Saturday, November 28, 2015

Aeropostale's website has good deals on kids' clothing this weekend

Everything in the PS sections is marked down, plus you can use code holiday20 to get $20 off a $100 purchase (I found the code at retailmenot. When making online purchases, ALWAYS google "aeropostale coupon code" or whatever before checking out to see if there are additional codes the store isn't publishing on their own site). Oh, and free headphones when you spend $75. They don't appear to be brand-name or anything in case you have a kid who cares about such things, but if you don't, they look like something that would be perfect to stash away for a holiday present.

Jeans aren't a great deal; still $18 for the cheapest ones and $30 or more for most of them, while Old Navy, Crazy8, and H&M regularly have plenty of decent ones for $10. Tops are a good price though, with a number of nice short-sleeve and long-sleeve ones for $5-$10. Sort them by price, skip past the approximately eight million shirts that say PS on them (unless you like that sort of thing; I do buy them for sleeping and sports when they're down to like $3), and there are some nice tops. If you need school uniform shirts, they have polos for $6-$10.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Kids' snow boots $17.99 on H&M website

Black, unisex kids' boots, sizes 7.5-2, are on their website right now. We have a pair of these from last year (I think they're the same ones) and they're great. A lot of winter coats, snow pants, etc. are marked down on their site too.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Black Friday

Ah, the inevitable barrage of posts on blogs and social media about not shopping on Black Friday. I appreciate the sentiment as far as not feeding into the aspect of society where people get into brawls over televisions. And I definitely feel for the people who are working at the kinds of places where this happens. But really? I'm also seeing a lot of posts from some really privileged people, talking about how they aren't going to buy anything this weekend, thinking they're combating capitalism or some ish. How exactly does that work? Whether you're someone who's conscious about really only buying what you need or someone who purchases freely, aren't you just going to buy the stuff on a different day? How does this actually affect capitalism at all?

And another thing: all this rhetoric about not buying things this weekend to make a point, do people really think it's hurting giant corporations? Of course it isn't. Maybe it would if they had planned to have extra staffing for the weekend and literally no one came to buy anything, but I just don't see that happening. What it really does is annoy struggling people, like me. Of course I'm going to take advantage of Black Friday deals. I'm online right now to do just that. No I'm not buying video game systems and designer sneakers. I'm buying winter coats and socks and underwear, because that stuff is way cheap this weekend and most places have free shipping. But these privileged people who don't have to worry about how they're going to afford coats for everyone want me to wait until Monday or Tuesday or whenever it becomes socially acceptable to shop so I can pay $80 I don't have for a coat instead of $24.99 today. Right. I'll get right on that. See, most of us taking advantage of these deals are people who spend every day really only buying what we need, checking thrift stores first, swapping things with our friends and neighbors, buying and selling on eBay. But go ahead, y'all who think about capitalism and consumption one time per year, and put up your posts about how we should or shouldn't spend this weekend.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The new WIC app is great, as are the changes to the program

 We once again have a young child living in our household, so we are getting WIC again.

Several things have changed since we last had it, making it even more helpful and wonderful.

1) They now FINALLY have a card that is scanned at the checkout instead of the awful paper checks that half of the cashiers didn't know how to use. It no longer takes any more time than any other grocery purchase once you get to the register.

2) They allow families to get a vegetarian/vegan package without requiring a doctor's prescription. The package allows tofu and soy milk to replace the cheese, milk, and eggs (or just the dairy or just the eggs, depending on the family's personal or cultural preferences). We were very pleased to see this, as we don't do a lot of dairy out of personal preference, but don't have a medical reason and aren't strict vegans.

3) The whole grains can now be brown rice or whole grain pasta instead of just bread.

4) They have an app that lets you check your available benefits in real time. It also will scan the UPC codes to see if something is allowed on WIC, which is an absolute lifesaver. If anyone reading this has an issue with WIC ("but them are my tax dollars!") being aware that most people of all income levels use mobile devices in 2015, read here.

If you don't get WIC and have a child under 5, check the income limits here to see if you might qualify. A lot of my friends and family who work and make too much for food stamps weren't aware that they qualify for WIC. Also, the federal guidelines say that a family qualifies based on income if people in the family get Medicaid. I'm not positive how WIC does this in MA, since we have people who are eligible for Masshealth but not federal Medicaid, but it's worth a try if you're over the income limit but you or your child has Masshealth.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Required reading for anyone who thinks people with SNAP, WIC, etc. shouldn't have smartphones

If you missed it, this is a good post explaining how circumstances can change, and how it doesn't make any damn sense to sell your car and clothes and home at a huge loss because you suddenly can't make ends meet as well as you once could.  

I would expect that anyone reading my blog is not of the mindset that anyone getting government anything shouldn't have a mobile device, but just in case any poor-people-haters decided to swing on by, I wanted to explain a few things. I was also thinking it would be a good idea to have all this info in one place for handy sharing the next time some jackass on my facebook feed starts talking about how they saw someone with a food stamps card using a smartphone.

1) It's none of your business. Really. This should be enough, but since it isn't for some people...

2) It might not be their phone. Or SNAP or WIC card. They could be picking up things for a friend, a relative, their clients at the group home where they work, their foster kids, their grandkids. It could be a phone they have through their job. Who cares? 

3) Mobile devices are no longer ridiculously expensive. Several mobile plans have a low-end smartphone as their free phone at this point. An iPhone 4 or 4s can be purchased on eBay or amazon for $20-$30 at this point. People are routinely giving away iPhone 4s and 5s to their friends for free to use as an iPod for their kid or to use as a backup when their phone broke

4) You don't even need phone service on the device to use apps or check e-mail. People might have a device because they're using it to e-mail their job or check their kid's school grades. You can use apps anywhere you're connected to wi-fi, and you can compose e-mail, write notes to yourself, listen to music, etc. without any network connectivity. Home internet can be as little as $9.95, or you can pool together with several people in your building to share wireless. Or just piggyback on all your neighbors who don't know to put passwords on their networks.

5) A lot of low-income folks don't have a computer, cable, or home internet. They may have a device connected to phone service, and it might be the only way they receive phone calls, pay bills, send e-mails about work and school, and stay in touch with their kid's teachers. If the phone was cheap or free and the plan is $50 a month, they're likely spending a lot less than you on technology.

5) Oh, and just in case I do have someone reading who thinks that people who get WIC, SNAP, Medicaid, etc. should have their income and expenditures scrutinized, I'll just mention that I really hope they feel the same way about people who take mortgage interest tax credits, student loan tax credits, and so forth. It's all free money from our tax dollars, but some of it just somehow gets viewed differently by some people.