Thursday, June 11, 2009

Homemade is the New Hallmark

With Father's Day around the corner and birthday and barbecue invites piling in, costs associated with adoration of friends and family can wreck havoc on a Recessionista's budget. Instead of running out to Hallmark for a series of cards (running $2-6 a piece!) or purchasing a pricey bottle of Kettle One to bring to a Barbecue, consider homemade (and more meaningful) alternatives. Here are a few ideas:

1. Write a Letter. Your dad, your step dad, your grandfather, or whatever inspirational male figure has guided you through the years deserves a little celebration this June. Take a few minutes to think about what that special person has brought to you and jot those thoughts on paper (it does not have to be from Papyrus). No one expects you to be Shakespearean, but sincerity goes a long way.

2. Channel "Top Chef". Even if you abhor kitchen time, it is likely more economical to bring a dish to pass to the BBQ, rather than purchasing expensive alcohol or a platter to share. One savvy Recessionista I know puts together dishes to pass based on left overs in her refrigerator, and they are always big hits at parties (think Tuna Salad with almonds and white grapes or mini grilled-cheese sandwiches made with brie). Be resourceful and creative and you will save mucho dinero.

3. Gifts from the Heart. All of the best gifts I have received in my life have come with little or no monetary value associated with them (to my ex-boyfriends - this in no way means I do not continue to love the Prada handbags!) Recently, a friend greeted me at happy hour with a used book I adore. My sister crafted a jewelry box out of stained glass over fifteen years ago that is still on display in my apartment. Putting your resources and talents to use in order to create something memorable and special for a loved one will save you money and better express your appreciation for them. Also, there is the ever-reliable homemade "coupon book" if you get desperate - get witty and creative with this classic!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Shrinking Wallet, Hidden Deals

On weeks filled with conference calls, emails, and administration overload, in lieu of coffee, martini lunches, and cigarette breaks (Starbucks, Kettle One, and Malboros are cash killers anyway), there are some excellent online shopping websites to check out for amazing deals. I think of online shopping as performing my patriotic duty of stimulating the economy (how is that for shrugging off guilt!)

1. Wear Today, Gone Tomorrow. Summer seems the season of occasions - weddings, galas, barbecues, parties. All of these events can make it very challenging to find appropriate attire, especially when you are snuggling up to the socialistas in the Hamptons, where H&M is probably going to be difficult to pull off. Check out for the amazing opportunity to rent, yes, RENT designer duds for a small fraction of the price of owning the garment.

2. But, if you MUST own...Try Fisch for the Hip, a designer consignment store on West 18th in NYC, offers amazing gently worn designer ware for the masses. Soon, the website will be offering an online selection of wares for the masses. Check it out...

3. Gilt Groupe. This is the fastest-growing online designer sample sale around! Think Roberto Cavelli, D&G, Marc Jacobs, and more - all merchandise around 80% off. One catch: Gilt Groupe is by invite-only, so poll your friends (or email for you passage to an incredible shopping experience.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Going Green With Little Dinero

Ever since "An Inconvenient Truth," becoming environmentally-conscious has become extremely en vogue. Still, one sashay down an aisle of Whole Foods, and it quickly becomes clear that doing the right thing for the environment might be economically unfriendly. Here are five ways to be a friend to the environment while still being kind to your pocketbook:

1. Transportation: Whether it is cross-country or cross-town, it can be pretty expensive to get from Point A to Point B these days. Well, Recessionista, it is time to get creative! With the weather turning warm and lovely, channel you inner Green diva and get outside - walk, bike, or, if you are extra daring as the author of this blog, invest in some retro rollerskates and turn your town into your very own roller derby rink!

2. Recycle. Okay, so you already throw your empty cans of Red Bull into your special blue bin, and that is great. However, a common vesicle that you toss into that same bin on a daily basis can be used again and again before it is offered up to the Recycling gods. Specifically, the containers you purchase that delicious, designer water in can be rinsed out and reused. Simply refill (if you hate tap water, use a Brita filtered pitcher to refill, Miss High Maintenance!) and put in the refridgerator until your parched, diva self needs a guzzle.

3. Electricity. Summer brings on warmer temperatures and extra electricity devoted to air conditioning. Although I recommend using air conditioners sparingly, you can save additional power by turning off lights and lighting candles instead. Get in the habit now, then you will be clear of conscience and of the contrived when you bring that special someone home and leverage a little "mood lighting" to set the evening's tone.

4. Periodicals. Although the New York Times might be in financial trouble, you need not go and purchase your weekly paper copy in an attempt to single-handedly save them. Major publications with online editions of their paper counterparts receive big bucks from advertisers. Save a tree and spend time perusing the Style section on the web instead. Plus, you will save yourself the coffee splotches on the print edition.

5. Disposibles. Recessionista, you have way overworn those 1998 Juicy Couture sweatpants anyway...ditch the so-five-minutes-ago JLo trend, and cut that little terrycloth number into reusable cleaning clothes in lieu of paper towels. Not only will you save yourself the extra cost the Brawny man insists you need (no matter how good he looks in flannel, trust us, you do NOT need to buy disposible, tree-wasting paper towel!), but you can feel good for doing your part to save the environment. Juicy would approve.