Category Archives: Shopping: The New Deal

5 Ideas for Cheap, Last-Minute Father’s Day Gifts

mike bradyFather’s Day is Sunday, and if you haven’t already put a card in the mail, there’s still time!

As I said about Mother’s Day, being unemployed does not excuse you from honoring that parent who has put up with you for, I’m guessing, 20+ years. Dad deserves it. That said, I know you don’t have $$$$ to spend. And if you’re reading this and have yet to get it together, you’re in luck. Here are five gifts you can get easily, quickly and, most importantly, cheaply. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s always the thought that counts.

  1. For the Beer Lover– Grab a painted or galvanized metal bucket or perhaps a small cooler and head over to your neighborhood liquor or grocery store. Fill with six different hand-selected microbrews or interesting import beers. Tailor them to your Dad’s taste, favorite locales or vacation spots. For example, if he loves New Orleans, grab a mix of Abita beers. You can probably put something together for around $20-30
  2. For the Sports Fan – Is your major or minor league baseball team in town Father’s Day weekend? Grab a couple of cheap-seat tickets on the fly and spend an afternoon or evening cheering on the home team. I know you can grab Atlanta Braves tickets for very reasonable prices, leaving you a few bucks for hot dogs or peanuts
  3. For the Movie Buff – Grab a DVD of his all-time favorite classic movie or childhood cartoon (My Dad LOVED getting a special-edition DVD of “Blazing Saddles” as well as “Bullwinkle & Rocky” DVDs) or treat Dad to a matinee at your local theater. There are some great flicks out right now, namely “The Hangover”, “Star Trek”, “Angels & Demons” and “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3”
  4. For the Reader – Personally select a brand-new hardcover novel or hot nonfiction title if your dad can’t put a book down. Just one volume can cost anywhere from $15-30. If you are a member of a bookstore savings program, you can even get $$ or certain percentages off. I love browsing the bookstore aisles, tailoring a selection to my Dad’s interests, habits and hobbies. I’ve been able to introduce him to new thriller writers as well as intriguing political and sports titles. It’s a gift that keeps on giving
  5. Yourself – If you’re in town or within driving distance, hop in the car and make an in-person visit. I promise that quality time together will make Dad happier than anything you can buy. Your only cost is gas for your car.

Happy Father’s Day!

Jobless and Need an Escape? Pick Up a Trashy Paperback for Some Summertime Smut

USA Today’s recent story about how trade paperback books are thriving in “tough times” thorn-birdgave me pause about reading, its escapist quality, its cheap availability and, most importantly, the upcoming  beach trash season. And what better time to dive into some light reading than now when you’re unemployed or broke and in need of an escape. Better yet, most of my favorite trashy titles are available in mass market paperback. I’m a former publishing gal, so I don’t want to take dollars out of my friends’ pockets, but I do know when times are tough, the used bookstore and library are fabulously cheap solutions!

Best, most have movie adaptations that have aired on Lifetime, WE or Oxygen and are probably available on Netflix. I’m a Netflix dropout, but you might still indulge!

Now, without further ado, below is Miss Pink Slip’s top 10 list of all-time favorite summertime smut titles:

  1. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
  2. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
  3. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
  4. Once is Not Enough by Jacqueline Susann
  5. The Love Machine by Jacqueline Susann
  6. Hollywood Wives by Jackie Collins
  7. Princess Daisy by Judith Krantz
  8. The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe
  9. I’ll Take Manhattan by Judith Krantz
  10. Any book by V.C. Andrews

Check out my Listmania! List on! 

5 Cheap But Charming Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is in six days. You may be broke (aren’t we all?) and jobless, but Mom still needs to know you care. And, believe me, Mom knows the situation you’re in and doesn’t expect you to buy a big gift.

You can honor her with something cheap, and that doesn’t have to mean crappy. It can be creative and very charming. These are often the gifts that take the most thought, and Mom will be so happy you didn’t let this day pass without some special token of affection.

  • A bouquet even Martha could love – Buy a couple of bunches of brightly colored tulips from your corner deli, farmer’s market, grocery. Tightly arrange without any filler in a simple vase. Tie raffia around the vase. Voila! You’ve got a simple, classy floral arrangement that probablybag cost you no more than $25 and looks like Martha.
  • Beach bag bingo – If your mom is a beach bunny, put together her beach bag for Summer 2009. Old Navy has the CUTEST canvas floral bags for $12.5o. Fill with a paperback, beach towel (you can get these for $9.99 and less at TJ Maxx, etc.), SPF 30+ sunscreen and, perhaps, for laughs, a $2.00 pair of huge, obnoxious sunglasses that remind you of her days carpooling in 1979.
  • Give to her favorite charity – Donate what you can ($10, $15, $20) to a cause that makes Mom smile. Put an acknowledgement in her Mother’s Day card. This is ideal for those Moms – like mine! – who give tirelessly of themselves to every one, every day. This is also ideal for you, because Mom won’t have to know just how much you gave.
  • Take Mom to a matinee – Take mom to a matinee movie (they’re cheaper!) and for ice cream after. The whole bill might be $25 (unless you’re in NYC), and she’ll be thrilled you chose to spend a precious weekend afternoon with her.
  • Sometimes a card says it best – You may not be able to get her a gift, but you can buy the best card you can afford. Many greeting cards these days are beautiful and look like gifts themselves. Check out Kate’s Paperie, PapyrusSam Flax and Target all have gorgeous high-end cards. I also love the eco-friendly greeting cards with flower seeds built into the paper. My mom thought that was too cool.

BONUS TIP: Get your siblings to chip in on a gift for Mother. You can get something nicer, and your mom will be too happy that her kids worked together in peace and (relative) harmony.

Cheap Thrill: The Ped Egg

ped-egg-thumbI admit it. I love to watch awful infomercials and “As Seen on TV” commercials. The one for the Magic Bullet is definitely my favorite. Although, by the end, I want to take the Australian guy out with a boomerang.

Driven by all the televised testimonials, I drove to CVS this morning and purchased a Ped Egg. My perpetually sandaled feet were not loving the tough, scaly skin around their heels and big toes. It was $9.99.

I have to admit: It was darn easy to use and effective! I just worked that sucker around my feet, slathered on some thick foot cream and am now enjoying a resurgence of my pedicure from last week. I think this could definitely be an ongoing money saver.

Pink Pick: Bargains in Buckhead

Check out these “Buckhead Betties Blogging Bargains”. You could even nab a $25 gift card via their exclusive B In B Rewards Program!

Miss Pale Pink Coat: Keeping Up with Little Pleasures

changeOne of the downfalls of our current economy is all the personal cutbacks we’ve had to make. We’ve cut back on our cable subscriptions, stopped having daily Starbucks, etc. Instead of cutting back, how about we find innovative ways to keep up with our little pleasures? Are you with me?

For several years I’ve had a bit of what you could call an iTunes addiction. But at the end of each month when I’d look at my bank statement and see all those transfers to iTunes I would get upset with myself. Did I really need to spend $50 [estimate] on iTunes? Probably not – but for a long time I lived in New York and I had a long commute. Being able to download episodes of “The Office” or “Alias” onto my iPod made my commute go quicker. But I had to find an innovative way to pay for my habits.

Then one day I was at the A&P sorting my change in the Coinstar machine when I saw it – the solution to my iTunes habit. Did you know at certain Coinstar machines [not all, unfortunately] you have the choice to 1. cash out 2. donate your change to charity or 3. GET AN ITUNES GIFT CERTIFICATE. Jackpot!

My normal rate of change gathering usually added up to about $12/week which was a perfect amount to fund my iTunes habit virtually guilt free. Change is money that we forget – don’t you often think of a found quarter here or there within your own house or car as free money? I do – and I’d just found a way to find $48/month, on average.

So what will you download with your change today?

A Lil’ Wardrobe Pick-Me-Up

orangeI needed a little pick me up today, so I headed on over to Old Navy, where I found some of the most colorful additions to a spring/summer wardrobe.

Got a great pair of low-rise, skinny white jeans (“Diva”) for $29.50, two basic white ribbed tank tops for $7.50 each and a fun, teal linen A-line dress that’s perfect for errands around town. I could have picked up so many other things – reasonable bathing suits and cover-ups, brightly colored linen-blend camp shirts, t-shirts for layering, etc. You can’t go wrong. Pictured is the camp shirt in orange for just$19.50. How cute would that be with the white jeans? Love it!

Believe me, I know money’s short, but even a couple of pieces can revive an existing wardrobe! Saves you in the end.

For more on bargain wardrobe additions, visit my friend The Broke Socialite or head over to RecessionWire for their story “Shoes on a Shoestring”!