Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Maintaining Your Wardrobe on a Budget

Just about every working person needs a good wardrobe. However, clothing is expensive - even if you're not on a budget. Two holiday seasons ago I ventured into Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping and I got such great deals I did it again the following year. Last July I started reminding myself that there were going to be really good sales and I just had to hold off until November. It was tough remembering that I wanted to wait, but it paid off.

This post isn't about Thanksgiving weekend shopping, though. Believe it or not, I still have a plethora of articles salvaged from that now defunct web site we need not name that are still languishing in obscurity waiting to see the light of day once again. It happens; life gets in your way and the things you most want to do like write or create often get swept by the wayside or pushed to the back burner.

Standing in front a full closet trying to make a decision is an occasional challenge we all face. Sometimes the problem is an unexpected event to attend, a sudden change in weather, or the realization that your favorite go to outfit is now missing an essential piece that you forgot had outlived it's function. In any case, we all love to get good deals on clothing whether we're on a budget or not.

See below...

Personal Development topics
Originally published as How to Have a Nice Wardrobe on a Budget

Wardrobe on a Budget

Standing before a closet full of clothes and having nothing to wear is a common enough occurrence in the average woman's life. It isn't that there aren't any (or enough) actual clothes available to choose from, it is really that at that very moment there is nothing suitable enough to wear or exciting or interesting enough that fits the current mood or occasion.
Maybe the problem is that the majority of the clothing in the closet is just too old and outdated or maybe the clothes have seen more than their fair share of wear and tear and just need to be replaced. Maybe the items no longer fit due to weight gain or even better, weight loss. Maybe the clothes are too trendy for the times and no longer reflect the person their owner has become.
In an instance where the closet isn't full at all less items to choose from means less options for getting dressed, more wear and tear and most importantly less shelf life, especially for favorite items. The more something is worn the more it is laundered and the sooner it will begin to fade, shrink and show signs of wear.
For every woman (or even some men) who has stood before the closet feeling less than enthused about the clothing choices before her (or him) it would seem the ideal solution would be to simply go out and get a complete new wardrobe. Simple yes, but not easy; if grabbing your keys and heading for the mall isn't an available option, building the ideal wardrobe that makes you look and feel good is going to be challenging.
Having a nice wardrobe, even a big wardrobe with lots of choices, doesn't necessarily require a huge budget. Clothing bargains abound and can be found quite easily. With a little budgeting and planning an entire new wardrobe can easily be built in a short time.
To get your nice new wardrobe going start by sorting through your closet and looking at what still works for you and what doesn't and start your shopping by looking for pieces to coordinate what you already have. Those great two dollar pants you found on the clearance rack do you no good if they spend six months in the back of your closet so be sure to shop smart not just cheap.
Shopping for clearance items online saves time and gas because you can narrow your searches to only show items in your size and price range. Search the clearance sections at large retailers such as Target and Walmart for bargains and add them to a wish list so you can get back to them later. Give yourself a budget of $5 or $10 and choose an item or two every couple of weeks after setting aside the money you need for bills and living expenses.
Walmart in particular is a great online source for practical and functional dressy casual clothing on clearance that can do double duty in your work wardrobe as well as your party wardrobe. Many items have 97 cent shipping and some can be shipped to your nearest Walmart store where you can pick them up in person and save a significant amount of money just by eliminating shipping charges.
When shopping clearance sales it is important to always stick to basic colors that go with everything and conservative styles that are not likely to go out of fashion quickly. You can always add more color and flare to an outfit with the right accessories.
You should also consider thrift stores when revamping your wardrobe. The clothes are usually priced pretty cheap ($5 for a dress or pair of pants) and often the stores hold sales where everything will be half price. This is particularly great for anyone with children as kids grow out of their clothing quickly and the clothing is often still in very good condition.
Another way to give your wardrobe a nice little boost on a budget is to shop your own closet and recycle the items that are in good condition that you hardly wear anymore. Consider dyeing light colored clothing, opening pants and making skirts from them, adding embroidery, applique or other embellishments to give clothing an entire new look.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Finding Unique Ways of Saying Thank You

Now that the holidays are over and everyone is settling back into their usual routines, thoughts have turned to when to take down the holiday decorations, storing clearance items for next year, etc. One thing though, that should be thought of, that rarely is anymore is the seemingly now forgotten tradition of the thank you note.

I took a break from the great migration of Helium articles once the holiday fervor took over and I just did not have all day to sit in front the compute, but luckily I saved several articles as drafts to my blogs, so even though Helium as we once knew it is gone, I still have many of my articles available.

A while back, I contributed to a title on unique ways of showing your thanks. Originally, I said that "Thank You" was one of the most important phrases in the English language; the truth is it's one of the most important in any language, right up there with "I love you," and "I appreciate you."

Once upon a time people sent out thank you notes after having received a gift or after being the beneficiary of a gesture of generosity. That tradition has fallen by the wayside for the most part, save for wedding gifts. The rise in digital communication and the decline in snail mail has meant fewer and fewer handwritten thank yous.

Does this mean we've grown into a thankless society? I certainly hope not! There's no digital substitute for good manners. Below is my former Helium article on some of the unique ways you can say thank you to someone who has done something for you.

From October 2012...

Unique Ways to say thank you

Thank you is one of the most important phrases in the English language. Finding a unique way to show your appreciation is more than just a reciprocal gesture or an acknowledgement of what someone has given you; it is a heartfelt and thoughtful expression of gratitude.
We are all presented with opportunities to say thank you on a daily basis, and these occasions are as varied as the ways in which we are able to show our appreciation. Sometimes though, saying the words, sending a note or flowers, or picking up the tab for a meal may not seem like enough. In those instances, the gesture of thanks becomes a deed of occasion, directly reflecting the gift or act thanks are being shown for.
When looking for a unique way in which to say thank you, even small gestures can go a long way. Acknowledging someone’s generosity toward you can be as simple as putting up a sign in the front yard stating how grateful you are. If you’d like to make a bigger gesture, another option is to write a letter of acknowledgement that you then send in to the local newspaper or radio station and ask them to help you publicly thank the person.
Not all unique gestures of gratitude have to be made in public. Everyone has a talent for something, and whether yours is drawing, cooking, gardening, sewing, organizing, or even housekeeping, that talent can easily be put to good use to say thank to someone to who has been generous with you.
Gift baskets are one of the easiest ways to say thank you in a unique way that is also personal. A hand-written note accompanying a bin of baked goods, flavored vinegar, foods that have been canned, or fresh edibles harvested from the garden, can go a long way towards showing your appreciation.
Saying thank you for something someone has done for you can also be done through a gesture toward others. Did someone give you a ride or lend you bus fare when you desperately needed it? Purchase a package of tokens and give away free transportation to strangers with a note explaining their free ride is in honor of the person/act you are thankful for. Paying it forward is a great way to say thank you in a unique way.
Memorials and tributes that also give back to others, such as placing a bench or shelter at a bus stop or planting a tree, not only serve to pay your thanks forward, but stand as a legacy of generosity that will help to inspire others.
Unique ways to say thank you can range from small gestures that help you count your blessings to acts of service such as making a donation, volunteering your time, or even engage in activism for a cause important to a person, group, or institution you wish to thank.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Reflections: My Life With The Internet

A writer's work is never done. Sometimes even when it is done, you have to go back and do it again. With seven days to go, I am now down to just under 200 articles left to migrate. I've started to wonder if I really want to continue to go through the trouble.

There have been changes at Helium prior to this very big one, including shifting everything over to a new site (that was fun), re-categorizing of existing articles, title changes... in the shift away from first person, some pieces were shuffled around to the prose section under the heading "Beyond Prose."

Prior to this, those opinion oriented pieces were a quick means of boosting your score as you could submit an article to a title that had several articles already and quickly rise to the top 25%. Now that none of that matters anymore, reflective pieces such as "How I see Myself in the Mirror," and "How I Relax: My Favorite Hobbies," just seem irrelevant.

There is one title though I think that is more interesting to me today than it was when I cranked it out November of 2009. It's a reflection on using the internet, though when it was migrated to the new site some genius put it under memoirs. When I think back on my first experiences with the internet and compare those to how I use it today, it seems they are light years apart.

Technology has become such a huge part of our everyday lives that it is almost invasive. It crosses over into just about everything we do and we are now a planet of gadget junkies wirelessly connected at all times. I'm happy to say that nine years post K I have now reached a point where I can feel comfortable shutting my phones down at night.

My relationship with the internet has changed significantly just in the short time between now and when I first submitted the article shared below. Just a few short decades ago, this was all the stuff of science fiction, and now it's increasingly becoming the norm. As much as I resisted both Facebook and Twitter, social media marketing has become a huge part of my regular routine, and what on earth would I do without Pinterest?

Memoirs How I use the Internet

At the time I first ventured onto the internet I didn't know very much about it let alone the potential of what it could be used for. I had seen journalists in movies and on television accessing some kind of massive computer library of information and I assumed the internet functioned much like that.
When I first discovered the internet I did not have access to it at my home, or even my own internet ready computer, for that matter. I think I first learned about it through a friend whose husband did some kind of work. They had internet service in their home and she was always on it, usually visiting the chat rooms. It was an outlet for her because at the time she was a stay at home mom.
A short time later I started out using the internet at my mother's house and in the beginning I would visit chat rooms and occasionally look up information. There was not nearly the amount of online resources then as there are today, but it was new and fun and because I had my own screen name on my mom's AOL account I was able to receive email.
Once I started to learn how to navigate around the Internet Super Highway I also learned how to download and save documents for future reference. The best thing about it was that when you wanted to do research you could do it at any hour of the day, unlike visiting the local library. Back then it was all via dial up service using your home telephone.
When I was able to start accessing the internet from home I would spend hours on it looking up all sorts of information on how to do things. At times I would not have the budget to go out and buy books and the internet was a valuable twenty-four hour resource for learning new information from a variety of sources I would not have been able to access otherwise.
Over the years I have gotten away from visiting the chat rooms. I ventured into the sphere of online dating briefly without success and I delved into some of the early social networking sites. I visited online game rooms and did a little shopping. During the time I didn't have a car being able to shop online made a huge difference in my ability to get the things that I needed.
At one point time I spent a lot of time on email reward programs like My Points and Bonus Mail (which are now merged into one program) as well as a couple of programs that no longer exist like Freeride. Those programs made a significant impact in my getting to go out during periods when I wasn't working via the gift cards and movie passes I earned.
Today a lot of things have changed. Now I mainly use the internet for email correspondence and I still spend quite a lot of time researching information. I occasionally play games and do a little shopping and I am the organizer for a meetup group. Recently I have been spending more and more time with passive income writing sites and I am trying to carve out some time to develop my blogs. I check my email multiple times per day and just I can not imagine my life without the internet.