Monday, October 27, 2008

Christmas Already?

I took a trip out to the stores this weekend (to pick up some Halloween candy) and was shocked to see shelves already stocked with Christmas decorations!

Ornaments, trees, gifts, wreaths, wrapping paper galore! But Halloween and Thanksgiving aren't even here yet....

Do you have any highly commercialized holidays in your country? Do you think holidays are too commercialized in the United States?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Saving money and watching the budget!

As a graduate student, I am juggling different ways to pay tuition each semester and buy costly books. International (F-1) students are usually not allowed to work, and paying tuition can become a more difficult task.

Here are some tips for cutting spending and doing more with less:

Prepare meals at home. Buy groceries and turn on the Food Network! Experiment with different cooking techniques and styles, and go easy on pricey ingredients.

Buy in bulk. Have a friend with a Costco or Sam's Club card? Tag along and stock up on items you use regularly. Be wary of buying perishable items that you may not use before the expiration date.

Comparison shop online. Did you fall in love with a pair of expensive shoes at Macy's but cannot afford them? Carry a pad and pencil with you and write down the brand, style, and sku of the item you are interested in. Hop on the computer and comparison shop at home! You would be surprised the deals and steals you can find on the Internet! If you are going to purchase an item online, make sure to look for coupon codes first!

Websites to try:

Plan your purchase! The end of summer is the best time to buy a discounted swimsuit, a jacket at the end of winter, etc. Black Friday is usually the best time to buy electronics

Hit the outlets! Outlets can be a great place to snag some deals. Check out the outlet malls in the Houston area and don't forget to get a coupon book from customer service:

Frequent the yard sale or flea market in your area. You will be surprised what people are selling or giving away! Don't forget resale or consignment stores.

Scan online classified ads for great deals.

Look for student discounts! Some movie theaters, museums, and stores have student discounts!

Share some of your tips and tricks with me!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I love when Halloween rolls around! Candy and costumes galore, even though I am not really into the blood and gore.

Halloween is a fascinating holiday, with Celtic, Christian, and Pagan roots In the United States, the holiday was not introduced until the 19th century and the commercial mayhem did not begin until the 20th century.

If you like to be spooked, check out haunted houses:

Are you dressing up for Halloween? What will you be? I am not sure what I will be yet!

Monday, October 6, 2008

International Events this Weekend

Splendid China III - Discovering China
Oct 10-11
Miller Theater, In Hermann Park, 100 Concert Drive
"A showcase of the cultural riches China has to offer in history, dance and music, featuring Dance of Asian America and special guest artists from the Shanghai Dance Company. 8:00 p.m."

Indo-American Association Concert - The Ultimate String Jugalbandi
Oct 11
Wortham Center, 501 Texas
"Featuring Sitar Maestro Ustad Shujaat Khan, Sarode Maestro Pandit Tejendra Majumdar, and Tabla Maestro Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri. 8:00 p.m."

Festa Italiana
Oct 11-12
Houston Farm and Ranch Club
"Enjoy a feast of sight, sound and wonderful tastes. Share the heritage, culture and the romance of Italy. Rain or shine, 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. SAT and 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. SUN."

Asian American Festival
Oct 11-12
Downtown, In Front of City Hall
"Annual festival at Hermann Square, in front of City Hall, fromm 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. both days. Featuring free entertainment, delectable cuisine, and international Asian arts."