Amanda Stanhaus

Tag: cheap

Gift Guide: Main Man

Mutually, my man and I would jump through a ring of fire for each other.

But, at the holidays I do indeed enjoy some monetary displays of affection.

The following are three gift suggestions for your steady.


Again using my above average baking abilities, I’ll be making  coffee cake for one of our holiday breakfasts. It’s so yummy, but somewhat time consuming to make. It is a labour of love.


A leather lighter cover is perfect for the sartorial smoker in your life. My man occasionally indulges in cigars, and with this gift he will look like a regular.


Everyone needs socks. My man and I agree no matter how tiny the addition to the ensemble, it must be fabulous. I am on constant look out for the most statement-making socks. He has a good gift set of  socks waiting under the tree this year. (If you’re reading this…ugh…surprise!)

Spread the love this Christmas season!

Merry Merry!

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog: XO, Bettie.)

Gift Guide: Bestie

Of course, I tell my besties constantly how important they are to me. But during the holidays I like to put my $$ where my mouth is and show them how much I love them!

The following are three gift suggestions for the specials ladies in your life.


The most stressful part of flying during the Christmas season is successfully arriving at the airport in a timely manner and not looking crazed as I lug presents for my whole family. While I can’t ensure there won’t be traffic, I lighten my bestie’s load by accompanying them on their public transit trip to the airport.  Variations on this gift can include: paying for her public transit fare, driving her in a car (if available), and offering return trip accompaniment.


In Mad Men, one of the first  pearls of wisdom Joan gives to newbie Peggy is that men love scarves.  And we all know that men—for the most part—don’t change.

I have a knack for setting trends, and I have a funny feeling that silk scarves (à la Bubbie) are going to be a future trend. Two years ago, I had the same funny feeling when I started wearing plaid pants and now everyone is wearing them.

Make sure your bestie is on trend by finding a fabulous silk scarf with just the right colors for her at your local consignment/vintage/salvation army store. Make sure to dry clean it (thrift store finds are an exception to my anti-dry cleaning stance) and then tie it in a bow to be presented to her at brunch.


Psst…this one is a semi-secret. I’m a better baker than most of my besties, yet their families expect them to bring pie for dessert on Christmas. My besties have learned its better to outsource the pie baking to me, instead of risking crumbling under the pressure of baking dessert for Christmas dinner. My besties’ gifts of “homemade pecan pie” to their families is actually my gift to my besties.

Hmm…I wonder what they are getting me this year?!?

Merry Merry!

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog: XO, Bettie.)

Santa Does Exist

 I still believe! Every year Santa proves his existence by filling my stocking. (Thanks Mom & Dad!).

Now that it’s post-Hanukkah, I’ll be celebrating Christmas with the other side of my family. We get very into Christmas. Cookies. Christmas eve gifts from the elves. Stockings packed to the brim on Christmas day courtesy of Santa.

While I believe in Santa, I do have a budget.

When I’m spreading holiday cheer as Santa my goals are: cost-effective, unique, and useful.

Next week, please join me in believing in Santa (or at least the christmas gift giving sprit) as I give you a gift guide for your bestie, man, parents, acquaintances and —most importantly—yourself.

Merry Merry!


(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog: XO, Bettie.)

Anti-Dry Cleaning


Yuppies should be allowed to dress differently. Otherwise, please pay me more, so I can afford my dry cleaning bills.

I’ve always hand washed my delicates, they are valuable investments, and I’m handle them with care.

But now I’ve sworn off dry cleaning except for extreme circumstances and I’m spending extra time at my sink hand washing my work clothes.

I’ve become an iron lady. No dress, sweater, or oxford shirt will be wrinkled after I’m done with it.


(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog: XO, Bettie.)


Discount broker

broker’s services are on sale. I can get what I pay for though.

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy vocab blog: XO, Bettie Vocab.)

Debt Deal

I love deals.

Sale shoes. Day old bread. Debt.

(click on the bold-faced vocab words:))

If I’m going to pay off my debt, why not pay it off as cheaply as possible?

When paying off debt, deals can be made with interest rates and the associated interest payments. Sorry, there’s no changing the principle. Unless, maybe if I morph into Hermione, hmm…

mortgage’s interest rate can be lowered when refinanced.

Credit Card or Student Debt can be paid off in full with a line of credit. Lines of credit are known to have negotiable interest rates.

If the interest rate associated with a line of credit is less than the one associated with my current debt, a deal is within reach!

Go grab it!


(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog: XO, Bettie.)

Replaceable. But Sustainable?

Writer’s note: originally submitted for McGill University’s New Media class with Professor Caroline Bem.

“Everyday we throw away millions of electronic devices because they get old and become worn out. But usually, it is only one of the components that causes the problem….electronic devices are not designed to last.”[1] This sets the stage for a description of Phonebloks, marketed as a sustainable, replaceable phone. Sterne describes the current market structure, explaining new media technologies “are designed to become obsolete after a short period of use…to make room for future profits, additional hardware sales, and performance upgrades.”[2] Phonebloks is marketed as the antithesis, for example a broken screen can be simply replaced with a new one.[3] Phonebloks has partnered with Motorola; their joint venture is called Project Ara.[4] Project Ara addresses Sterne’s concerns outlined in “Out with the Trash: On the Future of New Media,” marketed as a sustainable phone, minimizing electronic waste, but it may increase electronic waste.

Phonebloks uniquely addresses stylistic and technological obsolescence, which Sterne describes as a main cause of electronic waste. Curtly, Sterne notes, “Obsolescence is a nice word for disposability and waste.”[5] Stylistic obsolescence is when an object goes out of style; current marketing schemes turn stylistic obsolescence into planned obsolescence.[6] As for technological obsolescence, it is supposed to signal innovation, progress, and thereby necessity.[7] Most importantly, obsolescence is man-made, Sterne explains, we can “choose to sustain an object long after it would have begun to fall apart on their own.”[8] Phoedbloks is initially marketed with a revolutionary feature of being able to replace the broken part of your phone with a new one, instead of replacing the whole phone.  But, by  improving tiny bloks, instead of multiple aspects of a fully-integrated phone, the timeframe of technological and stylistic obsolescence could quicken and could create exponentially more electronic waste. And the Phonebloks does not address the issues of “backward compatibility.”[9] If bloks are rapidly improved and are not backward compatible, the owner is forced to upgrade their phone, blok by blok, creating equivalent electronic waste of purchasing phones in full.

Sterne notes the negative financial implications for a company producing a replaceable, sustainable new media device that will saturate the market and concludes that the people must act because capitalism will never create such a device on its own.[10] Sterne ends his article with an challenge, “It is up to academics, designers, policymakers, and artists to come up with convivial models of computing…We need digital hardware that is more democratic.”[11] Similarly, Phonebloks’ marketing video ends asking everyone to come together to signal to companies there is a “a need for a phone worth keeping.”[12] The parent company bankrolling Project Ara is the ideal Sterne described, a manufacturer more interested in long-term stability than short-term growth.[13] Google owns Motorola and Techcrunch proclaimed Motorola is currently the  most interesting smartphone company.[14] As Vaidhyanathan noted, “even though YouTube itself loses money, Google overall makes money.”[15]  Google’s sheer size and various ventures allows it to undertake the potentially unprofitable Project Ara. Project Ara looks to answer Sternes call to arms, but will a replaceable phone be sustainable or wasteful?

[1] “Phonebloks,”

[2] Jonathan Sterne, “Out with the Trash: On the Future of New Media,” in Residual Media, ed. Charles Acland (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007),19.

[3] “Phonebloks.”

[4] Techcrunch, “Motorola Wants To Make Modular Smartphones A Reality With Project Ara,”

[5] Sterne, 17.

[6] Ibid, 20.

[7] Ibid, 21.

[8] Ibid, 22.

[9] Ibid, 23.

[10] Ibid, 28-29.

[11] Ibid, 29.

[12] “Phonebloks.”

[13] Ibid, 29.

[14] Techcrunch.

[15]  Vaidhyanathan, “Render unto Caesar: How Google Came to Rule the Web,” 36.

(Originally submitted for Amanda Stanhaus’s New Media Communications course  with  Caroline Bem.)