The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Bathroom Redo

I was cleaning the downstairs bathroom today when I noticed that the faucet handle, which is basically a plastic knob on top of a lever, is chipped. I don’t know how it happened (I can only imagine what my son must have been doing to chip it!), but we’re going to have to replace it soon, as there are a couple of sharp edges on it now.

Anyway, I’ve already started checking out bathroom faucets today, and kind of like the one pictured above, but my husband thinks it looks too “industrial”. We only have space for a single-hole faucet in that bathroom, though, so it’s not as though we have tons of options to go with.

Well, I’m going to keep looking to see what’s out there, but I wouldn’t mind buying this one!

Avoid Credit Card Debt

One thing I’ve learned from my shopping experiences is that I don’t want purchases costing me more than I intended in the long run, so I try to avoid financing things whenever possible. I still put almost everything on my credit cards in order to get rewards points, but I make absolutely sure that I pay off the entire bill each month in order to avoid the outrageous interest charges.

At a time like this when more and more people are going into debt or looking for foreclosure help, the last thing you want to do is add to your financial problems by running up huge credit card bills. Shop smarter by cutting corners and buying only what you can afford at the time. If that means you have to skimp on extras like family vacations or even birthday presents, then so be it. It makes no sense to go into debt so you can buy your kid a new iPod or Nintendo game.

Bennigan’s Bankruptcy

I know this isn’t exactly related to shopping, but I’m so bummed about the news that I just had to post it. Bennigan’s, which has been one of my favorite restaurants since high school (20+ years) is closing because of bankruptcy. Its parent company, S&A Restaurant Corp, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy today, and plans to close many of the 21 Illinois Bennigan’s locations.

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, the Bennigan’s bankruptcy filing was unexpected, with restaurant managers getting phone calls in the middle of the night telling them to close the stores immediately. In fact, the article went on to say that a new employee showed up for his first day of work today only to see the restaurant shuttered. He didn’t know what was going on until a couple of passersby told him about the bankruptcy!!

Chapter 7 — the Bennigan’s bankruptcy in this case — is used when a company is going to liquidate its assets, as opposed to Chapter 11, which is used when a company plans to restructure. So it looks as though Bennigan’s will be gone for good pretty soon.

Again, I’m totally bummed by this. I’ve had such great times at Bennigan’s over the years… I always went there with my friends in high school and college, and even afterwards in my early to mid-20s. Food and fun at Bennigan’s, right????

Special Treat

I’ve been working so many extra hours at my consulting gig for the past few weeks that I’m going to have a nice fat paycheck on August 1! I’ve been crunching the numbers, and after taking care of immediate bills and savings, I’ll have a bit extra left over. I fully intend on using that money to buy myself a nice treat.

I’m not quite sure what I want yet, but as I was browsing around online today, I came across this lovely two-tone yellow and white gold bangle. I used to have a bangle very similar to that one, but I lost it at a party a few months ago. I loved that bracelet, and have been itching to replace it ever since.

Anyway, I might need to wait a couple extra weeks for my next paycheck in order to buy this particular bangle, but I think it would be worth it. Don’t you think it’s cute?!

Basement Rec Room

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to have a fully finished rec room in my basement. A few of my friends had very cool basements, and I’ve modeled my own desires partially on what I saw in their homes. For example, I definitely want to have old school video games and pinball machines, like Galaga, Centipede, and Pole Position. I don’t even know if those things are still available these days, but those were games I grew up playing at the arcade.

Another “must have” in my basement rec room would be a huge flat-screen television with big speakers for watching movies and TV shows. To complete the experience, I might even throw in a few home theater chairs or comfy recliners.

Also, my dream basement would have to have a fully stocked bar. While I’m totally capable of having fun without alcohol, there’s nothing like a Sunday afternoon spent watching football and downing beers!

Anyway, we do have a basement in our house, which is a start, but it’s only half-finished and is currently being used for storage. So my dream rec room is going to have to wait for a few more years at least!

McMuffins at Home!

I absolutely love Sausage & Egg McMuffins from McDonald’s, and have often tried making them at home to save a few bucks. The problem is, the extra work and mess this creates usually isn’t worth it in the long run, as I end up either being late getting out the door or with a sink full of dirty dishes and frying pans to look forward to when I come back from the office.

That’s why when I saw this “Back to Basics” Egg-and-Muffin Toaster, I figured it would be perfect for my needs. It simultaneously toasts English muffins, poaches an egg, and warms up pre-cooked bacon or sausage so that all the fixin’s for a homemade breakfast sandwich are ready to go at the same time.

I haven’t actually purchased this machine yet, but it’s definitely going straight to the top of my Wish List. I’ve read through lots of customer reviews, and the overwhelming majority of them are positive. They say that everything cooks perfectly, that the food tastes great, and that cleanup is a breeze.

I would love, love, LOVE to be able to make Sausage & Egg McMuffins at home anytime I get a craving for them, so I want to get this appliance as soon as possible. It’s only $30 at Target, which is not a bad price at all. Hopefully I’ll be able to buy it within a couple of weeks!

Home Envy

A couple of my friends have truly beautiful homes that are decorated like something out of a magazine spread. In addition to new modern furniture and amazing artwork, they also have the most luscious carpeting, the trendiest electronics, and all the latest kitchen gadgets. In fact, I can’t help feeling just a wee bit jealous whenever I visit one of these upscale homes.

I really wish we could upgrade our interior, but that’s just not in the cards right now. Nevertheless, I’ve been keeping track of all the fantastic furnishings and accessories that I’d love to have in our home someday, so whenever we have some extra cash laying around, I can make a purchase or two!

Buying Shower Gifts

If you’re anything like me, then you probably get invited to anywhere between 1-5 baby and wedding showers per year. Having to purchase gifts for each of these events can really add up, particularly when times are tight, as they are now.

Here’s a great tip to keep in mind when you’re shopping for wedding or baby gifts: you don’t have to make your purchases from the store where the intended recipients are registered. Simply take a look at the registry to find out what kinds of items the recipient is hoping to get, then shop elsewhere for the same (or equivalent) products at lower prices.

Let’s face it: most couples or parents-to-be usually register at stores that they don’t shop at regularly. Instead, they tend to go up a level or two to get “better” gifts or things that they wouldn’t ordinarily buy for themselves.

There’s nothing wrong with that practice, but it does make things a bit harder for those who are doing the shopping. So instead of buying a towel set from Macy’s, why not get the same set from an online auction or discount site for a lower price? Instead of getting a Waterford crystal punch bowl, why not get an off-brand crystal bowl for much less?

If it’s the thought that truly counts in gift-giving, then the recipients shouldn’t have a problem receiving equivalent items. If they do, well, they can always exchange the item for something else!