Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Staying Positive

The economy is getting better for some, but for others the job market is still waning, and communities are still hungry. I know that my own health care coverage has doubled in price, my husband has taken a cut in pay, and my business has dropped off considerably.

If you have to wake up in the morning and face new days, one after the other, you've got to look to the future. You've GOT to think positively. Why not assume that it will be brighter than it is? Historically, recessions heal. When this one passes, just think of how much wiser and more frugal that you'll be! Here are a few of the things that I'm doing, that I will continue to do, even after things get better;

If you're reading this, you have access to a computer. Signing up on EBay is simple. If you have an email address, go to www.ebay.com and sign up! Things that are popular on EBay are jeans, t shirts with cool writing on them, kitchen items, collectibles, end other household items. You can even type in "most popular sale items on EBay" and they'll tell you what's hot today. I had so many books on health and fitness that I collected over a career spanning 30 years, I opened an EBay Bookstore. Checkout www.cliffviewbooks.com

Another GREAT idea that has been helping is that I've become a "Mystery Shopper." Another thing that is done completely online. You sign up for a company that has been hired by your local grocery store chain, and virtually spy on different aspects of the store. You buy something from the deli while having contact with the deli employee, you place something in the bottom of the cart to test if they will catch it (of course, you bring it to their attention if they don't), and at the end, you fill out the evaluation form and file for a reimbursement of what you've bought. So, you get a free lunch from the deli, and I always need dog food or a bag of treats for the bottom of the cart test. The Mystery Shopper assignment times are generally evenings or weekends, so even if you have another job, you can shop during your off time and get reimbursed for your groceries.

I've eliminated my land telephone line and use only a cell phone now. I have wireless internet, so instead of faxing, I send scanned attachments. Almost every printer includes a scanning option these days. That alone has saved over $100.00 a month.

Lastly, my organic garden is looking wonderful! It's not big, but it's an area of the yard full of pots and potting soil filled with tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, beans, peppers, squash, cukes, and carrots. If nothing else, we won't go hungry. I'll save my visits to the deli for that one greasy treat every week.

Hang in there. Just think of how educated you'll be when money starts flowing again. It will. I've seen this before!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Put your "dibs" on Locally Grown

If you aren't fortunate enough to have a garden of your own, now is the time to hunt down your local organic gardeners. By buying locally, you can save the earth the burden of trucks shipping your food across the country.

At a local food meeting last night, there was a lecturer who shared his story of advertising on Craigslist that he was willing to take excess vegetables off of the hands of local growers. True. By the end of the growing season last year, my husband and I hoped to never see another zucchini again! We gave so much away, even our friends were hiding from us.

Now is a good time to put your "dibs" on that excess. Not only will you be saving good quality FREE food, but possibly saving the environment from one cross-country truck.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Food, Glorious Food!

We left the ranch two years ago. It's hard to believe that we ended up in the burbs. The economy, real estate, etc. We thought that we were building a house in the burbs to sell, then it all went south. Of course, we've made the best of it, and I'm on my wonderful vegetable garden for the third season! We've got a nice plot that we brought organic soil to, but now I'm on the crazy roll of dumping seeds anywhere that they'll fit!

Last year, I discovered "cabbage loopers" for the first time. I was so naive back then. I saw these beautiful white butterflies flying around me while I was bonding with the earth. No idea. Later in the year, I found these green worms on my broccoli and cauliflour. I was confused. Although I've had many gardens in the past, they've all gone well. No pests, no problems. Just lucky, I guess.

When I spotted the worms, I thought that they looked like tomato worms. Couldn't figure out where they had come from. We didn't even have tomatoes yet! I couldn't imagine that they were marching across the street from a neighbors house.

Well, remember those pretty white butterflies? Bastards! They were laying eggs on my plants from the cabbage family. Broccoli and cauliflour. Bastards. They ate holes in everything. No broccoli and cauliflour this year!

For a really healthy diet this summer, remember to go with color. Fill every pot and planter that you can find with carrots, tomatoes, peppers, etc. Even if you don't have a lot of room, a little color goes a long way in nutrition. Have fun!