The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Warm and Toasty

We’re making an effort to save money on our heating bills this winter. Towards that end, we’re going to keep the thermostat turned down as low as possible, and we’re also going to bundle up in sweaters and sweatshirts (or whatever) while we’re at home. In addition, we’re going to buy an electric blanket so we can stay warm and toasty at night while turning the thermostat off completely.

I don’t know if these strategies will actually work, but we want to give them a try for at least a month. In reviewing our bills from last winter, we spent more than $100 per month in heating costs. If we can trim that amount by 25%, we’ll consider it a victory!

Memorial Jewelry

Ok, this has got to be one of the strangest products I’ve ever come across in my online wanderings! There’s a company out there called LifeGem that sells custom-made jewelry — which is normal enough. But the difference is that LifeGem’s diamonds are made from the carbon of deceased loved ones!

The carbon can come from ashes left over after cremation, or can come from a lock of hair for those who choose burial. Once the carbon is gathered, it’s used in a high-pressure machine that “replicates the forces” that create natural diamonds deep within the earth. Once the diamond is ready, it can then be mounted like any other stone.

I don’t know about you, but I think this sounds a bit creepy. I get that people are often reluctant to let go of loved ones and would do virtually anything to hold on, but LifeGem takes this concept a bit far IMO!

The diamonds cost several thousand dollars, and are supposed to be as real as anything you’d buy in a jewelry store. Still, I think I’d rather stick to photos and videos to remember deceased loved ones!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to take a moment to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving! I hope you’re able to spend the day with loved ones and I hope you spend some time reflecting about all the good things in your life. I know there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding jobs and the economy, but try not to let those thoughts intrude on the good times today.

Personally, my family has a lot to be thankful for, including our health first and foremost. We have the same financial worries as everyone else, but we’re not going to focus on those today. Instead, we’re just going to be thankful for what we do have, including a huge feast consisting of a big turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Seriously, I’m going to need to take diet supplements for a month to undo the caloric damage from this meal!

Have a great one!

Gold Pills?

I was doing some online shopping a bit earlier today when I somehow came across these gold capsules offered for sale at a site called Generate. These pills look like standard medicine capsules that you’d take if you had a cold or something, but they’re made entirely of 24k gold leaf.

The product description, which is clearly tongue-in-cheek, says:

Indulge your ‘inner’ self with these 24k gold leaf capsules. Digest to increase self-worth.

Co-designed with Ju$t Another Rich Kid.

I don’t know why anyone would want to buy these (at a price of $429 each) let alone actually swallow them, but it just goes to show that there’s all kinds of crazy out there!

The Gift of Travel

Have you ever purchased a vacation as a gift for someone outside your immediate family? It’s one thing to get your spouse a surprise weekend trip to the Bahamas for an anniversary present, but quite another when you’re buying the gift for someone whose routine you’re not all that familiar with. Obviously, you’re likely very close to the person to begin with, otherwise you wouldn’t be buying such an expensive treat, but even siblings, parents, and grandparents have commitments that we might not be aware of.

So before you go ahead and make las vegas hotel reservations on behalf of someone else as a surprise, try to get as much information as possible about their work schedule or vacation time so that your gift can actually be enjoyed without putting them out too much.

If there’s no way to do that without giving away the surprise, then try to make the reservations as far in advance as possible, thereby allowing the intended recipient sufficient time to make necessary arrangements to get the days off from work.

Often you’ll find that it’s necessary to bring someone else in on the secret in order to book the ideal vacation, so if you need to do that, go right ahead. It’s far better to let the cat out of the bag a tad early than to buy a vacation that nobody can use!

Black Friday 2008

Black Friday 2008 is just a couple days away, but forecasters are predicting that overall sales volume will be very low thanks to the general state of the economy. So even though retailers are trying to entice consumers to spend by slashing prices on everything from Macbooks to Plum trees, it’s doubtful that people are going to open their wallets very much this holiday season.

Personally, my family has taken a bit of a hit in terms of lost overtime wages at work, as well as general uncertainty about the future of my husband’s company (which is in the automotive industry). So we’re going to be very careful about Christmas shopping and are imposing a $50 limit on gifts for immediate family members. Moreover, we’re not going to go to as many parties as we usually do in order to save money on outfits, gift exchanges, alcohol, etc.

We haven’t made a practice out of inundating our son with Christmas presents, so I doubt that he’ll even know the difference. As long as he gets that one new Pokemon Nintendo DS game that he wants, I’m sure he’ll be happy!

Free Dr. Pepper

Have you registered for your free 20 oz. bottle of Dr. Pepper yet? In case you haven’t heard (though it’s been hard to miss this well-publicized giveaway), Dr. Pepper is making good on its promise to give “everyone in America” a free soft drink, since Guns ‘N’ Roses did indeed release their album Chinese Democracy in 2008.

In order to get the free drink, you have to visit the Dr. Pepper website and register your name and address so they can mail you a coupon. Alternatively, you can call toll free 1-800-696-5891 to register via phone. I think today is the last day the coupons will be available, so better get a move on right now.

I think it’s pretty cool that Dr. Pepper is following through on their promise. I guess they didn’t want to risk any public backlash by ignoring their earlier statements, but still… giving away all these free bottles of Dr. Pepper has gotta hurt, especially with the economy in the toilet!!

Essential Daypack Bottle

I love browsing through the cool outdoor survival-type products carried at retailers like Eddie Bauer. It’s not as though I’m a Chicken Little “sky is falling” kind of person, but I like to be prepared for anything that might happen. That’s why I want to buy this Essential Daypack Bottle from EB.

The container looks like an ordinary sports bottle that you’d fill with water to go on a bike ride or something, but inside it contains a bunch of useful items that will help you cope with minor emergencies. According to the product description, there’s a:

  • Survival guide
  • Flashlight with batteries
  • Waterproof matches
  • Whistle
  • Emergency blanket
  • Multitool
  • First-Aid kit
  • and much more!

This Essential Daypack Bottle is the perfect size for throwing in my backpack when going hiking, or for keeping in the car. It retails for $24.99, which is probably less than the cost of all the individual items and water bottle alone — though I should probably check that out just to make sure!