As a follow-up to last month's Money & Finance module, this month's single post focuses on cheap food, fun and frugality. This post/exercise is worth .5 training hours of credit and is available for credit through June 30, 2009.
What exactly is a recession? How is it different from a depression? If you have ever thought about questions similar to these, economist Mike Moffatt has written an article on About.com titled What is a Recession? . Moffatt’s article provides concise answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this current topic, along with links that offer you more in depth information on this topic.
During these difficult economic times saving money is an essential step in the health of your finances. Since holding on to every penny makes such a difference, here are some great ways to hold on to your money.
There are several ways to save money when it comes to food sources. If you like to cook but find the high price of groceries to be a deterrent, Depression Cooking With Clara is exactly what you’re looking for. Clara Cannucciari is a 93 year-old grandmother living in New York that prepares affordable meals. She was recently featured on Good Morning America.
If cooking is not for you, check out the Houston Cheap Eats Examiner. Mike Riccetti, author of “Houston Dining on the Cheap” writes up-to-date articles on local eateries that are easy on the pocketbook. $timulus Dining Deal$ in Houston also has information on the discounts offered by local restaurants. Many local restaurants have been featured on Houston news channels offering specials to bring in more customers, so it’s worth asking your favorite restaurants if they’re offering any special discounts. If you’re a twitter fan, you can now receive Recession Recipes through Twitter.
There are plenty of free or relatively inexpensive activities offered in the surrounding Houston area. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of these great deals.
- Miller Outdoor Theater offers professional entertainment performances free of charge.
- Many museums in Houston offer free admission at special times. These museums include: Children’s Museum of Houston(Thursday 5-8pm), Houston Museum of Natural Science (exhibit halls only /Tuesday 2-8pm), The Health Museum (Thursday 2-5pm), Museum of Fine Arts (Thursdays 10am-9pm), and Buffalo Soldier National Museum (Mondays 10am-5pm). Click on the links provided for further information on each of the museums listed.
- The following museums are always free of charge: Lawndale Art Center, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Rice University Art Museum, Holocaust Museum, Houston Center for Photography and The Menil Collection . The Menil Collection museum features the art collection of John and Dominique de Menil and has been recognized in Patricia Schultz’s book “1000 Places To See Before You Die”.
- For those that enjoy nature the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center and the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge are both free outdoor activities. The Houston Zoo has free admission on several national holidays throughout the year along with other discounts such as the Houston City Pass. The Port of Houston offers free Boat Tours.
- Meetup groups are an informal meetings of people with shared interests, Houston Meetup Groups lists groups that meet locally. Meetup groups are an affordable way to spend time participating in activities that you enjoy.
- HCPL owns several books on planning inexpensive day trips from the Houston area. One such book is Shifra Stein's Day Trips from Houston, a great resource when planning a quick get-away.
- With summer quickly approaching, you can get some planning ideas from ABC News’ Recession Guide to Cheap Summer Fun.
- About.com – Frugal Living includes information on frugal topics such as household savings, beauty/heath care, clothing, transportation, and do-it-yourself projects.
- Houston on the Cheap - Houston is one of the 40 cities around the U.S. participating in informing Houstonians about “discounts, deals, and freebies on entertainment, restaurants, and family-friendly fun”.
- Consumer Reports’ Smart Moves for Tough Times is packed full with useful tips on how consumers can save money.
- Local warehouses and outlets (Sears, Mattress Firm, Stretchers, Sealy, Pier 1) are a great place to find big savings on some of your favorite brand name items.
- The NACO Free Prescription Discount Card is available at many HCPL locations and can save an individual an average of 20% off on prescription drugs.
- Harris County Employees get discounts through several wireless companies (T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon). Gym membership discounts are offered through Fitness 19. Half Price Books offers librarians and educators a 10% discount card to use for purchases year round. Insured employees and their dependents are eligible to participate in Aetna’s Employee Assistance Program (EPA) at no additional cost. This program is designed to provide employees with confidential assistance on a wide range of topics such as legal/financial, mental health, and well-being.
- Looking for more ways to save or more information on recessions? Check out these informative sites: 101 Ways to Save Money, The Simple Dollar, Surviving a Recession and Your 2009 Recession Survival Guide.
- Watch one of Clara’s videos or search online for one recession recipe and post the recipe or video onto your blog.
- Share a few recession busters that you have heard or seen about in the media over the last few weeks, either on the local or national level.
- List any tips you may have recently discovered or have been using for some time regarding saving money during difficult economic times.
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