Monday, November 18, 2019

Getting Ready For the Holiday Season



How to Shop Online and Save Money?

As the Holiday season is approaching, many people have already prepared long shopping lists. All the gifts that have to be bought and wrapped, all the ornaments, all the food that has to bought and prepared, all the wine and champagne! The new shoes, jackets and scarves! 

Some people never shop online, but those who do always look for best deals possible. I personally do not know many people who would not want to save money while shopping. 

Few of my Facebook friends are probably an exception. Some of them do not care to save money, others are happy with the discounts they are already making with their in-store programs. One friend even told my husband that he pays for everything with his Platinum Amex Card and does not need any deals. Good for him. I hope that there are more people like this.  

As we, my husband and I, mentioned the cash-back network that we have joined recently, some of our friends rolled their eyes and reacted as if we were trying to take their money away.

This was a really strange experience. Why should we even care whether someone is saving money at all? 
 

Unlike my wealthy Facebook friends, I love to save as much as I can. I work hard for my money and love to spend it intelligently.

 Doing my research online I found out that extremely wealthy people were often very frugal. Some of them were almost pathological misers, but even those who had an healthy attitude towards money admitted that they were quite frugal. 


We do not always look for the cheapest deals. I love to indulge. I love luxury. I love quality. But I love to get it at fairly reasonable price. What's wrong with this? Even Donald Trump admits that he goes to China to get best deals for his company.

Who would not want to book a five star hotel and a first class air ticket, get his frequent flyer's miles and receive additional cash-back after he paid for his transaction with his Platinum Amex Card? A triple dip, so to say.  Who would not want to buy a designer suit, get a discount with a store card and take additional 5 or 9% off of the price tag?

While shopping online look for:
  • seasonal online sales
  • coupons
  • vouchers
  • get two-buy one free-deals
  • "like" the store of your choice on social networks such as Facebook and receive a special discount coupon
You can also visit a website you like and subscribe for a newsletter. They offer you their best deals via e-mail and you my even receive an discount voucher for subscribing. Two recent newsletter subscriptions saved me $38 on my shopping and I got my goods postage free. 

You may save even more money when you join a loyalty program. Many stores have loyalty store cards and offer great deals for their customers online and in their physical stores. Many of these stores participate in networks that offer customers additional savings in form of cash-back and coupons. Smart shoppers quickly learn to combine all benefits and buy from stores that offer the best deals. Retailers, on the other hand, are able to offer best possible deals when they participate in cash-back networks since networks have much higher leverage against stand-alone stores.

Since not all of us are capable of making really smart decisions, I leave it up to you to answer this question next time you do your Google search for a badly needed item. Cheers!

By Dominique Allmon

Dominique Allmon©2014

Images source here

Thursday, August 1, 2019

75th Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising


August 1, 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising against the occupying German forces.  The Uprising was a major military operation organized by the Polish underground Home Army (Armia Krajowa.) It lasted sixty three days.

The revolt was led General Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski who managed to mobilize army of 40,000 soldiers. Unfortunately they only had 2,500 weapons to their disposition.

Badly armed and hungry, fighting on their own, the Poles lost the fight. The Uprising was brutally crushed. The Germans executed more 150,000 civilians - men, women and children. Those who were not murdered on the spot were deported to the concentration camps. At the order of Waffen SS chief Heinrich Himmler, the city was completely destroyed and leveled to the ground never to rise again, like Carthage.

The Warsaw Uprising failed, but it become a great inspirational story to every fighting underground force all over the occupied Europe. 


Why the fiasco? In July 1944 the Russian Red Army was advancing on Eastern Poland. The Polish underground leaders speculated that the German forces would withdraw from Warsaw. Unfortunately, contrary to what the Poles expected, the Germans received an order to defend their positions against the Russians. There were to turn Warsaw into a fortress in fight against the Bolshevism.


Just like Germany, Russia was Poland's archenemy, so no help came from the Russian Army standing nearby and watching the destruction of Warsaw. 

The World War II could have ended much sooner if the Russians moved on and allowed the Allies to conduct a large scale offensive from their territory. Stalin  gave the orders not to interfere. The generals followed.

As the Poles commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Uprising today, they also celebrate the 30th year of free and sovereign Poland. August 1st is not only a symbol of the fight for freedom, it is also a day of remembrance for the historical events that took place in 1989.

By Dominique Allmon

P.S.

One of the most scandalous facts from the post-WWII history is the story of one of the "butchers" of Warsaw - the SS General Heinz Reinefarth. At his orders the troops under his command committed countless atrocities, including the mass murder of Polish civilians in Warsaw in 1944. For his actions during the Warsaw Uprising, on September 30, 1944, Reinefarth  received the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. After the war, this Nazi criminal settled down on the German isle of Sylt where he was elected a mayor of the town called Westerland. The Polish authorities demanded extradition, but Reinefarth was never extradited and went unpunished for his crimes. He died on Sylt in 1979.

      

Saturday, July 20, 2019

One Small Step For A Man...


"Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. 
July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind." - 
text from a commemorative plaque on one of the Eagle's legs.

Fifty years ago, at 10: 56 EDT on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong was ready to step out of the "Eagle" and become the first human being in history to set his foot on the surface of the Moon. 

More than half a billion people all over the world were watching the first televised images. As Armstrong climbed down the ladder, the viewers could hear him say his famous words: 

"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

A few minutes later, Buzz Aldrin joined Armstrong on the Moon surface. For Aldrin the Moon was a "magnificent desolation." 

The two astronauts planted an American flag and spent the next two and a half hours exploring the surface of the Moon, collecting rock samples, and taking photographs. 

The mission was a success. It ended when the Columbia capsule carrying the astronauts splashed into the ocean off the coast of Hawaii on July 24, 1969. 

A new era has begun. New missions to the Moon followed over the next three and a half years. Some people, most notably Wernher von Braun, Vice President Spiro Agnew, and the Apollo 11 astronaut Mike Collins, were talking about mission to Mars that could be accomplished before the end of the 20th century. Kids like me hoped that by the year 2000 we would be spending our summer vacations on the Moon. In 1973 NASA abandoned its lunar program and all our dreams became science fiction once again. 

By Dominique Allmon