The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Living Within My Means

If there’s one thing I have great difficulty with, it’s living within my means. I admit that I like to show off a bit and flaunt some name brands every now and again. Sure, I might have jeans from Wal-Mart for daily use around the house, but when I get dressed up, I throw on a Dolce & Gabbana shirt, Cartier watch, and Prada loafers. I sometimes cringe at how much I’ve spent on this stuff and wonder why I even need it. After all, it’s not as though I have one of those Manhattan jobs that attract all the true fashionistas.

Anyway, this year I’m trying to make an effort to curb my spending on name brands. Why pay extra just for a label with someone else’s name on it, right? Actually, this task should be pretty easy because A) I don’t have any extra money for those types of products now; and B) I want to go to grad school, so I have to think about tuition and books instead of shoes and handbags. And that means I have to rework my family budget. What fun… not!

Nyko Charging Dock for Wii

nyko-dock Our Nintendo Wii gaming console gets a lot of use. Everyone in the family loves playing Wii, mostly because the games are easy to learn, highly addictive, and a total blast to play. We have a bunch of titles, ranging from Wii Sports to Mario Kart Wii, Super Mario Galaxy, We Ski & Snowboard, and Wii Fit, and it seems like someone is always playing something from this little library. As a result, we go through Wii Remote batteries like crazy and have spent a lot of money on replacements. That’s why I think getting this Nyko Charging Dock would be a very smart move.

The charging dock accommodates two Wii Remotes, which are included, so we’ll end up with extras. You can either charge both controllers at the same time, or just charge one while using the other. The dock plugs directly into any standard wall socket, so no extra adapters are needed to get this product to work. What’s more, the remotes that come with the package use specially-designed NiMH battery packs that give you up to 25 hours of playing time on a single charge — an amazing number for rechargeable batteries!

The Nyko Charging Dock for Nintendo Wii usually costs $39.95 at most retailers, but is currently on sale at Buy.com for just $25.16. That’s an excellent price, and considering how much disposable batteries cost these days, the unit will pay for itself in no time. This deal is really too good to pass up, so I better jump on it while it lasts!

St. Jude Decorative Pillows

pillows I’ve written a few times before about how I like to shop at the St. Jude Gift Store. Not only do I get wonderful products, but a portion of the money I spend goes to support a very worthy cause. As you might know, St. Jude doesn’t turn away any patients based on their (in)ability to pay for treatment, and they consequently need a lot of money to keep going. I’m just glad to help in some tiny, tiny way.

As I was browsing through the gift shop yesterday, I saw these really cute decorative pillows on sale. They are handcrafted and the silkscreen designs are from patient artwork. They feature removable slipcovers that can be washed, and have different designs on the back.

The regular price for these pillows is $24 each, but they’re on sale for $15 right now. These would look wonderful on the couch, and will definitely start a few conversations or at least elicit some compliments.

I want the Hope and Believe pillows!

Back to Glasses

Jerry is going to ditch his contacts and go back to glasses soon. His contacts have really been irritating his eyes recently, and I guess he’s just been getting tired of the whole process involved in caring for the lenses. So he’s got an appointment with the optometrist on Monday for an exam.

It’s been a while since Jerry has used eyeglasses, so it might take some time to get comfortable with the switch. But I’m sure that whatever happens, the change will be a relief from constantly having red, itchy eyes due to the contacts.

Besides, the glasses are just going to be a stopgap until we save up enough money for LASIK surgery. That’s the actual goal here, but our insurance doesn’t cover it and we can’t really afford the procedure on our own right now.

College Acceptance Gifts

niu-huskies My younger cousin just got word that he was accepted to one of the colleges he applied to! He’s pretty excited about it too, because his grades haven’t always been stellar throughout his high school career. He was actually thinking about going to one of the local technical schools for a couple of semesters to take some useful classes and boost his GPA if he didn’t get into a 4-year school right off the bat, but I guess that backup plan won’t be necessary now.

Anyway, I want to get him a small gift for getting into college. I wish I had enough to buy him a laptop, but that’s clearly not in the budget right now. I’m thinking more along the lines of a hoody or jacket from his new school (once I know for sure that he has sent in his acceptance letter). Freshman can never have too much apparel in their school colors and logo, right?

I’m so excited for him!

Update about Amazon.com Issues

I wrote a little while ago that I never received an order that I placed with Amazon.com. Well, after having to jump through a bare minimum of hoops (they asked me to check with neighbors, look in the bushes for the package, call the post office, etc.), I was able to get a full refund for the order. It was actually a very easy process, which was refreshing in comparison to some other stores that I’ve had to deal with.

This was the first time in 10 years that I’ve had a problem with Amazon, and they handled it swiftly and professionally. Kudos!

Oscar Gift Bags

The Oscars are on tonight. I don’t watch many awards shows, but this is usually one that I do tune in for because nothing can quite measure up to the glitz and glamor surrounding the event. Millions of people from all over the globe will be huddled around their tv stands hoping for a glimpse of their favorite stars and keeping track of their picks in the office Oscar pool.

What I’m most interested in, however, are the gift bags that attendees receive. We’ve all heard how these bags are filled with thousands of dollars worth of items ranging from iPods to luxury watches to gift certificates for upscale day spas. I would give anything to be on the receiving end of one of these bags… do any stars want to hook me up?? lol

Alden Grace Folded Notes

folded-note One of the ways I treat myself is by having a nice set of personalized stationery for any correspondence that needs to be done the old-fashioned way. Sadly, a box of 50 note cards or letter sheets usually ends up lasting me several years because there just aren’t that many occasions when I need to write a personal letter. Sigh.

But the time has finally come to replenish my stock of note cards. I love these folded notes by Alden Grace, as the writing quill succinctly sums up my most important characteristic: I love to write!

These notes cost $91 for 50 pieces, a price that includes pre-printed envelopes with my return address. In addition, it costs an extra $12 per 25 pieces for lined envelopes, which means I’d have to add $24 to the total cost of the order.

Without the printed and lined envelopes, the cost would just be $67 for 50 personalized note cards. Quite a difference, I know, but stationery just stands out SO much more with printed and lined envelopes. It’s much more elegant.

This is on my Wish List for now, as there’s no way I can spend $115 on stationery in the next few weeks. Maybe it can be my Mother’s Day present!