get your local on- pop & lock.

2 12 2010

well, december is here. and that means that jerks like me who didn’t celebrate xmas shopping in july (and certainly didn’t sign up for any sort of xmas club) are all like “OH SHIT, i didn’t do any xmas shopping, and now i have no money and no time!” it’s last minute time folks, and the solution is simple- BUY LOCAL. we talked a little bit about it on plaid friday, but along with supporting/growing the local economy, shopping local has some additional benefits worth considering:

1. no exorbitant shipping rates. how many times have i filled my online shopping cart full of amazing discount goodies, only to find out that shipping will cost more than the merchandise. so not worth it. BOO!

2. no stress about things shipping on time. i spent last xmas tussling with an call center employee over a lost package that didn’t make it on time and RUINED XMAS. ok, not really ruined, but gifts lose a little bit of their potency when not given on the appropriate day. if you bought local, you wouldn’t have to worry about the shame of lost potency EVER AGAIN. plus, you can do all your shopping on xmas eve.

3. everyone buys the same crap at, and frankly, you’re better than that. screw the big label mass market consumer goods this year, and get your friends and fams something that they can’t get anywhere else but here. state pride doesn’t have to come in the form of a black bears sweatshirt (although it certainly could if you’re into that sort of thing), and there are tons of great local shops, companies and artisans hovering all around you just waiting to sell you the perfect gift.

anyway, this month i’ll be spotlighting some of my favorite local businesses where one can purchase thoughtful, exciting, and original merchandise at the very last possible moment, and never have to pay for shipping. today’s focus is on my very favorite food of all time- POPCORN.  fabulous flavored popcorn is a great xmas hostess gift, inexpensive gift for co-workers, stocking stuffer, or treat to put out at your holiday shindig (i’m over you potato chips!). or, if i’m on your xmas list- a garbage bag sized sack will do just fine. coincidentally, maine is packed full of gourmet/boutique popcorn poppers- and they know their shit. here are my favorites: Read the rest of this entry »

hitting the wall.

11 02 2010

i was so enthusiastic about gambling on february 1st, but i’ve spent $27 and made $28  (i lost my $7 lead after a disastrous round of lucky lobster bingo on tuesday night), and i’m having a hard time parting with my cash.  it’s a strange feeling that i’ve never had before. i think it’s called “saving”, but i’d have to confirm with my doctor.

up until recently, i’d never had more than $100 in my savings account.  usually more like $.24. or possibly -$2.13. i had one of those accounts that automatically transferred $25 into my savings every month. but every month, i somehow ended up transferring it all right back out. somehow though, even though i was living paycheck to paycheck, i was still making it work. i paid my bills on time, i pecked away (very very slowly) at my debt. i was doing fine, and saving was not a priority. saving was for suckers who lived in fear, suckers who didn’t want to use their money for fun.

except that the problem began to arise that i was only able to stretch my paycheck most of the time.  i’d be ok until i needed to pay an enormous tax bill or buy xmas presents, or get office casual clothes for a new job (pantyhose are pricey!). out came the plastic. and slowly, the credit card bills would start to creep back up, and the minimal headway i’d made on my debts would be lost in the shuffle.

last year, as part of my 43 things, i decided to open a christmas club account. this ended up being kind of stupid and pointless for a number of reasons, but it did get me balance transferring $100 a month into a savings account that was inconvenient for me to dip into.  and as of today, that account holds $1465.66. more money than i’ve ever saved in my whole life. (dismal!)

that’s where the weirdness comes in. now that i have it, i don’t want to spend it. i need new running shoes, and i should probably stop wearing my pajamas to dance class- but i can’t. i have in mind a perfect number, and i feel like i’m not allowed to touch it until it gets over that amount. if i ever do get there, it will be enough cash to get me through for a bit if i lose my job, pay a big-ass medical bill, or have some sort of other catastrophic money sucking emergency.

i know i’m pretty slow, but i think i’ve finally figured out why people save money. it makes me feel safe, and that safety is turning out to be worth the self denial that is saving.