Goodwill = Goodbye Mall

As I looked at the two-feet-high piles of clothing around me, I realized that I had to change something.

I simply had way too much clothes.

After cleaning out my closet this summer, I’ve adopted this new goal of being less materialistic. Don’t get me wrong, I love fashion and lovely clothes, but I swore I hadn’t even seen some of those clothes, and I certainly had not worn half of them more than once, or even ever.

And I felt guilty. All the money I had spent on all that clothes -and this is just clothes I’m speaking of- could have gone towards helping others in need. I didn’t always spend money on myself, and I had given money every now and then. But the ratio was indisputably dominant on the Me end.

And all that investment in self-satisfaction, what did that do for me? Had it made me any happier? If so, happiness is surely an expensive thing.

This prompted me to greatly reduce the number of times I went to shopping malls. It wasn’t so hard to do, since dealing with the traffic and finding a parking spot could be enough reason to avoid shopping altogether.

On top of that, I donated clothes I wouldn’t wear to a nearby Goodwill. I couldn’t resist but to peep in while I was there, and I came back a happy, guiltless shopper: full-packed action classics and a beaded vintage bracelet I had fallen in love with—all for 3 whole dollars.

This commenced the replacement of shopping at the mall with thrifting.

When you find adorable oversized sweatshirts -perfect for this chilly weather- for $3, it’s hard to convince yourself that a sweatshirt at Victoria’s Secret is worth that $60.

I’m not saying that I’ll only shop at Goodwill, or that I’ll never purchase anything at a shopping mall; what I am saying is that thrifting at least on occasion is a healthy alternative to binge shopping: You purchase recycled items for bargain prices, and you help keep jobs for handicapped citizens.

And where else can you find books and films of all kinds, furniture, art, clothing, and other knick knacks that carry stories of many generations?

Your Guide to Groceries: Good for Your Wallet and Waistline

How many times have you made a trip to your local grocery story, only to leave feeling incredibly guilty for throwing that pint of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food Ice Cream in your cart, or for spending $20 more than you had anticipated? If you’re anything like me, this is a regular occurrence. Maybe it’s just my unwavering love for food, but browsing the aisles of Whole Foods or Trader Joes, chock full of sweet and savory flavors, just gets me way too excited.

Recently though, I’ve made a conscious effort to be more strategic with my grocery shopping, in an attempt to save on money and calories. I put together a little list of rules for myself, and have definitely noticed a difference in my wallet and waist. Here are my five best tips:

1. Shop the perimeters. Literally. You see, the perimeter of most grocery stores is home to the healthiest foods. On one end, you have your fresh produce and dairy like skim milk and Greek yogurt, and on the other end you have your lean proteins (hello turkey and chicken breast), and your freshly baked whole grain bread. Those aisles in the middle of the store are full of chemically processed cakes, cookies, and chips. So keep to those edges and the scale will thank you!

2. Take advantage of farmers markets. One of my favorite things about the warmer seasons are the awesome weekly farmers markets around town. It’s unbelievable the difference fresh, locally grown produce has in making fruits and veggies so flavorful. Every Saturday morning, I set out for the market downtown with a crisp $20 bill in my purse, and nothing else. This way, I’ll stick to my budget, and don’t get carried away buying every tasty thing I see. I find that I can get a lot more produce for my money at a farmer’s market. Always at the top of my list? Freshly baked breads, sweet corn, juicy heirloom tomatoes, and crisp red apples.

3. Shop with a grocery list, and stick to it! I know, I know, this is the oldest trick in the book- but for good reason! Because you’re only shopping for one, it’s easy to fill your cart with too much food that will end up going bad and being thrown out. Before you head to the store, sit down and think about the meals you’ll make that week. A lot of times, I’ll make a few pieces of grilled chicken or fish on Sunday, that I can use on salads throughout the week. Group similar food items together (produce, dairy, meats, etc.) to make it easier once you get to the store.

4. Read the nutrition label. This might seem like an obvious way to choose healthy foods, but a lot of times people are looking for the wrong things. Instead of going straight to the calorie count, try reading the ingredients. A good rule of thumb- if it contains something that you couldn’t grow yourself, don’t buy it. For example, a lot of packaged foods contain “partially hydrogenated oil.” Instead, look for simple ingredients like sprouted whole wheat, sea salt, barley, etc.

5. Treat yourself. Depriving yourself of the things you love most is never the answer. Stick to a diet of fresh produce, whole grains, and lean protein, but a taste of your favorite ice cream or salty treat every once in awhile won’t hurt. You deserve it!

Happy shopping!

How to Save When you LOVE to Shop

I love to shop. Shopping is wonderful passing time when you’re bored; need “therapy,” or when you are looking to have a fun day. The only problem with shopping is that it prevents you from saving. If you’re like me, you are busy working during the summer in order to save money for school. It’s so hard to save money for school when there are so many cute clothes on sale! It also doesn’t help when you work in one of your favorite stores! I work retail at one of my all-time favorite stores to shop in, every time I work new products scream my name. I’ve been forced to learn the secrets to self-control when it comes to buying. The secrets I have learned have allowed me to save a ton of money, enough to buy my own car and help pay for school!

The first secret is to start a change jar. Change is so annoying. It weighs down your wallet, clinks in your pocket, and is rarely used when buying.  You have to keep yourself from stealing change from the jar, but when you do it adds up fast! Think about it, every time you break a bill you get more change! Once your jar gets full take it to the bank in exchange for paper money, you will be surprised at the amount of money you can walk away with! A penny is nothing on its own, but it’s worth so much when it’s grouped in numbers.

The second secret is to recycle your cans! Every can is worth 5 cents! Throwing cans away is like throwing nickels away. Find a cardboard box or old trash can and mark it “cans only,” fill it up and turn it in to your local grocery for cash! This is such an easy way to get money back for your purchase. If you’re buying canned beverages anyway, this is such a simple thing to do.
My third secret is to work a lot and spend a little; it’s easier said than done. When I am out and I want to buy I usually try to remind myself of what I’m saving for. I ask myself questions like….

  • Will I still want this in a week if I don’t buy it now?
  • How much use will I get out of it?
  • Is it worth its price tag?
  • Is this something I NEED?
  • Do I have something like it already?
  • Why do I want this?

By asking yourself the tough questions, you’ll find that the answer is usually no. If it’s not, a treat is okay once in a while. Set yourself some boundaries and try your absolute hardest to stay on the right track. It’ll all be worth it when you have money for school and the things you really need.

– Speedy G.

Black Friday Cheat Sheet

Since 2005, the Friday after Thanksgiving known as “Black Friday” has been the busiest shopping day of the year in America.  Almost every store, whether they advertize it or not, have major sales on most of their products.  We have been scanning all of the major retailer’s Black Friday ads and we have found our favorites deals for college students! Ready, Set, Shop!


24″ Dynex 1080p HDTV – $79.99

Toshiba Smart Blu-ray Disc Player – $39.99

Toshiba 320GB External Hard Drive – $29.99

Belkin Wireless N Router – $24.99

Canon ELPH 300HS Digital Camera – $149.99


Xbox 360 4GB Game System – $149.99

Xbox Kinect Sensor – $109.99

Playstation 3 160GB Game System – $199.97

Nintendo Wii Bundle – $149.99


Steam Mop – $29.88

Protocol 4-piece Luggage Set – $39.88

Phillipe Richard 20-piece Cookware Set – $19.88

Farberware 17-piece Wave Cutlery Set – $19.88

Pyrex 18-piece Tupperware Set – $14.88


RCA 32″ HDTV with built in DVD Player – $279.99

Panasonic 5.1 channel DVD home theater system – $99.99

Sony DVD Player – $29.99

Fujifilm AV200 Digital Camera – $49.99

Colby 7″ Widescreen LCD Digital Picture Frame – $29.99


Sterling Silver Initial Pendants – $14.99

Norelco 6955X Rotary Electric Razor – $29.99

Fuchsia CHI Air Ceramic Flat Iron – $79.99

Women’s Winter Boots – $19.99

Men’s Graphic Tees – $8.99


Sony Earbuds – Buy 1, Get 1 Free

HP 17.3″ Laptop with 4GB Ram and 500GB Hard Drive – $349.99

Toshiba 1TB Portable External Hard Drive – $79.99

HP Photosmart Wireless e-All-in-One Printer – $59.99

Blackberry Playbook 16GB Tablet – $199.99


Canon Powershot ELPH 100HS with 1080p Video Digital Camera – $129.99

Vivitar DVR 410 Pocket Video Camera – $19.99

Seagate GoFlex Desk 2TB External Hard Drive – $74.99

TomTom XXL 550T GPS – $99.99


50% off all outerwear

Sweaters – $15

Fleece Scarves – $1

Women’s Leggings – $5

Men’s Graphic Tees – $8

Puffy Jackets – $29


Toshiba 15″ Laptop with 3GB RAM and 500GB Hard Drive – $299.99

Logitech Wireless Mouse and Keyboard – $19.99

Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Router – $59.99

Nikon 16MP Coolpix Camera – $119.99

Xbox 3604GB with Kinect Sensor – $199.99


Basic Essentials 25-piece Mega Aluminum Non-Stick Set – $29.99

Forecast Barbados 4-piece Luggage Set – $44.99

Zenith 50″ 1080p Plasma TV – $499.99

Garmin 40LM GPS – $99.99


HP Laptop with Intel i7 Processor, 4GB RAM and 640GB Hard Drive – $599.99

Seagate 1.5TB Desktop External Hard Drive – $89.99

Linksys E1000 Wireless Router – $39.99

HP Photosmart Plus Wireless All-in-One Printer – $49.90


Element 40″ 1080p HDTV – $265.00

RCA 9″ Portable DVD Player – $55.00

8GB iPod Touch – $195.00 and receive a $40 Target Gift Card

Farberware 18-piece Non-Stick Cookset – $39.99

George Foreman Jumbo Indoor Grill – $25.00


Phillips Wi-Fi Blu-Ray Home Theater System – $178.00

Magellan 4.7″ RoadMate GPS – $69.00

Sony CyberShot H70 Long-Zoom Digital Camera – $129.00

Bissell PowerForce Bagless Vacuum – $36.00

Shark Electric Steam Mop – $38.00



I’m reading Chemistry: A Molecular Approach