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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Abigail Faix
Abigail Faix
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My name is Abby, I am a fourth-year student at Northern. I am studying Multimedia Journalism with a minor in Political Science. I've always been passionate about journalism since I was in high school....

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Photo courtesy of NMU WellBeing
A Q&A with WellBeing
Rachel PottDecember 4, 2023

Helpful hints for saving for the holidays

With Thanksgiving only a week behind us and winter break just around the corner, the holidays are officially in full swing, which means plenty of shopping and planning for trips home. But with the current economic slump, the dollar isn’t going as far as it used to. However, there are some easy ways to save money on shopping and traveling.

Perhaps the biggest strain on wallets is shopping for presents. But one way shoppers can save money is to buy used products.

Ultimate Game Zone on Washington Street is a great place to shop for the hardcore gamer. Most of what they sell is second hand, and owner Staci Like said that’s something that really helps during the economic slump.

“The market is saturated with new games and systems; that’s why our niche will be classic games and systems,” Like said. “[Customers] can get more for their money, which is always good.”

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One way shoppers can make sure they’re getting as much out of their dollar as they can is by getting gift cards.

“Usually we do a lot of gift certificates,” Like said. “With video games, it’s hard for people to buy gifts.” She said this is because people just don’t know what their friends and relatives like to play, and that’s where the versatility of the gift certificate comes in.

But for those who need non-electronic gift ideas, there are two more shops downtown that offer great deals on holiday gifts. Snowbound Books and Chapter Two on Third Street sell used and discounted books.

Snowbound manager Dianne Patrick said they discount almost all their new books, both fiction and non-fiction, and mostly sell those during the holiday season, but some of their used books make great gifts too.

“We have old editions that make nice gifts,” Patrick said.

Patrick said their other store, Chapter Two, is like a publisher’s outlet. Most of their books are new and marked down 50-75 percent. The stores have a combined collection of 30,000 books in all different categories, so there’s bound to be something for any literature buff.

After shopping, traveling is another big expense students have to deal with. Sophomore art and design major Kristi Fisher has to drive all the way to Iowa when she wants to go home. It takes about 12 hours and the cost of gas makes this even worse.

“It’s $150 to $175, and that’s just one way,” she said.

Because of this, once every two breaks she goes down to Franklin, Mich. to spend the holiday at her aunt’s house instead.

“It’s still an eight-hour drive,” she said. “But then I can carpool with other people.”

Carpooling is another great way to save money on travelling. Sophomore special education major Jade Crispell is on the weekend and vacation carpool list for NMU, and it helps cut down the cost of gas on her six-and-a-half-hour trip downstate.

“I have a gas guzzler,” Crispell said, adding that it costs between $50 and $70 to get home. She tries to charge a fair fee for her passengers, but never asks for too much.

“The most I would ask for is $30, there’s no reason to rip people off,” she said.

But the wear and tear a vehicle takes on long trips can be even more expensive if the car isn’t properly maintained.

Donne Langlois, service manager at Lutey’s Heritage Motors, said regular tune-ups can not only keep a car running smoothly, but also save money on gas. When a vehicle has to run rough, he said the fuel economy will be poor as a result.

“Oil changes are really important,” Langlois said, adding that the oil in an engine breaks down over time and the engine will run itself out of oil. When this happens, the vehicle can experience internal engine failure. Langlois said this can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $8,000.

Another thing Langlois said to watch for on long trips is windshield washer fluid.

“It’s a safety issue,” he said. When cars are driving on slushy roads, a lot of splatter can come up from other cars. If someone is out of washer fluid, they can’t clean their windshield and it can make for dangerous driving.

Saving on the cost of dinner

Getting together with family for dinner is a holiday tradition for many. Ham with all the fixings, mashed potatoes and hor’dourves are some of the holiday favorites, but with the price of food, it can get expensive.

Hospitality management professor Christopher Kibit says the best way to save money is by starting early.

“One of the things I try to do is plan ahead. This time of year there are a lot of sales,” Kibit said, adding to keep in mind the following:

— Watch for specials. Look for the buy-one-get-one-free sales and items marked down in price.

— Buy a variety of foods to not only mix it up with dinner but to save on cost. Things like cheese and turkey are going to cost more, but adding things like potatoes and stuffing can cost a lot less.

— The freshness of food is important as well. “When you’re talking about homemade meals, fresh is best,” he said. For the price of dry boxed potatoes, he said someone could easily get a 5-pound bag. It’s more work when it comes to preparation, but it can feed more people for less cash.

— Remember that not everything has to be purchased specifically for the meal. Go through cupboards and pantries and use up any items you might already have lying around.

— Be resourceful. Using leftovers as ingredients for other meals can save on both cost and time. Kibit said he often saves the heels from his loaves of bread to make the stuffing. He said most people don’t use this part to make sandwiches, and he utilized something he already had.

“Now I have a fresh product that was a byproduct,” he said

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