Monthly Archives: November 2017

A Trio of Thanksgiving Tips

The week of Thanksgiving is an abundance of riches when it comes to topics for financial bloggers.  Travel…food…shopping.  These three things are all at the front of my mind and I’m having a hard time deciding.  So this week, you get a three-for-one.

Holiday travel is the worst…especially if you are flying.  Every time I fly, it seems like it’s less fun than the time before (and I assure you—it hasn’t actually been fun in many, many years).  But one thing remains constant when I travel.  I always throw an empty water bottle and travel coffee mug into my carry-on bag.  Most airports (including the tiny University Park airport) have bottle filling stations by the water fountains, so I can fill my water bottle once I’m through security and be set for the trip without buying expensive throwaway bottles.  And most places (including airport Starbucks stores) offer reduced pricing on coffee if you bring your own travel mug.  Carrying my own drinking vessels saves me a bundle when I fly!

Thanksgiving is a holiday that revolves around the family table.  But when the meal is complete and the dishes are done, my favorite part of the holiday is still to come:  the leftovers.  It’s so rare in today’s busy world that we prepare a large meal with lots of sides and a huge entrée.  But Thanksgiving usually means a full turkey.  Which almost always means leftovers.  So now is the time to make those turkey salad sandwiches and Google recipes for casseroles made with leftover turkey.  Freeze some for later.  And enjoy the fruits of the Thanksgiving meal for weeks to come.

And if you’ve been anywhere near a TV in recent days, you are more than aware that the busiest shopping day of the year is coming up on Friday.  I’m a sucker for a good sale and love early morning shopping on Black Friday.  But I never go at it blind.  I like to make a plan.  There are certain items I’m looking for as Christmas gifts, and there are some things I want for my home that I’ve been waiting for sale pricing on.  I’ll sit down Thursday night with the sale flyers from the newspaper and plan my attack.  Once I know what I’m buying where, I’ll compare store opening times and locations and make my list.  Usually I’m done shopping and back home by 8 am (and I usually don’t start until at least 6 am).  Shopping with a list is pretty efficient.  The key to not spending too much is to not stray from the list.  No impulse shopping means no overspending.

Happy Thanksgiving!!


For just a few dollars more…

I hate talking on the phone with a representative from the cable company.  It seems like they are always misleading.  That’s part of the reason that I became a cord cutter several years ago.  And usually I’m pretty good at not answering my phone when they call me to try to sell me services I don’t want.  But they caught me last week and I found myself on the phone with the cable people.

They tried to offer me a “great deal” to add cable television to my internet plan, keeping my costs basically the same.  Having been down this road before, I asked them to expand on what they meant by “basically the same.”  I asked specifically what would happen to the price if they were to add in taxes, fees, and the cost of renting a cable box.  Then “basically the same” turned into “only a few dollars more per month.”

I didn’t stay on the phone long enough to find out exactly what “a few dollars more” actually translated to.  I just declined.  Because “a few dollars more” is too much for me to pay for something I don’t want.  I don’t want cable.  I like having to carefully choose what television shows I use to escape life.  Hulu and Dish Sling and Netflix give me all of the TV I could possibly need.  Cable would load me up with excess channels I don’t care about.  It would burden me with an electricity sucking cable box.  And it would make it difficult for me to unburden myself from the cable company when whatever promo deal they were trying to sell me expires and they jack up the price (it took me about 40 minutes on the phone to cancel cable in the first place!).

I just said no.  They tried to tell me it was a deal I couldn’t afford to decline.  But any price at all is simply way too much when you are paying it for something you don’t want or need.  There’s a big difference between a bargain price and a burden.  Wise people can recognize the difference.