Posted by Annie Korzen
www.RentFoodBroke.com is an L. A. based website that was started late one night by some friends who were looking for low-cost fun. The basic belief which drives the site is that you can have a good life even with limited financial resources. I certainly wouldn’t argue with that! It’s free to subscribe to a weekly newsletter, or you can just check the daily listings
There are two parts to the site: Part One is a blog chock full of information about everything from necessaries (the art of the cover letter, a list of free medical services) to life skills (a guide to public transportation, throwing a cocktail party, etc.). Part Two is the BrokeLA.com calendar of events for $10 or under. You can hit up a farmer’s market, a free museum of the day, a comedy show or whatever else happens to pop up.
Here are some recent offerings.
Head out to Pierce College for their Halloween Harvest Festival any day you like, see dead people (and beautiful shots of fall in Philadelphia) in The Sixth Sense at Pershing Square on Friday night, party the night away at Brokebeast on Saturday with our buddies at cARTel, or spend the day in Malibu on Sunday at the Big Jewish Tent Fair, a county fair celebrating the fall harvest with music by the likes of Idan Raichel and Iliana Rose. And of course, none of this fall fun will cost you more than $10.
10.24.11 at 1:40 pm | Bargain Junkie Annie Korzen finds a website with. . .
10.19.11 at 2:58 pm | Bargain Junkie Annie Korzen spends her life at. . .
10.17.11 at 2:29 pm | Bargain Junkie Annie Korzen offers money-saving. . .
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10.10.11 at 1:55 pm | Bargainista Annie Korzen offers cheap. . .
10.5.11 at 1:10 pm | Thriftaholic Annie Korzen enjoys a bargain, but. . .
9.28.11 at 3:23 pm | Bargainista Annie Korzen proposes herself as a. . . (5)
10.24.11 at 1:40 pm | Bargain Junkie Annie Korzen finds a website with. . . (5)
8.24.11 at 3:01 pm | When are our parental responsibilities over? The. . . (4)
October 19, 2011 | 2:58 pm
Posted by Annie Korzen
My name is Annie and I’m a shopaholic. Years ago, I was at a dinner party in New York and I was talking to Garrison Keillor’s then-wife, who was Danish. She told me how insulted she was that her new American friends invited her to go shopping. “Shopping? Why? Is there something wrong with the way I dress?” Poor dear. This no-nonsense, sensible Scandinavian didn’t understand that, for some of us, shopping is a form of recreation – even of meditation. I wander through the racks, I feel the fabrics, I study the price tags, I reach Nirvana.
I guess shopping fills some emptiness in me that I’m not even aware of. I’m happiest when I come home with bags full of cashmere sweaters, vintage jewelry, antique linens - whatever. My dresser is crammed, my closets are stuffed, and my rooms are filled to the brim with artsy collectibles and rare first editions. Being surrounded by Stuff gives me a feeling of security.
Since I live on a very limited budget, I buy all these treasures on the cheap at thrift stores and yard sales. One day, I realized that I could sell my finds at a profit. I started on eBay, then expanded to dealers and consignment shops. My hobby has grown into a part-time business and I have sold vintage fashion to TV studios, corporate labels, and upscale vintage stores.
A few times a year I have my own yard sale to thin out the huge inventory. By now, I have a sizeable mailing list and attract crowds of serious fashionistas. I’ll be holding a sale this weekend at 8110 Blackburn Avenue, near The Grove. 10 to 5 each day. Come on down and see how I turned my shopping addiction into a source of extra income.
October 17, 2011 | 2:29 pm
Posted by Annie Korzen
Whenever you buy the latest thing in electronics, you can be sure that it’ll be smaller, faster, and cheaper six months later. I pity all those suckers who slept in the street the night before the first Iphones hit the stores. A superior, less expensive version hit the market within the year.
I’ve never had a Smart Phone. It wasn’t really necessary because I work at home and am on my computer and land line all day. But last year I was going on a book tour and would need the benefits of a modern cell. Amazon was having a special sale for AT&T users: an HTC Aria for $50. I ordered it, and then discovered all kinds of kinks in the design that made it difficult to set up. I complained to customer service, and got a $20 refund so the $300 phone cost me thirty bucks.
www.Dealcatcher.com often has good offers on phones. Today I saw
Motorola Q Silver Verizon Wireless Cell Phone – Refurbished $39.99 original price $249.99
Mwave has this refurbished Motorola Q Silver Verizon Wireless Cell Phone on sale for the best price we can find after instant savings. Shipping is free. Features include bluetooth, Windows Mobile 5 OS, 1.3 megapixel camera, miniSD memory card slot and more.
A lot of people I know are giving up their land lines and just using their cells, to save money. I’m all for saving money, but the reception in many homes sucks, and I am not willing to walk out the door and halfway down the block every time the phone rings. Also, corded phones are more reliable in blackouts so here, in earthquake-land, fear wins the day.
SKYPE is a a great way to make calls for free. We put a twenty-six dollar webcam on my computer, and our Danish family did the same. We can now call Copenhagen, see how the kids are growing, and speak for hours at no cost. The only fly in this ointment is that now I feel obliged to get dressed and made-up before phoning. http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/home
October 12, 2011 | 1:46 pm
Posted by Annie Korzen
My husband, Benni, loves art – especially modern painting. I can’t say I share his passion. We were just in New York where we went to a huge De Kooning retrospective. Benni thrilled at each and every canvas while I sat on a bench and people-watched.
I do, however, love museums – in my own shallow way. The architecture is usually inspiring, the gift shops are fun, and the cafés can be very pleasant indeed. There are few museums in the world with a more awe-inspiring ambience than our very own Getty.
We had been stuck at home all summer, and I really mean STUCK because we both work at home, which means we never leave the house. I needed a break: a change of scene in an inspiring, beautiful location. We decided to jump in the car and head up to the Getty one late afternoon.
I had forgotten how amazing the view is, and how inspiring the water features are, and how lovely the landscaping is. Families were picnicking, there was a wedding in progress, and the sunset was glorious. Best of all, the price of admission for all this bliss was FREE – my favorite word.
I even allowed Benni to drag me into a few galleries, but – for me - none of the art on the walls could compare with the glories of the exterior. Once in a while it is true that The Best Things In Life Are Free. For hours and exhibitions, go to http://www.getty.edu/index.html
October 10, 2011 | 1:55 pm
Posted by Annie Korzen
People pay big bucks to join dating services, but there are cheaper ways to make connections. You might start with friends. I was fixed up with Benni on a blind date. We met in February and got married in April, because he had just arrived from Copenhagen and needed a green card.
My friends warned me that I was marrying a stranger and after he got his papers I might never see him again. I felt we were a good fit, and decided to risk it. That was a zillion years ago, and we’re still going strong - although I do have moments when I think my friends were right: I married a stranger. Maybe all spouses have those moments.
I know one woman who started attending AA meetings in Beverly Hills. She had no addiction problems, but she figured there might be some interesting single men there. I’m not sure I’d recommend that ploy, but there are plenty of classes, temples, political and charitable organizations, etc. where you can meet people who are not recovering crack heads.
My girl friend Sara noticed a cute guy on the subway who was reading a book she had just finished. She started chatting with him, and they have now been married for twenty years.
Michael, a theatre director, volunteered to be a mentor to a disadvantaged kid. At the training session, he met a young woman who was also being trained. They, too, have now been married for twenty years.
My son, Jonathan, has a friend who joined the Peace Corps. While he was working in Haiti, he hooked up with another volunteer and – you guessed it – the wedding took place a year later.
I’m not saying you have to join a do-good organization to meet your soulmate. But I do think that if you’re someone with a lot of hobbies, interests, and passions, you just might come across Mr/Ms Right in the middle of your active life – without paying a fee!
If I were single in a big city, I’d get a puppy – and not just for companionship. Dog-owners are a very social sub-culture. I took a stroll with Sue and her Wheaton terrier, Daisy. We couldn’t walk for two minutes without another canine-owner stopping to chit-chat. Maybe someone should start a business leasing dogs to singles: call it PuppyPimp.com. I see a film script here.
October 5, 2011 | 1:10 pm
Posted by Annie Korzen
I’m all for thrifty, but some folks take it a bit too far – especially some rich folks. Like the wealthy women who invited us to her penthouse apartment for lunch, handed out takeout menus, and collected our money when the food came!
One thing I’ll never understand is richies who are cheap tippers: why not share the wealth? My parents were poor, but they always tipped generously because they had compassion for working people. This compassion does not always cross class lines.
I attended a high-society wedding where private buses were hired to bring us from the church to the reception, and then back to our hotel. When we got to our final destination the host on our bus, the groom’s brother - the scion of an old-money family - neglected to tip the driver. When someone (me) took him aside and suggested that a gratuity might be in order, his drunken response was something like “Why? He’s already been paid.” So much for noblesse oblige.
Like I said – maybe it’s a class thing. When I was in college, my friend Toby got a summer job as a bellboy in a Catskills hotel. One weekend the hotel was taken over by a group of gentlemen who were there for an international business conference. The business was crime, and the gentlemen were Cosa Nostra. Toby never got less than a hundred dollar tip for carrying bags. Well, that’s only fair: Uzis are heavy.
Moneyed people are not the only ones who can be stingy. There was a little general store down the road from our upstate NY country house. George, the owner, never turned on the lights in order to save money: a good example of “Penny-wise, pound foolish.” Needless to say, business was not booming. Not too many people want to poke around in the dark for a dusty can of baked beans from 1947.
One day I asked George if he would put aside the local paper for me each week. I wanted to be sure that it would not be sold out when we arrived on Fridays, since it contained the all-important auction and garage sale listings. George, with his sharp sense of business acumen, agreed to save the paper – as long as I gave him the twenty-five cents in advance!
It might be a good idea to control those cheapskate instincts when you’re out on a date. My girl friend Ann Rita met a guy online. They chatted a few times on the phone, and finally agreed to get together for brunch. As they studied the menu, he suggested, “Why don’t we just split an order of toast?” Ann Rita is not particularly materialistic, but she had to swallow the impulse to say, “Why don’t you have the toast and I’ll just split?”
October 3, 2011 | 12:44 pm
Posted by Annie Korzen
I’m a theatre addict but tickets can be costly. One great way to save money is to join www.Goldstar.com. They offer discounts on everything from plays to comedy clubs to sporting events to antique shows. Right now I have a friend in the cast of Steven Berkoff’s Kvetch at the Whitefire Theatre. She said she could get me $5 off, but when I checked Goldstar they were offering half-price tickets: $12.50 instead of $25.
They even have a Comps category. One such offering is Florence Henderson: From Broadway Baby to Lovely Lady & Beyond at The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills.
I was just in New York where Broadway tickets can take a big bite out of your wallet. The first thing I do is check the TKTS Booth on 47th St. where you can get last minute seats at substantial discounts. Tuesday nights are your best bet, weekends are harder.
I was dying to see The Book of Mormon but a hit show like that is not listed at the TKTS booth. I went to the box office and was told I could get orchestra for $436 or a little less for partial view. Neither was acceptable, but then I was told that there are a few tickets in the last row of the mezzanine that sell for $69. It’s not a large theatre, so the last row isn’t too far back. I went for it, and the seat was excellent. These bargain tickets do not show up online: you have to get them at the box office. Since I thought the show was amusing but overrated I sure am glad I didn’t plop down the top price!
September 28, 2011 | 3:23 pm
Posted by Annie Korzen
I would like to suggest a new cabinet post: Secretary of Frugality. Please note that I am available for the job. Here are a few items I would deal with.
• I volunteered to be a polls worker on Election Day, and was obliged to take a. two-hour training class. We were each handed three thick vinyl-covered volumes of instructions. My particular job description took up half a page. I wonder what amount of trees and water and oil were wasted in order to print thousands of those useless instruction books.
• Actors collect unemployment between jobs. While I was on the dole, I would frequently receive letters from the Unemployment Department inviting me to learn job skills as a metalworker. I wonder how many thousands of these notices were sent out. I wonder how much paper, energy, and manpower was wasted. I wonder how many actors seek training as metalworkers.
• I will permanently abolish the automatic flush toilet: a truly diabolical invention. The airport restroom sounds like Niagara Falls. The automatic gizmo is so sensitive that it flushes when you look at it, flushes when you sit down, flushes while you do your business, and it flushes again to say bye-bye. I may be technologically challenged, but I am perfectly capable of pulling a toilet handle. I wonder how many millions of gallons of precious water are squandered away by a totally unnecessary “convenience.” Why don’t they invent something useful instead, like an electronic eyeglass locater?
• Our primitive, brutal, congested penal system has got to be one of the biggest money-wasters around – along with that insane War on Drugs. I say make more drugs legal – in addition to alcohol and nicotine – then tax the hell out of them and use that money to educate and empower those young men who are looking to escape their hopeless lives. They will then get good jobs, nice homes, and get high on things that we respectable people are addicted to – like crispy baguettes and “Thirty Rock.” It’s so simple!
When I am Secretary of Frugality, I promise to
• turn garbage into mulch,
• turn bath water into garden water,
• turn cooking oil into fuel,
• and let those windmills turn.
I believe Americans are capable of change, and there are small signs of progress. I attended a school concert recently, and the programs were printed on scrap paper.
HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL!