I was walking through the woods with the hunkiest guy in high school when, all of a sudden, he yanked out a strand of my hair and started to laugh. I was just sixteen years old when he found my first grey hair.
It couldn’t have been some observant, nerdy guy in the chemistry lab smelling of formaldehyde, oh no! It had to be the (normally) kind, talented, tall, athletic, blue-eyed, dark-skinned, most popular guy on campus.
Needless to say, we remained “just friends” who would go on to have the occasional platonic date over the course of the few years that followed that oh, so funny, ha-ha event.
Being of partially-Mediterranean descent, my hair grows like a weed. And there is more of it everywhere with each passing year. I am convinced that by the end of my life, I will resemble Cousin Itt.
I became friends with a pair of tweezers really fast. I took care of my grey by plucking it out until my late twenties. Then it became too time-consuming to use this method.
I went to salons for hair care when I could. It was affordable to me at the time. And, knowing what a disaster I am when it comes to using scissors or anything chemical to my hair, it was worth the cost.
In recent years, however, I, like everybody I know, have had to look to where I could cut personal spending. I revisited the risk of doing anything to my own hair. After some experimenting, I’ve settled on Clairol’s Perfect 10 Nice ‘n Easy product. Or, as I like to think of it, disaster-proof coloring.
Occasionally, when I’m already getting that once-in-three-months trim, or when I just don’t want to do that back-bend in the shower to avoid rinsing out the hair color onto my body, I will splurge for a touch-up. But spending the $45 to $55 extra dollars just gets harder and harder to justify.
So, I continue to use Perfect 10. Besides, it makes for a great middle-aged date night with my personal hairstylist husband Jean Claude Philippe Pierre de la Frugalité ¡Que sexy!
Back in the day, the only way you could have a cell phone was to sign up for a two-year contact. Some times I cried like la llorona at my bill. My schedule has been opposite to most normal folks for a long time, so it was way too easy to go over my 300 minute limit or I would have to call before 9:00 p.m. when calls would be “free.” Because I was locked into a contract, I could not take advantage of other providers who had a 7:00 p.m. limit.
That all changed in 2006! I heard about a couple of pay-as-you-go/no contract providers and asked around about what people use. A grad student I knew turned me on to NET10. In 2006, it was ahead of its time, having tapped into an audience that could not afford the other providers (which now includes me).
NET10 is owned by América Móvil (AMV) which is owned by the world’s richest man Carlos Slim Helú - a former math teacher in Mexico City. The stock did pretty well for the longest time. It was trading a $40/share then split July 1, 2011. It had not suffered in the same way many other stocks did in 2009.
Any who… NET10 has saved me plata! I continue to research other companies as my needs have changed, however, and would LOVE to hear your experiences!
Until I leave NET10, speaking Spanish has come in handy on 411 Connect. I rarely call information, but recently had to a couple of times this month. The first time was on a Sunday a couple of weeks ago.
Voice recognition has been a joke for a long time now. Even with my clearest diction, the robot would ask “Did you mean __________?” with __________ having nothing to do with what I had just said. Inevitably, I would be transferred to a live person after screaming while on hold listening to cheesy music. I was shocked that a recorded advertisement is now added to the cheesy music! Oh, the minutes I wasted on that call!
Out of curiosity, I redialed 411 and choose the Spanish option. Spanish assistance was was not offered on weekends because they did not staff weekend Spanish-speakers.
During the week, again, out of curiosity, I chose the option for Spanish 411. I was IMMEDIATELY connected to a live human being!!!
So, what are some morals to my blog entry?
Communicate with your connections as to what products they use. You may be surprised how cheap you can live!
If you’re an entrepreneur, think about who is NOT being served today.
Math teachers, literally, rule!
Choose Spanish if calling 411 connect on weekdays. You’ll save time which IS money!
At one point in my life I considered moving to another part of the world to sing opera. My thought was if I can be poor and survive in one country, why not another, right?
One year after the end of apartheid in South Africa, I gave recitals and master classes in Durban, Natal at both UDW and UDW-Westville.
I have so many great memories of that experience: Spending time with South African jazz pianist Melvin Lloyd Peters and his family, meeting and spending time with heldentenor James Conrad who had been the head of the Natal Performing Arts Council for 20 years, collaborating with amazing professors at the varsities, hearing Nelson Mandela speak at the Durban Jazz Festival, being witness to an vehement argument in an Anglican church as to whether the organ should be moved six inches or not and… a discussion on undergarments.
During my time there, I was invited to several “braais" (Afrikaans pl. for barbeque or grill). At one such occasion, a woman brought up her visit to an emergency room and commented "Oh, I am so glad I was wearing nice underwear that day." It seems to me this comment reflects an international concern.
The truth is, if you go to a hospital for a procedure, you have to store all your clothing and personal effects into a bag that no one really cares to go through. If you have to go to the emergency ward, there is no time for the medical professionals to take off and fold your garments when time may, literally, be of the essence. More like than not, they will probably cut your clothes off - including undergarments.
So, what does this güerita on a budget from el barrio do? Well, for everyday use, I lay down my $10 on a 6-pack of tag free, 100% cotton Joe Boxer Women’s Assorted Low Rise String Bikinis. And for those special occasions, I check out Victoria’s Secret to see if anything fits. If it does, I make peace with the fact I’m only going to get the 1-pack of something for 1 to 2 times the amount I’d spend on a 6-pack of Joe.
Bakers Square: No B.S. Free Wi-Fi & Pie Wednesdays
I love me some Bakers Square! Free Pie Wednesdays have been around for a while now. Anyone who knows me, knows I have been practicing safe sex for decades. In other words, I protect myself by indulging in… wait for it… oral and aural gratification. Yes, there is nothing like ANYTHING chocolate from Bakers Square. The scrumptious Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Pie that would normally cost $3.99. But it was free with my salad today. Know what else is free here? Wi-Fi! Soooo, I can drown out the moaning I do with every morsel I put in my mouth while streaming sweet music into my ears. That it’s free makes it all the more delicious. Chocolate + Música = Yum!
Starbucks Más por Menos: Brunettes have more fun with Blond Roast
Before I was married, Starbucks was my ONLY splurge. I would buy pants for $7 or less, but, sometimes, I just HAD to had to spend $3 or more for a cup of coffee. ¡Fijense!
I’ve lived so long and have patronized the place so much, now I’m a Gold Card member. When I think of how much money I spent to get that card buying drinks that reminded me of trips to Italy, I want to cry. I could have just saved the money and drank a cappuccino in a piazza somewhere in Italy for real.
No use crying over spilled foam. If I had to drink Starbucks, the first thing I did right was sign up for and USE their rewards card. As a result, I’ve received notices by e-mail, text and snail mail about trying a free oatmeal breakfast here or getting a free breakfast sandwich there.
I’ve also learned to ask whether they have any samples. I was delighted to get a 2 oz. bag of their new Veranda Blend Blond Roast Coffee. Although you’re supposed to use the whole bag for a pot of coffee, I only use half. I hold down four jobs and run my own business. None of the jobs provide health insurance, so I cut down on the caffeine this way.
With my schedule, I still indulge in a cup from Starbucks. After buying something using my Gold card, I ask if there are any samples of new products available. Since there’s a Starbucks every half mile or so, I’m more than taken care of by the “Blonde” at home. Co-workers sometimes bring me their free samples too! And Starbucks still gets my business when I’m too busy to make coffee at home.