The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Catalogs

When I was a kid, my mom used to get the JC Penny and Sears catalogs all the time. I would look through them for hours, dreaming about getting some of the toys and clothes that were featured on the pages. No matter how many times I leafed through the huge catalogs, I never got tired of looking at the pictures and reading the descriptions.

I don’t get many catalogs these days, as only a couple of stores still send them out. Most places just rely on their websites to accomplish the same things that the catalogs used to.

The funny thing is, my name must have gotten on the wrong kind of mailing list, because in addition to Victoria’s Secret and J. Crew, I’ve also been getting a catalog of industrial products for the past couple of years. I’ve tried to cancel, but I still get a new book every April. Weird!

Free 1-Year Maxim Sub!

If you like Maxim magazine, then you’ll want to jump on this offer pretty quickly! I read on a frugal living forum that you can get a free 1-year subscription to Maxim, compliments of Sony.

This offer is supposed to be from people who bought a DVD of some kind, so the sign-up form has a place for you to enter a voucher code. It’s YSON.

I’m not sure if this is a limited offer, but it probably is, so follow this link and sign up now!

Free Maxim Subscription

Favorite Candy Bars

twix I don’t eat many candy bars now, but when I was in high school, I used to have one almost every day. That habit probably also explained all my cavities (I remember getting the news during a particularly grim checkup that I had 6 cavities) and my medicine chest full of the best diet pills I could find! I’m not sure what made me give up my chocolate binges all those years ago. Maybe I finally took a look at the nutrition information and realized how many calories were in each tiny serving!

At any rate, here’s my list:

  1. Twix — My all-time favorite. Chocolate, caramel, and a cookie stick… what could be better??
  2. Skor –I would take a bite, suck the chocolate off until it melted, and then enjoy the toffee part by itself.
  3. Whatchamacallit — Dumb name, but the product tasted damn good!
  4. Mars — For some reason, I preferred Mars bars without the chocolate! I would peel or cut the chocolate off and just eat the inside part. Weird, I know…
  5. PayDay — Peanuts and caramel. Pretty simple, and pretty good!

New Office

I’m sick of how my home office looks. I’ve been sitting in the same place for 4 full years now, and haven’t changed anything in all that time except my desk chair. I want a different look in this room, but can’t afford to buy all new office furniture just because I’m tired of the old stuff.

So what can I do? Well, rearrange the entire room, of course! I’ve spent the morning moving my desk and filing cabinets from one wall to the other. I’ve taken down all my picture frames and will recycle the photos that are in them (digital frames would come in handy right now), and I’m going to go out later to get a plant or something.

This is perhaps not as drastic a change as I would like, but the room definitely looks different and it was the best I can do with no money to spend!

Kettlebells

kettlebells About a month ago, I wrote that I was interested in getting involved with kettlebell training to boost my workouts on days that I didn’t go to the gym. Well, I did in fact buy a couple of kettlebells, and have been working out with them for a few weeks now.

I originally bought a 10kg kettlebell, but then had to go back to the store and buy a 5kg version as well. I just couldn’t lift the 10kg one over my head with one hand, which many exercises call for. I like having two different ones, though, so I’m glad I bought the extra.

I went to YouTube to get some ideas for kettlebell workouts, and came up with my own circuit that I do four times a week. The exercises include kettlebell swings, clean-and-press, side bends, squats, overhead lifts, and sit-ups.

I really enjoy these workouts, and wish I had purchased kettlebells a long time ago! Plus, I’m now getting stronger and burning a lot more calories on my “off days” than I was before. I can’t wait to see even better results!

Jacko’s Possessions

jackson moving truck Michael Jackson’s body is barely even cold, yet his creditors are already descending on his property. As family members struggled to come to terms with what happened, a moving truck was seen hauling at the King of Pop’s rented home in California. Nobody seems to be sure what the moving truck was doing there or who was behind it, but presumably it was sent by creditors trying to recoup some of what was owed to them. Different reports indicated that Jackson was anywhere from $300 million to $600 million in debt at the time of his sudden death, so it’s somewhat understandable that creditors would swarm in to take everything from platinum records to the copper sinks in the kitchen.

Still, you’d think the attorneys handling the estate would file for some sort of injunction so that nothing could be taken until they have time to go over all of Jacko’s paperwork. It’s odd that something like this could happen so quickly.

The bigger question, at least for me, is how did Jackson manage to blow through all his cash to the point where he was a staggering $300 million in debt? And who are the insane fools that kept lending him money even though he wasn’t making any music or doing much of anything else in recent years?? This is absolutely mind-boggling to me. $300 million is a significant chunk of change… I know Jackson had Neverland Ranch and shopped like there was no tomorrow, but you’d have to buy A LOT in order to rack up that much debt. Wow!

(AP Photo/APTN)

Free Chocolate Fridays

Who doesn’t love free stuff? Well, at Mars/M&M, they’ve been doing something called Free Chocolate Friday for a couple weeks now. Every Friday, you can go to the Real Chocolate website, where you can register to receive a coupon for a free Mars/M&M product. These include Snickers, Twix, Dove, M&Ms, Milky Way, Three Musketeers, etc.

They’re giving away 250,000 coupons every Friday, and I think the coupons are only available at certain random times. I’m not sure about that, though. I just went to the site a few minutes ago, and was able to fill out the form for a coupon, so if you want one, go now!

Fortunately, there’s a limit of one coupon per email address per Friday, and four per household for the offer period, otherwise I’d need to start shopping for a good fat burner after consuming all this free chocolate!

Oh, and take a look at this “awesome” commercial for Free Chocolate Fridays starring the adorable Neil Patrick Harris:

Laid off

I just got word that my mom was laid off today. I guess this shouldn’t be such a big shocker when the economy is as bad as it is. She worked in IT for a major insurer. They laid off more than a third of their IT group today — more than 300 out of 900 people.

As my mom is 60 (will be 61 in a few months), it’s not very likely that she’ll get another job in this field. As a result, she’s going to have to do some major budgeting overhauls to make sure her 401k and pension can stretch even farther than she expected they’d have to.

This layoff comes at a particularly bad time, though. She is in the middle of renovating her bathrooms and basement, and between paying for things like new ceramic tiles and Danze faucets, not to mention all the labor costs, she’s going to be shelling out a lot of money for the project. But it’s more than halfway done at this point, so it would hardly be feasible to back out now.

My mom’s bad fortune will also impact my own finances, as I’ll have to spring for plane tickets to go visit her, instead of having her come visit us as usual. So I better start pinching my pennies too!