Phoenix offers plenty of low-cost opportunities to make life a little easier and a lot more fun. What does your town offer?
Budgets got you down?
Free music, audio books, music, and ebooks are available through the Greater Phoenix Digital Library. Log in and access from the comfort of your own chair. The downloads expire on your computer when the time is up, no late fees.
Libraries and cultural organizations throughout Phoenix joined together to offer limited free passes to popular attractions such as the Desert Botanical Garden, Arizona Science Center, and Phoenix Zoo. What a savings! For example, a trip to the Botanical Garden for two adults and two kids is $40. Exploring the Arizona Science Center costs $44. A trip to the Zoo is $36. See the Phoenix Library web site for a list.
Low-cost food is available at… your local dollar store! Who would have thought? Many dollar stores in the Phoenix area offer fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to canned and boxed food. The savings can be significant. For example, a container of cherry tomatoes in the store can cost $3.50. If you buy two a month for a year, you’ve spent $84. Buy the same tomatoes twice a month at the dollar store and it is only $26 for the year, a savings of $58. Apply that to several other items and you’ll cut hundreds of dollars a year from your grocery budget.
Short on time?
Skip the lines! One of the easiest ways to save hours and not be late to work is to register to vote by mail. In Arizona, the voting pamphlets and Maricopa County web site contain information on how to register. I love voting by mail. I get the ballot early, take time to go through all the information, then just pop it into the mailbox.
Another interesting government service is from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Ever wait hours in line for an emissions test? Instead, relax with a cup of coffee and the internet, watch their web site to see how long the lines are and how long the wait is. Then zip over when the time is right.
A few other quick tips for line jumpers: in the grocery store when you have just a few items, see if you can check out at the deli. In pharmacies, there is often no line at the cosmetics checkout counter. Many restaurants in Phoenix offer take-out without leaving your car. Call ahead then park in the designated spot. The server comes out, picks up your payment, and brings your food.
My first article on reducing stress has more great tips on commuting, shipping packages, and shopping. See A Guide to Reducing Stress in Daily Activities, Or Living the Good Life in the Fast Lane.
Greater Phoenix Digital Library, http://www.ci.glendale.az.us/Library/Library_Value.cfm
Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, http://dbg.org/ticketsandtours
Phoenix Zoo, http://www.phoenixzoo.org/visit/hours_rates.aspx
Arizona Science Center, http://www.azscience.org/location_hours.php
Phoenix Library, http://www.phoenixpubliclibrary.org/controller.jsp?Ntx=mode+matchall&Ntk=Search%20All&N=7521&view=full&Ntt=culture%20pass
Maricopa County, https://recorder.maricopa.gov/earlyvoteballotnet/evbrequest.aspx
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, http://188.8.131.52/queuecam/StationView.exe