I wasn’t on The Big Idea, but, I still have some Big Ideas!

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So due to the recent NY Times article , I understand that something of a debate is still raging on the meaning of the word Recessionista. As some of you may know, I wasn’t on the CNBC’s Big Idea last night (show ran too long:-) I was booked to appear, but they ran out of time. However, I still have a few big ideas….and I will share them here, since I did not have the opportunity to do so on the talk show. To me, Recessionistas are people struggling to survive some of the recent economic challenges while still enjoying a few of life’s pleasures. We are all working hard & its important to stay positive. Just like going on Weight Watchers, you don’t want to starve or totally deprive yourself. Rather, the goal is to take moderate steps towards a lifestyle change. I was asked on the Big Idea if I think frugal is the “new chic.” And it might be for some, but for some, they’ve been shopping like this for a long time. Now the frugality is extending its reach to everyday life for more of us.
So here is a list of some of the things I would’ve shared on CNBC’s “Big Idea” TV show. I call it The Recessionista’s Big Ideas ( original, no ? )
1) Coupons: If you still want to shop & dine out occasionally, sign-up for retailers & restaurants e-mail lists. I don’t mind giving out my e-mail ID (you can even create an e-mail ID for free on Yahoo or Google just for this purpose) if I am getting something in return for my information. Most of the time when I get added to the e-mail list, I receive free coupons for new discounts on shopping & meals. My neighborhood restaurant Coyote Cantina just sent me another $10.00 coupon to use next time I come in for dinner. I love this. And when I go there, I walk over. I don’t use the car, because its a short walk and I save the gas $$$. Its also good for me to get a little excercise & get off the PC!
I’m also on the Marmelade Cafe’s e-mail list. They have sent me coupons for free dessert & free breakfasts. And, you still can’t beat their early show dinner. From 4-6pm on weekdays, dinner at the Marmelade Cafe from the special early bird menu is only $14.95.
Finally, whenever I order online now, I check for coupon codes. They don’t always work, but when they do, it does save a few quid/pennies.
2) Gas : I’m filling up the tank this week while the prices are low. However, I found out about a cost comparision gas site when the prices were high…and I used it. Its Simply enter your zip code & learn about savings in your area. Now, you won’t always be able to do this, but if you plan your gas runs & fill ups, you may enjoy some savings by comparing the prices.
3) And one final big idea…treat yourself to something small, because you are working hard. Most Americans are working longer hours, with fewer pay raises. I had two wonderful notes this week from ladies telling me how they started shopping more frugally in the last year. Here are some tips.
Earrings: A nice pair of earrings can give you a lift for less! Yes, my recessionistas–don’t you love this one? One of my readers said she occassionially treated herself to a nice pair of earrings for under $10.00 when her husband was unemployed. The earrings lifted her spirits and didn’t break her wallet. Choose H&M, Target or even George at Walmart for something like this little item. All of them have a good selection at a low price.
Accessories: Scarves or a pin/brooch can brighten up a suit or dress that you’ve had in the closet for awhile. I like H&M, Loehmans and also TJ Maxx/Marshalls for these pieces. I have gotten some great finds at consignment stores. I’ll be writing another full post on that later.
So those are my current “big ideas.” Everything in moderation Recessionistas. Its a diet, not a fast we are on at the moment ( yes, readers, I am a longtime dieter, & I like the analogy.) The US Stock market was up today, and I hope tomorrow will be another good day.
PS–one good thing about them running out of time on the Big Idea…my age was not publicly revealed to the audience of 57 mil viewers! Recessionistas never reveal their true age. We are downsizing our age, as well as our spending 🙂

Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.