Welcome to iHCPL: The Next Generation. This site was created as the next step in Harris County Public Library's iHCPL Learning 2.0 Program; a discovery learning program designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies. The original iHCPL program was adapted from The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County's Learning 2.0 Program.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Recession Busters # 60: Food, Fun & Frugality

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.


  • 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.
How will Houston weather the Recession? Forbe’s Joel Kotlin says it best, “Houstonians long have displayed remarkable grit and creativity in the face of tough times… Houston is still among the best bets to survive these tough times and come out, in the end, a strong winner”.

  1. Watch one of Clara’s videos or search online for one recession recipe and post the recipe or video onto your blog.
  2. 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.
  3. List any tips you may have recently discovered or have been using for some time regarding saving money during difficult economic times.
This module brought to you by Rhiannon Perry (LAP).

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