Thrifty & Thriving

Hello thrifters and future thrifters(I believe in you!),

I hope you have been enjoying “Make it Thrifty”. I will be putting a new spin on it by not only sharing my thrift adventures and favorite purchases but also sharing how to thrive in college. It’s my senior year at UNT and I’ve been through some things! Hopefully my advice will keep you thrifty and thriving.

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Poor Man’s Gamer Presents: Summer Sales 2014

It’s been a while but now I’m back to bring you news of the yearly summer sale and all that it has to offer.  As I write this I can already see the tide of regular sales receding as sites like Steam and the Humble Bundle prepare for the biggest sales of the year.  Other sites, like GOG, have already started the sales to try and beat the rush that will be upon us in the next few days.  In this post I will go about describing some of my favorite summer sale sites, what kinds of sales they feature, and how to make the most out of each sale.  So PC gamers sit back, relax, and get ready to watch your gaming library boom!

When it comes to summer sales you cannot beat Steam, they are at the pinnacle of the summer sales market offering some of the best sales on what is perhaps the largest catalog of games.  Steam usually starts off its sales by putting a base discount on just about everything in their catalog.  Each day they pick a few games for their front page sales.  These include their daily deal, flash sales, and community choice deals.  Daily deals, like the name implies occur once a day, flash sales last for a few hours, and community choice deals last for a few hours but are voted for by the community.  The games that make it to the front page sales are always given an increased discount putting a few up to 80 or 90% off.  When it comes to Steam it is important to wait until games reach the front page sales to buy them otherwise you will end up wasting a ton of unnecessarily wasted money.  After all the sales are through, Steam will usually have a Best of Sales, where the best sales are repeated for one final time.  If you are looking towards buying from Steam remember to wait for games to reach the front page or, if they don’t, buy them the last day of the sale (the day before the last marked sale day).  Sources say that the Steam sale will start on the 19th and end on the 30th, but these rumors have yet to be confirmed by Valve.

The Humble Bundle is fairly new to the summer sales ring due to the fact that their Humble Store was only started last November.  Because of this, there is little telling what their sales may be like, but it can be speculated that like their winter sale, the summer sale will greatly resemble Steam’s (meaning daily deals and flash sales).  When the Humble Store does have its sales make sure to check them out because oftentimes they will compete with Steam for low prices, meaning you might find a game cheaper with them.  There is no telling when they might start their sale, but expect it to coincide sometime with Steam’s.  (Note: most games on the Humble Bundle are redeemable on Steam only DRM-free, meaning you are buying the game, not just the license, plus they donate a certain amount of proceeds to charity)

Finally we have GOG who started their sales today as I am writing this post.  GOG has a cycle of flash sales going on with new games going on sale and going off sale every hour as well as some daily sales.  The sales on GOG are ridiculous in how low they are selling games.  GOG as I discussed in my post How GOG.com is Saving the Day, features a variety of older games as well as new gems that are available to play on most computers (GOG provides the programs to play older games) and DRM-free.   Though they do not have as big of a library as Steam, GOG has it where it counts in the quality of its titles and in its mission to serve gamers.  Be sure to give them the love and attention they deserve.

To help you navigate the summer sales I have a few rules to help you get the most out of your money.  They’re the same rules I had regarding last winter’s sales, but condensed.

  1. SHOP AROUND – Don’t rely on any one single site to get you a good deal, shop around and you will find that some sites give better sales than others.
  1. STAY AWARE OF THE GAMES YOU WANT – Most sites have a feature where if you put a game in your wish list it will tell you when it goes on sale.  Utilizing features like this can keep you from having to watch the sales all day long.
  1. PLAY THE WAITING GAME – Wait to buy until the games you want are the absolute cheapest.  This will oftentimes mean that you need to wait until they are featured on a site’s front page as a “special” deal.
  1. DON’T HESITATE TO BUY – At the same time, every now and again mistakes are made and some games that weren’t meant to go on sale go on sale, or games that were only meant to be 30% off go on sale for 50 or 60% off.  If a price seems too good to be true it probably is and it probably won’t stay that way for long so buy it for cheap when you can.
  1. DON’T GO OVERBOARD – It may seem tempting, but don’t buy a game unless you honestly intend to play it.  If you find yourself buying something because you might one day play it, then you probably shouldn’t buy it at all.  Buy the games that you’ve wanted to play desperately but haven’t had the money to, games that will last you a while and ignore the temptation of the sale.

As a final note do your homework on games you’re looking at buying.  Make sure you’re getting what you think you’re getting.  No matter how cheap the game was, you will always regret buying a bad game.  Check reviews by people who care (I recommend folks like Yahtzee Croshaw and TotalBiscuit for honest reviews on games of all shapes and sizes) or even reviews I’ve put out in the past.  Developers will keep making bad games if they think people will buy them.  Oh, and also avoid buying the Sims 3, no matter how appealing the sale may be (EA is releasing the next installment of the Sims and will most likely cut all support for the Sims 3 as soon as it is released, leaving the game largely unplayable).  Until next time I have been the Poor Man’s Gamer wishing you a fun and game-filled su

The 10 Essential Star Trek: The Next Generation Episodes

As they say in the business world, if you’re not growing, you’re stagnating. Although I have plenty of thoughts left about gaming (next month’s article has to do with the power of Kickstarter and Greenlight to shape the industry, and why it somehow seems to work), I thought I’d take a quick diversion into Geekery’s favored son: Star Trek.

Growing up a nerd in the late 80s through the 90s, it was a foregone conclusion that Star Trek: The Next Generation would profoundly weave itself into the fabric of my life. Setting aside armchair psychoanalysis about the reasons it appealed to me, it was simply a well acted, well produced show with a high level of technical effects polish and just enough philosophical underpinnings to give every story arc an measure of depth. I was aware of Kirk Trek (mostly from the movies, not the TV show) and enjoyed some of the later story arcs in DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise. However, those other “Trek” shows just felt like fair to great science fiction. TNG, to me, was great television. Beyond the technobabble, aliens, and fantastic space battles, there was this central unifying exploration of the human condition by wonderfully talented actors, writers, and directors.

For anyone who hasn’t yet seen it, or for those who haven’t been back in a while, please enjoy my list of the 10 Essential episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

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The Comedy Corner – It’s a Disaster

 Yes, I’ll admit, it seems easy to write off a film with a damning title like It’s a Disaster. While the 2012 dark comedy was the pride of countless film festivals and the recipient of several accolades, it received practically no marketing campaign when it was given a limited release in 2013 – aside from a bizarre publicity stunt done by the film’s distributor, Oscilloscope, where the entire film was uploaded in six-second segments to Vine. Yes, you read that correctly, an entire film uploaded on Vine. The lack of buzz surrounding the movie is an absolute shame, however, because it could easily be considered one of the best-hidden gems on Netflix Instant. After one bored evening of browsing Netflix led me to the film this past November, I can confidently say that It’s a Disaster hasn’t left my mind since. It’s a film that’s equally as grounded and witty as it is absolutely absurd, and simultaneously manages to be insanely watchable and thought-provoking, making it the perfect film for when you need a break from cramming for finals. Disaster tells the story of eight friends – or really, seven friends and one kind-of acquaintance – whose regular “couples brunch” is halted by the threat of an oncoming apocalypse. This group of mostly-longtime friends is left indefinitely trapped – for reasons best left unsaid in this review – within their host’s house, causing a myriad of secrets to surface. The events that follow are so poignant, yet thoroughly entertaining, that they really should be seen to believe. What sets It’s a Disaster apart from fellow apocalyptic comedies of recent like This is the End and The World’s End is its surprising amount of believability. Although many apocalyptic films have their version of the end of days be caused by some sort of definite, (to use the terms I learned from my Environmental Science class) point source, this film never quite explains, to the characters or the audience, why the events are happening. The little information that they do give, though, is becoming increasingly relevant with our country’s current state of foreign affairs, making the movie’s situation much more realistic than just your average rapture. And while the film’s characters do begin to express many of the stereotypical, absurd actions of people in apocalyptic films, their actions still feel insanely real. Anyone who is a member of a close-knit group of friends can probably see a bit of themselves in the characters, and could probably picture many of the same outcomes if their group was faced with the same scenario. This is, in part, due to the film’s terrific ensemble cast, which combines household names like David Cross, Julia Stiles, and America Ferrera, with equally terrific lesser-known actors such as Rachel Boston, Kevin Brennan, and Erinn Hayes. Overall, It’s a Disaster is a thoroughly entertaining and terribly underrated ensemble comedy. The combination of a wonderful cast, a witty script by director/producer Todd Berger, and an ending that will stick with you for a long while, make It’s a Disaster a comedy that is definitely worth a few viewings.

RA probs

I’m a resident assistant at the beautiful island getaway also known as Victory Hall. I had the pleasure of combining two things I love last Friday. I took my residents to Denton Thrift to teach them the joys and benifits of making thrift shooping a part of their lifestyle.

I called my program “Ballin’ on a Budget”. I’m a firm believer in looking like a million bucks and spending under five.

We loaded the van Friday afternoon and went shopping. I helped one of my girls find some jeans to cut into shorts and helped my self to the treasures in the store.

Everyone came out with something they were happy with. The program gave one of my residents her first thrift shopping experince. She purchased some jeans and a 90s style Tommy Hillfiger polo.

Next semester when I do the program it will include a fashion show in their iteams followed by an open discussion on how to work thrifted iteams into their closets.
It is rare that I wear an outfit that is thrifted head to toe. On my adventure with my residents I found two pieces that complimented each other perfectly!

 

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The top was $1.99 and the skirt was 99 cents!

My resident found a dress and paired it with items from her own closet which is the best way to make the items look brand new. She also found some jeans to cut into shorts.

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Overall we had a successful trip and my residents not only left with insight on thrift shopping but they left with cute clothes for low cost.
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I got to spend time with my girls and do something that I love. RA probs.