In today's economy it is easy to scale back on spending, unfortunately most people cut back spending in the wrong areas. We cut back in areas where we don't feel the sting of sacrifice. Many of us like to take vitamins, buy the expensive warranty for the very expensive flat screen, wear sun screen or take other measures to try to prevent something from happening that will really break the bank. We do this with the use of preventatives. The definition of a preventative is something that in intended to stop or impede something from happening, to be used as a measure of precaution.
Preventatives are useful only if they are used. The only problem with them is that they can really be expensive. Tough economic times make people cautious about how they spend their money. It is no wonder that people cut back on preventatives because they become more of a luxury than a necessity. Unfortunately by skipping the preventative you end up with a very costly problem in the long run.
I’ve learned the hard way about scrimping on the preventatives and regret holding on to my cash tighter than a pair of Lindsey Lohan’s leggings. I justified blowing off my preventatives by saying to myself, “Some things just have to wait, I can’t sacrifice my house payment for all these preventatives.” Bust somehow I still found money to go out to eat and to the movies. It is simple, I wasn’t really saving money. I was simply avoiding sacrifice. I didn’t want to sacrifice my social activities that cost money for the preventatives that save money. Oh what a lesson I have learned.
Now as fall comes upon us, I am stuck with bills that are a result of a summer of spending versus a summer savings and a little sacrifice. Preventatives could have saved me some serious cash.
First I blew off renewing my anti-virus for my PC laptop. At $50 for a year subscription, I figured if I stayed off the internet I’d be okay. Well HELLO....that is the only reason I power up my PC. The internet is my porthole to all things I need and love. My email, my blog, my tmz.com (guilty pleasure), my online banking. Everything is online, so there I went unprotected into the world wide web of trojan viruses and spyware. I was defenseless angainst those sneaky viruses. Surfing Yahoo without an antivirus was like strolling down a dark New York City alley alone and wearing a mini-skirt- NOT SMART.
After a few days of unprotected adventures online my PC criiiiiiizzzzzaaaaashed! I mean caput, nothing, nada. I was so worried I had lost all my pictures and documents I had been foolishly storing without backup. So I wrapped up my trusty laptop in a towel (such a sophisticated laptop case) and headed to the “local guy” for help. I was trying to save money by avoiding the Geek Squad at Best Buy and hoped this local outfit could fix my baby. I was already kicking myself for not renewing my Trend Micro Antivirus.
My first clue that this repair shop might not be the best option was the overwhelming smell of pot circling the young pup that slowly strolled to the front to ask me, “Whaaaaat’s Uuuuup Maaaaaaaan?” But my cheap streak once again justified this budget bet by telling myself, “Who better to fix a computer than a stoner who does nothing but mess with PC issues all day?” Well two days and $50 later I picked up my baby and it was worse than when I dropped it off. Oh, and of course I signed a waiver that said they didn’t guarantee any work involving viruses. Nice.
I clearly should have sprung for the preventative of anti-virus software. I had to spend $118 for the Geek Squad to work their magic and I was lured into the world of Mac. Yes, I walked out with a $2500 Mac Book Pro (computer+warranty) all because the salesman won me over with the promise that Macs don’t get PC viruses, ever! He must have been listening in as I rehashed my issues to the Geeks because he said all the right things and now I’m a Mac. That 18 months no interest will get you every time. Although I LOVE my Mac and I’m glad my PC was saved by the Geeks, I wish I would’ve just clicked that “Renew Now” button and spent the $50. I would have saved in the long run.
The second area I scrimped on and I’m paying for heavily was the idea that I could skip the dogs’ frontline flea preventative. Note to self.....NEVER SKIP FRONTLINE IN THE SUMMER, NO MATTER THE COST. That business is worth it’s weight in GOLD. I do have a small petting zoo of pets (LOL) and it gets pricey to dose them all every month. The vet did say that frontline will help keep fleas at bay for atleast 3 months per dose so I work that to the max. The package should say “up to 3 months and not a day longer.”
Because I put off purchasing the flea fighter for a couple of weeks after the 3 month mark and POOF-game on. The fleas were all over my dogs. Not crazy infestation but I could see a few crawling around. One flea=Too many. They are gross and carry diseases. Don’t forget how hard it is for the dogs, all the itching and scratching.
If I would have just stayed on the routine of getting the frontline every three months I wouldn’t have had to really break the bank. But because I was cheap I was out $15 for flea shampoo and spray, $10 carpet flea killing dust, $24 yard spray, $10 flea comb, and new pet bedding for all the kids costing $50. Yikes I felt like a was an official government de-contamination specialist. Needless to say weeks later I am still seeing a flea now and then. I never saw one flea when I was faithful to the preventatives. I am a forever frontliner after this summer.
This preventative is for the home owners out there. Be sure to change your air filters on your heat & air systems. I didn’t even know there were filters to be changed when I bought my house. I am embarrassed but the bank doesn’t hand out owner manuals to single women when they purchase a home. My AC unit ended up going out the first year because I hadn’t changed the filters. Man, expensive lesson learned.
Here are two preventatives I want to remind the young people to remember; birth control and regular teeth cleanings. These are two preventatives that if skipped can cause expensive and painful situations; having a baby or getting cavities. Stay true to the birth control and get your grill to the dentist.
Think about the preventatives in your life that you have skipped (oil change, tires, yearly gyno visits) and think how much money and peace of mind you will save by just doing it already!!! Preventatives are the necessary evils in this world but many times they end up becoming a guardian angel in the time of need. They save you money in the long run. I know we live in a world of instant gratification but it is our responsibility to forsee the costs that will creep up if we forgo the preventatives. A little sacrifice is hard to swallow but we have to grow up and give up the wants for the needs.
Today is Monday. Mondays are the kick-off to a long workweek for most people. Some of you drove to work with your motivation music pumping just thinking about all the great things you will accomplish this week at your career. The other 99% of us reluctantly poured our lifeless bodies into our four-door fuel efficient G-rides and dreaded the drive to our jobs. Comedian Chris Rock even says, when you have a career you love it, there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done you want to do. When you have a job, all you got is time, time to think about how much time is left until you go home. So if you want to kick your current job to the curb and find a new career, here are some tips on how to get yourself noticed (for the right reasons) at the next networking event you attend.
I read The Art of Schmoozing article by Gloria Auth and it has some wonderful tips for those who want to get ahead. She reminds us that management is looking for those who posses excellent people skills and who can adapt to a variety of social settings and situations. Some of the following information is from her book Seven Seconds to Success. I’ll underline her points. The commentary and other info is from yours truly.
Entering a room full of strangers is not a favorite past time of most people. According to statistics, 40% of adults have social anxiety and 75% of all adults experience anxiety at a party with strangers (this obviously is softened at the holiday parties where many people get drunk and make an ass of themselves). So if you feel anxious when invited to an event, you’re not alone.
It is said a person has 7 seconds to make a first impression. Think of the last time you had to introduce yourself to someone. How do you think they took you? How do think they saw you and your potential as a friend, leader, or new employee. Look at yourself right now. Are you in the shape (sharply dressed, mentally and physically healthy) you want to be in when you meet influential people who can get you where you want to have a career?
7 seconds isn’t long so make those seconds count. Here are ten tips to help you make a good first impression while “working a room” without working up a sweat.
I hope this fun facts help you at your next networking mixer. Remember that they are a great way to meet potential employers or people who know potential employers. Load up on business cards so you can easily give out your contact information. Another option is to create a “contact card” with your personal contact information instead of using your work business card. This helps avoid the unfortunate situation of someone calling your office and leaving a message that could raise eyebrows that you are on the job hunt. Enjoy your event and stay positive. We all want to find the right fit when it comes to our career. Acting in a positive and professional manner at a networking event is the first step to making the contacts you need to succeed.
Be sure to leave any suggestions you may have for other reading to put to work. Feel free to email email@example.com with any questions or blog suggestions. Have a fabulous week! Shoulders back, head up, chest out, and kick some butt at whatever it is you do! You might as well be the best at your job while you look for your career!
First let me say sorry about being off the blogosphere for a quick minute. I have been substitute teaching (gag) during the week to fill up the time when I am not at tradeshows. I am also finishing my alternative teaching certificate so if I want to mold the minds of the youth I can do so legally....lol. Time has been flying by but I’m here now and ready to blog away. I am going to continue to feature stories about all things frugal and fabulous. Today’s blog is exactly that, an ode to frugality. Enjoy.....
When I was younger (ala~college age) my dear friend Kali and I would joke about how nice it would be when we graduated college, got rich, and could graduate from living our “Equate Lifestyle.” Equate referring to the budget brand alternative we had to buy at Wal-Mart in lieu of name-brand anything and everything. Well eight years later I have definitely graduated college, not become rich, and now more than ever embracing my “Equate Lifestyle.
The current economic issues are very real and most babes are feeling the pinch. I didn’t necessarily lose bags of cash in investments when everything came crashing down because hello....I didn’t have any invested, yikes. “If ya ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” But...most of my clients did lose and so inadvertently I was effected by this economic crunch. As many of you know I own a retail business that specializes in jewelry and accessories called The Posh Spot. (insert shameless plug for www.theposhspot.net here) The ladies quit spending as much and so I haven’t been selling as much. I began to see a real difference last December at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Sales and attendance were down 30% across the board and that was the first sign of trouble. When people aren’t even drunk and happy spending in Vegas then something is way wrong. Many business owners agree that 2009 continues to showcase a consumer who is cautious and holding on to their cash. I know I am. So in the spirit of frugality, I want to dedicate this blog to the “Equate Lifestyle” and compare some products to show you we frugalistas do get a good bang for the buck.
Today I’m going to focus on beauty and personal care products because that is what I have bought the past few trips to Wally World. I’ll break it down into the savings per ounce on the liquids since that really is what showed me how much I was saving. Now remember peeps- I’m not a scientist, mathematician, or a certified guru on personal care products (not yet anyway) so this is all my opinion and statistics that my math abilities allow.
All of us probably have a pump bottle of liquid soap by our sinks throughout the house. Liquid soap is really the norm in hand cleaner now. Bar soaps are not usually seen unless you are in prison, a Motel 6, or a mechanic’s garage....hello scratchy Lava bar. In our homes we love the convenience and scent of easy cheesy liquid soap. Even in public all we have to do is just put our hands out and the automatic dispenser will shoot some out. I like easy. Everyone does. But suds at home can get expensive.
My indulgent side would love to scamper over to Bath and Body Works every month and buy all the hot new scents to have by my sink but the reality is that I have to watch every penny and the mall is not where I need to buy my soap! The best place to buy my liquid soap is Wal-Mart and money is saved by opting for bulk. You probably already have a near empty bottle waiting to be replaced so try refilling it instead. I’m not suggesting a Sam’s Wholesale bulk fall-out shelter amount purchase but Wal-Mart sells Equate Liquid Handsoap in a 64oz jug of fun and you can refill your kitchen and bathroom bottles for a fraction of the cost.
Here is the break down: If you buy even the small individual 7.5oz bottles of Equate brand soap for $.98. I’ve been buying those lately because I thought it was the cheapest way to secure suds. Today I saw the big refill jug and decided to do the math. The small 7.5oz bottles cost you $.13 per ounce. An Equate 64oz bottle is $3.68 so that breaks down to only $.06 per ounce. So you basically get alteast 50% off by buying in bulk.
That is a great deal considering when you go to Bath and Body Works and purchase a normal bottle of their 8 oz anti-bacterial hand soap it will cost you $4.50 and that my friend breaks down to $.56 per ounce!!!!! Yikes, goodbye Sweat Pea and Exotic Coconut, hello Equate Refill Jugs! It’s hand soap people, who cares the brand or scent. With all the H1N1 scare we need to be diligent about clean hands at home so as long as it kills germs I’m fine with economic Equate.
Beauty products can seriously break the bank so I was relieved to see all the Equate options when it came to skin and hair care. Here are some of the comparisons of cost.
Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Shampoo 13oz bottle $3.99= $.31 per oz.
We all love Sarah Jessica’s favorite brand but that can add up so I opted for:
Equate Fortifying Shampoo 13oz bottle $1.97= only $.15 per oz.
You are saving atleast 50% this way!!!! The bottles look almost identical but it’s the similarities in the ingredients that make me confident in this choice. Heck for under two bucks if I don’t like it and my hair is less than Sex in the City quality, I will spring for SJP’s Garnier next time. Today my hair feels great and has plenty of volume, so far so good.
Pantene ProV Daily Moisture Conditioner 25.4oz for $7.99= $.31 per oz
I don’t use a lot of conditioner each time so this is a no-brainer. I’m going to try to save money on something that doesn’t effect my “do” all that much. I have been using this for months and it really is just as good as Pantene. The ingredients are almost the exact same. I highly recommend trying this product or rotate it in with your pricier brand of choice. At this price I don’t fret over slathering conditioner on my legs after I shave then rinse off for extra softness. Try that trick, you’ll love it.
Equate Pro Vitamin Conditioner 25.4oz bottle $3.12= only $.12 per oz. That is freaking saving over 65% on conditioner.....Sold!
Although I am now a tender 31 years of age (haha) God seems to keep me in check with the fun of adult acne. I’m not always broken out but every few weeks I get a flash of hormonal-13-year-old-school-boy-skin and have some issues. Although Jessica Simpson and Vivica Fox would both love for me to continue my monthly purchases of Pro-Activ that expensive habit has been gone since my last corporate job (3 years ago).
I need to blast blemishes but I can’t even afford the the Pro-Activ knock-off version at Wal-Mart so I explored my Equate options. At night I like to take the easy way out and use those towelettes that are pre-moistened to take my make-up off.
Neutrogena Facial Cleansing Cloths 25 count $7.99= $.32 each wipe....Daaauuuumn.
I’ve used every brand of these wipes and honestly I’ve never really been able to tell a difference between any of them. The first time you buy wipes be sure you get a snap top box that keeps them moist so you can keep it and just buy the refills.
Equate Facial Cleansing Towelettes 60 count $3.94= $.07 each wipe. Now that is the way to wipe off the dirt of the day. Look how much you are saving by going the Equate route.
You can’t always use the easy wipes. You need to wash your face with cleanser atleast once a day to get your scrub on. For an actual face-wash I feel like I have tried them all. I have a beautiful friend named Skyler who has the most perfect skin ever. I always asked her in college what her secret was and she would just glow and say “Dove Bar Soap.” If I busted out a bar soap on my oily face I would not only break out in a fiery rash but the aftermath would include a peel-fest as if I wash freshly sunburned from partying Spring-break style ’99 in Daytona, Florida.
Some things just work for some, not for others. Since a bar soap is not an option, I use liquid cleanser. Whether the cleanser is $2 or $20 the usual acne fighting ingredient is 2% Salicylic Acid. I’ve had pretty good luck with any cleansers with that magic additive. Beware, although it may say to use it 2x a day, I only suggest using it once a day or even every other day because the acne fighter can also dry you out big time. It will help with the break outs though. You may see some zits surface before they fade and I hate to repeat the line my dermatologist said but here it goes, “It will get worse before it gets better.”
Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash 6oz bottle $6.49=$1.00 per oz. No thanks Neutrogena.
Instead of paying that try the alternative:
Equate Acne Wash 6oz bottle $3.25= $.54 per oz. Now that is more my style. I like saving 50% on face wash. Especially face wash I use sparingly for fear of a major dry-out. But hey, gotta keep the zits at bay.
These are just some of the items that I have enjoyed trying and hope you will give them a shot. Money is something you want to hold on to not blow on brand names. Think next time you roll into Wal-Mart and make some changes.
You won’t be disappointed and you won’t be sacrificing quality when you chose Equate. Almost anything you need comes in an Equate version and saves you at least 50% when you break it down by ounce, serving, or piece.
It has been a few years since college. I remember all to well counting change for lunch at Bueno and scrapping together enough gas money (gas was $.76 a gallon one semester) to go out to the Wolftrap. And now even though times are better in the earning department (no more cocktail waitressing at the Ramada) they are still tough and in this economy (gas is far from $.76) we can all benefit from saving some dough.
So even though I could spring for name-brand goodies, I have learned that there is no shame in the Equate game. I’m getting what I need with the same ingredients that are in the name-brand products for 50% off. It makes perfect CENTS for me to keep living the “Equate Lifestyle.”
If you love any great generic versions of a must-have product, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment so everyone can see! I love knowing about new items and ways to save money. I’ll post your ideas with credit to you on my website. Thank you for visiting The Posh Shopper. Remeber today’s motto, “Go Ahead, Be Frugal and Fabulous!”