savin' and smilin'

Honesty is the Best Policy

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Let me be frank. I haven’t updated this blog in, oh, five zillion years. And for that, I want to apologize to my followers, though I am 99 percent sure there aren’t any at this point. But I do want to let any lone readers out there know that I will be updating this blog much more frequently. I stopped because I reached a very difficult point in my life, and everything just got busier and harder (as growing up tends to make life). However, I am starting to get back into a groove again, and I feel inspired to write about, what else, money! I have no money at this point. Zero. Zilch. Nada. But that’s OK, because I am finding ways to survive! I would like to share those ways with you all, but I’ve got to go cook up some cheap-o spaghetti noodles with cheap-o sauce and cheap-o cheese so I have the energy to fuel my brain with better ideas for posts. I tend to ramble, so I don’t want to waste anyone’s time while they are perusing my site. I promise, I really do have some good ideas. So stick around!

But be prepared, the sob story will come before the fantastic ideas. And by sob story I mean: Wah, I have no money. But trust me, it is not the end of the world! However, if you have no income, period, you may want to look into getting a job. Unfortunately, this society we live in thrives on the green stuff.

Sigh, I’m rambling again. Ta ta for now!


Planning a Chicago Trip … on a Budget!

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2009 at 2:54 pm
Danny and I smiling at the Baltimore Inner Harbor last year.

Danny and I smiling at the Baltimore Inner Harbor last year.

So my boyfriend, Danny, and I are working on organizing a Chicago trip for the beginning of August. I am certainly excited, but a little worried that the cost will add up to be a little more expensive then I’m comfortable with. Therefore, I am searching for savings and watching my spending like there’s no tomorrow.

I am not quite used to buying nice things for myself. It is not that I do not have nice things because, to be completely honest, I do. I am spending four years in college without any loans, I am living in an apartment off-campus with cable and high-speed Internet — the main difference here is that my parents, lucky me (I know), pay for these things. As my boyfriend explained to me yesterday, my parents look at me as an investment for the future. They don’t expect me to pay them back or buy them lavish things (though I’m sure they would enjoy that); they simply expect me to do well in life. And I am certainly trying my very best to make them proud.

Even though my parents have been very helpful in terms of funding my education and rent, they have instilled in me the importance of saving and spending wisely.

As for Chicago, I shall be drafting a budget with Danny, no matter how much he squirms, in order to save us from throwing our savings into a one weekend trip and coming back broke as jokes. This Chicago trip is important, since we both are considering moving there after graduation, so we are planning to spoil ourselves a little, but as in everything in life, there is always a self-imposed limit. At least, there is with me.

For anyone who is interested in booking trips for less, try Orbitz or Expedia; I had luck with the latter. For now, Danny and I have already paid for a room at Sutton Place on Magnificent Mile the Gold Coast (pictured below) — a bit more expensive than I wanted, but hey, you’ve got to splurge every once in awhile.

A boat skids across the Gold Coast, Chicago. © Parker_Lewis/Flicker

A boat skids across the Gold Coast, Chicago. © Parker_Lewis/Flicker

Expedia was great because they had a 24-hour sale going on for Sutton Place, at a rate of 45% off the original price. Danny had originally booked our room at Sutton Place through another Web site, but he quickly cancelled and booked with Expedia, saving us almost $100 total.

Another tip: when booking online, make sure you can cancel. This is very important as online sales happen all the time with different sites.

Also, check out Twitter for savings on travel and tips for your trips. I know, I know — Twitter. Have you heard enough about Twitter yet? But honestly, many hotels and travel businesses have Twitter accounts, and their PR people are usually more than willing to help out with planning; you may even score a few coupons out of the deal.

Well, I shall update on this Chicago trip more later, but feel free to comment! Thanks for reading.

Q & A: living in the Depression

In Uncategorized on June 6, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Grandmother Jennie Maceyka of Granville, Mass. (born in 1928)

Grandma's throwing the peace sign.

Grandma's throwing the peace sign.

Q: What do you remember about life when you were younger?
A: My father, the mail carrier, had a “stage” [truck] and he gave rides to people to get into the city. There was also no formal kindergarten back then.

Q: What about money is different now?
A: Well, we didn’t have much — no allowance. We didn’t have the money.

Q: How did you learn to manage money?
A: It was automatic because I watched my mother. And Grandpa and I were careful, because we wanted to buy a home.

Q: What kinds of jobs were available back then?
A: When I was a teenager, the best job around was working in tobacco. We sewed leaves together and hung them up to dry. That was the best paying job in the summer, so that’s what a lot of kids did. I babysat next door, too. I’d be walking down the road, no flashlight, keeping an eye on the branches against the sky. You could feel the sand on your feet and realize you were off the road a little bit.

What was the transportation like?
A: We were lucky back then that we did have a bus that picked us up and brought us home. One city had a bus but a lot of students had to walk a ways to catch it. We’d also play baseball back then. First base was the telephone pole.

What resources were used in your school?
A: They were just basic: reading, writing and arithmetic. Later on there was art and music, as we got in the higher grades. I could remember there were these bells. A piece of wood with bells on the end, and we all fought over it. Later we had a gym. We had baseball, softball and basketball. We even had a horseshoe pit one time. One of the horseshoes hit me in the leg; I think I still have a dent! I don’t remember us having what you would call a library. But our school has grown; it’s been enlarged.

What kinds of colleges were around then?
A: Grandma went to a school for teaching. I wonder if they had Westfield State [a local college] back then. My mother was boarding in Springfield, and then went to “normal” school to become a teacher. They did a lot of traveling back in those days to get kids to those schools. We had basic to 8th grade. There was no high school in Granville. Later on, they had vocational high and their curriculum was enlarged. They have automotive and word working there; they also have science classes, bookkeeping and English. We had a gym teacher and a sewing teacher, for those that took sewing.

Q: What did you do after schooling?
A: I graduated in ’46. We [Grandpa and I] got married in ’48. After high school I worked in the office at Noble and Cooley Drum Co. They made toy drums, etc. It seemed the easiest thing to do because of transportation, since we lived right in Granville. People would be laid off, and then brought back. I don’t know if it was a demand for the merchandise or what, but for part of the year they were laid off for a few weeks. It was just certain people; some they kept on. Noble and Cooley do very little now. They don’t have many people there. They have opened a museum with some of the things they used to make, like tambourines and drum sets.

What other kinds of jobs were available?
A: There was a box shop in town, where people built boxes, and there was the orchard, with people picking apples and other fruit. A lot of people went to work in Westfield and Connecticut. There wasn’t much in Granville.

Q: Has the current economic recession affected you at all?
A: I’m pretty good about staying the same. I really haven’t had any problem. Because I don’t go out for a job, it’s what I have coming in. I’m OK. I don’t have any large problems. I get some from Grandpa’s retirement and Social Security. Thank my hubby; he did well. He had a good job and he worked hard. His boss really respected him. They respected each other’s views on things.