Archive for July, 2009

10 Ways to Dress like GQ on a JCPenney budget

Friday, July 31st, 2009

GQ As long as I can remember, I have been interested in clothing styles.  As one of nine kids, I didn’t get a fat allowance to spend on clothes.  I learned early some creative ways to dress sharp on an almost non-existent budget.  In no particular order, here are some of my tricks:

1.  Thrift shops–Selection for guys isn’t always so good, but I’ve found some great sport coats, ties, workout pants, etc.

2.  Yard sales–My wife is the yard sale queen.  Our kids wear name brand clothes that Becky picks up for 25 and 50 cents.  She also finds some clothes for herself and me.

3.  Discount stores–TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross, SteinMart, etc. are excellent…especially toward the end of season when they discount their merchandise.

4.  Outlet stores–I’m lucky enough to have a Prime Outlets Mall 30 minutes from home.  When they have sales, you can pick up a great pair of Rockports or J. Crew sweater for cheaper than JC Penney brands.

5.  Mall stores–JC Penney and Macy’s.  It’s just that you have to be more selective if you want to be at all stylish.  Deals can be had though…I’ve been wearing Levi’s and buck shoes (both from JCP) that keep me updated yet cost me a combined $50 or half what a pair of cheap designer jeans would cost.

6.  Online outlets–Many people like Yoox.com or Bluefly.com.  They’re not quite cheap enough for me though.

7.  Ebay–I love this one.  Especially for vintage clothes.  I picked up a pair of brown wingtips a couple years ago that were made 40-50 years ago and still look great.

8.  Amazon.com–This week I bought a pair of Levi’s on Amazon(thanks for the gift certificate Mom & Dad!).  Amazon is about more than books now!

9.  Launder your own clothes–If you’re one of the fortune ones for whom the starched shirt, buttoned down dress code is not required, you can save a lot of money by buying clothes that can be laundered at home.

10.  Tailor your clothes–Growing up, I did this myself on mom’s sewing machine.  You can turn a pair of bell bottoms into a tapered leg pant if you use some imagination with your clothes.

Bonus:  Resell your clothes when you’re finished.  Consignment shops, ebay, yard sales can put a few dollars in your pocket for your next shopping trip.

Please share your shopping tips. I’d love to try some new ways to get deals!

Time Flies!

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Brian Tracy sent the following out as his Quote of the Day email yesterday… “Time flies.  It’s up to you to be the navigator.” –Robert Orben  The email came at a perfect time for me.  This week has been extremely unproductive.  I needed a reminder to step back and assess what I’m doing with my time.  Jumping from one fire to the next doesn’t get me closer to my goals.  Sometimes those fires need to be put out, sometimes not.  The thing to remember is to set aside at least a little time to focus on longer-term goals and keep momentum toward those goals.  Back to the Rule of Five.

Eat That FrogSpeaking of Brian Tracy…a great time management book is Eat That Frog! Eat That Frog is based the concept of tackling your most dreaded task first thing then the rest of your day is easier.

Time Management advice by Brian Tracy:

  • Continually ask yourself:  What is the most valuable use of my time right now?
  • Say to yourself and others:  Back to work!  or Well, I’ve got to get back to work.

What methods do you use to remain productive?

Kayaking = Cheap Entertainment

Saturday, July 11th, 2009
My friend Steve got me started kayaking.

My friend Steve got me started kayaking.

I’m still saving Discover points for my kayak at LL Bean (up to $150 in gift certificates now).  But I did find a cheap kayak at Dick’s Sporting Goods to hold me over.  I’ve definitely  been getting my money’s worth out of that little $180 kayak.  Here are some reasons why I like kayaking so much:

Kayaking is inexpensive!

I spent under $300 for my kayak, paddle, PFD, and carrying straps.  That’s my entire investment–well, I may need new straps soon since I’ve been hauling this thing everywhere.  I’ve already been out 6 or 7 times–and will get years more entertainment from the kayak.  How many times can I go golfing for $300?  Oh wait, I can’t even buy clubs and shoes for that price.

Kayaking gets me out into nature.

I’ve been out on 2 different lakes and 2 different rivers just in the past seven days.  I’ve seen several herons, a fox, hawks, many kinds of fish and birds–all up close.  For me kayaking has been a great reason to get away from the office more often.  And getting away from the office is not all bad.  I often come back with a fresh perspective.

Kayaking is a social event.

Ok.  This one is debatable.  I’m sure many people go kayaking alone.  I prefer to float down the river with others.  It turns out that not too many of my friends and family are kayakers, so I’ve floated down rivers with many people that I didn’t know very well or at all.  And they turned out to be nice people.

Kayaking is peaceful–and exhilarating.

Nothing else matters as I lean back and enjoy the sunshine (or moonlight).  Suddenly I’m avoiding rocks as I navigate through the rapids, water splashing up into my face and kayak.  Then back to peaceful.  It always makes for a good day.

Anyone else into kayaking?  What is your hobby of choice?