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Money Monday

It’s been awhile since I posted a Money Monday segment and in light of digging for info to save myself money when shopping, I thought I would share some of my finds here since we all know money generally doesn’t grow on trees …. unless it’s a money tree, but then they aren’t legal tender so we’ll rule out money trees from the equation 🙂

Here’s a link to a site where you can buy packages of restaurant quality food at a reduced price they have host sites located across the country so the chances of finding a location close by is pretty good …. http://www.angelfoodministries.com

  • Coupon Tips
    • Check store policies on printable manufacturer coupons some places accept them while others don’t
    • target sale or otherwise price reduced items when using coupons
    • watch for stores that double coupons some stores will double coupons valued up to a certain amount some only do this on certain days while other stores double every day in short you could turn a coupon worth $0.75 off into a savings of $1.50 for example
  • Fresh Produce
    • buy a head of lettuce as opposed to a bag of lettuce.  yes the head is less convenient, but in general you will pay less for the head and get the same amount of lettuce as is found in an average bag
    • When buying potatoes, carrots or other items that sometimes offer the option of a prepackaged bag or individual items, buy what you will eat from the individual items for those who are cooking for one you’ll often throw less out which will save you money… on the other hand if you are one who freezes food regularly, the larger quantity may better suit you…. rule of thumb is to be realistic in the amount of produce you purchase don’t buy a 10 lb bag of potatoes if you are cooking for one person and don’t plan on eating potatoes every meal or freezing them.
    • Fresh fruit if you love fruit and eat lots of it, the bags of fruit can be good, but if you only like an occasional piece of fruit then like the potato example, try buying just a few that you bag yourself.
  • Form an attack plan
    • take time to make a list of what you need before you go shopping, for me, I find that having a list creates a bit of a boundary and I’m less apt to get a lot of impulse items that I really don’t need if I have a list to keep me focused on need over impulse
    • learn your store’s patterns, note what kinds of things are on sale at what time of the month/year and this can help you save money by knowing when to watch for items you use
    • be sure to look above and below eye level, a common tactic used by stores is to put items that are higher priced at the average adult’s eye level the idea being that most people only see what is directly in front of them, so often folks will miss items that may be the same quality but lower priced because they didn’t look above their head or down at knee/floor level.
    • When it comes to coupons, some people say to carry all your coupons with you all the time the idea being that you never know when you might stumble across a sale item you weren’t aware of, but is something you would normally buy.  Since I walk to do my shopping, I tend to aim to carry as little as I possibly can in the way of extra bulk, so I generally make my list of what I need to get, and then pull coupons that fit my list though if I want to check on an item to see if it is on sale I’ll take the coupons for the items I want to check on as well.  I carry them in either an envelope or a pocket sized coupon organizer.
    • watch for store fliers near the entrance to stores, often if they don’t mail or otherwise distribute their flier, but still offer one, they will often be available near the store entrance or service desk.

 

Top two questions I receive

AIGA information symbol sign

Image via Wikipedia

I get asked questions by my readers from time to time, some questions I can answer, but most of the time I’m at a loss for information so I will refer folks to other sources.  Some of the common questions I am asked include …

  1. Where can I find information about a relative that was a patient in a given facility?
    1. This is a tough one, because of privacy laws, regulations, and simply the fact that records may or may not still exist depending on the time period,  it can be challenging to get this information. While I haven’t personally attempted to get such information myself, there are others who have tried to do this and one resource I commonly refer folks to is  http://kirkbridebuildings.com there is an active forum there  that includes a section discussing ways to find information about former patients  it’s a decent starting point and the people there are good about answering questions.
    2. Another good starting point if you are looking for information about a facility is … http://www.asylumprojects.org they include information about facilities around the world so it’s a nice place to start learning about facilities.
  2. Trainings are something else I get asked about
    1. To be honest, unless someone sends me information about a specific training, I’m pretty clueless.  I do occasionally stumble across information on my own about training, but this is a rare occurrence.
    2. If you know about an upcoming training please feel free to let me know about it and I will do what I can to get it posted especially when it comes to things like Peer Specialist Training or other training geared to help folks with mental illnesses become more empowered.
    3. Also if you see someone asking about training in the comments, and you have information that might help them find it, feel free to share what you know because it might be the key piece of info someone else needs.  Networking is a great tool  🙂

I enjoy hearing the thoughts, comments and questions folks present to me here, they help keep me on my toes.  No matter what you think your question rates as, please feel free to ask, because sometimes I get the most inspiration from the questions that seem off the beaten path or that some may view as irrelevant.  Believe me, I’ve asked questions that to me seemed rather lame, but then as I dug for answers, I realized I wasn’t the only one asking those questions.  Sometimes questions will breed more questions and further discussion, or in the case of this blog, they may give me an idea of something else to be on the lookout for in terms of topics.

As a final note I just want to remind you that I do moderate all the comments that you see on here, mainly I’m weeding out the spam type stuff, and making sure that folks are being respectful, but it’s safe to say that the majority of the comments submitted make it past me to the blog.  Don’t let the moderation scare you though I’m not trying to censor discussions, just help cut down on the spam that my readers have to wade through.

My hopes for 2011

Jabba The Hutt

Jabba the Hutt - Image by Andres Rueda via Flickr

I’m kind of winging it so to speak with this post and decided to just share some of my personal thoughts about things I hope to accomplish this year.  I actually hate the term “New year resolution”  to me it sounds too ominous and well in many ways quite formal … I tend to shy away from formal when it comes to things like goals and aspirations, so for my own self I tend to go with something like “my hopes for the new year”  seems less rigid but still offers some sort of indicator that I’m looking ahead and planning things in some way 🙂

At any rate, some of the things I’m hoping for, include some things that many would consider to be standard things people say they want to accomplish when a New year rolls around.  Others though, I suspect that some folks won’t appreciate because they just “don’t get” what it’s like to struggle with a mental illness so to those folks I simply ask they try to have a bit of an open mind and heart. To those who either struggle with a mental illness themself or are close to someone who does I hope that my little “New year hopes” offer some kind of assurance that you’re not alone and even I have some odd struggles I want and need to work on to improve myself.

So here it is, my list of hopes …

  • Work on losing the extra person I’m lugging around in terms of my weight … yes stereotypical, but I currently weigh 242 pounds compared to 10 years ago when I weighed about 130 pounds … need to get back on track for a lot of reasons, losing weight will help my arthritis, sleep apnea, and as a fringe benefit, maybe I’ll see an improvement in my mental/physical health overall.
  • Exercise more …. I have turned into a slug when it comes to exercise and some days I think Jabba the Hut from Star Wars could out run me (for those that don’t know he is a giant slug probably as big as a monster truck … shadey character who enslaves Princess Leiah at one point and displays the carbonite encased Han Solo like a prized piece of art.  I hope to increase my activity level to where I’m more active then Jabba the Hut in short.
  • Improve my ability to feel comfortable going out in public and find ways to decrease the anxiety I feel when I’m out in the world beyond my yard.  I’m working with a Peer Specialist who is helping me with this, she happens to also have panic attacks so she understands where I’m at with that one.  It terrifies me but at the same time I love to be challenged so I’m also looking forward to working on this one.
  • Improve my organizational skills …. it’s an area I have always pretty much been an epic failure in, and while I’ve made some progress, I feel like I still have a l-o-n-g ways to go…. something about finding I spend more time looking for stuff then I do actually working on projects or doing stuff, just seems out of balance so it’s an ongoing thing I’m hoping to improve on.
  • Improve my time management skills …. having ADHD, I tend to get hyperfocused or stuck on a given task and forget to move on to other things … I think if I can find ways to improve my time management or simply figure out cues I can use to remind myself to move on to other things, it might help with other things on this list
  • I hope to maybe get to where I feel comfortable joining up with a group of somekind locally.  I’m on a Consumer Advisory Board, but in all honesty I’m thinking about something more fun or social in nature.  Ideas I’m currently considering include joining a knitting group (new hobby since I got a knifty knitter for Christmas kinda fun really)  or on a little bigger scale, maybe getting involved with the Warren Players and maybe help out with some behind the scenes type thing for one of their theater productions…this one scares me a little more because of how many people I’l be in ontact with … to be honest the knitting group feels less threatening, but I kind of like the challenge that both ideas offer just haven’t decided for sure might even do both, but we’ll see how things go 🙂
  • For this blog, I hope to not only post 99 posts again in this coming year, but I hope to actually post more then that this year … seeing if I can out post myself so to speak.  Not to mention work on trying to broaden my content a bit since I tend to get stuck in ruts when it comes to topics and if I expand it might make things a little more interesting for folks who read my blog so it’s a two fold hope.

Above all I hope that all my current and future readers are able to accomplish some of their hopes and dreams this year and also have a safe, healthy year.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2010. That’s about 29 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 99 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 371 posts. There were 36 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 7mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was December 22nd with 99 views. The most popular post that day was State Hospital Information.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were kirkbridebuildings.com, en.wordpress.com, search.aol.com, google.com, and mariaozawa2u.blogspot.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for norristown state hospital, eastern state school and hospital, allentown state hospital closure, mental health recovery model, and eastern pennsylvania psychiatric institute.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

State Hospital Information December 2007
55 comments

2

“Fate of Norristown State Hospital remains up for debate” May 2009

3

State Hospital History December 2007

4

State Hospital Closure Links December 2007
4 comments

5

“Many questions remain regarding hospital’s closing” December 2007
1 comment

Money Monday … Reading for le$$

Reading can be a great way to learn new things, or simply kick back and relax, but sometimes the cost can get between me an a book I want, so I’ve been looking at ways I can read more but not go broke in the process.

I recently got myself a Kindle from Amazon.com, and have found that there are so many books available that are free or very inexpensive for my kindle, that I’m reading a lot more then I had been.

The initial cost of the Kindle is a little pricey, but there are other options if you can’t afford to buy a Kindle.  Amazon offers Free Kindle Reading Apps that allow you to read Kindle books  on a variety of devices including computers, blackberry, Android, iPad and others.

For those not into technological gadgets, there are places you can get “real” books at low prices, here’s a few places I’ve bought books in the past.

  • BetterWorldBooks they collect used books, and then sell them at a reasonable price. They also give a portion of what is paid for each book to help with literacy programs around the world, and offer free shipping.
  • Public Libraries sometimes sell books to help with their expenses
  • Yard sales … I’ve gotten books at yard sales for almost nothing…. of course right now there aren’t many yard sales but come spring it is something you could find more abundantly
  • Auctions I got a garbage bag full of books for $2 one time at an estate auction.  It was a grab bag and I didn’t really know what was in the bag other then it had books in it, but it was a fun way to get some books.
  • OpenLibrary is a great online resource for free ebooks
  • Google Books is great for older books and publications

 

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