Thursday, July 11, 2013
Shopping tips of which Ms. Pym would approve; I hope!
Never underestimate the power of donating and itemizing to charity. You save on your taxes and help ensure your items are not wasted and go to good use. The Salvation Army, in particular, will pick up things, but also uses parts and even broken items to provide work and repair things for other people. Since I wrote this, I encountered other charity shops that will help; DAV, The American Cancer Society Discovery Shops, Annual Sales to aid charities, all give slips to show tax deduction status for your items. This is a proof of donation for the most part, and it is up to you to itemize and value most of the time. We also donate to a children’s school, The Sun Valley Indian School for Navajo Children, Sun Valley, AZ. They send us pictures of the children and an occasional card or letter, which makes the kids in my school group very happy. There are many books and magazines that discuss thrift shopping and donating to charities. In turn, many like to shop these venues as another way of contributing, tax deductible or not. SA and GW often have new items. Club Goodwill in the Chicago area has special incentives and discounts. Their stores are very nicely set up and color coordinated. You might think you were in a boutique, yet their prices are reasonable. If you travel, it pays to go to the local stores. Merchandise is always different and "ever moving." As our friends at Reusable Usables might say, it pays to recycle items as well as garbage and organic substances. Many good clothes can be worn again and again, and many shoes, belts, accessories, and household goods can be repaired. They stay out of the landfill and reenter the stream of commerce to generate income once again. When artists use them to recreate and explore, as our friend Jeanne O'Melia does, they take on a whole new meaning. Collectors have also known this for many years. They salvage the past and popular culture, redisplay it, and say something entirely different to future generations. Their passion fuels everything they do in a positive way and leads to educational and economic opportunities. Our world is full of conundrums these days; we are encouraged to recycle and not waste, but not to collect, lest we hoard. We are encouraged to read, but eBooks and Kindle seem to take the place of print books. Then, we can't recycle the paper in a paperless world, either. Libraries are throwing out books, but with a few exceptions, one can't read an electronic device by flash light or candlelight in a storm. Sometimes, only a message in a bottle will do. Objects are more personal and tangible objects tell stories. Thus, they make better evidence and exhibits in criminal court than many electronic communications. Old buildings are sturdier and can often be remodeled; yet we are in a hurry to tear down and replace with less sturdy structures, thereby affecting negatively our infrastructure. Use what we have; donate where needed, and save by not wasting, overbuying, and deducting. 6. Eat home; pay attention to leftovers and casseroles. Recipes are cheap over the Internet, and are in all kinds of magazines, including The Radish, which is given away. Look for heirloom recipes your parents had, even grandparents and great grandparents, and practice and be creative. The American Women’s Cook Book, The magazines like Everyday Food, PBS cooking shows, Mr. Food, Martha Stewart, and Julia Child are great sources to look. The Discovery Shop and thrift stores are wonderful places to look for vintage and antique cook books, so are yard sales and antique stores, library book sales, book stores and book store chains, catalogs. Many of these are on sale before they are even out of print, including Edward R. Hamilton Books and Amazon and Alibris. All things in moderation, as Benjamin Franklin wrote and believed. It can be much cheaper to eat at home, and to buy dry staples like flour, sugar, salt, cans, and to keep them on hand. I like to buy spices whenever I see a good deal, I like to shop a variety of stores, including organic and health food stores. I like Aldi, Sav a Lot, Trader Joes, local chains with great deals. I look for the weekend supplements, and see how many meals I can plan with the onsale ingredients. I like it when things are sold in bulk. I can buy a pinch of this or that, and splurge a little bit this way.