Brief asides


POSTED: Thursday, October 01, 2009


Right book at the right time

How much does it really cost to feed a family of three or four kids?

For some, it's $60 a day for their four schoolkids' breakfasts and lunches. For others, it's $25 a week, for three kids and one adult mom.

Buying in bulk, planning wisely and shopping at farmers markets have been key. So kudos to Big Isle resident Gabrielle Sunheart, that mom who was able to parlay a sudden food-stamp lifestyle into smart food shopping, and even a cookbook, “;How to FEED a Family of 4 on $25 a Week.”;

Given the cost of fast-food today, it's unlikely that Sunheart relies on such meals.



Finally, a holiday toy we can afford

For many cash-strapped parents dreading the holiday season, we've got two words for you: Zhu Zhu. As in, the Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster from Cepia, an interactive hamster that squeaks and moves and comes with the adorable price tag of $9.99 The item is among Toys R Us's list of hot holiday toys to be heavily promoted and stocked this season.

Mindful of last year's dismal sales, toy makers and retailers are scaling back. And that's good news for consumers.



Japanese visitors warm up to timeshares, thank goodness

Gotta keep those tourists coming, and keep coming back. One proven way to do this is via the timeshare market, as the latest number show. Even as overall visitors to Hawaii declined, timeshare occupancy rose by 4.6 percent during the first half of this year.

“;Timeshares create that all-important steady layer of business,”; said state tourism liaison Marsha Wienert.

Japanese visitors, in particular, seemed to be getting into the timeshare comfort zone. Year-to-date numbers of Japanese arrivals who planned to spend part of their time at a timeshare property rose 78 percent, the most dramatic rise of any market. Let's hope their total Hawaii experience keeps them coming back for more, in their timeshare home away from home.