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Posts tagged with: san diego

Out of the In Crowd for Way Too Long…

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Hubby and I don’t get out much. We stay at home rather than dine out, and on the rare occasions we do go out to dinner, it’s nowhere near the downtown San Diego club scene where a beer will cost you upwards of $15.

My husband’s friend is leaving to do government contract work in the Middle East and will be gone for more than a year. She wanted all of us to get together at a club downtown for her one last hurrah before boarding her international flight. She purchased three booths at a club downtown and was footing the bill for the pricey food.

Hubby and I made the trek downtown and waited in line at the club entrance. The ever so serious bouncer looked down at me and demanded, ‘ID?’

I pulled out my wallet and tried to get my ID out.

Tried.

If it were possible for my ID to rust from non-use, it would have.

I yanked and yanked, the line of inpatient club goers behind me staring me down, my ‘coolness’ factor dropping faster than the Dow Jones in 2008. Finally, hubby took my wallet, and after a good fight with it, my reluctant ID came out.

‘Sorry. I don’t get out much. I’ve got a kid.. and lots of debt.’ I said with an apologetic smile to the doorman.

The gruff bouncer slid me a sideways grin. ‘I feel you. Why do you think I’m here? Have a good time’ and put back on his ‘mean’ face for the next person in line.

I smiled the rest of the night. I’m not the only one struggling.

There are lots of us out there.


When to keep my financial mouth shut…

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My husband took me out for a nice steak dinner in downtown San Diego for our anniversary. We don’t dine out much these days so this was a real treat. As my husband circled the car to pull into a pay lot, I exclaimed ‘Hon, why are you parking here? I pay for monthly parking at work. We can park there instead.’ He looked at me and said, ‘You want to walk 8 blocks in freezing cold wearing hi-heels and a dress to save $8?!?’

‘Yes?’ I said sheepishly.

He rolled his eyes and continued forward into the pay lot. I kept my mouth shut as I kept thinking ‘That’s $1 a block! I’d totally walk it!’

He held my hand as we walked a few steps to the restaurant, smiling as he opened the door. We sat at our table and he opened the wine menu for me. The server asked what we wanted to drink and I searched the menu for the least expensive option. My husband, realizing exactly what I was doing, slammed the menu shut on my fingers and asked the server for his recommendations.

As he ordered the drinks, I looked over the menu. He quietly said, ‘Order what you want, not what’s cheapest.’

‘Oh. Sorry.’ I said.

And that’s when I realized what a HORRIBLE dinner date I am.

So. I shut my mouth. Ordered what I wanted (which conveniently actually was the cheapest thing) and didn’t pull out my calculator when the bill arrived.

I’m thankful to be married to a really great guy who, on occasion, finds my off switch.


Entering the ‘Winter Spend’

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No, I’m not talking about Christmas spending, I’m talking about the electric/gas/oil costs of cold weather!!

San Diego had its first cold snap this weekend. Each morning, I woke up and checked the thermometer, shivering as I saw it hovering in the low 60’s – INSIDE my house. We’ve been insulating the house one wall at a time as money permits, but a good portion of our home has no insulation in the walls. Normally, hubby and I throw on sweatpants and a few extra blankets on the bed but that’s not an option this year with a newborn in the house. We have central heating but every time I turn it on, I swear I hear ‘cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching’ rather than the heat fan.

The upsetting part is, we only need one room heated at night. We close the vents to the other rooms but it’s not effective. I’m terrified to run a space heater while we sleep and we don’t have a fireplace.

How do you keep warm without spending a fortune?


How you can avoid paying full price with minimal effort…

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Just give us your name, address, phone number, social security number, and your mother’s maiden name.

The Wall Street Journal podcast this morning talked about using store rewards programs as a good way to save money. We, the consumers, are left to decide how much of our personal information we are willing to part with to get a deal.

An e-mail?
Phone number?
Gender?
Mailing Address?

Weirdly enough, as an oversharing blogger, I under-share my information with stores. All you’ll ever get from me is an e-mail and my gender. Dream on if you want my address or phone number. How do I solve the dilemma of wanting to use store programs that demand more personal information than I’m willing to give?

I use my mother’s.

Whoa now. Don’t jump to conclusions and assume I sign my poor, innocent, mother up for garbage. I don’t. She simply signs herself up for everything and I piggyback by using her phone number.

Last I checked, my brother does the same thing.

I have a feeling there are a lot of stores across San Diego that wonder why one household is purchasing diapers, feminine products, and Centrum Silver in the same day across three cities.

Sharing or not, the Washington Journal had some recommendations:

1. Download an iTunes app called ‘The Keyring’ so you don’t have to carry all those plastic barcodes on your keys

2. Keep track of your rewards points. Many rewards go unused.

3. Keep a separate e-mail for rewards programs. They have a tendency to fill e-mailboxes quickly.

As someone who rarely pays full price for anything, I do belong to a good number of reward and coupon programs. While I don’t shop often, you won’t catch me strolling into Old Navy without a 30% off coupon or into Kohl’s without at least two coupons I can use congruently.

I have two questions for you –

1. How much are you willing to share?
2. Which rewards program is your favorite?


Urban Sharecropping…

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I read about a crazy new trend called ‘Urban Sharecropping’ a few months ago. Urban sharecropping is, ‘homeowners who lack free time or gardening skills are teaming up with would-be farmers who lack backyards. Around the country, a new crop of match-makers are helping the two groups find each other and make arrangements that enable both sides to share resources and grow their own food’ according to the Wall Street Journal.

I thought this sounded like a great way to develop my large backyard. I’d look for a farmer needing space and graciously offer my backyard.

The problem?

LOTS of people in San Diego have large yards and we aren’t exactly known for our plethora of farmers – not ones that grow legal plants anyway.

I checked out Urban Garden Share, the site recommended in the Wall Street Journal article, but alas, the closest city with listings is in Washington. The daily commute needed for watering may be a touch too far.

I found another article with more helpful links and it said, ‘Garden-sharing remains relatively new but there are signs that it’s becoming more mainstream. The City of Santa Monica recently set up a municipal garden-sharing site in an attempt to alleviate its 200-person long wait list for community gardens. “I don’t know why every city doesn’t implement something like this,” Botsman told me. “It’s a no brainer. It’s low-cost and you can lay it on to any existing social network.”’

County of San Diego? No dice. Especially in my area of town where most yards are a half an acre.

I might not have found my solution but maybe you can get a farmer, or a plot of land, this spring.

Best of luck!


The Story of the Free Couch…

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My brother’s father-in-law is selling his second home here in San Diego. He lives in Northern California, isn’t particularly interested in trying to move a living room set, and needs a little help in the process. My brother called and asked if we wanted the couch set with the caveat that we take the hot tub in the backyard to the landfill.

Slightly desperate for couches that don’t smell like dog pee (thanks to the house-sitting incident)… cancel that… DESPERATE for couches that don’t smell like dog pee, I called my husband to ask if he could do the job.

(For those who are wondering why we didn’t get some cheap couches off Craigslist yet, I read a Time Magazine article about bed bugs that gave me cause to think twice about touching other people’s furniture. At least I know this set is bed bug free.)

I called my husband to ask if he’d be willing to do the job – assuming he wouldn’t. Silly me. I forgot who I married.

I told him the story and he said, ‘Does the hot tub work?’

‘No sweetie, it’s old. It just needs to be thrown away.’ I said.

‘But is it broken?’ he asked.

‘I’m pretty sure’

‘Could I fix it?’

‘No. We’re…’

‘But I could try’

‘Um. Let’s just take it to the…’

‘I’ll call our neighbor to help. I’ve always wanted a hot tub.’

‘Honey, I only want the couch set. I don’t want a broken hot tub…’

‘I think I have some concrete in the garage. I could pour a pad over the weekend. Tools! I’ll need to pull out my tools. I’ll borrow the tow trailer from grandpa…’

I could hear him furiously scribbling on his note pad.

I clicked END on my cell phone. My part of this conversation was obviously over.

The best part about my husband, he can fix anything. The worst part about my husband, he can fix anything and he knows it.

All I wanted was a couch that doesn’t smell like pee. Now I’m knee deep in a broken hot tub with a husband happily puttering around with his tool belt envisioning outdoor sports watching and beer drinking while sitting in his hot tub.

Sometimes, that man can really make me laugh.

[[ Thanks Stef. I really appreciate the couches]]


VACATION!!!…

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Where am I today? Not in San Diego!! I’m beach camping near Los Angeles with some of my family and a few friends that might as well be family. It may not be the most ‘comfortable’ way to spend a few days off, but lying in a sleeping bag with the ocean lulling you to sleep is a good place to start.

Our share of the beach front vacation is $12 per night. It’s a deal that can’t be beat!


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