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Thursday, December 4, 2008


I feel terrible. I know many of you may think I am totally ignoring you. I am not.

My internet provider is obviously cousins with the state lottery because I never know from day to day and sometimes from hour to hour whether I will get connected. Service has been so dicey that when I do get on, I race to answer the emails that are urgent and hope I can get to the rest later.

So my sincere apologies for being absent.

This post is being written on the fly--typing it in Word and uploading it from an undisclosed location. I will also copy and paste all the blog posts I've missed from you guys in the past few days onto a Word document so I can read them later.

Meanwhile…the other purpose to this post is to strike back at all the Grinchy economic news we've had lately.

Adversity is where I shine. Give me a challenge and I will find a way to succeed. That's not an idle boast. When things are tough, I am energized.

In the US, we are officially in a recession. Big Whoop. That is not a big deal.

If you've been poor—and I have been—you learn how to make things stretch, last, and do double duty.

So today, I'd like to give some tips on how the Zannini household functions.

• Bulk buys
Things that do not expire--like paper towels, toilet paper, plastic wrap, etc. I buy in bulk. I don't have time to clip coupons and such, but I do scan the store specials. If I see a favorite item go on sale, I buy as much as I can store.

True story: Wal-Mart beat me at my own game. For many years at the end of Christmas, Wal-Mart would discount all their holiday paper towels to half off. Well, paper towels are paper towels. I don't care if there's a snowman on it. I would buy them by the case! They lasted me all year and I didn't have to worry about buying more until next season. But Wal-Mart and their tricksy inventory ways figured it out and they've since greatly reduced or stopped carrying entirely holiday-themed paper goods. If your stores still carry them, buy them by the case. It's the best savings of the year.

Want to save more money? Use cloth napkins and kitchen towels. Not as convenient, but more money saving.

• Read online
I love my newspaper, but you can get the same news online and for free. Want coupons? You don't have to rely on a paper for that either. Just Google 'coupons'. There are a lot of places that will put you on their mailing list and send you coupons to your in-box.

• Shop garage sales and thrift stores for furniture
I actually have better luck with garage sales, but I know people who get fabulous stuff from thrift stores. All it takes is a good eye and a little elbow grease.

I've bought name brand solid wood furniture for as little as a dollar. I strip, sand and refinish them to new quality. As long as the piece is solid wood, there is no reason you can't restore it to its former glory.

• get creative with Christmas decorating
I stole this tip from a friend of mine. She bought these really tiny picture frames, then photocopied and reduced favorite family pictures and put them inside. It is so warm and personal. She decorated a small tree and put it in her elderly mother's bedroom. The poor lady has Alzheimer's. Since these are all very old pictures, it is a constant source of comfort for her because they are from a time she still remembers.

That's all for now. I'll post some more tips as the weeks go by. Who knows, maybe I'll make it another series. How does 'The Frugal Friend' sound? I'll give it some thought.

Another Killer Campaign post tomorrow. For those of you new to this blog, Killer Campaign posts are where I discuss potential promotional venues.


Remember, if I don't answer you right away it's because I am in limbo.


Marianne Arkins said...

Thing is... we went thru a recession 20 years ago -- but I think two big things are in play with this one:

People have STUPIDLY overspent themselves and are in ridiculous amounts of debt; and

The media is hyping it like crazy, and making people panic.


I buy those huge packs of washclothes and use them for napkins and rags instead of paper napkins and paper towels. I hand wash my dishes instead of using the dishwasher. And, I buy nearly everything in bulk when it's on sale. I'm blessed with a basement -- half of which is for food storage.

Hope your internet gets a bit more reliable soon.

How are you liking the house?

Maria Zannini said...

My provider PROMISED me they'd fix my internet today. We'll see. I am still online in exile.

You are so right about the media. But the core of responsibility is still the consumer.

Let's see...we did this back in the 20s too. And, oh yeah, that brought on the Great Depression.

--sigh. People never learn.

You are so lucky to have a basement. And you are so frugal! My heroine!!!

I'd love to read more of your tips on your blog.

Ceri Hebert said...

Excellent suggestions! I do most of my clothing shopping at Salvation Army. My mom and I go on the days she gets her senior citizen discounts so we often get half our purchases at a dollar each. Our papertowel is provided by someone in housekeeping at a local hospital. Instead of throwing away the rolls they have to change, she recycles them, and now we have more papertowel than we need.

Maria Zannini said...

Hi Ceri. Welcome! That is a stroke of good luck being able to get the remainders of the paper towels.

And that's a good tip to pass on. Thanks!