The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Food Saver Vacuum Bags

I hate to admit it, but my family wastes a lot of food. We always seem to have leftovers, and because no one really likes to eat the same thing two or three days in a row, the leftovers get shoved to the back of the refrigerator, where they’re promptly forgotten until the rot. Yeah, not a great situation.

So I’m thinking of buying this FoodSaver vacuum system that seals food in vacuum-locked bags to help preserve freshness. The food can then be stored in the freezer, where it’ll keep a lot longer than in the fridge. I don’t know if this will actually help us reduce the amount of food we waste (it could just end up cluttering our freezer), it can’t hurt to give it a try. The machine costs about $100, and bags are extra. Maybe I’ll buy this the next time I go shopping!

Longest-Lasting Batteries

I just read a fairly interesting article about the longest-lasting consumer batteries on the market. I have to admit that my husband and I occasionally buy generic batteries from the dollar store for toys, flashlights, and other little devices that we don’t use all that often.

That might be fine for low-cost items, but according to the Main Street article, consumers ought to shell out a bit more cash and buy Energizer Ultimate or Energizer rechargeables for things like digital cameras, wireless security systems, and similar gadgets.

We buy Eneloop rechargeables, but I might give Energizer a look after this!

SodaStream Soda Maker

I go through one 16oz bottle of Coke Zero per day, which doesn’t sound like a lot as far as usual soda addicts go, but the cost still adds up. That’s why I’m thinking about getting this SodaStream home soda maker, which can reduce my soda costs significantly (if the literature is to be believed). This is a nifty little machine that allows you to carbonize water in a few seconds, after which you add some flavoring and voila — you can have any number of carbonated drinks (cola, diet cola, root beer, lemon lime, orange, grape, etc.) in a matter of minutes.

This sounds fantastic, and from the customer reviews I’ve read, the results are actually pretty good. The only thing holding me back right now is the cost of the CO2 refill bottles, which I guess is pretty high. I need to do a bit more research here, crunch some more numbers and see if I’ll actually come out ahead once I need to start buying refills.

Free IHOP Pancakes!

I love IHOP pancakes, so I’m definitely planning on taking advantage of this offer! Tuesday February 23 is National Pancake Day, and to celebrate, IHOP is giving away a free short stack of pancakes (that’s three for those of you who have never been there) to customers from 7am to 10pm. No purchase is required, but IHOP does ask that you donate to the Children’s Miracle Network or a similar charity (although again, this is NOT required). Limit 1 short stack per customer, and you can’t get the free pancakes in conjunction with other specials or coupons.

Can’t wait for this one!

Abercrombie Profits Fall 31%

I just read that Abercrombie & Fitch posted a fourth quarter earnings drop of 31% a few days ago as consumers continue to eschew the company’s high-priced fashions in favor of similar offerings from stores like Aeropostale and American Eagle.

I used to shop at Abercrombie back when I was in college, but I’m in my mid-30’s now, so there’s no reason for me ever to go back to that store. My younger cousins used to like the place, but recently they’ve been asking for Aeropostale gift cards too. I guess that’s the best way to figure out how well a clothing store is doing — by whether or not current high schoolers want to shop there!

Weight Loss Methods

As someone who constantly battles with weight issues, I’m always on the lookout for that next great product that will help me shed some extra pounds. I know in the long run diet and exercise can do more than supplements, but most people could use a boost every now and then.

The problem is, there are so many different weight loss products out there that it’s virtually impossible to choose something without help. I mean, how would the average Jane or Joe differentiate between ephedra, Xyphedrine, LipoClen, and Hydroxycut? How can someone tell if Acai berries are worth buying or if they’re simply another fad? Review sites can definitely help in this area, so click here to learn more!

Obviously pills and supplements aren’t the only answer to weight loss problems, but maybe they can help. It’s worth a try!

Spa Treatments

I don’t have money to go to a spa all the time, but I try to go every 3-4 months or so for some basic treatments. For example, I get a full body massage to remove some of the tension and muscle pain that has built up from exercising or simply being hunched over my keyboard all day, and I also get a facial, at which point the employees invariably push me to buy acne scar cream. I have one very noticeable acne pit/scar high up on my cheek under my right eye, but I’ve learned to live with it. I also get a manicure, pedicure, and maybe get my hair cut and styled if I have the cash.

I last went to the spa on the Friday before Valentine’s Day because my husband gave me a gift card as my V-Day present. It was very relaxing and enjoyable… it’s just too bad I don’t have an extra $250 to spend every month!

Free Auntie Anne’s Pretzels

I absolutely LOVE soft pretzels and cannot go to the mall or a baseball game without getting at least a couple. Hmm, maybe I just figured out why I also have to buy cellulite gel on a regular basis!! At any rate, there’s an Auntie Anne’s at the mall right down the street from my house, so the delicious, warm goodness is never too far away.

The only thing better than an Auntie Anne’s soft pretzel is a FREE Auntie Anne’s soft pretzel — which everyone can enjoy this coming Saturday, Feb. 20. That’s right, on Feb. 20 from 10am to 3pm, you can get a free regular or cinnamon pretzel at participating locations. You don’t need a coupon or anything, and it says limit one per person. You can even sign up for a text message reminder on the 20th — which I’ve already done. See you at the mall!