3.Start looking. Some stores are more organized than others. After you have been to a few you'll know which ones are better than others. Understand the system if you can. You may find things organized by gender, type of clothes, color and size, or you may find just a mass of clothes and household objects. Start with the more organized stores until you become proficient at looking through clothes.

4.Pick up anything that catches your eye and possibly try it on in the dressing room. If you don't like the idea of putting someone else’s clothes on before washing them, buy whatever you think will look nice, wash the items at home, and re-donate them as needed.

5.If you love to read, browse through the book selection. Used books are often very inexpensive, but many of the books found in relatively low-traffic thrift shops are beat up. Make sure a book isn't missing any pages before buying it; a simple flip-through works well enough.

6.Check out the accessories. You'll find belts, purses, luggage, shoes, hats, and even jewelry (usually the costume variety) at a fraction of their regular prices.

7.Watch for bargains. Many thrift stores have sales or clearance racks to unload items that have not sold in some time. Also, keep a look out for store-wide sales, such as student discount day or others. Most thrift shops will have signs up for these events.

8.Before buying an item, take a good look at it. Did somebody get rid of it for an obvious reason, or is it in good shape? Is it stained? Does it have any holes or tears that can't be easily fixed?

9.As for music, most shops have lots of old CD's and records. Be forewarned, though- most of the music is awful. A good catch is rare, but make sure the CD isn't scratched or otherwise obviously damaged.

Salvation Army need’s help!

The economy is low and so are the donations to the Salvation Army.(Image from Google Images)

The Salvation Army has been working with others to provide services to the poorest people that need it most. They are now helping middle class people because they need the help too.

Patricia Price has a good job before the recession until cutbacks were made and she lost it. "When it rains, it pours," said Patricia Price from the article "Salvation Army's Expanded Efforts".

Guess where Patricia turned to? The Salvation Army.

So please reach out to your community and donate your unneeded goods to the Salvation Army. Thanks.

Oh where are these mystery thrift stores?

Since I became at student at Towson University, I have learned how to navigate through Towson. The hardest part about navigating through Towson is finding those special places that only “the locals” know about. (Image from Lost Pets website)

Well, have no more fear. I have found a national directory for thrift stores, it’s called Thrifty shoppers.com. Once you get to the website, you enter your zip code or city and state and out pops a list with different thrifty shops in or around your area.

So no more confusion while navigating to your favorite or new finds thrift shop.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Clean out

Seasons are changing; time to clean out that closet.(Image from Google Images)

I walked into my closet the other day and I couldn’t get more then 2 inches inside. I realized I needed to clean out my closet. But of course in the back of my mind I was thinking “Oh man, it’s like a black hole has taken over my closet”.

As I was cleaning out my closet, my mother asks what I was planning on doing with all the old clothes. My plan was to give them to Goodwill or Purple Heart.

Since this recession started, many people have been left jobless or have a tight budget. The least I can do is donate my old clothes to people who really need them. So when it comes time that you have to clean out your closet, please think of others and donate.

Going out of business

More and more places are going out of business since this recession started. It brings bad news for employees, who work at these closing business, but good news for thrifty shoppers. (Image from Google Images)

When a store is closing, they discount everything. One thing you have to remember when store is closing is that you may not be able to return an item because the store might state that “All sales are final”. With that note, be careful on what you buy.

I found this website called Deal of the Day. Deal of the day shows you specials, coupons, deals of the week and much more. So check it out; it might help you save.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Meet Thrifty Karen

When starting my first blog, I was curious if anyone else wrote about my beat. I explored several blogs and found one called “Thrifty Mommy”.

As the semester went on, I continued reading “Thrifty Mommy”. The author of this blog, Karen, writes about different specials or sales that she encounters.
(Image from Thrifty Mommy Site)

Her blog has inspired me to become a better blogger. To see what works for Karen’s blog, I e-mail her and asked her some questions.

How did you start blogging?
I used to send out emails to my friends and family about saving money, deals, and I also ranted a bit about how Americans spend more than they make. My friend Kelly asked if I would be interested in joining her at Thrifty Mommy, where she had already been blogging for about eight or nine months. We're still working together.

What are some of the challenges of blogging?
My most current challenge is the competition. When I started blogging, there weren't many money saving blogs out there. Now it seems as though everyone has a frugal blog.

Have you had any career benefits from blogging?
I am beginning to reap some benefits of blogging. It does take a while to build up a readership and now my name is becoming more known. Last year I was interviewed several times on the nationally syndicated Cooper Lawrence Show. I'll soon have an article published in a magazine and I've also been asked to take part in a money saving forum at a Clark Howard event.

Why or how did you decide your beat for your blog?
Thrifty is my nature. I learned it from my mom. I grew up watching her clip coupons, shop the sales, and try to get the most for her money. While I've written about various topics, it's saving money that makes me happy.

Any advise for new bloggers?
Write about your passion. The readers can easily tell if you're passionate and dedicated to your topic. Connect with other bloggers. This can be done by leaving comments at other blogs and also by following other bloggers on Twitter.

Lastly, I just want to say thank you to Karen for letting me interview her and sharing her knowledge with future bloggers.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Snowy Cold

It’s cold, wet and windy outside; it’s snowing again!

I hate these winter months. Last night, we had snow falling and it’s still going on this afternoon. With these random snow falls, our heating bill goes through the roof. I was doing some online researching and found “Save Money on Heating Costs” article on About.com.

This article offers these tips:

1. Do an energy audit of your house; identifying areas where heated air is leaking out.
2. Minimize your use of ventilation fans such as bathroom fans and kitchen hood fans in winter.
3. Turn down the heat and use space heaters to heat the room you spend time in.
4. Check the temperature setting on your hot water heater.
5. Open the blinds and curtains on the sunny side of the house (the south-facing side) when the sun is shining and close them as soon as the sun goes down to retain the solar heat

For more tips please continue reading the article.

So make some changes around the house for those winter months and for all you kids enjoy your SNOW DAY! I know I will. (Image from Twin Cities)

A whole way to post Classifieds

We have all heard of EBay, Amazon, and Overstock.com, but now there new way to post classifieds, Craigslist.

Craigslist allows for user to post a classified ad in a category related to their post, like housing. Craigslist also lets users search within their community, like Baltimore’s Craigslist.

Before I go to buy anything new, I try to look for them on Craigslist. Sometimes you find a good deal and others you have to spend a little more time.

Start checking out Craigslist before you hit the stores. (Image from Dance Online)

Bring back the days of the depression

“Back in the day, potatoes only cost a dollar a sack,” said Clara, 93.

I am sure we have all heard those stories from our grandparents about when they were younger they had to walk 5 miles in the snow to school. Clara has different story to share with us.

Clara grew up during the Great Depression, but lately she feels like the depression is coming back with this recession. Clara shares some of the meals her family ate during those hard times, like “Poorman’s Feast”.

Maybe after reading this article and watching the video might change your thoughts on your next grocery bill.
(Image from How Stuff works)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Economic Crisis

The economic crisis is making “Being thrifty” popular again. In the old days, living frugally and penny-pinching was normal for people, but went out of favor. Spending became the norm and even expected behavior for all Americans, even considered patriotic after 9/11.

“We want to build a culture that’s more hospitable to thrift,” says one think-tank researcher. I agree with Steve Hamm , the author of “The New Age of Frugality” story in BusinessWeek. However we need to do more that just report on the problem; we need to start a “stop spending” campaign like an anti-smoking campaigns of the past to change our culture. Schools should teach students the basics as part of required curriculum.

So my Thrifty Towsonites, be the first to get in on this new trend and make thrifty popular again.