The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Borrow more than books

Did you know that you can borrow more than just books from your local public library these days? This is great news for anyone looking to save some extra money, so you should definitely take advantage of your library if possible.

For instance, the library in my community is TINY. In fact, I often go to other libraries in neighboring communities instead because I have a much better chance of finding what I’m looking for. But even my library has a bunch of other things to borrow.

Just off the top of my head, I know that patrons can borrow MP3 players in order to listen to borrowed audibooks. How cool is that? Now you don’t even need your own iPod in order to listen to free audiobooks! In addition, patrons can borrow things like puzzles, video games, DVDs, CDs, and even an engraving pen.

So the next time you need a piece of equipment just for one quick project, check with your library before you buy. You might be surprised at what they have — all of which you tax dollars pay for!

Ankle Weights

ankle-weights In an effort to get more out of my home workouts, I went out and bought a set of ankle weights. I can only go to the gym three times a week, so I really want to make the other four days count. I walk about 3 miles on those days, and figured that adding some ankle weights would help strengthen and tone my legs and calves more quickly, and would add resistance to the workout.

I went for these 2.5-pound (each) weights from Nike. To be honest, at first I bought 5-pound weights, but they were simply too heavy, so I returned them and went for this lighter set. I think 2.5 pounds on each ankle is plenty for my size and strength (I’m 5’4″/120lbs).

The extra weight is definitely noticeable, and I do feel myself getting tired more quickly when I’m wearing them. In fact, I can’t run or jog with these things on because it takes too much out of me. Biking is not much of a problem, though.

Overall, these 2.5-pound ankle weights from Nike are a great addition to my fitness routine. They’re very comfortable to wear, and help me burn a few extra calories on my daily walks. The set only cost me about $20, which I consider money well spent. Recommended!

Gardetto’s Snack Mix

gardettos Back when I was in high school, I used to eat Gardetto’s Snack Mix all the time. It was called Snack-Ens at the time, but it was exactly the same product as today’s Snack Mix.

Anyway, I recently started eating Gardetto’s Snack Mix again after not touching the stuff for over a decade. Let me tell you, this is definitely a unique taste that’s great to enjoy every once in a while!

The snack mix consists of pretzel twists, pretzel sticks, mini bread sticks, mini sesame sticks, and rye chips, all baked with a terrifically tasty seasoning. The result is a crunchy, delicious, wholly satisfying snack.

The only problem with Gardetto’s Snack Mix is that it’s high in both calories and fat. A single serve bag of just 49g will set you back 240 calories and a whopping 10g of fat. That’s quite a bit for such a small amount of food! After reading the nutrition information, I have to admit that I reach for Gardetto’s less and less often. There are just too many other healthy alternatives out there. But this is definitely great for a once-in-a-while treat. I simply can’t give it up for 15 years again!

iPhone Test Post

I’ve been playing with Jerry’s new iPhone practically nonstop these past couple of days. Well, when he’s not on it, that is! There is just so much that this thing can do… it’s a bit overwhelming trying to take it all in.

Anyway, I’ve downloaded a couple of apps already, including one for WordPress. I’m using that right now to type this post, and it’s great! I’m sure I’ll be sending in a lot more mobile posts now that there’s an iPhone in the family!

Caved in!

iphone Well, after months and months and months of resisting, we caved in and bought an iPhone. Why all the resistance? Because I absolutely HATE buying stuff that everyone and his brother already has. But in this case, Jerry was just too smitten with all the iPhone’s capabilities, so when his last phone contract ended a few days ago, he started thinking about buying the iPhone.

I urged him to consider other possibilities as well, but he never even looked at anything else. So now we have the new 3G S, and a lengthy 2-year contract.

I have to admit that the phone is pretty damn cool! We haven’t had enough time to learn much about it yet, but we’ll get there.

And why do I say “we”? It’s Jerry’s phone, but you better believe I’ll play around with the different apps on there! I’ll also use the browser to check my Gmail and Yahoo accounts when we’re out and about because it seems so much easier to do on the iPhone than on my own phone. I’ve already input my info on his phone, so I can grab my email whenever I want. Yeah, I guess I’m just as excited as he is!

Late Summer Getaway

I begin grad school on August 24th, and my son begins second grade that same day. Since we’re both likely to be very busy once the school year starts, I’m thinking about putting together a family vacation before then. I’m currently looking at various travel deals to some closer destinations, and if I can find something reasonable, we’ll go somewhere in August, right before school starts.

So what are some close destinations? Actually, I wouldn’t mind driving the six hours to Columbia, MO to check out the MU school campus. We could stop by St. Louis on the way and visit the Arch, Laclede’s Landing, and whatever else is in that city. We could also hit Springfield and take in some sights in the Capitol, Lincoln’s home, and a few other things.

This kind of trip would be fun, and our biggest expenses would be for hotels and gas. That’s not too bad, IMO. I’m going to run this by the rest of the family to hear what they have to say!

Coming Soon: Snack Reviews

hersheys-pretzel-bars I’ve mentioned before that I’m going to have to limit the number of reviews I post because I have to save money for school. As a result, I’ve just been posting some shopping news, like the latest bankruptcies and product recalls, as well as a few freebies that people might be interested in.

But that’s kind of boring to me, so I’m going to be doing more reviews pretty soon. Yes, they’re likely going to be for really low-ticket items like snack food, candy, and gum, but I guess that’s just the way it goes. And hey, I might end up reviewing the best weight loss supplement as well, if all my snacking leads to some added pounds!

Oh, and I’ll probably end up reviewing some books, college apparel, and other things that have to do with going back to school. Plus, I shouldn’t forget to review some stores here and there as well. I think there’s enough material to keep this blog going for a long time yet!

“Crocs” shoes in trouble

Crocs Shoes I have never, ever owned a pair of Crocs, and think they are just about the ugliest footwear on the planet. Fortunately for me — but not so good for the company — they might not be around much longer. It seems that the fad is finally over, after seven long years.

I just read an article on the Washington Post website about how Crocs lost $185.1 million last year, cut 2,000 jobs, and is now stuck with a massive surplus of shoes that simply aren’t selling. Now the company has “millions” in debt, which must be paid off by September — an unlikely scenario.

This is another example of a company that got too big too fast. They sold 100 million pairs of shoes in seven years, but now demand is practically nonexistent. Yet they’re stuck with all the extra manufacturing and distribution centers they built to keep up with initial demand.

Man, this economy sucks. But seriously, I’m not going to miss seeing Crocs around. Are you?