September, 2009:

“Try Something New” on the Greenway- Oct 3

The Rose F. Kennedy Greenway, the city’s newest urban green space, invites all of Boston to “Try Something New” at an afternoon of free events on Saturday, October 3 from noon to 6:00 p.m. featuring interactive demonstrations and activities for people of all ages, celebrating the change of season with music, games, food, fitness and a few surprises.

The events will take place at the Dewey Square Parks of the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway, downtown Boston, between Summer and Oliver Streets.


East Boston Neighborhood Night- Oct 22

Eastie neighborhood group has officially decided our first neighborhood night - East Boston ONEin3 Inaugural Birthday Bash to be held on October 22nd at 7:00 at 303 Cafe.


The Generic Life

When it comes to making a budget, I’ve found there’s a lot that isn’t negotiable. I know how much I’m going to spend on rent, I know how much the cable bill is going to be, and I know that I’m going to spend sixty bucks on a monthly T pass. There might be a bit of wiggle room on the heating bill if I’m willing to freeze my ass off all winter, but even that is more or less set in stone.

That leaves food. I’m going to talk a lot about food in this blog, because I’m finding that – aside from luxury and “big-ticket” items – it’s the biggest area where I can really cut back with a little planning and restraint. It might mean clipping coupons, packing a lunch, or just learning to cook massive batches of rice and beans and freezing the leftovers. There are a lot of ways to save money on food, and I hope to hear some of yours.

Today I’m going to talk about buying the store brand. Like most people, I tend to buy generic at the drug store as much as possible. Sure, the CVS hand soap isn’t as soft as the Softsoap, and the store brand Ibuprofen smells kind of funny, but most of us are willing to skimp on that sort of thing. Hey, you’re not buying the candy coating on the Advil, you’re buying the active ingredient, right? It seems silly to pay extra for the same stuff in a shinier package.

Yet people are a lot more reluctant to go generic when they get to the supermarket. In some cases the name brand really does taste better, but other times it’s simple brand loyalty – you can’t imagine going to the store for Tabasco sauce and walking out with some store brand knockoff just to save 80 cents. And sometime it’s just because the parents know that their kids will go crazy if they don’t see Tony the Tiger on their frosted flakes. You know what, though? If you can put up with the BS little dinosaur they’ve got sledding down the front of the box, you’ll probably find that the store brand frosted flakes taste pretty much the same, and for a buck or two cheaper. You’re great, Tony, but you’re not that great.

Like any budget decision, it’s got to come down to personal choice. I’m finding the store brand chicken breasts have a little more gristle than the Perdue, so I’m thinking of paying a little extra to upgrade. But I’m also going to downgrade to store brand cooking oil, because I doubt I’ll be able to taste the difference. (And a pre-emptive plea to all the foodies gearing up to send me withering emails about the subtle flavors imparted by different varieties of olive oil: I don’t want to hear it.)

I do, however, want to hear from all of you – the huddling masses yearning for great bargains on groceries. Where should I go generic, and where should I pony up for the good stuff? Get crazy in the comments section, people.


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