I just bought $200 worth of meals at great New York restaurants for $16.50. Seriously.

The website offers discounted gift certificates at establishments around the country–usually $10 for a $25 credit. Now, it is offering an additional 80% off with the code “FUN.” That means meals for just a few bucks…

It’s winter. Maybe you’re unemployed. Man, those walls are feeling close together, aren’t they? It is possible to bring some freshness to your surroundings without buying anything new. Try our tips, and troll the web for more–we especially like Apartment Therapy and the blog at Design Public. (Though we’re a little biased on that second one.)


There are people who can make clutter look beautiful. You are probably not one of them. Put away all those tchotchkes–or even better, sell them or give them away. (Check out the tips for getting rid of castoff clothes for help.)

Move stuff around

It is sort of amazing what a difference you can make by rearranging seating or shoving a table over. has ten tips for arranging furniture. Our advice: try out configurations that aren’t obvious…

Oysters may be an aphrodisiac and truffles might seem romantic, but there’s nothing sexier than offering to cook your date a simple meal at home.

Especially on Valentine’s Day, when the hottest restaurants in town are all packed to the brim and serving predictable prix fixe menus, a candlelit dinner at your own table can be just what Cupid ordered.

Whether you’re looking to save money or show off your skills in the kitchen, we have put together a super-simple, recession-friendly Valentine’s menu that anyone can cook at home…

We’re enjoying a new web show, Economy Bites, that just hit our radar screen. Created just last year in the heart of the recession, it’s dedicated to making cooking cheap and easy — perfect for those of us who have less money without out jobs or less time because we’re working so hard to stay employed.

Hosted by Texas native Allie Schwartz, the show’s motto is, “Cook on Sunday, eat til Thursday.” It’s not exactly gourmand fare. If the Food Network is steamy, glistening food porn, then Economy Bites is amateur food porn…

The End of the Trend

by Sara Clemence on February 1, 2010 in Lifestyle

Bid goodbye to waiting lists for nail polish colors (at the risk of dating myself, remember Chanel’s Vamp?), figuring out how to work mustard yellow into your wardrobe, and short-lived fashion trends in general.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal story, the past few years have seen the death of the trend. ( has a pay wall, but you can get around it by Googling the headline.) “Everything is in style,” the creative director of Doneger Group consultants told a group of retailers.

Christina Binkley reports that we’re in an age where women can more easily wear what looks good on them. The must-have of the month is gone. And before you bring up gladiator sandals and harem pants — gladiators had a good long run given how damn distinctive-looking they are, and harem pants seem to have died in the desert. Thank God…

Downturn’s Up!

by Stephanie Miles on September 3, 2009 in Lifestyle

blueberry cocktailThe Sex and the City ladies may have been content sipping on Cosmopolitans at the city’s poshest restaurants on a nightly basis, but today’s economy calls for something different.

Luckily, savvy bartenders from around the country have stepped in the fill the void, creating recession-themed cocktail recipes that anyone can make at home.

Whether you’re throwing a recession-themed party or drowning your sorrows with a group of recently laid off friends, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite downturn drinks from around the Web…

fat-stomachIf you’ve noticed more people packing on the pounds as of late, it isn’t your imagination. As the number of unemployed workers has grown over the past year, so has the average American’s waistline, a phenomenon nutritionists are calling “recession obesity.”

Of course this news should hardly come as a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention at the grocery store checkout line. Sales of junk foods like doughnuts and chips have skyrocketed, while fewer cost-conscious customers are buying organic fruits and veggies at the same rate they were in years past.

For an even better indicator of where our waistlines are heading, the best place to look may end up being the grocery store shelves.

What We’re Consuming
Craft Beers
Although overall beer sales have fallen 1.6 percent this year, business for craft brewers—the kind who make fewer than 60 barrels of beer a year—has actually increased, with sales growing by 6 percent…

price-tag-shopping-150At this point, we’ve all heard about bargain shopping in the recession—the budget buys, the sample sales, and the deals we can’t wait to see pop up. But what about the things that never make it to the sale rack? Are we just supposed to do without?

In short answer: No. At least not according to “experts” like personal shopper and stylist Jill Markiewicz, who tells Forbes that “buying a few expensive pieces that you truly want” can actually save you more money in the long run than picking up “a bunch of discounted items” at sample sales all over town.

Of course, Markiewicz’s ideas of necessary buys included Hermès bags and $115,000 Porsche Panameras, which don’t really fly for those of us living on Planet Earth.

So what types of purchases are worth splurging on and paying full price, even during a tight economy? As they say, you get what you pay for, and some areas can’t be scrimped on, no matter what kind of economy we’re living in. Here are a few…

Recession Dictionary Entry 150/n. Foodies who are low on cash aren’t just your ordinary brand of foodies: they’re “brokavores.” So says the brilliant new site Brokelyn, started by writer Faye Penn. A takeoff on “locavore,” someone who eats locally grown or produced food, a brokavore is “an obsessively cheap but highly discerning eater.”

ex. The brokavore sought out hot dog stands, pretzel vendors, shawarma trucks and taco joints for local delights.

hot-dog-cartLooking back at the Great Depression to see the path ahead.

Will Meals on Wheels be the Next Boom?
A hot dog tale.

Good-bye filet mignon, hello meatloaf. As the recession rages, Americans are finding ways to chow on the cheap. Consumers are shifting food purchasing patterns. We’re trading down to private label and value brands. We’re eating out less, and getting more aggressive about buying products on sale. Fast food joints are luring us by including more premium items on their dollar menus. High end retailers like Whole Foods are feeling the heat as the organic revolution slows. Many of use are doing without that Starbucks latte.

Read more…