November 2011 - Posts - Thrifty Living Today
Welcome to Dollar Stretcher Community Sign in | Join | Help
in Search

Thrifty Living Today

November 2011 - Posts

  • Parents helping Parents: Caring for the Children


    Welcome to Thrifty Living Today. A special way of life for the Twenty-first Century. 


    My name is Lori Blatzheim and I am your host.



    Recently, I read a newspaper column which appeared in the "Minneapolis Star Tribune." The question answer piece was placed by Carolyn Hax, who writes an advice column for the "Washington Post."


    The title was "Why do Parents Do Too Much for Kids?" The author of the question was a non parent with a gripe about today's parents. He, or she, could not remember parents helping with homework on a daily or even weekly basis. The questioner, lamented the days when child friends were available to play with other children.


    In answer to this question, Carolyn Hax pointed out that the questioner was comparing people of one era unfavorably with those of another. She continued by reminding us that each generation has to raise children in the context of current society.    


    I absolutely agree with Caroline Hax. I would like to thank her for making these very important points.


    • Those parenting children in the year 2011, are not facing the same challenges as parents of the past.
    • We are living in a different age. Today there are likely to be fewer children born, and smaller numbers of children per neighborhood.


    Strategies: Caring for Children Today 


    Parents of today are cautious. They want to know their children's friends, and they want to know their parents. They are alert to possible dangers (predators, heavy traffic, natural hazards). They don't allow their children to play with a just any child, at any time, and at any place.


    Adult friends are valuable. Parents are taking time and effort to find and interact with other caring adults who may, at some future time, be in a position to watch out for their child.


    My daughter lives two thousand miles from my home. She has two active young boys, nine and seven years old. They occasionally require adult supervision at a time when she has work or other commitments.


    She has friends that she knows and trusts. Most of them also have sons. They are used to dealing with the rough and tumble activities of young boys. 


    When there is a need for child care, and my daughter needs help watching her sons, she calls one of her friends. If possible, that person watches them. If one of her friends needs help and contacts her she "whips out her calendar" and almost always says "yes."


    Friendship with other parents can be a gift. It can result in many benefits. Here are some examples that my daughter and her friends have tried: 


    • parents and children get to know and feel comfortable with each other by spending time together
    • play dates are arranged
    • friends split children by age, each watches an age related group  
    • two or more parents participate in an activity together (these might include zoo, museum, movie, picnic)
    • friends help each other (e.g. setting up tents at cub scout camp)
    • parents feel safer with another friend along (e.g. hiking)
    • while watching the children, parents catch up on subjects of interest (school, expectations of teachers, sports)


    How to Find Parents Willing to Watch Your Child


    I asked my daughter how parents can find others willing to exchange child care duty. She gave me the following suggestions:


    1. Cub Scouts and  Brownie Girl Scouts: Families get to know each other well during Scout related events such as camp outs. Fathers meet other fathers, mothers become acquainted with other mothers and small children become comfortable with each other.        
    2. Organized Sports: There is a lot of opportunity to meet other parents during practices and actual games.
    3. Religious organizations: Parents may meet others through participation, particularly where there is an active youth program.     
    1. Online Mom's groups: These are available through the Internet. As with all online related activities, they should be viewed with caution. Mothers may decide to attend a group based on geographic location and the age of their children. They may be attracted to a certain group based on the age of mothers attending.


    In 2011, friends are helping others. It is not possible to determine how much money is being saved over child care fees. In fact, that is not the point. These parents want the best for their children. Joining together, they know the other parent and trust that person to care for their children. Children are familiar with playmates in the other family and are more willing to spend time with them.



    Lori Blatzheim is a wife, mother, nurse, writer, and thrift advocate. She knows that use of Thrift can help people because she has experienced the benefits.

  • Do Clothes Really Make the Man or Woman?


    Welcome to Thrifty Living Today. A special way of life for the Twenty-first Century. 

    My name is Lori Blatzheim and I am your host.


    Do Clothes Really Make the Man or Woman?

    Do we Really Think When We Buy Clothes?

    Do we consider the what, why, where, when and how of our shopping trip? Do we look at the jackets, tops, slacks, shoes in the closet or socks in the drawer before we go shopping ? Do we consider a trip to the Mall a social event?

    Put a little more planning into your shopping trip. Figure out what you need.

    Do you need a specific piece of clothing for a party or family event? Before going shopping take a second look at what is in your closet. Maybe you can use an accessory or a tailor to make the piece work.

    I have a problem. As a nurse wearing uniforms to work, my street clothes seldom wear out. The result is a closet full of clothes. They are still in great condition. I don’t really need anything.  

    Are You Tempted to Buy When You Receive a Dollars off Coupon?

    It seems as though we have received a great many coupons for clothing recently. When they come, they prompt us to consider what is really in the closet. Does one of us really need a new coat, a jacket, slacks, hat, scarf, or gloves? No! The problem is, the coupon is so tempting. Last week we received one that said $10 off when you buy $25 worth of merchandise, in store only. What do you think? I think they wanted to get customers into the store and that they were willing to sacrifice $10 to do so.

    Fashion, Do You Use It as a Standard for What You Buy?

    At one point in my life, I really watched women’s magazines and friends at the school I attended. I wanted to make certain that I was wearing whatever was in style. One year, short skirts were “the thing.” The next year everyone was into long skirts. (I considered adding a horizontal panel to my skirts so that I could still wear them.) I learned that the dictates of Fashion required enough change that women would continue buying garments. The same goes for men’s ties which seemed to widen or become narrower in a defined rhythm.

    After that I had a new goal, to wear what fit and what appeared to look the best on me. I think a lot of us are hesitant to wear something “different.” We don’t want to step out of the house with a long dress to attend a function where the majority of women might be wearing a short skirt. Now is that silly or what? There is something about “being yourself.” If what you are wearing is clothing that is in good taste, go for it. Expect positive attention once you get to the function. You deserve it.

    One of the important items on the market, today, is boots. Here in the cold and snowy North, we see women hobbling along in long knee length boots with stiletto heels. They look elegant, but there is one problem. Beneath all the snow there can be ice. I congratulate women who are able to walk in these boots on icy surfaces, but I don’t want to try it.

    Some of you have “dress codes” at work. In this case you must do whatever necessary to “look the part.” Still, you can evaluate your current wardrobe and determine where you can find the best quality items at the lowest price. This is a good time to check the ads and sales.

    It is helpful for you to know your measurements and, in many instances, to try on an item to really check the color and fit. Yes, this does take time and you need to find a changing booth. But consider the time and effort you need to put in if you get home and the piece of clothing just does not fit or the color does not work.

    Maintaining, Repairing or Altering Your Clothes:

    I recently took about six long sleeved knit shirts with high collars down to the laundry room. I looked for splotches or grease and stains from food spills. I sprayed the areas with a laundry stain removal product and spent about thirty seconds working it into the cloth with my fingers. Then I waited ten minutes before starting the washer. In the end, two of the shirts still had remnants of stain but I now wear four of the items.

    The same goes for shoes boots or whatever you wear on your feet. An attachment on my favorite pair of sandals came apart. The soles of these are still in good shape, the sandals are “broken in” and very comfortable. I decided to take them to a local shoemaker who has worked “miracles” for me before. Now, I can wear them again.

    Final Thoughts

    We realize now, that we need to do an audit on our closets. We will probably find a lot of items that just aren't needed. We plan to offer them to charitable organizations and to reorder the clothes we have. 


    Lori Blatzheim is a wife, mother, nurse, writer, and thrift advocate. She knows that use of Thrift can help people because she has experienced the benefits. 

  • Stop the car! Check the Winter Emergency Supplies!

    Welcome to Thrifty Living Today. A special way of life for the Twenty-first Century. 

    My name is Lori Blatzheim and I am your host.
    Every year the residents of the Northern States have to stop, consider, and decide how to drive on roads that will soon be covered with snow and ice.
    They have to take a good look at the maintenance and road worthiness of the vehicles they drive.
    Some will decide that more maintenance, equipment and supplies are sorely needed. They may welcome ideas and suggestions.
    I was recently in this position. As a Minnesota winter driver, I live in a State that routinely presents the challenge of snow and ice on roads. Every year, I have to help check out the supplies we have in the vehicles we drive
    To gather more information, our family tried looking on the Internet and found a number of sites listed. All of them presented different information. Most of it was very helpful and presented a lot of ideas and strategies that our family could use.
    We decided to share these sites with you. I hope the information will be of help and will encourage you to consider evaluating the status of your vehicle and the supplies it carries.
    Lori Blatzheim is a wife, mother, nurse, writer, and thrift advocate. She knows that use of Thrift can help people because she has experienced the benefits. 
  • Supermarket Shopping with School Age Children: Can It Be Done?


    Supermarket Shopping with School Age Children: Can It Be Done?


    Do young children living in the United States participate in shopping for food? Do they do this routinely?



    Welcome to Thrifty Living Today. A special way of life for the Twenty-first Century. 


    My name is Lori Blatzheim and I am your host.



    I have two grandsons who live in California, two thousand miles from my home in Minnesota. The oldest is nine and the youngest is seven years of age. They are pleasant, bright, children, interested in family, learning and life. During a recent visit I asked their parents for permission to take them to a supermarket. I wanted to see what they knew about shopping and if I could help them become better shoppers. They agreed and my daughter decided to come with us, to the store.


    The boys sat down with me to outline a plan. I told them they could help others by participating in an experiment. We would make a plan and then try it to see if it worked.


    Goals for the Shopping Experience


    I had developed goals for the shopping trip. I hoped these would help us better understand the experience. 


    Each child would be allowed to:

    ·        participate in making the shopping list

    ·        list items they wanted

    ·        have free choice of fruit

    ·        have a choice of vegetables

    ·        watch the items being totaled and paid for at the end of shopping

    ·        help place bags in the car at the end of the trip


    What Happened?


    We entered the store and started calling out items one at a time. For each we pushed the shopping cart to that area of the store.


    Each child was given time to inspect price tags of competing products and to consider the merits of these. He was asked to say the price of the item out loud. We all tried to find the best value. 


    We talked about amounts purchased and determined that one watermelon was definitely enough. Three bananas would do. My daughter slipped a box containing 6 eggs, instead of a dozen into the shopping cart. We had a short discussion on “when is many too many” and why it is important to buy what we need.


    After reaching home we did a debriefing. I asked the boys to carefully review the transaction receipt and to tell me what they thought of it. The older boy took the list, spent a minute or two reviewing it and announced, “there are thirty-three items on this list. We saved nine dollars and thirty-eight cents!


    Because each child put their favorite foods on the list, we expect them to eat those items. We hope that this will result in better meals with less waste.


    What We Learned


    Special Considerations for Those Who Want to Try the Experiment


    ·        make it clear that once the shopping list is written and you have started, the list cannot be changed

    ·        provide more than one adult to help the children

    ·        find a less stressful time of day (no pressing homework, music lessons, meetings)

    ·        have an adult in the family review the shopping list before starting

    ·        allow the family adult to place additional items into the shopping cart if needed


    The boys seemed to enjoy the trip. The oldest, mindful of the fact that he could choose any fruit he wanted, made a brisk walk toward his favorite, watermelon. He picked one up and started lugging it towards the shopping cart. His brother wanted bananas, not just any bananas, they had to be “clean” which to him meant no spots. We looked carefully and eventually found a perfect group. There was a short discussion when their mother decided they could select a box of ice cream on a stick. They finally decided on root beer covered ice cream bars.


    Shopping List


    The grandchildren came up with the following list:


    canned ravioli

    string Cheese



    hot dogs

    sloppy joe mix

    sloppy joe buns

    peanut butter

    hot dogs

    hot dog buns

    non-fat milk

    sliced luncheon meat

    spaghetti sauce in a jar

    dry spaghetti



    Lori Blatzheim is a wife, mother, nurse, writer, and thrift advocate. She knows that use of Thrift can help people because she has experienced the benefits. 

  • You Can't go Back Again, or Can You?


    You Can't Go Back Again, or Can You?

    Attending a School, College or University Reunion



    Welcome to Thrifty Living Today. A special way of life for the Twenty-first Century. 


    My name is Lori Blatzheim and I am your host.



    I recently learned about an upcoming High School Reunion. Attending the event would require a round trip flight to the West Coast, a considerable distance away from my home in Minnesota. I knew the airline ticket would be expensive and that I money spent could be used for other things.


    There was a nagging feeling. If I didn't take the trip would I feel sorry later? Would I miss renewing friendships from the past? Questions kept popping up in my mind.


    I finally decided to make the trip and looked on computer airline web sites for the best possible fare. Finding the lowest, most convenient price, I booked the flight and selected a hotel that promised an adequate room. Then I sat back to wait for the date.

    Fortunately, I had been saving part of my earnings for many months.Over time this had led to a special fund. The money I had put together allowed me to book my trip to and from my destination. I was able to attend because the reunion would not impact my current financial situation.


    Why Do People Attend or Not  Attend Reunions?


    Prior to my trip, I contacted past friends. I wanted to know if they were coming. Some of them were excited and told me that they couldn't wait. Others said they didn't have time, or funds. It was disappointing to realize that I would not see all of my former classmate friends.

    On arrival at the reunion the activities began. I wanted to know why some classmates failed to show and others came. I decided to ask those who came for their ideas.They offered the following comments.


    Some past classmates had confided that they wanted nothing to do with reunions. They mentioned having a hard time making friends while at the school, or having trouble with their grades. The school had not given them the rewards they had expected. It had been a difficult experience.


    Those past graduates who did attend expressed the following:

    • they planned share memories, spend time reminiscing, and consider what had happened through the distance of time.
    • they wanted to visit with friends, and sometimes staff, from the former school. They wanted to share a piece of their life with the lost and newly discovered person they remembered.
    • they needed to satisfy their curiosity. They wanted to know how life had turned out for their former classmates.
    • they hoped to celebrate their current age and tell classmates about their families and accomplishments.
    • They viewed the reunion as an opportunity explore old memories of events with someone who was there at the time. 
    • Once they have found them some do not want to lose former friends. They want to ensure future contact by exchanging e-mail or postal addresses.



    For me, the reunion was a joyful experience. I am so glad that I attended. There were surprises, and I learned a lot about living, at my age, in the present time. My classmates offered suggestions, support, and friendship, something that I appreciated.



    Lori Blatzheim is a wife, mother, nurse, writer, and thrift advocate. She knows that use of Thrift can help people because she has experienced the benefits. 

About Us    Privacy Policy    Writers' Guidelines     Sponsorship     Media    Contact Us

Powered by Community Server (Commercial Edition), by Telligent Systems