Monday, August 31, 2009

When is an Expensive Haircut a Bargain?

Let's get one thing clear here... just because I am the Bargain Queen does NOT mean that I like things that are cheaply made or of low quality. Being the Bargain Queen means that I know a bargain when I see one. Getting a cheap haircut that only looks good when you leave the salon and needs to be recut after just a few weeks is NOT a bargain.

Here is the way that you determine if your hair cut is a bargain. Take the amount that you paid for your cut and divide that by the number of days that your hair looks good when you get up in the morning. Yes, I said, when you get up in the morning. Not after you blow dry it, fluff it, cover it with a scarf or pull it back in a ponytail.

If your stylist knows their business, your hair will look good as it grows in and even when you first get out of bed in the morning. Yes, it will be a bit mussed, but it shouldn’t take a shelf full of hair products and tools to make it presentable.

So, let’s take my math formula and try it out. Let’s say you get a $30 cut. It looks good the day you get the cut. It looks OK for the next week. Then, it starts to get a little weird. You pull it back. Add some gel and some hair clips. About four weeks after you got the cut, you feel you need to go to the salon again. So, this cut lasted 30 days. Cost of the cut? A dollar a day.

Now, let’s say that you get a cut for $135. The cut looks great the day you get the cut. It continues to look really good for six months; even while it is growing in. So, that’s $135 into 180 days. That cut only cost you 75cents a day. The expensive cut was actually cheaper. But in fact, the “expensive” cut is even cheaper than that because you didn’t have to spend the extra time or the money it would have taken you to get to the stylist five additional times.

Personally, if my hair doesn’t look good in the morning when I look in the mirror, my whole day starts on a downer. Hey, that’s me. No matter how bad things are, if my hair looks good, I’m starting out in a good mood.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get a good haircut (one that looks great at the beginning and continues to look great as it grows in) for a low price. It just means that after many, many years of looking, I’ve never found a good “cheap” haircut that ended up being cost effective.

Now I am going to give a huge shout out to an amazing stylist that has gone above and beyond to make sure that I have my great cuts. His name is Michael Lanza. You can reach him at

His cuts are not cheap (cost around $135) … but they ARE a bargain. Michael lives in the New York City area, but travels to Los Angeles often. For the right price, he’ll come to you… wherever you are.

When I was moving across the country, he traveled to another state to meet up with me on my cross country journey because I told him that I couldn’t bear to start “a new life” with a bad haircut.

So, the next time you are trying to figure out whether to get the cheap haircut or the more expensive one, make sure that you do the whole math and see what your cheaper haircut is actually costing you.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Improve and Enhance our Public Lands

Saturday, September 26, 2009 is National Public Lands Day.

OK... that's a new one to me. Is there a card for it? Well, probably, but that's not the point.

The point is that for one day, you can volunteer to help create and maintain the incredible public lands that we have in this country. One person alone can only do so much, but when an entire crew of people show up and are coordinated in their efforts, quite a lot can occur in one day.

National Public Lands Day began in 1994 with three federal agencies and 700 volunteers. Last year 120,000 volunteers worked in over 1,800 locations and in every state. Now, 8 federal agencies and many state and local lands participate in this annual day of caring for shared lands.

Did you know that the combined size of our country's national forests is roughly the size of Texas? Wow! That's a lot of space to take care of.

The website for this event ( is very helpful. You can easily find locations near to you where you can volunteer on this day. There were three sites within 20 miles of my house.

So, you can find a site, register a site and/or sign up for their newsletters. Here's a link to a pdf that you can print out to help promote their event at your business or school.

No matter where I have lived, I have enjoyed the benefits of our glorious public lands. Finally, there is a way that I can give back to those lands.

Hope to see you there.

Swap-o-Rama-Rama - Fall 2009

If I could only write about one event, I would write about Swap-o-rama-rama. As a matter of fact, I DO write about this event quite a lot (and you can read all the postings here) ... but that is because it is truly the best place to score free clothing and get awesomely inspired to "pimp" your own clothes. I always leave this swap with a bag full of clothes and the desire to cut up and redesign the clothes in my closet that I "almost" like. (Hey, that's me in the picture on the left making a super cool shirt out of a dress.)

One note: Bring your own good fabric cutting scissors. There are never enough. I'm going to bring mine and tie them with a long ribbon to my purse shoulder strap. I suggest you do the same.

Upcoming Swap in the Los Angeles area just in time to create your Halloween costume. Mark your calendar.

Venice Center for Peace and Justice with the Arts
2210 Lincoln Blvd (one block north of Venice at Victoria)
Venice, CA 90291
Saturday, October 10, 2009
noon to 5pm

To find upcoming events in your area, click here.

To find out how to start a swap in your area (yes, YOU can create one yourself... it's easy), click here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Advanced Searching on Craigslist

I use Craigslist every day to find great bargains, but I never read this helpful bit of advanced search training direct from their website. Helpful, helpful, helpful. Wish I had read it sooner. I pass this new-found knowledge on to you.

Advanced Searching

If simple keywords don't find what you are looking for, here are some advanced features to try.

Phrase Search

You can use quotation marks to search for a phrase:

"low miles"

That will find posts that contain the term 'low' followed by 'miles'.

Excluding Terms (filtering)

To specify one or more words you'd like to exclude, use a minus sign to negate them.

honda black -red

That will look for postings that contain 'honda' and 'black' but not 'red'. Note that a search must contain one non-excluded term.

"OR" Searches

By default, every term in your search must match unless it is excluded with the minus sign (see above). You can specify a list of terms that you want to find one or more of (instead of ALL of them) using a "pipe" character '|' like this:

honda | toyota

That query looks for postings that contain 'honda' or 'toyota' (or both).


Finally, you can group terms together in parenthesis when queries are complicated:

red (toyota | honda) -2000 -2001

That query tries to find all listings that contain 'red' and either 'honda' or 'toyota' (or both) but do not contain 2000 or 2001.

Posting ID

If someone has given you the Posting ID (10 digit number), you can use that number in the search box to find the posting.

Free to access Federal Court Documents

Have you ever wanted free access to Federal Court Documents?

Now you can access PACER documents (the ancient Federal court document system) without charge (as long as one other person has already purchased the same docs.) The PACER service provides on-line access to U.S. Appellate, District, and Bankruptcy court records and documents nationwide.

RECAP (PACER backwards) is an addon to the Firefox web browser that allows you to access PACER docs already purchased by another, and then shares any docs you purchase with others similarly.

You can read about it here.

Thanks to Dan (Engine Ecology) for this really cool and unusual bargain tip.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

101 Memory Making Adventures for a Childhood in Los Angeles

One of the reasons that I started this blog was so that I could easily find my favorite links and share them with my friends. I've just found a new one in the form of an article on entitled "101 Memory Making Adventures for a Childhood in Los Angeles."

I am pretty good at finding some totally fun things to do with kids and adult-kids in Los Angeles. After all, I LOVE field trips. But I am humbled by some of the destination ideas that are listed in this article.

101 Memory Making Adventures includes some of my favorite field trips: Decorating Rose Bowl Floats; getting up close and personal with exotic animals at America's Teaching Zoo; and getting to know your world at the Kidspace Children's Museum in Pasadena.

This list has ideas that I've never even heard of: Pick a plant at Tomatomania; make a book at Scribble Press; dig up crystals at Gem o Rama; and play in the mud at Mud Mania.

There are also links to other lists that one might look for, such as, where to watch fireworks on July 4th.

There is even a link to a field trip that is on my MUST DO list: Watch a free rehearsal at the Hollywood Bowl.

Even though the title of the article says "Los Angeles," some of these trips will require a car, some driving time and even a possible overnight stay.

This is a keeper article especially for someone that is planning on visiting LA with kids or expecting guests with kids. There is something here for everyone.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dress on a Dime - 90% off retail

It seems to me that finding a great women's clothing consignment store is getting harder to find, but finding a great women's clothing consignment SALE is getting easier.

If you live in the Santa Clarita (northern Los Angeles, CA) area of the country, you have a great sale coming up.

Similiar to LA Kids Consignment Sale for kid's stuff, Dress on a Dime is a twice-a-year sale featuring like-new casual-to-designer clothes from 0 to plus sizes, shoes, purses and accessories for women at a fraction of retail price.

Whether your size has gone up or down and whether you are selling or buying, this is a smart way to get some new stylish clothes at 90% off retail (my definition of a sale).

Consignors make 65% of the selling price and get paid within 2 weeks.

The next sale is September 11-13th,2009 at the Residence Inn, 25320 The Old Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91381.

If you can't make this date, then sign up to be notified of future sale dates.

For those of you not in the Los Angeles area, you might get in touch with these nice folks and see if you can set up your own Consignment type sale in your area.

I think it is time for me to realize that I am NOT going to fit into those clothes in my closet that are FOUR sizes too small for me. If I consign them, then I will have the money to buy some new ones at the sale that WILL fit. Oh, right... that's the whole idea.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Free Land in Kansas

No kidding. They are giving out free land in Kansas. Just like the land rush that was the central theme of the Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman 1992 movie, "Far and Away."

Well, I don't think that people are going to line up with a horse and wagon and plant flags to claim their land. But, indeed there is land to be claimed.

Apparently there are some little towns in rural Kansas that don't want to disappear. They have created a program to tempt people to come and settle in Kansas.

The web site states their simple and direct plan: "Kansas is a great place to live, play, work or own a business. We would like you to consider moving to Kansas and have created incentives to draw you to our wonderful state. Several communities in Kansas are offering free land and other incentives. Our goal is to help our rural areas sustain and grow economically."

This is a powerful offer and a smart move on the part of the people of Kansas. Check it out.

Free land. Hum.... as my brother says, "Land. Get some. They aren't making any more of it."

Bobbi's Bargains Works!

Just had to share this email I got from one of my readers (yes, I know that I need to work on my comment section so that it is more user friendly.) This email outlines exactly why I LOVE freecycle and encourage all of my readers to sign up and use freecycle. (Don't know what I am talking about? Read the very first post on this blog.)

Dear Bobbi,

You know where to find all the great deals. I wanted to validate you and thank you for that.

At your suggestion, I joined my local Freecycle group.

A couple of weeks ago, I was making some split pea soup, and I thought, "Some home-made whole wheat bread would go great with this. I need a breadmaker." I put it on Freecycle, and by 2pm, someone had e-mailed me and by 6pm I had my breadmaker. We've made about 5 loaves of bread since. Last Saturday I put an ad on for a kitty condo, and I had it by 5pm.

We had a jaccuzzi that came with our house that we've never used. It was a big piece of "stuff" sitting in the backyard since 2004. I put it on Freecycle and yesterday someone picked it up!

Thank you for your great tips!


I love hearing from my readers. Let me know if my posts help you and if there is something you would like me to write about more.

Thanks for reading... and writing.

Homemade Ice Cream Drumsticks

Recently, on a hot day, I gave in to the urge to buy a Drumstick Ice Cream Cone from the freezer in my local gas station. Oh man, it was REALLY good. However, that little ice cream cone was THREE DOLLARS!!! Yikes! That is a real budget blower.

Unfortunately, as it continues to be hot, here in Southern California, I keep dreaming of that Drumstick. But, my little change purse keeps saying, "no, no."

Well, I have been saved by a totally swell tutorial on Instructables on how to make your own drumstick ice cream cones. The lovely author, Ms. Schoochmaroo, has created a fun and understandable set of instructions on how to make killer ice cream cones.

This is a definite activity for this week. There is a birthday coming up in our family and I can see a drumstick birthday cake in our future.

Stay cool.

Easily Map your Yard Sale Route

Technology is so awesome for a bargain hunter. No longer do I have to spend hours and hours with my newspapers and maps to figure out how to get the best bargains on Saturday morning. Now, in just a few minutes, I can find the sales I want to go to AND map my route.

I wrote about another yard sale treasure map a while ago. This new site, (garage sales, yard & estate sales by map) is very similar to Yard Sale Treasure Map, but more user friendly. The map loaded faster and it was easier to add the sales I wanted to map and ignore the others.

Both Yard Sale Treasure Map and Gsalr pull the majority of their info from Craigslist. However, Gsalr (what DO those letters stand for??) also has a feature to add your own yard sale info. The standard ad is free and if you want to make it more visable in the list (bold letters, etc) you can pay extra using pay pal or a credit card.

Another smart feature of this site is that you can sign up and get a reminder email of the upcoming garage sales in your area.

If you have another way to find where "X marks the spot" on Yard Sale day, let me know.

Happy Hunting.