Nov 172010

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Last night Z and I were returning home from her NaNoWriMo write-in and she decided she wanted to pick up some french bread for a late night snack.  Alas, the grocery store was closed, but she had the great idea to stop by the Subway which was still open and just buy a “footlong” of bread.  The conversation went a little like this…

“Hi, may I help you?”

“Yes, can I buy just the bread without a sandwich?”

“No sandwich?  Just a loaf of bread?”

“Yeah, a footlong of just bread.”

“Ummmmm … hang on a second.” Clerk goes into back room and returns a moment later.

“No, sorry, you have to buy a sandwich.”

That’s right, not even an offer to sell her the bread from a footlong for $5.  Just “No.” What kind of business is this?!? Turning down money for something they’re probably going to throw away in a half hour anyway?  Ridiculous!

Can you imagine a small business owner not only turning a customer request down flat, but also rejecting money that’s about to be lost?  I submit that it would never happen.  It only happened at Subway ( a franchise operation about which I have raved on my other blog) because the clerk (just a lowly worker) and his supervisor have no actual financial interest in the health of the business.  Well, the do, of course, but they aren’t incentivized to realize it.

Had a local deli been open we would have gone there.  Small business owners are far more likely to impress some economic reality onto their staffs.  Namely, that any money coming into the store is good for the workers paychecks as well as the owner’s.  After all, if money doesn’t come in, they won’t get raises or bonuses and may even lose their jobs either through layoffs or the business itself closing.

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Nov 212008
Part of the Friday Frugality Series - Previous in series         Next in series

Earlier this week I wrote (on one of my other blogs) about Safeway’s PowerPump Gas Rewards program and how you can use it to save a ton of money on gas. I know not everyone has a Safeway (or Safeway gas) in their area, which is why I wrote the article on my local blog. However, I have since learned that Krogers (and possibly other members of the Safeway corporate “family”) have similar promotions in place. Now, that’s not enough to retread the entire program here on Philaahzophy so if you want the basics visit the link above.

Through the end of the year Safeway is offering even more gas rewards when you do something you’re likely to do this time of year anyway: buy gift cards. Not only do gift cards (with a few notable exceptions like pre-paid credit cards, Safeway cards, and event tickets) now count towards your accumulated spending for the purposes of gas discounts (they didn’t under the old system), but through either Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve (I’ve seen both on promotional materials) you’ll receive an extra $0.10 per gallon discount every time you accumulate $100 in gift card purchases.

Since the PowerPump gas discounts are now cumulative this means that one can actually receive a free tank of gas relatively easily. For example, my household spends about $150/week on our standard groceries, we also pick up one or two prescriptions a month from the Safeway pharmacy (each of which earns a bonus credit), and now I’m buying gift cards there as well and getting bonus rewards for every $100 spent.  Combine all of that with dropping gas prices and free gas is no longer a pipe dream.

Not only are gift cards a perfectly acceptable gift in the modern age, but I actually purchase them for stores and restaurants I regularly patronize as well, thus earning Safeway gas rewards when I eat at Chili’s, McDonalds, Jack in the Box or Subway and even when I shop at Home Depot, Target and my favorite “store” of all: eBay.  One word of warning, however…

When I purchased $90 of gift cards on Tuesday (and nothing else on the transaction) I swiped my card through the machine, but was not credited for the purchase.  After talking to store management I was told they couldn’t access the Safeway Club Card account so I would need to call the toll-free number (1-977-723-3929) and address the issue with them.  I dutifully spent my time and energy doing that and was assured my account would be updated in 24 hours.  Alas, after today’s shopping trip no credit had occured and I had to call again this afternoon.  Again, I have been assured that the credit would appear within 24 hours, but we shall see…

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Apr 242008

Thirteen days to my weight loss deadline and I’ve been cracking down rather successfully. Last week I reported that I’d bounced back up to 242 pounds, well I’m proud to report that I’ve not only regained my footing, but moved even further into territory that hasn’t been explored in a few years: 235 pounds! WooHoo! That’s a net weight loss of 15 pounds since last fall when I set my goal. I’m behind schedule, but feel I’ve learned a lot about how my body works and moved far forward in healthy eating habits along the way.

Still, it looks like a little boost would be a good thing. Which is why I’m looking into the B12 injections offered by Dr. Don Gates of I’m actually considering his B12 shots with Lipotropics-

Lipotropics is a fancy word for three amino acids that are essential for the health of your liver. Your liver is the organ responsible for removing fat and toxins from your body, so if it is healthier, it will work better for you. B12 gives you a huge energy boost, which helps you to burn calories.

Aside from the approaching goal, the other reason I’ve been considering Dr. Gates’ injections because of my recent research on aspartame. It turns out that aspartame is in the yogurt I’ve been encouraging Z to eat on her weight loss journey and it seems to effect the liver in the exact opposite way that lipotropics do. Obviously I’ve cut the aspartame from both our diets, but I’m thinking the introduction of the lipotropics as well may just be the edge that I’ve been seeking.

Apr 152008

Do you remember the opening sequence of ABC’s Wide World Of Sports?  “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”  What they failed to mention is that sometimes even the smallest of victories can lead directly to the agony of defeat.  Last Thursday I weighed in at 237 pounds.  I was ecstatic to have finally dropped below the mark at which I started to be concerned about my weight.

But then Saturday morning I went off my diet, figuring it would be fine since I was moving in the right direction.  Saturday evening the trend continued and, long story medium, I’m now back up to 242 and eating garbage once again.  With summer nearing quickly and my tentative deadline only a few weeks away I really need to find the motivation to get back on board with my Subway diet.  With 21 days to the deadline, and the fact that I couldn’t get properly belted into Grizzly at California’s Great America on Saturday I’m hoping this confessional post will close the trinity and get me back on the right track.

Apr 082008

The bad news – Somehow between New Year’s Eve and Easter I managed to balloon up to 253 pounds.

The good news – Somehow I managed to drop back to 238 pounds in a matter of 10 days.

The worse news – That still just puts me at my “starting” weight of 38 pounds overweight.

Luckily, the market place has stepped in and provided a possible solution. You’ve probably heard that Subway is having a footlong sandwich sale – any footlong for $5.00. I had considered following Jared’s Subway Diet in order to lose weight in the past, but it seemed too cost prohibitive. With normal prices for a 6″ being between $2.99 and $4.79 this sale is just what the doctor ordered (or is that “just what Doctor’s Associates ordered” 😉 ) .

So now all I’m eating is two footlong Subway sandwiches a day. This drops me down to around 1200 calories and less than 20 grams of fat per day. According to all of my research I’m still “low” on both fiber and Vitamin A based on the government’s recommended daily allowances. But considering how much healthier this will be then my previous eating habits I’m not too worried about it. I have a feeling the twice daily walks down to my local Subway (about 1.5 miles each) have more to do with my weight loss then the diet itself, but so far so good.

This diet should work for me because it’s simple and I don’t need to keep food in the house. Whenever there’s food in the house I will eat it. I assume that’s a result of years and years of homelessness. My body has been trained to eat whatever it can whenever it has the opportunity as food became pretty scarce. I’m still dealing with serious cravings and occasional laziness, but I have high hopes for this program. If nothing else the walking and all of those fresh veggies will definitely be advantageous. I’ll try to keep y’all informed of my progress.