Thursday, February 24, 2011

We've come to the end...

of five weeks of wearing a cast. Upon reflection, I've saved a lot of money. No driving meant not buying gas for the car. An inability to stand on two feet meant a refund on the Pilates class I signed up for. Not getting around much means I haven't been tempted to impusle buys at the mall or the grocery store. Nope, since I fell my purchases have all been school-related.

I will be extremely glad to get the cast off and return to making impulse ice cream purchases at the grocery store, though. :)

That's all for this week.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Any room for me at the inn?

I'll be spending a month out of town after school is out of session. I'm really looking forward to it, but I've run into one little hiccup. The family connection I'd planned to stay with rented out his condo and moved to the U.K., so I'm in search of alternate accommodations. I'm wary of hostels, since I need to put down roots for more than just a few days, and I'm also wary of hotels, because they aren't really set up for long-term accommodations and tend to cost a lot even when they are.

My discovery of something in between, called "apartment hotels" has really made the difference. These are set up for a long-term stay, with some including kitchens and looking almost like condos. The rates are a bargain if you stay for a solid month, or pay to stay for a solid month, sometimes as low as $60/night.

The other important discovery I've made is university dorm living. In the summers, most students have left their dorms to head home or travel or work somewhere other than the university's locale, so these areas are available for rent to travelers. One place I'm looking at has a rate of $38/night if you stay for a month in the summer.

I was concerned that without a couch to surf on, I'd end up in an exorbitant hotel far from the areas I'd planned to visit. But it looks like there really are affordable, apartment-style accommodations out there for travelers. And that's a big relief.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Um, pardon me, I have a coupon...

For Christmas, my mother treated my father and my boyfriend each to a version of the "Entertainment Book." Remember it? Celebrated years ago as THE way to wine & dine a significant other, get sports equipment for the kids, or get an oil change at great prices? My mother swore by hers while I was growing up - and good for her, too. I'm sure there were many things we could not have afforded at regular prices, but were lucky enough to experience because of the coupons.

My mother is a bit dejected by this year's offering, however. She says that the conditions under which you can use the coupons have changed quite a bit. Where before you could simply "Buy one entree, and get one of equal or lesser value for half price", you now can only "Receive $5 off of your meal when spending $60 or more." I suppose this is more worrisome because my parents are no longer taking kids in tow when they go to a restaurant, and my boyfriend and I are just two people, so a $60 meal, even with a discount, is often more than we'd spend. This renders many coupons useless.

What about the ones in the book that you can't use? You pay for them all, and you get them all - even if you don't have a car that needs an oil change, or pets that need grooming, or carpeted floors that would require carpet cleaning. If coupons you don't need make up a significant portion of the book, how useful is the book to you?

Additionally, if you can look through the book beforehand, be mindful of expiry dates. A year-long book is great, but if most of the coupons expire before June of the given year, how great a deal is the book, really?

Once I get back home, I'm going to take a good hour at least to sit down with our coupon book and see how much of it we can use. After all these years of watching my family at work, I'm sure I've perfected the signature phrase of, "Um, pardon me, I have a coupon..."

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Part 2: Cheap Haircuts

I've always wanted to be able to cut my own hair. At age 5 I attempted to give myself bangs using safety scissors, without a mirror! The results horrified my parents, who told me that young ladies don't usually cut their own hair. I assume they meant "young ladies who haven't yet graduated from safety scissors" because now that I'm not so good at walking and can't drive, cutting my own hair is the easiest way for me to get a haircut.

I did a really good job of it on Thursday, but today decided that I wanted a shorter look - and cut off too much. I'm waiting until it dries completely to see what I can salvage. I got news on Friday that I'm only 3 weeks away from a walking maybe I should just wait until I'm more mobile and can get a haircut somewhere else.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

My First Attempt at Comedy: Cheap Workout!

The first time I enrolled in a gymnastics class, I was 5. I was so excited to learn how to be strong, graceful, and fearless. Instead, I fell off of a beam and didn't have enough balance to do a handstand. Undeterred, I tried many other sports over the years, as well as working out at gyms. Sadly, I lack the endurance and coordination to do anything - except cheer on others from the sidelines.

Recently though, as luck would have it, I found an exciting new workout that has yet to disappoint. My back and arms ache in the morning, my feet ache in the evening, but there's no getting out of these habits until I complete my 6-week regime.

Allow me to present my equipment:

The Bench Press. Weighs significantly more than the average ankle is used to supporting and made of low-grade, non-waterproof plaster. The need to keep this thing elevated will have a great effect on your calf and thigh muscles. Not to mention that your other ankle, now supporting the weight of your entire body, is also going to pack on the muscle!

The Weights. These babies incorporate bicep curls and push-ups into one simple exercise - walking/staying upright. After a couple of days, the bruises on your ribs and underarms may look appalling, but don't let that stop you! I mean, your wrists and biceps will be thanking you in just 4 short(ish) weeks.

Hey, trying to navigate icy Winnipeg while on crutches is no picnic, and I'm lucky to have friends and family looking out for me and (literally) ready to catch me. But there are still days when, while taking twice as long to get to my locker as I normally would, I feel slightly annoyed. So here's looking on the bright side, and trying to get some positives out of my experience on crutches. Oh - and also a great workout, for just the $55 the crutches cost me.