Every year I buy a calendar that has a day-by-day message or a puzzle. My 2011 calendar is The Shopaholic’s Daily Calendar. It has wonderful tips and today I’m here to share some of them. In the month of May they had good tips on shopping local.
Did you know there is a difference between paying cash and using a credit card when you shop at your favorite corner boutique? John Rossheim of cityguides.msn.com says local merchants struggle to eke out a profit margin of just a few percentage points. Imagine how they must grin and bear it when a customer pulls out that credit card. The merchant must pay fees on the transaction that may eat up what should have been their entire profit on the sale. So try planning ahead to bring enough cash or a check to pay for your purchases from a local business.
Many debit card transactions also extract substantial fees from merchants. Use your credit card when shopping at national chains. If you pay cash only when you patronize independent stores, you probably won’t notice the difference. Rossheim also recommends that we visit an independent store before heading to the big box store. Before you head on that run to the big-box store, think of one item that you’d like to shop for locally. It might be a gift, or a gourmet item or even a commodity item, whatever it is it’s time to come to the aid of the local merchants in your city.
Another tip that I ran across in July: never skimp on pretty says Jason Backe, color director for Clairol and celebrity colorist at the Ted Gibson Salon. His secret to staying gorgeous without breaking the bank is to invest in the part of your regimen that makes you feel most gorgeous—it could be a haircut, hair color, or a lip gloss. Needless to say I love that suggestion, feeling pretty feels good.
I particularly liked the tip from June 1. This was the date that Yves St Laurent passed in 2008. This marked the end of what will go down in history as one of the most revolutionary periods in fashion. Not only do we have YSL to thank for ready-to-wear, but his unorthodox ideas (such as women wearing pants) and his use of Black models on the runway before anyone else liberated fashion from its repressive, snobbish predilections. Almost everything we see on the catwalk today is a fairly literal interpretation of something YSL did before.
On the back of the calendar page is “The Daily Extra,” I’ll bet you’ll like these too. Also on June 1, 1980: CNN debuts, broadcasting news 24 hours a day. It is hard to believe it has been that long; CNN is what started this news all the time, cover the story until it screams “uncle” business.
If you are traveling on the road this summer here is a hint that will help you clean your car. To remove tar from your car’s exterior, rub mayonnaise onto the tar. Let it sit for a few minutes and then rub gently with a soft cloth. It didn’t say what type of mayonnaise, so I would try generic. No sense wasting your good Hellmann’s on tar.
(E-mail the columnist at email@example.com.)