th11 150x150 Getting winter off your feet.When I was a kid we got one pair of sneakers each year – always in the springtime, and always a size too big so we could grow into them. Invariably they were either red or blue, because black was considered a “boy” color and white sneakers would get dirty too quickly.

While researching this month’s post for Retail Me Not, I learned just how big a fashion statement sneakers can be. To paraphrase the poet, April may be the coolest month when judged solely (pun intended) on the stylin’ sneaks of today – especially since they’re among the best deals of the month.

I also learned about the existence of vegan sneakers. And here I thought vegan condoms were startling.

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I want to vanish.

th4 150x150 I want to vanish.I sort of already have: DF dropped me at the Anchorage airport at 10 p.m. Tuesday and I hit Tarpon Springs, Fla., at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. For the next five days I’ll be visiting my dad and my sister.

Timing-wise, not great: When I made the reservation a couple of months ago I’d planned it as a barely-any-work vacation. But recently an unexpected magazine assignment came in and an established deadline got moved up a week.

So the time I thought I’d spend hanging with family, doing a bit of sightseeing, and taking long walks and longer baths has turned into a “how to balance interviews with vacation.”

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th6 7 tips to save money on cloth diapers.My most recent post on Money Talks News is “How to pay bottom dollar for diapers.” I was startled to see how much people can spend to cover their babies’ butts: anywhere from $1,900 to $2,500.

Myself, I used cloth diapers and highly recommend that route, especially since the diapers have gotten much better. They’re prefolded like disposables, so you just tuck them into covers (no more plastic pants). In fact, they’re so well-made that they have resale value after Junior gets toilet-trained.

That bonus is part of the reason that Kerry Taylor at the Squawkfox personal finance site says she spent only about $550 for her daughter’s didies. That includes the initial purchase, the extra utility costs (she washed nappies every other day) and a butt-friendly detergent.

I can go her one better: I paid $2.99 per dozen for cloth diapers when my daughter was born. Believe it or not, they were “slightly irregular.” Yes, I bought factory seconds.

What’s more, for 15 months I washed the diapers by hand on a scrub-board, because as a broke and exhausted single mom in Philly I could afford neither the time nor the money to go to the laundromat. I hope none of you are ever that hard up.

Cloth diapers really aren’t as awful as people think. Yes, there’s a bit of an “ick” factor but let’s face it: If you have a baby, you are going to have to touch some poop even if you use disposables.

So how to save money on cloth didies? So glad you asked.

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th3 Im through explaining.Recently I followed a link at Grumpy Rumblings of the (Formerly) Untenured to a website called Thought Catalog. The article in question is called “18 things women shouldn’t have to justify.”

Things like “putting themselves first,” “how little or how much they’re eating” and “not having baby fever.”

I particularly loved the “amount of makeup worn on any given day.” The writer, Brianna Wiest, says we can go au naturale or “work it like you’re in a drag show…Your face. Your rules.”

I’ve been known to put on a little makeup when I’m having photos taken, but mostly it just seems like more trouble than it’s worth. And again: Nobody tells guys that they ought to wear a concealer or that a good mascara would make their eyes look larger.

Now I’ll see Brianna her 18, and raise her six of my own. Among other things I’m through explaining are:

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th1 The (sorta) poor relation. Several times during this visit I’ve tried to pay for things but my daughter wouldn’t hear of it. At one point she noted that she now makes considerably more than I do, thanks to my recent economic downturn

She wasn’t snide or condescending, but rather expressing a “so glad I can help you for a change” vibe. When I thanked them today for buying me lunch out Abby’s response was, “Thank you for cooking and cleaning.”

Having my daughter pay for groceries or meals out while I’ve been here feels weird. Sure, it’s a cheap price for a maid and cook, and I know she really can afford it due to her own awesome budgeting and frugal-hacking skills.

Oh, and her salary, which is now larger than mine.

For years I’ve been the one who helped, even when I could barely afford to do so. Now I’m the one who gets helped.

Then again, that was my choice.

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