day 5: friday slump.

3 09 2012

i had such high hopes for this week. i was going to eat cleanly, do laundry, go jogging EVERY DAY… this week was the week that would make up for the other 51 weeks that i spend mired in guilt not doing any of the things on my “to do” list. this week was going to CHANGE EVERYTHING.

it started well.

i jogged, i cooked, i paid overdue medical bills. i wrote every day. i ate so many vegetables! Read the rest of this entry »





secret stash.

9 06 2011

so, i wrote a post for the goodwill of northern new england blog today about my insane vintage fabric collection… but i’m not sure when it will be put up. unfortunately, my broke207 post for today is the B side to that post. and of course,  i don’t have a back up plan.

so today, you’re just gonna have to watch the outtakes of the of the movie before you actually see the feature attraction.

i’ve been watching a lot of hoarders lately, and it is SCARING THE CRAP OUT OF ME. i’m a shopper, a collector, and a lousy housekeeper. i do actually delight in throwing/giving things away, and my house is never so messy that it can’t be cleaned in an afternoon… but as a card carrying member of the OCD club, i worry that something traumatic could happen and all of the sudden that switch could click on in my head and *bam* i could be living in this. Read the rest of this entry »





i try it- coupon buying adventure!

25 01 2011

so last week when i was writing about coupon contingency plans when you miss a newspaper, i mentioned the possibility of buying coupons from an online clipping service. i’d considered it before, but always got big case of the lazy (with a side of cheap), and decided that it wasn’t worth the risk of buying a bunch of coupons that i might not ever have the occasion to use. but recently, the coupon stars have aligned in such a way that it finally seemed worth the minimal effort to take the risk (and by risk, i mean approximately $6 and a week worth of waiting).

there is a deal at CVS that has been quietly bubbling away over the last few weeks- seemingly unnoticed or unnoted by the usual local coupon clipping suspects (although, maine  just doesn’t have the shelf cleaner problem that’s rampant in other states). apparently, every year in january, they clearance down all of their cosmetics that are being discontinued. well the time has come, and there are tons and tons of little orange (75% off) and yellow (50% off) stickers (it’s breathtaking really) littering the beauty aisles. in general, i’m not really a makeup person, and i am FIERCELY LOYAL to the things that i do wear. for example, i presently have a fridge full of discontinued max factor foundation (11 tubes purchased on ebay) that i’ve been wearing since the late 90s. but since i started the makeup project and also began my burlesque career, i’ve found a greater need for such products in my life (i finally figured out how to apply false eyelashes!). biggest issue- COSMETICS ARE FUCKING EXPENSIVE! on the final day of the makeup project when i was trying to fill in the last few holes, the cheapest blush i could find was $4.99! so this year, i’m stocking up my burlesque sparkle stash and beginning the makeup project good and early (2011 will be bigger and better than ever!), so i never have to be saddled with the tragedy and shame of paying for full price blush ever again.

this is where the clipping service comes in. Read the rest of this entry »





resolved.

2 01 2011

i was lucky enough to come into a bit of an xmas windfall this year. nothing earth shattering (most of it went to bills and to my saving’s account), BUT i decided to give myself a small allowance to spend on whatever i wanted. DANGEROUS. it could have been anything, or everything… i have a bad habit of burning through cash without really paying attention to where it goes, or really caring too much when it’s gone. i’m all like “oh, that’s was fun”, instead of feeling the intense sense of guilt and shame that keeps most people from getting in financial trouble.

the last year has overall been a good one for my financial evolution. this was the first year in over a decade that i didn’t use my credit cards even once. i also managed to have a savings account with actual money in it for more than 15 minutes. on the other hand, i didn’t pay off my credit cards as much as i would have liked, i didn’t manage to keep the majority of the money in my savings account, and i still didn’t start an HSA.

so for 2011, i have only one resolution. it isn’t to save more, or spend less, pay off the credit cards, or even open an HSA… (although all of those things are certainly worth keeping in mind). my resolution this year is just to PAY ATTENTION. wherever my money travels should take me this year, i would like to be watchful and be thoughtful about every dollar i spend. i’m thinking about leaving my debit card at home, giving myself a cash allowance, being more careful about monitoring my mint account… but it doesn’t really matter what i do, as long as i’m being vigilant.

i decided to lube up my resolution and get started a little early with the aforementioned windfalll. instead of just throwing the money into my checking account and going apeshit on whatever i happened to find first, i sat down and really thought about things that i wanted, needed, and would generally be too cheap or too broke to afford the rest of the year. here is what i came up with: Read the rest of this entry »





holy shit it’s father’s day.

16 06 2010

i’m really good at remembering things. childhood phone number? check. all US presidents in order in under 30 seconds (thanks mr. hickey!)? check. philip j. fry’s secret pin number (1077)? double check. although there do appear to be couple of serious leaks in my otherwise structurally sound memory including and especially: things i learned in high school history class (war of 18what?), where i put my keys, and holidays/special occasions. if you’re lucky i’ll probably remember christmas, but if you’re that guy that gets angry when people don’t celebrate you on your “special day”, maybe it’s time for us to reevaluate our friendship. birthdays are a blur, anniversaries are imaginary, and if you think i’m going to remember your kid’s 8th grad graduation… you’re fucking delusional. a few years ago, my mom called me up in early may and sweetly asked “honey, are you mad at me?”. apparently, i had zoomed past mother’s day without stopping to take a breath. i’m so sorry mom! i’m a terrible daughter!

i did manage to remember mother’s day this year (and am definitely making some headway with the addition of an iphone calendar into my life), but imagine my surprise when somebody told me that father’s day is sunday. THIS SUNDAY. um, i thought that shit was in august? in hopes that i might find some solidarity out there, i’ve decided to assume that at least all you still have yet to pick out the perfect father’s day gift (that is, if you’re a father’s day celebrator).  so without any further screwing around, i present to you: top 5 cheap & easy father’s day gifts that don’t look like you picked it up at the gas station on your way over.

1.  a project. booze is a father’s day staple for many (and frankly how many survive family holidays in the first place),  and it’s hard to go wrong with a bottle of great scotch or a case of a really good local microwbrew (this guy can make you a recommendation if you’re lost on the beer front).  but what about soliciting your dad for help in brewing your own hooch? the combination of bonding & booze is irresistible to many men, but if you choose to go the non-alcoholic route, it could be a beat up moped your found on craigslist, or a pasta maker,  or a build your own gazebo kit. it could be anything. the point is that for father’s day, you’re telling your dad that you want to spend time with him doing something awesome.

2. something from your childhood. don’t be fooled. men can be just as sentimental as the ladies, just in different ways. get a guy talking about his kids or his best friend, or the minute he fell in love with his wife… he’ll mist up mistier than misty dawn singing misty on the maid of the mist while playing myst and drinking a mr. misty from dairy queen. if you want to give your dad the gift of a hallmark moment this father’s day, consider giving him a sweet reminder of something wonderful you remember from your childhood along with a little note about how he was a really good dad. it could be a copy of the first movie he ever took you to, a book he used to read you at bedtime, or a framed photo of the best camping trip ever (*regift opportunity– repurpose a photo frame that contains a picture of an evil ex, and insert a really nice print of you & your dad on archival paper. i promise that dad doesn’t give a shit where you got the fame, plus you can release some of the bad breakup mojo still circulating in your life.)

3. something from his childhood. every child has their white whale- the toy that got away. the thing they wanted to for every birthday, christmas, bar mitzvah and never got. or maybe they got it- and tragically lost it through and unfortunate rough housing or little brother related accident. whatever the case, chances are your dad has been talking about it since 1956. use the power of ebay or local flea markets to try and track one down. ok, this one is a little short notice for sunday… but if you can harness your chi or whatever and make it happen, the payoff will be huge. dad will well up like a little girl, and you’ll be the hero that wiped out every failed holiday since 1956. (*bargain basement version– if you can’t find it or can’t afford it, find a picture of it and make your dad a card telling him how hard you tried to get it for him and that he’ll just have to accept your undying love instead. he’ll be so touched that you even considered getting it for him, he’ll probably slip your broke ass a $20 on the way out).

4. an event. i’m particularly partial to stubhub, but you can also score last minute/sold out event tickets on ebay and craigslist. the best part is that you don’t even have to have the tickets by father’s day, they just have to be “in the mail”. at this very moment, you can get tix to take your daddy-o to see some hardcore UFC action, or maybe some dirty dirty  chelsea handler stand up, or even to shake it with justin bieber. wait. strike that last part. as we get older and start our own families, one on one time with our parents starts to get scarce. it’s time to leave the kids, spouse, girlfriend, dog at home for the night and take your dad out on the date of a lifetime (*broke alert– no cash? try to score some free/cheap tix to a local sports or music event and cap it off with some late night pizza at otto).

5. an education. the boyfriend recently took his dad to a motorcycle permit class, and now they have matching bikes and have been terrorizing the suburbs on the weekends. cooking class, welding course, japanese lessons (*cheapster tip– buy him a how-to book, and try to learn something new together)… whatever you’re learning about, dad is going to be psyched to do it with you.

as i sad before, father’s day isn’t about stuffing your pop’s life with pointless gadgets from brookstone or sharper image (i mean, who really wants to chat with their meat thermometer anyway?). it’s about showing your dad that you actually care about him/ want to spend time with him/ remember and appreciate the time/thought/energy he spent raising you. so step away from the discount necktie section at the tj maxx. it doesn’t need to be pricey or elaborate, but give something with thought and with love, and give your dad a reason to brag to his buddies about how much better you are than their kids. after all, isn’t that what every dad wants for father’s day?





stalking the wild handbag.

13 03 2010

ok, technically it was a clutch. i first spotted it in the early 2000s in some vogue-y elle-y fashion-y magazine.  banana republic ad. it was love at first sight. i tore the page out of the magazine, and pinned it to the wall in my studio. randomly enough, i still have that ad, and it would later come to pass that i would also unknowingly purchase the sweater in that picture (apparently banana republic knows what i like). but that’s irrelevant.

at the time that ad arrived in my life, i had no money, and no access to a banana republic. as time went on, and clothing seasons  passed, i kept that ad pinned to my wall and continued to maintain my boner for the bag. i knew that someday, it would be mine. that’s because in 1999, i became a member of ebay (early enough that my handle doesn’t have to have numbers after it). along with being able to buy a bunch of crazy crap for low low prices, what ebay really means to me is that no coveted item is ever truly “sold out”, or even out of my price range. the key is patience. when i see something (anything) that i really love, even if i can afford to buy it at the moment, unless it is already at a once in a lifetime rock bottom price… i walk away. in a few days to a few weeks, i go back and visit. is it as sexy as i remember? can i still not picture my life without it? has the price dropped at all? do i have a coupon? at this point, the situation becomes a choose your own adventure book. if the answer is yes to all above questions, then i may buy the item and go home to make sweet love to it. if not, it’s wash, rinse, and repeat repeat repeat. then, one of 3 things happens: 1. in an ideal world, the price drops low enough that i let myself pull the trigger and buy it. 2. i tire of the stalking and forget about it all together (or more likely find a new love on an adjacent shelf). 3. the item is sold out before the price gets low enough for me to buy.

ebay time. the truth about the clutch is that i never actually saw it in person. it was online briefly at full price, but disappeared quickly. but then slowly, about a year and after the season had passed… it started to appear on ebay (and yes, i checked regularly for a year and a half). unfortunately, it appeared on ebay in PINK, and i would accept no subsitutions. boo-urns. another 6 months passed. eventually, a single yellow bag would arrive on the scene, and i would snag it for a mere $19.99 plus shipping. and even though i’ve had it for years and years now, that bag is still my ace in the hole. it automatically makes any outfit seem slightly dressier and more interesting. also, i have never carried it anywhere without it being lustfully molested by party guests or passers by. as far as i can tell, i have the only one in maine.

the moral of this story is that impulse buying at full price is for SUCKAHS! the internet means that if it’s worth even a few pennies, someone will be selling it. you just have to be tenacious and patient. the cliche is absolutely true. let it go, if it’s love, it will find its way back to you.

my next victim is the chanel 2005 bag. randomly enough, from the 1998 collection. it’s come down a bit in price from the original $1800, but i’m still going to need to sell a lot of plasma if i ever want this dream to come true. but don’t dare doubt it. i may be 97 when i get it, but it will be mine.

what are you stalking?





trash day.

4 03 2010

so, it was trash/recycling day on munjoy hill today, and as i was doing my early morning zombie stomp down the hill to work, i was reminded of an article i’d read recently on the penny hoarder. now this guy can be a little over the top at times, but he does have some pretty innovative ideas about making money. walking through the garbage strewn recycling day streets this morning, i remembered a particular scheme involving selling box tops for education. weird, right?

honestly, i’ve been throwing them away for years. i still don’t even really know exactly how the whole system works, but somehow they’re each worth $.10 to benefit the local school of your choice.  but that’s really not important. what is important is that for some reason, people will pay near face value for them on ebay. i picture lazy and indulgent parents buying their box tops online so that their children can win the pizza party, or whatever bullshit. why else would they be such currency? could anyone out there enlighten me?

anyway, apparently these little bitches are worth money. and there’s something that seems a little bit wrong about profiting from that, but hey- the school gets the money and so do i. win win. except that i don’t eat very much of this food. but when i saw the recycling bins lined up on the street i thought that if i could muster up the cojones to dig through people’s bins… those box tops could be mine!

no seriously, it that weird and wrong?