I am addicted. I am not shame and I will shout from the rafters that I am hooked. I watched an episode of Extreme Couponing and once I saw how much money they were saving, I said, “I can do that!” I started clipping and I also started saving money. I am far from extreme, but I am, unequivocally a coupon clipper.
Ironically, I can remember a time when whipping out a coupon was considered low class and made the bearer appear to be a cheapskate. People who clipped coupons were rumored to live in a house full of cats, made quilts and homemade jams. In essence, they were regarded as a step above being a hippie. Not anymore, welcome to the new breed of savvy shoppers and coupon clippers. Let me help you get started. It is easier than you think.
First we must determine what kind of shopper you are. If you are not organized enough to have to deal with a little purse of coupons, or have hours to spend price comparing in the grocery store, then we can start here. The easiest way to save is with your frequent shopper cards and make them work for you versus just having them dangling on your key chain. Kroger and Bi-Lo offers you Fuel Perks. The money you spend in the store earns you a few cents off your gas purchase at each visit. You can also download coupons to your rewards card and when you check out, they automatically take the savings off your final purchase! BiLo even offers you double coupons so you can save twice the money. I know right! No clipping, no coupons and you don’t have to seem like a crazy cat lady who makes quilts and jam.
Saving at the grocery store isn’t your only option. Crafters have long been saving at Michael’s, Joann’s and Hobby Lobby. The great thing about craft stores, if you have a coupon from another store, they will honor the discount. We can take it one further. If you are a teacher, you can also get teacher discounts at Joann’s and save an addition 15%. These programs are also available at Staples and Office Max. No matter what you are into, if you look, there is a coupon, a Groupon, and Living Social break. If you have a smart phone, you can download coupon apps and have discounts and bargains at your fingertips.
Now, I can understand if all of this couponing is far too much of a commitment, then here is the perfect solution, just price compare. Use that smartphone to help you make some smart decisions. There are several bar code scanners that will scan the price, and give you the best deals in a 50 mile radius, including online.
There are all types of coupons to help you save money when you want to dine in or dine out. Find out if your favorite location has a frequent shopper program or a loyalty program. I am one who believes in getting my money’s worth and each day I am out looking for ways to save money, cut lost and reduce my back end, literally and figuratively. You can find the savings approach that works best for you or you can search on Twitter and search under coupons. You can get real time updates on savings.
I have looked into Coupon Suzy and a few other sites, but those are more regional. The economy isn’t going to turn around on its own and in the meantime and in between time, I am working on some Christmas quilts for my great nieces and some jam from some pears my friend send over from her tree. Happy savings!
Often when we think of vacations, we think of sun, fun and being tired when we return. I find it humorous that so many people rush through the week, over pack the weekend with activities and come Sunday, are just as tired as when they left the office on Friday. These worries and tiredness leads to the ever so familiar mantra of “I need a vacation!” Fine, you need a vacation, but what are you doing on your vacation or has the word vacation becomes just another synonym for off days?
For our tenth anniversary, my husband and I headed to Key West or the Florida Keys for a vacation, both were geriatrically exciting so I often get them confused. We were bored out of our minds. This was no way to spend our off days. Outside of getting drunk, fishing, and the glass bottom boat tour, what was there to do? There were people laid about on chaise lounges reading books while sipping what I would equate to a Mint Julep. We stayed one night, packed the car and drove back to Miami. Even on the outskirts of the city, you could feel the pulse of the hot blooded Latina welcoming you back into her lair.
The same can be said for Las Vegas. Our next set of off days, we headed to hot bed of demoralization, and spent some time in Sin City. We left the strip, took the city bus downtown to the Freemont experience and watched some people find different ways to make money on their off days. When you think of Vegas, you don’t think of vacation, you think getaway. You don’t think oooh, while we are there Honey, how about a quick trip over to the Hoover Dam? The Hoover Dam is something you explore on your off-day; Vegas ,is a get away to see a show, party, and drink a lot. Yeah, get away from it all, starting with cheap liquor as a constant companion.
As I have aged, I have learned the difference between off days, a weekend getaway and a vacation. Allow me to clarify. On my off days, I can head up to the lake and spend some time with a good book, some friends, fish and nap. When experiencing a getaway, I think of a nice bed and breakfast off the beaten path for a few days doing something that could fall into my hobby and special interest category. A quilting retreat or a weekend writing conference, which helps me, well get away from it all for a day or two. However, when it comes to vacation, this is an altogether different animal.
A vacation, from my perspective, is me a soil that I have not touched. I am eating foods that I would not normally eat. Partake in adventures, and treasure hunts, snorkel, and in between take naps, and blog about the journey. This is a weeklong venture that requires 3 days of doing something that I KNOW I am too old to still try, because if it goes wrong, my old bones won’t heal like they should. It is three nights of overly priced dinners in four and five-star restaurants eating dishes that I can barely spell. It is drinking Wines that only come by the bottle and not by the glass, sleeping late, venturing to museums, shops, and searching for the perfect shot glass to go in my collection.
When I return home, I am not tired. I am not twisted into knots. I am relaxed. I am rejuvenated. I have enlightened my spirit, my mind and my soul. I did not have a few off days. I did not partake in a weekend getaway. I went on vacation.
Upon my return, I shall spend the next week, uploading photos from my adventure, as well as beginning plans for the next year. I will scrimp and save as much as humanly possible so that when I arrive at my new destination next year, I don’t have to watch every dime; because I am on vacation.
Now tell me how you spend your vacation?
Friday night, as I watched the sideways perspectives of Bill Maher, I actually listened to what he said. There was one line in particular that resonated with me. He stated that if Hillary Clinton made the same statement about Paul Revere as did Sarah Palin, the media and pundits would eat her alive. His reasoning, Sarah Palin gets away with more because she is pretty. It made me think and of course asks the question of myself that I will also pose to you; do attractive people get away with more?
In an ideal world I want to believe that those of us who actually use our heads are on equal footing, but then I changed the channel and there was Kim Khardashian. Her claim to fame is a big butt and a poorly filmed sex taped where the world was exposed to her cooter. I will not lie, she is beautiful, but is there anything else? As an amateur porn star, honestly, couldn’t You do better after a couple shots of Cuervo? She is essentially famous, for being famous and hanging with some equally untalented friends who also happen to be good looking with a great publicist. And to be honest, I have a big butt. I know 17 other women who have a big butt and are pretty and smart. If you know a good publicist, please send them my way, I would like to get an endorsement deal as well. A few cosmetic tweaks, carefully constructed makeup and hair weave, I too can be really pretty.
Then I thought of Jessica Simpson. I thought of her Pizza Hut buffalo wings commercial and Starkist tuna deals. Is she a genius or is she really that simple? Does it matter, she is pretty? Do we prefer to have women remain quiet or be outspoken with knowledge. I’m not certain so I must wait for you to weigh in.
I did ask my friend, who used Michelle Obama as an example. She stated that she is a Harvard graduate and a lawyer, yet her only stand has been on children, fitness and healthy eating. She did not make the Hillary Clinton mistake of creating a platform of politics, but instead opted for the well being of our children; inquisitive one that I am thought for a moment with a look of confusion on my face which prompted an answer. Her response was simply, you can be loud. You can be wrong. You can be loud and wrong, but never, ever should you be loud and right. Loud and right brings out the ugly in many and pretty is becomes as pretty does.
Let it marinate and get back to me.
This afternoon, while doing a favor for a pal, I stopped in a local downtown eatery to pick up a Skinny pumpkin latte and decided while I was there, I would grab a bite to eat. I requested a nice chicken salad with a side of hummus and bagel chips. I didn’t think it was a bad choice and as I sat and waited for my order, I picked up one of the downtown papers and saw a quote:
“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” La Rochefoucauld
I began to think and even question if I was in fact an intelligent eater. Am I giving my body the fuel it needs to function properly are am I eating something that will continually keep me “out of shape.
I decided to put myself to the test. I went to the brand new all you can Hibachi Grille in West Augusta. There was more food than the eye could process and a line out the door of people waiting with baited breath to gorge themselves at the all you could eat trough. I must admit that I too was tempted. There was ice cream, sherbets, seafood that was fried, dyed and laid to the side. There were shrimp prepared 7 different ways, a seafood salad, green salad, and rice salad. There was a ton of rice with noodles, noodles with vegetables, fried rice, white rice, sticky rice oh my.
I saw big kids, little kids, even kids with rock, short kids, fat kids, and even a kid with a lollipop. The adults had plates that were brimming with selections of starches, meats, and breads. I went to the food bars and noticed there was Sushi and looked for some options on chicken. Again, it was either fried or covered in a sauce but lo and behold, in the back of restaurant was a line to the Hibachi grille. For a mere penance of a tip, he would prepare my meal on the grill with my choice of vegetables. If I opted for no starch, and just chose a protein based meal I could have it, or if I chose to have vegetable plate, I could do that as well.
Where do we draw the line and create an art of eating what our body needs to function properly, while enjoying the culinary arts. I believe the answer is moderation. Moderate yourselves to enjoy the beauty of a good meal out with family and friends, but with the good conscious to know what we need to be healthy. I know, we have heard it all before and have seen the arguments from everything in health care reform, to reality television urging us to be a bigger loser. We even laughed at the over eater who had a tendency to “over eat”. However, in order to be better in our every day lives, and to be better people, we have to take the small steps that take you on the bigger journey.
Saying no to that piece of cheesecake is a good step, or you can have the cheesecake and just not have a second helping. Start the journey small and set a goal and in the end, you won’t eat your self to death.