INSPIRE — February 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Consumption Gumption

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Okay, so Christmas is over, and most – and then some – of the bucks are spent. I guess we’ll have to buckle down with the rest and shift to savvy luxury, at least until the Visa man gets his dough. But then again, the simplest pleasures in life really don’t cost much…

Hopefully (!) you did get your new iPad this year… if your mother-in-law bought you a V.1 Kobo at a garage sale – my condolences to you, and you might want to skip this section. For a while now, I have only downloaded free apps as a rule. I did get a bit free and easy with the $1.99 apps of late (ie. Hipstamatic – it rocks) but in 2012 I’m back on the free app bandwagon… at least for Q1. So, in the spirit of belt tightening, here’s a good one. If you are ready to get your finances back on track, or just looking for a way to make budgeting bearable, check out MINT.com. Looking at the graphs of your spending is a cool (scary!) way to see where your money really goes. I’ll be honest, the Starbucks transactions on my pie-chart were pretty hefty (but read on for help on that further down…) Also totally FREE, I have had FatSecret on my iPhone for awhile. It’s been auto-reminding me since October that I have 15 lbs to lose. I guess I will now have to reprogram it for 20 and get serious. But ‘tis the season for that too.

If you’re not techie at all, or like your tech with a side of vino, here is a neat innovation in the beverage sector. While not that new, I think the Tetra Wine pac is simply genius. Just this week in our production meeting –when talk turned once again to wine – we agreed that wine should be in juice box format. Obviously, so does French Rabbit. They’ve been making fine tetra vintages for years. These would be great to smuggle into a cruise, if you’re so inclined and so bold. Or for you beleaguered hockey-team-travelling-parents… a great antidote for a long tourney weekend (that won’t break when the hockey gear lands on your overnight bag). Really the applications are endless, not to mention, the packaging and production have the planet in mind, so you can feel pretty awesome as you sip/gulp.

Speaking of sipping… let’s talk coffee! Some of you out there may have sworn off spirits all together (after a particularly spirited holiday). If you’re like me and NOT one of the kajillions of homes that got a Keurig from Santa, then maybe you’d like to try kicking it old school? Nope, it’s not instant. It’s a crazy-cool single cup cone that perches right on your favourite mug, by our friends at Melitta. Scoop in your favourite ground beans (BTW, think about seriously committing to fair trade this year) pour hot water and enjoy. This might date me a bit, but when I was kid, I got up and made one of these piping hot bevvies for my mom every morning. Basically I was the house Keurig – albeit a bit slower. This lo-tech drip “device” has gone upscale from what I remember. It now looks all molded, is a sassy, fashion forward red and is more like ten bucks instead of two… but it still makes a really decent cuppa joe for cheap.

So where does that leave us? Feet up, sitting by the fire with our budget app and vice of choice in hand, with the winter winds whistling outside. But that is ok, there are lots of small pleasures to be had right in your own home. Pop some logs in the fireplace and throw a bunch of rosemary in as it burns. It might remind you a bit of that Christmas tree that is laying out at the curb and keep the festive season going just a little bit longer in your mind. At the very least it will help while you pay your bills on-line.

Until next time, Live Well!