Shiny objects.

January 6, 2018 4 comments

foilSo I am torn. It does not usually happen to me.

(Yes it does. No, it doesn’t.)

I was all set to bring you a post about tin foil (yeah, I went there and called it “tin foil”) even though the industry has “recently” switched over to aluminum (the switch actually happened just after WWII but you can never be too sure its not going to revert at any time…) I still prefer the original term. What can I say? I am a purist. (For more fun facts and the shift from stiff tin to cheaper, more durable, less taste leaching substance, read here, but come back: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tin_foil).

Why is this week’s topic tin foil you ask? Because I think you are all doing it wrong and I am trying to rectify an issue of global proportions from a small PNW enclave where even as we speak people are tearing, molding, placing, unmolding and recycling (g-d forbid throwing away) their tin foil. And why? Because society told them to do so.

Well – I am here, now, to tell you that society is wrong, about single use destruction as well as many other issues we will deal with in later (and previous) posts. Today it was gonna be all about the foil. I wanted to “foil the myth” about the one time use of tin foil – whether you call it tin, aluminum or “Reynolds Wrap”. People – I implore you: shine on (and read on).

Blasphemy Blasting from the Hater of Waste (that would be me): you can re-use it. Yup. ‘Nuf said. You should currently be running to your recycling cans, pulling out all of the holiday wrap you tried to recycle that really cannot be (it’s too far down the re-use cycle) – throwing it away, but THEN retrieving your “aluminum” foil for re-use. It’s not exhausted, you are my friends, from working hard for the money you just threw away. But if you simply put it in the sink flatten it out, give it a quick scrub like your pots and pans and let it dry you can have a recycled foil sheet with which to:

  • Line a cookie sheet for roasting veggies
  • Cover food that needs to stay warm
  • Wrap beets or potatoes for baking
  • Re-covering leftovers
  • Giving frozen food a real chance of staying fresh in your “frost free” excuse for a freezer (that was a teaser for a later post where I have a throw-down with the crappy freezers everyone else bought)

Honestly, the limits are endless – dead-ending only at the edge of your imagination (which I just cracked open with a single sheet of shiny food storage).

Anyway…. I was going to write all about this. That is, until I had to pay a $6.00 service fee to buy movie tickets at a “seats reserved” theater for tonight. That issue is acutely worse than the ongoing tin foil-slaughter.

But I am tired now, and need to go knit a small shoulder blanket for a friend running a marathon soon. Think he will want the foil that smells like onions or broccoli…? (DOH – NOT SO. See what I did there I made sure you learned THERE IS NO SMELL retained on recycled aluminum foil.)

(More on unnecessary, imbalanced service fees next time.)

#upcycler

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Instigator.

January 1, 2018 1 comment

IMG_0457Happy New Year. The punch line…it’s 2018 – happiness is a full wallet and a less cluttered life. I would normally want to tattoo that on my right cheek, but the truth is, I am as susceptible to the holiday cheer (aka – S-P-E-ND) as the next guy. Each New Year for the Elovitz family brings a girthy VISA bill and a couple “why did I eat that” comments from the last month. This time, however, I front loaded and back loaded the season – and by doing so – may have saved a little a long the way.

For me it’s always been about control. I lost weight by CONTROLLING. I keep many things in my life afloat by CONTROLLING. It’s only recently I started realizing that that takes a lot of energy to maintain extremes and living more in the middle – though hard to master – is a better way. So I applied it to saving and spending.

A few of things I did that you, too, can try:

  • I made a list of gifts needed – given it’s the season for receiving (sorry Seahawks) and I shopped early – with a list. This “checking off” thing kicks up some endorphins in all of us.  Why do you think Santa is always smiling?
  • I returned a bunch of early gifts (which means I got endorphins 2 for 1 since I bought again).
  • Be a limited SKU shopper and maximize your dollars. I always shop at Tuesday Morning and Home Goods. I suggest you do so as well. Bargains abound.
  • Food wise – for parties or home – work with what you have in the house and build around the cabinet contents before shopping – AGAIN.
  • I saved a couple “free things” or old coupons for myself. This means I treated myself to something that I could have claimed all year, but chose to get during the holidays – saving the dosh and getting the joy. My best claim was a free lipstick from MAC called “Instigator”. (Mitch and I believe is the perfect nickname for me.) Think of me as the Jewish Woody Woodpecker.
  • Urge surf. If you have never heard of this – let me tell you – its critical. The fun of shopping, buying and having is a fleeting tug at your soul – positive or negative. The key is to find a way to wait it out. After I got the lipstick, heard the new “nickname” I wanted a vanity license plate. I knew it had to be mine. But instead of rushing out and getting vanity plates…. I waited it out and in the end – made this image and decided to use it on all of my email signatures. More people I care about see that than would every know who was behind the wheel of the Subaru.

Last tidbit for the day: live in the moment and somewhere in the middle. It takes less gas to get to the extremes from center. You can get there if you need to, but save your fuel.

Categories: Uncategorized

Re-runs are cheap.

December 25, 2017 Leave a comment

creativity fotrunte cookieYou know, to get this blog about saving re-inflated it would be easier (aka cheaper) for me to “re-run” a few blog posts from the 2010-2015 era. I could simply grab a couple lines I coined (see I worked two money terms into the first two sentences) about the thrifty Swedes or my old Volvo, call it new and grab you. It would be simple, since a great many of you – who are new in my life (still hanging around due to a lack of under exposure) have never read my yesteryear opines on saving. But honestly, it does not seem right for me to fall back on old laurels. It’s wrong to try and leverage forgotten fodder for newer friendships. Nope. New musings on money, saving and life for all. One bloody blog post at a time.

Yes. I promise to write more.

No. I will not plagiarize from my own stash (or others).

Maybe you’ll find the material amusing enough to go back into the archives. I hope you do for your sake. I was definitely funnier when I was younger.

For all readers, new, old, flush with cash or not- in order to get you back into the gist, this blog is meant to inspire you to live life richly, with a glance at saving. A glance? A glance is better than a wink to savings. Please, come linger with me.

BTW – this is the holiday season – have you noticed? For those of you – observing Christmas… it’s today. The pennies from heaven in Portland seemed like freezing rain – but for the rest of the lower 48 the ratt-i-tat on the rooftops was reindeer hooves disguised as a collection of credit card points. Cha-ching.

Yes, I thought it a good idea to re-start the blog today. I need it.

Like a New Year’s resolution after you eat three black and white’s – I needed to slow the bleeding. The ooze of my checkbook has spread a little bit of holiday rah-rah all over the U.S. economy. Sure I started in July… thinking I was getting ahead of things by purchasing a few sundries on clearance – but it only lead to a slippery slope of savings degradation. That shit has to stop. I am a saver and I am here to inspire.

Today, brothers and sisters, I am re-born. Tonight I am the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel of Saving. Sure, I might not have a 34-24-35 body like her, but let me tell you why… too pricey.

Welcome back. Remember reading is free. In fact, you might find your bank account retain its shape with a simple New Year’s Resolution. Save. your money.

N.B. For you, the person who read five old post today – bless you. I’m back, Baby.

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Smell the clean.

January 7, 2015 1 comment

Exhibit A. The murder weapon.

Exhibit A. The murder weapon.

Sometimes your day doesn’t go exactly as you planned, yah know?
Today started off as misshapen as a Belly Flop (look it up people) and got a little worse as it went on.

What were my stages into hell, you ask? And more to the point, did any of them pertain to money or is this simply cheap therapy? Read on to be sure.

1. I smashed a used, up-cycled glass spaghetti sauce jar while trying to tidy the kitchen. Glass everywhere.

2. A screaming match about the laundry lint trap not being cleaned out (this practice is to extend the built-in life expectancy of your dryer. The cleaning, not the yelling.)

3. Proceeded to kill a spider with a tissue box and then lost the critter in the carpet fibers. Serves me right for not abiding by a “live and let crawl policy”.

4. I could not for the life of me get the remnant Kiehl’s hair leave in product out of the bottom of the bottle (yes people, I turned it over for 10 days and tried to force it to drip to the “top”.) It still would not come out, and in the end, my vigorous shaking triggered it to fly from the plastic lip onto the mirror and smeared down the glass. (Why????)

5. No time for breakfast, because of the Kiehl’s debacle. Had to tote my meal to work in hopes of finding a way to the toaster in the kitchen (yes, I saved $3.75 by not doing what Maude would do… “Just buy.”)

6. Got to work and my 8:30am appointment was waiting for me in the lobby. No breakfast.

6a. Meeting at 9:30am. No breakfast.

6b & c. Meeting at 10 and 10:30am. No breakfast.

7. 11:15am, ate cold African peanut soup during a conference call. For breakfast. I felt like I was back in college. No I went to BU, not school in Nairobi.

8. Lots happened at work today. Enough to make me rub my face for an extra long time.

9. I left at 6:40pm, keenly aware that there was more African peanut soup for dinner (leftover hump day) and that I might turn into an African peanut.

10. Drove home in African peanut soup (it is the new version of Pacific NW fog).

And then, I smelled it.

Cleanliness.

I hired a cleaning lady to come and make my world better. My life is rich, sparkly and delightful. But a little extra shine and a little less dust make even the roughest start a smooth and silky ending. Try it. Convince your spouse – if there is a fight that you are worth it and they are worth it. Make sure it fits in the budget and then go find yourself a way to make sure it always fits in the budget.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

Saluoosh.

January 1, 2015 1 comment

bed suspenders

Sometimes there is not a word to describe how you feel, what you do or why you do something. It’s the soliloquy, less travelled.

When wordless choices happen to you – quick – make your own. They are cheap; you can claim ownership and others might quote you – beyond the urban dictionary.

Today it was time for me to launch a new phrase for my saving’s vernacular. As I mentioned on a recent post – the retail establishments of the 21st century have started expanding their own terminology for their selling floor. Sure, just like the Inuit population – who has 50 words for frozen precipitation, the retail world’s newest catch phrase for the cash register approach is the “opportunity section” (see one of my recent posts for an elaboration on the term). I dare say that today – once again – I went into the aforementioned “opportunity section”, blood-let some hard-earned doubloons, and a new word was born.

You might be wondering how the Super Saver – The Clutcher of Coins – fares during the holiday season? Please people, I am a Saver, I am not the Saviour. I, too, was hit by a multi-bill Nordstrom charge, a party budget that exceed my normal chip and dip extravaganza and un piece de resistance – a new bed for my daughter. The holiday rush affects me – just like it does everyone else. I am human. But the key is to not lose one’s self in the mayhem. Let the “may” be a “maybe” and hold out on your purchases. Try to know that:
A. You REALLY need it;
B. You FOUND the best price;
C. You are SURE it is the solution to your needs.

Overall, if you can keep your impulse purchases to under $30 a trip, you’ll be very successful-la-la-la…la-la-la-la.

And so, this holiday season, we were a saving success story. No major financial commitments made. And only a few large purchases achieved by using our patent pending process:
Stop (think about it);
Drop (the item in question);
Roll (away).

The largest purchase, we authorized? A bed for Maude. She’s now 5’ 7” and is hanging off the full sized bed we bought for her 7 years ago, by 4 inches. Basically the kid I used to call “Short pants” is a “long trouser” and she needs a bed that will keep her from having pre-mature “drop foot”. She needs an extra long full.

So… we shopped, compared and identified the best quality for the price. We special ordered and it’s coming soon to a bedroom like hers.

But what about sheets….

This is where they get you. Beware you who require special sized – ANYTHING. The Extra Long Sheet set is the equivalent to the women’s shoe – sized 13 and the 24-inch shirt neck for men. Bottom line, these products like the sheets we need are elusive, and expensive.

Sure, you can get anything from Amazon. Echos of, “Bed Bath and Beyond has what you need,” rattle in my mind. But do you know the price of discovery? $129.99 for a set of extra long full sheets. I am sorry. I will f-ing sew them myself before I pay that. And then it hit me. What would a person do to try and make the queen sheet fit the X-long full? I researched and found out that there is a product, not unlike suspenders, for your bed. You lay them on top of the bed box spring once and then you simply dress you bed for a lifetime – in queen sheets. Clutch One. Retail nil. Thus the new word. Saluoosh.

Financial Rapture.

December 22, 2014 3 comments

Little Nikki. All dolled up.

Little Nikki. All dolled up.

The lottery.

A wise man once told me that it was impossible to win if you do not play, and I firmly believe that truism. Seriously, how many of you possess a Fairy-G-d person in your life who would be thrilled to grant you a Powerball ticket, with the correct picks, post drawing. If you do know some Fairy, please send them to me – post-haste. Until that time, please refrain from betting on the Fairy. If you want to win, you have to pay to play….

In measuring lottery interest, mine can be ascertained by the number of tickets in which I have invested in over my adulthood. Now don’t get me wrong, I know I “have something” (and it’s not just great hair and stamina) – I was a very lucky child. How so you ask?
– I found change in almost every pay phone I ever prodded.
– I discovered a $20 bill stuck in a book once, in a bookstore.
– I was chosen for the kindergarden fundraiser which consisted of modelling the fall and spring fashions of 1974, at Jonathan Maynard Elementary.

(On that last proofpoint, it might not seem like luck at first blush, but if you saw the pictures – it had to either be luck or the fact that no one else fit into the little navy frock with the emboidered apple emblazened upon the chest. See photo above. Let’s go with luck for now, ok?)

Bottom lining it people… Lady Luck, herself, dines with me on a regular basis.

So how many lottery tickets have I purchased? Maybe 20 in my entire adult life. A few have been because my husband asked me to, every once and a while a couple were gifts which – had they been winners – would have paid dividends beyond our wildest expectations and really deserved a thank-you yacht. And then there were the group ones. But what did they all have in common? Each little paper promissory carried a dream and an assured belief I would win. (Good thing I am a winner in life).

(And this is the part of our blog interlude where the post’s title means more than happiness).

With the lottery, at times, there are large jackpots that interest the casual player draw them to their local 7-11 for more than a Slurpee. For instance – a real frenzy trigger seems to be about $70 million. All of a sudden – $70M becomes significant. $62M, for some reason does not have the same cache. At a measly $62M payout, you’d never be able to show your face around the club. (I assume everyone would need time to adjust to the lower socio-economic level… Riff-raff).

Seriously, when the proverbial pot climbs and the payout (gross) is somewhere around $70M people start scheming and dreaming. Each joins in to ultimately search out the big payout. I have a hypothesis that in the event a person is offered a check for $50,000 tax free versus a lottery ticket for $70M, they might choose the dream over the reality. I personally am a “one in the hand, is worth two in the bush”-type-gal, and therefore would likely opt for the sure thing. It’s a control and safety thing for me. But… hell… this isn’t a post about me, it’s about the lottery (and of course how I feel about the lottery).

Grand fear. Choosing to not “go in” on the group lottery ticket at work and they hit pay dirt.

What is financial rapture? It’s when all of your co-workers grab their winnings and never come to the office again. You are left at the water cooler, alone or with the other schlubs, wondering why you were too pig-headed to buy into the fantasy. How lonely.

As you know, I am not into wasting money, but the thought of being left behind makes me shudder (and drop 2 bucks into the kitty.) Meow.

Supporting the economy.

December 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Supporting the economy.400a

Yeah. That 400-point gain today. That was me.

You can all thank me later…

Of course it wasn’t only me, but I was definitely a driving force. As some of you know I consider myself the Faith Popcorn of trends – just I am not popped yet. (Go look her up and feel smarter.)

To elaborate – I can spot a trend. I can start a trend. I can also stop one in its tracks.

How do I know? I brought paella back. (You might not have known it was gone, but it was.) I knew that schnauzers would be back in vogue (within the century). So what did I do? I bought two, to be ready. Think I am wrong about it? Mentally cruise your neighborhood canine population and get back to me with an off the hip count… I know of a righteous 6-pack of German silverbacks in my haunt dying to bark at you from their saliva-glazed windows. (Whoops, that’s my house.) Take my word for it, know when a trend is about to hit. And I smell money. Market on the rise.

The 400-point spike today – the highest since Nov 2011 (which I also had a hand in triggering by throwing a 42nd birthday party for myself… not) was brought on by a swirl of effortful government control, slowed rate hikes, oil prices on a slump and yes. I spent money.

Realizing that I cannot possibly take credit for the surge all on my own, I want to thank the nice lady who bought the mega pack of Jelly Bellies in the “opportunity section” of Home Goods. I did my “holiday shopping” there last night. Savvy Shopper FYI Alert – Did you know that the new, elongated experience of small knick-knacks, candy, soda pop and smelly candles which is housed in a TSA-like snaking aisle before the checkout in stores is referred lovely as the “opportunity section”? The retailers have set up this garden maze of faux plants and Red-Hots for your “shopping enjoyment” (please read the definition of the word “enjoyment” here as “extension”). Yes, that is what the 18-year-old check out girl who carefully wrapped all of my items in pre-shredded hamster cage paper told me – opportunity section. This young Retail Rita also let me know that people have been jovial this season at the new Home Goods store, to the point that they are allowing others to pass them by in the opportunity section, as they continued to “not be ready” to check out.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need another opportunity to shop, I am already there. What I do need is the ability to get it all done, call it good, limit the choices, stick to a budget, and move on.

And that is what I did Wednesday night. I moved the needle on the Dow with my contribution to the consumer-spending index. Index me down two bills and 9 gifts.

Categories: Uncategorized
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