Month: January 2013

Saving Suggestions on Clothes

The original title for this post is Tips on Savings on Clothes. However, I would like to use different synonyms for Tips in the next few “Savings” series instead of just the word “Tips”. Also, suggestions reflects a persuasive approach instead of pushing to you the lifestyle which I think is ideal, but you may disagree.

Ahhh, the three essentials: food, clothing and shelter. These days, you may add entertainment, video games, movies, luxury transportation, toys, etc. But wait, that would be the subject of another post, right?

Right. Let’s concentrate on how to save on your clothes expenses.

*DO NOT buy clothes – is this an epiphany or what? By not going to the store or going to websites that sell clothes, you automatically saved 100% of your money. But, this may be impractical, so we move on to a more politically correct approach. But wait, if you hold off not buying clothes for a month or so, you increased your savings.

*Do you know what you like already? This is vital. Know your wants (or much preferably, needs) before going shopping. This will prevent you from buying too much. Then watch your favorite stores. Once you find that the clothes you like are on sale, go buy it.

*Buy Quality – without advertising too much, I have bought clothes that refuse to break. Some of them has a logo of a man on a horse on the left chest area. Some days, I hate their durability because I have lost much weight already from 8 years ago, yet the shirt refuses to even have a small tear. I saved money by not buying every few years. You can, too.

*Mix and Match – buy plain colored clothes, that way it is easier to wear the black jacket over the blue blouse or t-shirt, as an example. If you must buy patterns, buy only a few so you can wear them with the plain ones. It’s hard to mix patterns when their design clashes.

*Proper Size – If you gain or lose a significant amount of weight, by all means, buy the right size clothes. But that will be expensive? Well, you have to appear well dressed in order for you to attract good salary or good income if you are a businessman. If you dress less sharp, then you might exude a negative image – which could affect your income. Besides, what you are wearing has a bearing on your morale.

*Wear for Comfort – Don’t buy the latest fad on wool if you get itchy wearing it. Buy shoes based on comfort first, and looks second. There’s a lot of comfortable shoes that are inexpensive yet durable and nicely designed. Watch out for high heels. It elevates feet unnaturally – which may affect your spine and your central nervous system. Your health is much more important than looking great! If you are healthy, you WILL look great!

Please do not use this article as an excuse to go shopping tomorrow.




Rest & Relaxation

Rest and Relaxation or R&R as we call it in the military, is a term that seems to be missing in the current work culture.

These days we are more familiar with “rush deadlines”, “rush payments”, “rush deliveries” or anything with a “rush” prefix on it. With new technology, people seem to think that every thing is just a push button away. A few decades ago, when someone tries to push a “rush” on us, we reply “lack of planning on your part is not an emergency on mine”.

Is it just me, but it seems that work “emergencies” double around 3PM on a Friday afternoons. It seems that some bosses don’t receive epiphanies until around that time and then everything has to be done right there and then before the dreaded 5 pm end-of-the-business day happens.

Then there is the highly bandied “multitasking” ability which is an effort to get employees producing way above the possible human limits. In a study, they said that only 4% of the population are really capable of multitasking.

A few highly successful companies were started on several nights of no sleep and endless computer work for its founders. Would the company have been successful anyway if they work regular eight hours? Of course, they will be – but it’s nice to brag about not sleeping for several nights to get something done. It’s not healthy though, and our bodies suffer ailments because of overdoing things.

What happens to the average employee like us? We become the typical harried overtasked worker full of frayed nerves, numbed limbs and accelerated heart rate. But what should we do? We need the job!

That’s when R&R comes. You don’t need a three-week vacation to recover. You can recover several times a day by taking a few breaks. Some writers call it “mini-vacations”.  For example. Take a 10 minute stroll outside your office to the park or courtyard or somewhere other than inside the building.

Or you can take deep breaths. Take 4 long seconds to breath in, Release in 4-7 seconds slowly. Breathe normally. Then repeat after 1 minute. By the way, I read somewhere that in panic situations, you can do the same exercise to make you think logically.

Once you get home, find a quiet place and meditate. You don’t have to think of anything during meditation. You can pray. You can keep silent. You can listen to music (the elevator type music) while doing it. Don’t turn on the TV because it will give you unnecessary noise.

Take a quick nap. It’s been said that 20-minute power naps are best. Anything longer tends to make us whoozy or light headed.

Avoid reading the newspaper or listening to the daily news. We have too much information and most of the news are negative so we don’t need it to affect our thinking.

If you take a vacation, you don’t have to go far. Find a place within 2 to 3 hours away. Some place that is interesting and quiet and spend a day or two there. It invigorates your system to get a break like this. You need to rest one day every week, too, preferably Saturday.

You can also take longer vacations, but try not to be connected 24/7 to your smartphone. If you really have to check email, do it only once or twice a day and limit the number of minutes you spend on it. You are on vacation, remember?

I know that some of you are working really hard and long hours for personal satisfaction and to be a great contributor to the firm. That is laudable! However, just like an engine, you can’t run consistently at 100% max effort and expect durability. You will be a better producer if you are rested.

So you are asking, do we ever “rush” in the military? Of course we do, but mostly, the rushes are also categorized as “hurry up and wait”. Sometimes we were ordered to be in a certain place at 0-dark-30. So we rush there. When we arrive, we were told that the plane will be late so we would have to wait. That’s when we practice our rest and relaxation techniques, mostly by taking naps.  :)


Why is this Blog so Plain?

Yeah, why is this blog so plain?

If you didn’t notice, the format for this blog doesn’t change much. The color of  its subtitle edges changes once every few months. The header photo about the same. The title and fonts remain the same from inception. No photos in posts except for one.

There are no links to facebook, twitter, pinterest and any social media. The comments section was having issues with entering comments and I’m still trying to fix it. You may email me if you want with your comments.

The main purpose is to make it appear simple and almost minimalist. I wanted to post quality posts every single time so I really have to concentrate on writing those. Sometimes it takes me weeks to make the final draft before I publish – because I really have to work on it to make it worth reading.

I have a few projects and I will be starting a couple or more blogs but this will remain to be my main blog. In an effort to manage my posting time better, I have to pick which priorities I have to tackle first. My conclusion: Creating a presence in facebook, twitter and social media will take over my time and take away the alloted time to write posts.

Photographs are nice also but they may add distraction to the post. I can buy inexpensive photos from websites, but I wanted to put photos that I have taken to make it more personal. In the future, I may start adding a few more photos here and there. I’m taking very short photography classes to improve on taking pictures. I don’t know about you, but I find it very hard to study photography just by reading books – the aperture, ISO and shutter speed are like Quantum Physics to me. Thanks to digital SLR cameras, it’s easier to learn photography now without spending tons of money on films

If you didn’t notice the above things, maybe you are not coming to this blog enough! Visit some more.

My plan is to have this run for three years and by then, my grandson James will have more vocabulary and word comprehension to fully understand this blog. For his age now, he has a wide vocabulary and word comprehension, but this blog – I think – is still a year or two advanced for his age.

Thank you to all the readers who have promoted this in facebook, in person and in email to other prospective readers. You are highly appreciated!



Tips on Saving on Groceries

Our family used to spend much on groceries. Our reason back then was the children were growing. Looking backward, I remember us throwing away a lot of leftover food every weekend. When our family income increased, the wasted food increased in direct proportion to the food. Finally, when we realized the waste (specifically the lost money), we made a few changes over the years, and so let me share how to save on your food and household expenses.

Plan your meals for the week. Make a list of what you need for the week for groceries and other household items. Some of the household items (i.e. dishwashing liquid, glass cleaning solvent,etc.) will last a few months so you don’t need to buy too much of it. Then buy only according to that list. Don’t buy any unnecessary extras. Avoid buying stuff that are near the cashier – they are put there to make you buy them even if you don’t need them.

Buy in bulk. If there is a sale in items that you will use no matter what (rice, sugar, toilet paper, paper towel, etc.) buy it in bulk and keep the savings now. Don’t buy in bulk items (mayonnaise, chocolate bars, etc.) that you won’t be able to finish in three to six months. They will go bad or stale.

Try Vegan diet. Too hard? Do it slowly. With a vegetable, whole grain and fruits diet, your weekly grocery bill will save you around 50% That’s hundreds of $ of savings per month. Try to do it slowly. Instead of bacon and eggs for breakfast, eat oatmeal with fruits. It will be healthier for you and will save you money at the grocery store and in your medical bills and prescription medicine.

Eat out LessOr order an entree and split it with your partner. Cooking at home makes you eat healthier servings with less salt (overconsumption of salt creates a lot of health problems, especially when you are over 40). Find meals that are easy to make from magazines, recipe books and the internet.

Drink water. Avoid softdrinks, energy drinks (which are super caffeinated sugar concentrates) and even some “fruit juices” which contains too much sugar. This is where you will save more money. Save on lattes and capucchinos by making yours at home, instead of buying them from coffee places. Added benefit is you will control your sugar intake better. Excessive sugar causes a spike of insulin in your system which causes more health problems.

Go extreme. I know someone who earns an above average income who sets herself a strict budget.  When she reaches her limit, she goes on peanut butter and jelly diet for the last few days of the week. Try it! But add a little fruit and vegetable to balance it out. I read about a famous reporter who went on a scrambled eggs diet for 3 months but not to save money. He wanted to prove that we don’t have to revolve our lives around food.

Say NO to overstocking canned goods. When you buy canned goods, look at the expiration dates. It could be two years from now or more. So you buy 100 dozens of them. Problem is, you can’t finish them in in two years so we end up throwing away 99 dozens after two years. OK, I was exaggerating but I was able to point out that in order to be savvy, we need to buy only what we can use within a certain time limit.  If you have too many canned goods in your pantry right now, donate them to food banks or charitable organizations.

Take away the money wasters. Spending money on lottery tickets is a waste. For every winner, you have tens (or hundreds) of millions of losers. Quit smoking, drink a whole lot less alcohol or quit totally. Alcohol and tobacco destroys lives and health more than guns and other weapons combined. Don’t believe me? Google will prove it!

That’s all we have for now. But now I got inspired in doing a long series on saving money on specific items we spend on. I’ll call it with the grand title of “The Money Saving series”

Have a fun time saving your money!