5.31.2011

10 Reasons Not to Get a Breast Augmentation


1) They will most likely need to be re-done at a later date. Yes, implants explode! Well, I mean, not like you'll float away or incinerate, more like misshapen, ruptured or pinhole leaks that make the breast hard as granite. Ask any woman, as I have, who has had them fail; it's unpleasant and and expensive (about $7,500). I haven't the time or inclination to google bad implant photos, but I'm sure there's ample (!) imagery out there. 

Read about the Dow class action lawsuit chronology here. Silicone is back in fashion. Saline implants were popular for the last several years but now silicone gel implants have made their resurgence. Millions of women reported chronic fatigue-like symptoms associated with silicone, a foreign agent, entering the blood stream. Arguably, those claims have not been substantiated, but at the very least, if you choose to be cremated, know that the silicone implants will need to be removed first. 
2) Every male within 25 feet can call 'em as artificial.
3) Isn't life supposed to be about accepting what we were given, genetically? Not everyone can go pro and I'll never have long legs - maturity and wisdom is about realizing that I don't get everything the way I want it. And thank goodness.
4) Believe it or not, there will come a day when you'll want to breastfeed a nursling and the breast surgery may have damaged the milk ducts, sometimes making nursing your newborn very difficult or impossible. As a breastfeeding educator, my first question to a mom struggling with breastfeeding issues is, "Have you had breast surgery?" The heartbreaking grief of not being able to feed your baby at the breast is hard to put into words. A top-dollar doc will know how to cut the milk duct glands so as not to damage your future breastfeeding hopes, but not everyone gets the best physician. Why risk it?
5) Mammary glands are size proportionate. Typically, larger women have larger breasts (I know, there is always an anomaly to every generality but let's speak in statistical probabilities here). Tiny women have smaller breasts. Thin women have small breasts...breasts are made up of fat. As a woman puts on weight, she puts it on top as well. As she loses, she will lose it on top as well. Sophia Loren, the greatest bombshell of the last century, a case in point, had the abbondanza bosom, which matched her abundant rump, large nose, and wide lips. Stunning in her bursting-ness.
6) The surgery with the highest personal self-satisfaction reporting is breast reduction, not breast augmentation. Yet, intelligent and lovely women will say, "Christina, I have saved, thought, and independently decided to do this for me." I know...sigh.
7) You might change your mind. I know it's tempting, when the body doesn't obey and do what you wish it would, but all sorts of unhealthy things seem like a good idea momentarily, i.e., stealing, doing drugs, driving after a few beers, saying yes when you know to say no. In other words, like is full of desires, cravings, unrealized wishes. But, personal acceptance, growth, and self-love is being able to live with the consequences of your choices.
8) Role-modeling is important. Where do we begin to role-model to young females that every body is beautiful and unique; some of us are darker, some red-haired, some large-bottomed, some short, tall, freckled, fair? It's a hard sell; "Love yourself - but I need larger breasts!" Is damaging a perfectly good breast a sign of self-hatred? I won't go that far, but, let's not ignore the fact that body altering is at an all-time high. In my late 20's, I predicted that breast augmentation would lose it's appeal and fade away, like a nice suntan. Oh, how wrong I was. In fact, cosmetic surgery has continued to gain momentum and mainstreamed itself into a common place reality.
9) While women may want large breasts, thinking it's more attractive for their male suitor, research has shown that men are less concerned with a woman's measurements than her own self-approval. Men are drawn to women who like themselves. I have never encountered a woman who got breast implants because her boyfriend/husband asked her to. In fact, I frequently hear men say, "I told her I loved her body just the way it is, but she insisted," or, "A handful is just fine for me!" I was at a party for a dear friend of mine when she declared her implants were a gift to her husband. His jaw dropped. Could they really see it so differently?
10) Flat-chested is cool - really. Ages better. More athletic and natural and not at all silicone-like. Less sagging, less back pain, no bouncing. For those rare nights in a fancy cocktail dress, when the cleavage should be juxtaposed just so, look here instead. (no, it's not false advertising and he won't be disappointed). Spend $49 on a push-up bra and spend the earmarked $7,500 on a year of college or a 6-month trip to Costa Rica.



Imagine here two round circles with dots in the center of each and a giant red slash through them, suggesting, "Don't cut your boobs!."

*I am not referring to reconstructive surgery here (that's a very small percentage of breast augs. anyway). I'm referring to invasive surgical swap outs of perfectly good breasts.

Read, 10 reasons Not to Get a Tattoo 

5.29.2011

Things we all hate to hear







Ineffective Communication Skills
You should just...
Relax
Take it easy
Let it go
Don't worry about
It's not that big of a deal
You're making a mountain out of a molehill
You're such a ...
You always ...
Effective Communication Skills
Tell me more
Do you feel frustrated?
You sound concerned
What can I do to help
I know you'll make a good decision
I trust you to handle it well
I think we see it differently
How are you feeling about ...
Avoid
Name calling
Insulting
Bringing up the past (kitchen sinking)
Non verbal communication (eye rolling, harumphing, crossing arms, or balling up fists)
Take a break when you become agitated: "I'm getting agitated, can we come back to this after I eat/take a shower/get a work out/pray/meditate."
If you'd like to read a good book (or, listen to it on audio) check out anything along the lines of "Non Violent Communication." I know, it's a funny description, but it's practical information combined with a gentle approach. When we have compassion for someone else's perspective, we can't feel angry towards them. In fact, seeing another person's perspective is quite a creative leap - like, imagining how one designs a bridge or maneuver's up the side of a rock ledge. People who have a hard time seeing another person's perspective tend to be rigid. Rigidity is inflexible, and, flexibility is the key to riding out the waves of life. 

Creativity is organic and bursts with new ideas...solutions! When creativity is tested in a controlled environment, it becomes evident that solutions exist in creativity, which implies flexible thoughts and a willingness to see the prism from a new angle.
Self-control is important to fighting fairly with your partner (child, boss, neighbor, driver in lane 4). Prisons are not made up of stupid people. No, prisons are made up of people who have one prevailing characteristic; they're impulsive. Impulsive people lack in self-control. 
Certain words can de-escalate our own irritation or upset...first, calming oneself with slow breathing, then saying something like, "I'm observing myself trying to count, breathe, and think clearly here."
How do we gain self-control? By seeing another person's perspective, experiencing their reality, and creatively imagining that the solution is very different than you originally had planned; the plans can be drawn up a new way, the t.p. can hang over and not under, that the rude cashier was in fact, just tired/sick/pregnant/broken-hearted. 
IQ has no bearing on effective communication skills. Being smart doesn't make someone more mature or patient, but, being open-minded (again, flexible and willing) is a direct path to thinking, "Hmmm...you could be right!"  
Tips
When speaking to your spouse, be eyeball to eyeball. No shouting from the other room, passing each other with tidbits of information, or speaking to someone's back. Always ask, "is now a good time?" If it isn't, ask for a reasonable and better time.
...................................................................................................
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5.28.2011

Just hit 1,000 blog visits!

Calling All Students


Terrific op ed piece here from a Community College teacher, Jaime O'Neill. If the Dog Ate Your Homework, Read This "lives built on excuses generally don't turn out well...life has a way of getting serious with us well before some of us decide to get serious with it."
 

5.27.2011

Things to do this weekend



Here are some fun things to do this weekend.

Check out:
  • San Diego Botanical Gardens
  • Put on sweats, make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, throw in some potato chips, salad and root beers and head to the beach for sunset Saturday night at7:48pm. (see, the days are getting longer!)
  • Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad. This is a really cool place.
  • Go suck rocks (okay, just climb) at a small indoor gym. Anyone can do this!
  • Take the train to San Juan Capistrano and walk around the Mission, the petting zoo and Ruby's. 
  • Clean out your garage and take your discards to Veterans Village of San Diego.
  • Meditate at the Self realization Fellowship in Encinitas (Koi pond!). Take a nice poem, or maybe religious/spiritual readings to contemplate. (Or even a hate letter that wont get sent!)
  • Visit Free Flight Bird Farm in Del Mar, a small bird sanctuary. I love this place.
  • Head to UCSD and walk through the amazing Geisel Library. It's the 8th wonder of the world.
  • Canoodle with your sweetie, in the afternoon.

If you can't pull the trigger to make something happen, ask your best friend, spouse, neighbor, or close relative to help you make it happen. The best way to delay "old-age" and stave off dementia is to always be learning something new, create new neural pathways.

~Be Quick to Hear, Slow to Speak
People frequently regret their words but never their silence~

5.26.2011

Healthy Relationships



Healthy Relationships:

  • Healthy relationships are fluid, flexible, and fun. Of course, there are times of challenge (people get sick, lose jobs, feel frustrated and overworked) but good relationships seem to "know" that the easy times will come back around and soon!
  • Happy couples try new things together, plan to go to new places, dream of vacations together and the joyful things their children will be doing someday.
  • Couples that report to be "satisfied" or (better!) feel that their partner has his or her pulse on each other's daily habits, concerns, and activities. "I know she has a doctor's appointment at 3:00" or "He's worried about a business meeting later in the week" even when the couple doesn't get large amounts of time together. 
  • Couples with good communication skills bring up issues that make the relationship stronger, even if the topics are touchy or sensitive.
  • Trust and reliability is the foundation, "We are a team" or "She has my back." Roles and expectations are most definitely part of a happy couple.
  • Healthy couples do not name-call or insult each other. Yes, the fight and argue, but there are limits to anger for a healthy expression of emotion.
  • Partner's who feel supported and loved do not feel stifled. Instead, they feel heard and appreciated.
  • Happy couples do not speak negatively about their partner to family members or share their marital distress in a disrespectful manner.
  • Healthy couples who "go the distance" encourage their partner to have friends and develop outside interests.

5.25.2011



Marital signs of distress:
  • Discussions that turn into fights
  • One or both partners become enraged
  • Arguing in front a child
  • One or both partners walk away hurt or angry and the topic is not revisited
  • One partner "interrogates" the other
  • Accusations of infidelity
  • One or both partners feel unliked or rejected by the other
  • One or both partners want more "fun" time but feel disconnected
  • Avoidance of "hot topics" such as finances or sexual intimacy
  • Avoidance of each other
  • Arguments that leave partners feeling angry and hurt longer than 24 hours
  • Drastic change in 1) weight 2) job 3) family setting 4) finances 5) health
  • Recent challenges such as health, job loss, change in daily habits
  • Absence of shared activities
  • Lack of other couples to spend time with
  • Lack of close friends
Couples counseling can assist a couple through the rough patches, with an increased focus on appreciating each other, accepting the quirks of each other that used to be so lovable, clearing up old resentments, finding ways to enjoy each other again, developing new shared activities, and discovering new ways to connect intimately. Couples counseling is affordable when you consider the alternative (yucky expensive divorce, custody battles, and garnished wages). Give your spouse and family the gift of your effort and willingness to work it out with 4-6 counseling sessions. 760.522.5659

5.24.2011

Mindful Eating Prinicples - UCSD Public Lecture

An evening of mindfulness eating practice and dialogue, including:
- The basic principles of Mindful Eating
- Two mindful-eating exercises you can use daily
- A practice to help calm the "Food Critic" in your head
Mindful Eating: Tasting Satisfaction Public Lecture
www.regonline.com
When: Friday, June 17, 2011 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM. Where: Moores UCSD Cancer Center - Goldberg Auditorium, 3855 Health Sciences Drive La Jolla, California 92093 United States. Phone: 858-822-6868, Email: shickman@ucsd.edu

5.21.2011

Andy Irons Toxicology Withheld

     This is another sad twist for the memory of now decesead Andy Irons, thought to be the most gifted surfer in the world just a few months ago.
     The disease of addiction is often characterized by denial. It appears to me as if the family has been in denial while all the red flags pointed towards drug and/or pill addiction. Denial enables the addict to maintain his self-destructive behaviors, often leading to injury or death. Those close to Andy have also reported that corporate pressures from his corporate surfing sponsor Billabong (Irons's family, together with his primary sponsor, Billabong, quickly released a statement saying that the surfer had "reportedly been battling with dengue fever," a mosquito-borne disease they said he'd picked up at the Association of Surfing Professionals' October stop in Peniche, Portugal) were a powerful force against going public about his battle with addiction; this certainly did not aid his chances at getting life-saving mental health treatment. 
     With this latest turn from the family's attorney requesting that the toxicology report be withheld because the results will negatively impact the "brand" (i.e. money, sales, profits, merchandising) seem to be more evidence that the family and Andy's corporate business team have morally failed the memory of Andy. 
     More importantly, a real chance was missed here to teach others about the tragedy and loss that accompanies serious drugs usage, even for the young, most physically agile and naturally gifted. Let's see how Andy's younger brother, Bruce, also a well-known surfer, is able to deal with these same demons.

5.19.2011

Martha's Handy Dandy Lie and Lay Chart


Martha’s Handy-Dandy Clip-and-Save Chart for “Lie” and “Lay”
  • Lie — to “repose or recline” 
  • Present Tense — Today I lie on the couch. 
  • Past Tense — Yesterday I lay on the couch for two hours. 
  • Part Participle — Every day this week, I have lain on the couch for two hours.
  • Lay — to “put or place” 
  • Present Tense - He lay his checkbook on the table. 
  • Past Tense — Yesterday he laid his checkbook on the table. 
  • Part Participle — Every day this week, he has laid his checkbook on the table.
Present Tense
Past Tense
Past Participle
Lie
Lay
Lay
Laid
Lain
Laid




5.17.2011


"A mother's arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them." 
~ Victor Hugo

5.15.2011

How Humility Helps Your Relationships




Humility: not the same as "humiliated" or "humiliating."
Humility is about being right-sized.  
What's it good for?
Being gracious, getting along with others, admitting when we're wrong, allowing others to be wrong, forgiving a transgression, being open, soft, and teachable. People who are humble have flexibility, do not feel the need to have the last word or be right. Humility is the opposite of demanding. It is contagious. When we are humble with our partners, they feel it, like it, and are more likely to yield. Humility leads to repair statements, such as, "I misunderstood," "I want to please you," and "We're on the same team." Humility  allows for more breath, oxygen, and clear thinking; less reactivity and more self-control. A state of humility suggests that I do not necessarily know what's best and I want to see this moment from your perspective, I want to know about your experience. Four conditions (the evil four-headed horsemen that undermine relationships) that prevent humility include: defensiveness, criticism, stonewalling, and withdrawing.
Try to find a way to become humble in your intimate and meaningful relationships. Just, try it!



and other cool, but very different, sites:


 

5.13.2011


Two great (free!) mental health care options for San Diegans. 

*The “Mental Health Mobile”
is hitting the road and making
a special stop in San Diego.

Would you believe that more than one in four Californians
recently surveyed reported that they could benefit from therapy?
• Are you looking for more balance in your life?
• Want to learn how to de-stress?
• Do you know someone who might benefit from talk therapy?
Then come on out and find out more at the Mental Health Mobile!

Tuesday, May 24 from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Horton Plaza, 324 Horton Plaza, San Diego, CA
(You can find the Mental Health Mobile south of Broadway
and west of 4th Avenue.)

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists will be on
hand offering advice on how to find mental balance
and cope with the stresses of everyday life.

and more...

*Up2sd.org 

The It's Up to Us campaign is designed to empower San Diegans to talk openly about mental illness, recognize symptoms, utilize local resources and seek help. One in four adult San Diegans suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder and nearly one out of every five children experience some degree of an emotional or behavioral difficulty. Mental health challenges are just as important to address as physical illness. But often, people do not seek professional care and seek support, nor give support, because of the stigma that is associated with having a mental illness.
By raising awareness, educating the community, and providing easy access to local organizations and services, the goal is to initiate change in perception, inspire wellness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health challenges.

This campaign is developed through the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, and funded by the County of San Diego Mental Health Services Act.
Recovery is possible and help is available. It's Up to Us.

http://www.up2sd.org/

5.09.2011

Mental Health Support Groups in San Diego

Smoking Cessation Group, Tuesdays, 6:30-8:00pm, Tri City Hospital
Bereavement Support Group, Mondays, 10:00am-Noon, call 760.940.5800, Tri City Hospital
Bi-Polar/Anxiety/Depression Group Therapy, Wednesdays, 3:00-4:30pm, Tri City Hospital, 760.940.5050


Mental Health Mobile Rolls into San Diego, Tuesday, May 24th, 6:00am-2pm. Horton Plaza, San Diego, Free Therapy Services, Referrals, and Assessments for one day in San Diego County. Contact me for more details, carlsbadcounseling@roadrunner.com







5.07.2011

Cable Network Seeking Couples with Infidelity Issues


 

**CASTING CALL FOR COUPLES WITH INFIDELITY**

A company that produces shows like A Baby Story, Whose Wedding is it Anyway, Mystery Diagnosis is looking for couples willing to share their 
stories and lessons learned A Major Cable Network will be airing a new reality TV Series on Couples and Infidelity: Groundbreaking new Infidelity series set to air this
summer on a MAJOR cable network. This will be a 13-part documentary
series whose goal is to help couples avoid and/or heal from infidelity that is, not a talk show. They want married or divorced couples who are past the initial hurt/chaos who would be able to discuss the situation and whatever resolution they’ve reached and help the public with lessons learned. Note that they need couples, not individuals.If you’re such a
couple or an expert who could provide couples, contact:
infidelity.casting@gmail.com

5.05.2011

10 reasons not to get a tattoo



10 reasons not to get a tattoo*

I love a nice tattoo as much as anybody, but, there are at least 10 good reasons not to get one. When I got my tattoo before the turn of the century, c. 1989,  I only knew one other female who had one and the only men who had ink then were bikers and Vietnam Veterans. So, who knew my unique body art would catch on to be such a common must-have accessory. The thing is, no matter how clever your tattoo is, eventually you will see it on someone else. Bob Marley's hair, the Lord's Prayer, your date of conception or child's name in Sanskrit, Eeyore, a black Dahlia: all mainstream now.
Here are 10 reasons why you should not get a tattoo.
1) Bodies change, this is factual. Your swollen pectorals (bicep, calf muscle, et al) will not always be. I swear. Ever heard of weight-gain? And, then the dramatic nature of your ink's design changes, and it's never for the better. Skin stretches and gets splotchy, illness, tonal loss, sun damage, and ladies, think about pregnancy, breastfeeding, and hormones. Boobs get smaller, then larger, then smaller again. Gelatinous and I'll-defined. I swear. All of these natural occurrences wreck havoc on what once was so calculated and sexy...your perfectly positioned and conceptualized body art.

[def]  "tattoo" is a corruption of the Polynesian word tatau spoken by the European sailors exploring the Southern Ocean.

2) No matter what design is chosen, this idea (a symbol, a picture, a name) will evolve over time with aging. It will either become less meaningful - his initials still on your delicate arm after you've broken up or a long-dead mystical language that only you and five friends know about - or the idea becomes more meaningful and seems trivialized now by the embedded ink.
3) Ink changes color. Have you seen the tattoo eye-liner 5 years out? It gets all the stranger because hair color changes as well. Spooky and vampish. I think that fad has slowly moved on, thankfully. Skin, the largest organ in our body, sheds, black becomes green, green becomes black (cell division) and soft pastels vanish before your very
eyes. 
4) It's smart to play your cards close to the vest. Keep em' guessing. Still waters run deep. Tattoos reveal your hand. Why be so open?
5) Tattoos are addictive - I experienced this first-hand. I wanted another immediately, maybe a leopard clawing its' way up my thigh (really!) This addictive quality is inexplicable but others will attest to it as well.
6) Tattoo shops come and go, with only a handful staying in business for more than a year or two. I remember when a new shop opened in my area, the artists (and, yes, they are talented artists) were rock stars and you'd consider yourself blessed to be indelibly inked by one of them. I was friends with one of them. He had tribal work before anyone; it was so cool and he had it going on in all areas. But now, tribal is milk toast, bland, passé.
7) People change, a lot. It's impossible to believe that your career goals may shift,
drastically. Your circles spin, a new religion may find you, or you'd like to become Attorney General. Humans are judgmental. Choosing a tattoo for life is like choosing a partner for life, in kindergarten. I swear. At age 40, no one wants the car they wanted at 19, which is why people who marry before the age of 25 are statistically doomed for divorce. 
8) Yes, the roots of tattooing are exotic and if you know the history of this ancient art, you are esoteric, original, a cut above - may i suggest that you take up martial arts or flying instead? Tattoo victims are not that complex, often believing they are part of an elite club of people who know more than others. (Samoan tatau tools and patterns of New Zealand.) I recently returned from a trip to Kauai, where I saw the most beautiful, and contextually appropriate, ink on many local Hawaiian men (no color, by the way). Other cultural tattoo markings include three dots on the hand representing both Mi Vida Loca (my crazy life) or "death to cops" for Latinos, and the under eye tear drop code for having killed someone in California gang style but this has more currently morphed into signifying the loss of a loved one. You should not get a tattoo.
9) In a world of same-same, we are both pack animal and desperately unique individual. For two years I assisted in a peer to peer therapy group for women in maximum security prison. The only differentiating accessory was either a string around each woman's wrist or a hair ribbon. Other than that single piece of body decor, the colors were bland and humans are depersonalized. Tattoos are the 21st century's cheap way (say, $65.00) of becoming unique and special, nothing wrong there. But tattooing is permanent scarification. Traditionally, to receive a tattoo was a rite of passage, earned and approved of by other, more wise, family and community members, not to be grabbed at the mall or next to the pot shop.
10) Many of life's bigger decisions come down to this, what if? What if it doesn't go well, can I recover from it? What are the costs (emotional, physical, financial)? If the water is too shallow, will the dive break my neck? This line of linear questioning has helped me make many decisions, because, believe it or not, most decisions can be undone.  Life is surprisingly forgiving with many rewinds and do-overs. A bad job choice, a business venture, a relationship, a fib, a geographical move, a home purchase. If more people knew this, they would take more chances. But, a few decisions bring with them irrevocable consequences. There are absolutes, not many, but a few, er, two; death and a tattoo. The fiscal cost of removing a tattoo is five times the cost of putting it on, and the pain is great, requiring several visits, and even then leaving a permanent scar. The craving for a cigarette passes within 2 minutes. When I randomly come across a great new dress to buy, I walk out of the store and wait to see if I am still thinking about it the next day. If so, I head back - usually the impulse passes. No need to scratch ever itch. If you sincerely have a craving for a tattoo, allow 30 days to pass, and see what happens.

Is it likely that I can talk anyone out of a tattoo? Negative. 
*If you are Maori, you are exempt from this advice, and lucky you.
check out Tihoti, a Tahitian artist living in Norfolk Island.

Next time...10 Reasons Not to Get a Breast Augmentation

Overdone Birthday Parties



Parents...slow it down!

For Parents: Some parents say they are happy with birthday parties that drive other parents up the wall. But we have talked to many parents who report these consequences.
  • They feel pressured to “make” their child “happy” by meeting escalating community standards for parties.
  • They feel guilty if the party was below community standards that they don’t really agree with.
  • They feel overloaded with TOO MUCH STUFF, which they have to manage, organize, and clean up.
  • They feel an energy drain from planning, shopping, preparing, and hosting the party.
  • They feel regret or resentment afterwards when their child, or others, is not appreciative enough—“Why did I extend myself so much?”
  • They run up debt from their own parties and from buying gifts for other parties.
  • They experience couple strife when parents do not agree on how big to make the party and how to carry it off.
For Kids: Not all children face each of these consequences, but enough children experience them to give us worry.
  • They get stressed out from parties that are too large and too orchestrated.
  • They are overindulged by too many presents.
  • They feel entitled to what they want, not just what they need.
  • They feel envious of friends who get more—and someone will always get more.
  • They feel disappointed, because enough is never enough.
  • Long term, they develop materialistic values that equate personal celebrations with accumulating things.

5.03.2011

Cool Leftover Recipe Site

Cool Leftover Recipe Site
just add into the calculator ingredients that you need to work with

Going off anti-depressants turned me into a nympho

Going off antidepressants turned me into a nympho

"When I went off Celexa, I expected my self-doubt to return. What I didn't anticipate was the surge of my desire." -  Salon Online, by Ada Calhoun

Antidepressants and sex: A doomed romance?

"As a libido-friendly "happy pill" gets FDA approval, we talk to people who've endured other drugs' bad side effect"- Salon Online, by Tracy Clark-Flory

5.02.2011

Babies Dont Keep

Babies Don’t Keep
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

5.01.2011

20 rules to live by for cheapskates


Today, to be called a "cheapskate" is more like of a badge of honor. I'm betting a lot of people in Congress would be delighted to be called cheapskates, unlike this situation in the 1920's. And advice columnists today would probably suggest that a guy who doesn't spend too much on a date may be a guy who knows how to manage his money. In that spirit, I consulted my colleagues here at WalletPop and asked them to give me their best advice for living like a cheapskate.

The results were fast and furious. Not surprisingly, our staffers have all kinds of clever ways to save money. Below are WalletPop's 20 rules for cheapskates to live by:

Use technology to help you compare prices and look for coupons. Josh Smith, our resident tech guru and the editor of Notebooks.com, says that if you have a smart phone, "there are plenty of apps that will scan the bar code --- ShopSavvy is one -- and will find the best prices for you. And if you're online, visit RetailMeNot.com and enter the store name to see current coupons."

Think ahead with your child's friends' birthday parties. Bonnie McCarthy, who writes a lot about family and money, suggests that people buy "cool gifts that are age-appropriate to your own darling children." That way, "the next time they're invited to a birthday soiree, you'll have a well-priced gift ready to go." That's a definite help with the "time is money" factor. Plus, if you do buy gifts ahead and really put some thought into it, you might find some good choices on sale, making your inner cheapskate even happier. And you have to love Bonnie's other advice: "Let your child make the birthday card, or craft a simple tag to put on the gift. Unless there's money inside a birthday card, it will be quickly tossed aside by even those with the best manners, and those cards cost upwards for $3 a piece!"

Skip the Groupon and mass e-mail coupon sales. Yes, they're loads of fun, concedes Vera Gibbons, who writes about women and money for WalletPop, but she says, "People are buying all sorts of stuff they never thought they wanted, and there's way too much impulse-buying going on. I know social buying websites like Groupon.com are extremely popular right now, but we're ending up with all sorts of stuff we never thought we wanted, from horseback riding lessons to harbor tours."

Do everything in your power to achieve or maintain a great credit rating for a huge financial payoff.the Money Coach. "People with perfect credit save or earn hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime compared to people with bad credit," Khalfani-Cox says. "How so? Individuals with outstanding credit get the best possible rates and terms on all kinds of loans and credit -- credit cards, business loans, student loans, mortgages, auto loans and so on. They also save money on insurance -- life and auto -- plus, those with stellar credit are better positioned to be hired for good jobs and secure lucrative promotions."

Offer cash. Martha White, a prolific writer who covers a lot of banking and credit card issues at WalletPop, says, "I make a practice of asking mom-and-pop places of all stripes if they'll knock a bit off the sticker price if I pay in cash. I've done this successfully at everywhere from clothing boutiques to auto repair shops." It won't work, obviously, at a national chain, where the prices are more or less set in stone.
But if you're dealing with a small business owner who probably resents paying an interchange fee for all transactions made through credit and debit cards, he or she may just go for it.

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