Showing posts from 2012

San Francisco Giants in the World Series: So Much Love in the City!

I've already touched on the World Series on Cheap Social Worker (don't forget to get your free tacos), but after last night I felt the need to expand on it on this blog! My apologies to Detroit Tigers fans!

Yesterday, I decided to take a trip to AT&T Park. Being the cheap social worker that I am, I didn't have $500 to spare for World Series tickets. I also didn't wake up early enough to camp out for a spot at the right field keyhole. Instead, I figured I would walk around, get a shirt, get some food, take in the sights, and find a TV to watch the game. Boy, was it an experience!

Outside the park was a party in itself. Mobs of people were congregated behind makeshift sportscaster sets in an attempt to get on TV. Radio stations were handing out free signs. Various companies were handing out free lanyards, black and orange beads, and coupons. Artists and other vendors were milling around trying to sell Giants gear.

The crowds thinned out a little by game time,…

Steal a Base, Get a Free Taco!

The World Series is in full swing here in the Bay Area. It's absolutely amazing and wonderful how a sports team can unite one of the most diverse cities in the country. As I was walking down the street tonight wearing my Giants shirt, I was stopped by people of various ethnic and linguistic backgrounds wanting to know the score. Things like these make me love living in the Bay Area even more!

Anyway, as part of a promotion, Taco Bell is offering free Doritos Locos Tacos to everyone if someone steals a base during the World Series. Since Angel Pagan stole second base during the bottom of the 8th inning tonight, everyone can now enjoy a free taco on 10/30/12 from 2-6pm. Yes, this also includes Detroit Tigers fans. Thank you, Angel Pagan!

Enjoy, and GO GIANTS!

Happy National Case Management Week!

October 14-20 marks National Case Management Week, acknowledging the efforts of case managers working in the healthcare setting. Case managers provide a multitude of services, including resource management, clinical assessment/review, discharge planning, counseling, and patient advocacy. These individuals include physicians, nurses, social workers, and other allied fields.

 This year's slogan for National Case Management Week is "Patient-Oriented, Outcome-Driven". As hospitals face changing laws and increasingly complex patients, case managers are becoming more important in ensuring that individuals and families receive high quality yet cost-effective services.

The case managers I work with are some of the most dedicated people I know. These hardworking individuals can be found behind the scenes working long hours with high case loads to ensure that patients receive the care they need. Case management is indeed a thankless job that is not always acknowledged or seen b…

$10 Starbucks Card for $5!

Deal alert!  Living Social is offering a $10 Starbucks card for $5.  Just in time for those tasty fall beverages!  Once you purchase your gift card, don't forget to share your referral link.  If you get three friends to purchase the same deal, then you get yours for free!

My referral link: Living Social

Little Black Bag!

Hello, and sorry for the lack of posts these past few months.  Hopefully this one will partially make up for it!  For a quick life update, please check out Cheap Social Worker Adventures.

Little Black Bag (or "LBB" for short) is a discount shopping website that a friend introduced to me.  The site is basically modeled after Japanese "Lucky Bags", where people buy mystery grab bags and trade items with their friends.  How LBB works is as follows:

1) You pick a starting item from LBB's extensive gallery of bags, jewelry, accessories, and make-up.  Brands include Betsey Johnson, BCBG, Steve Madden, Kenneth Cole, and more.

2) LBB then populates your "bag" (which is basically your shopping cart) with two mystery products which are revealed after you check out.  You bag will total over $100 to start. 

3) After you check out, you have seven days to trade the items in your bag with other LBB users.  You can trade up, down, and/or laterally for items that you…

A Return to Blogging

Wow, almost four months have passed since my last post!  Seems like so much time has passed that even Blogger has changed its interface...  I've definitely been doing a bad job at blogging.  Between work, sitting in traffic several hours a day, trying to exercise, and trying to relax after a long day, I really don't have time for much.

I've been thinking about the format of my blogs and what to do with them.  Since I don't blog frequently enough, one option is to recombine them into a single blog again.  I suppose I could also keep them separate and find a way to connect them into a bigger site at some point.  My blogs will always be works in progress, so expect changes in the future!

Quick life update: Still working the same jobs, living at home, and not having much luck with the Bay Area housing market.  Seriously, who wants to pay $1000/month to live in a room in a house?  Doesn't help than my parents expect me to live at home until I either get married or buy a h…

Comfort Food: Pancakes!

Just wanted to share a pancake recipe I found on social work blog  Looks tasty and easy to make.  The ingredients are also things I happen to keep around my house (minus the berries).  Definitely a comforting thing to eat when you want to have a slow, relaxing morning.

Oatmeal-Yogurt Pancakes with Blackberry Crush

I Need More Self-Care

It's ironic that I wrote a post on self-care since I've been working so much lately! With my continued long commute and 5-6 day work weeks, work really took a toll on me these past few months. Things I experienced include:

Poor eating habits: I certainly engaged in lots of emotional eating this past month, mostly chocolate.

Increased acne: Probably from stress and lack of sleep.

Increased irritability and poor mood: Likely from lack of sleep and exhaustion from work.

Increased sleepiness: I've actually had to pull over and nap in my car several times during my afternoon commute. Not good!

Lack of productivity: This is demonstrated by things like my messy room and lack of blog updates!

This month, I'm definitely going to take a few days from work and perhaps take a trip somewhere. Self-care is something that should not be neglected by social workers. I know that I was not giving my best during these past few weeks. Hopefully after some recharging I'll come back ref… deal!

Good morning! Here's a quick post before work starts.

Today, is offering a $10 Amazon gift card for $5. Don't miss out!

St. Patrick's Day Freebie!

Sorry for the lack of updates lately. Work and commuting has completely consumed me these past few weeks, and I've gotten suckered into playing Realm of the Mad God in what little free time I have. I'll try to squeeze in posts more often, especially with deals I've been finding lately like this one:

This St. Patrick's Day weekend, Burger King is offering free french fries with green ketchup! Green ketchup tastes exactly like red ketchup, but it's another entertaining novelty food item to consume along with green beer, green milkshakes, and green pastry items. The best part is that it's free today and tomorrow, so head to your local Burger King and turn your tongue green!

IHOP National Pancake Day

Just a friendly reminder that today is IHOP's National Pancake Day Celebration. Between the hours of 7am to 10pm, you can go to a participating IHOP and get a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes! Go treat yourself for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or all of the above!

IHOP has been doing their annual pancake giveaway since 2006 and has raised almost $8 million for charity. Make sure you leave a donation in exchange for your pancakes, which will go to local charities and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Don't forget to tip your waiter, too. IHOP's staff members probably have a busy day ahead of them!

Bon appetit!

New Printer!

Happy Saturday! Work this week was extremely exhausting, so I'm glad I have a few days off to catch up on sleep! Here's a quick post before I go to bed.

When I was in grad school, I used a bubblejet printer. While I didn't think much about it initially, I started to notice that I was spending a considerable amount of money replacing my printer cartridges every 2-3 months. Eventually, I stopped using my printer altogether because I realized that 1) the ink was really expensive, 2) the printer wasted color ink every time I turned it off and on (even though I typically only used black ink), and 3) the printer had a mechanism that prevented it from working if either the black or color cartridge was empty. Since then, I've printed documents at work, asked my boyfriend to print things for me, or showed people files on my smartphone.

Today, my boyfriend was browsing FatWallet and found a deal on a Brother Printer. Looking at prices for corresponding ink replacements on

Women’s Pay More Equal to Men in Social Work | Social Workers Speak

This morning, I found this promising article that reported that women "only" make 2% less than men in the field of social work. While initially encouraging, I was reminded of some articles I've read in the past that stated otherwise.

After some searching, I found an old NASW press release and Social Workers Speak article that criticized the fact that Payscale only collected data from bachelors of social work majors. They referred readers to the National Association of Social Workers Compensation and Benefits Study, which provided a more accurate picture of social worker salaries since it included data from masters of social work graduates.

Unfortunately, this NASW study shows that the median salary of female social workers is $11,000 lower than male social workers ($53,000 and $64,000, respectively). This difference is significantly higher than 2%. One can only speculate why the gender pay disparity increases so much between bachelors and masters graduates. However, w…

Becoming a Counselor: Addiction counseling

Here is an excellent post from Becoming a Counselor that talks about addiction. My favorite parts of this post are the pictures, which would make great educational handouts during individual or group counseling sessions. Definitely worth the read, especially for people like me who don't do much drug counseling.

Becoming a Counselor: Addiction counseling: Quite some time ago after attending a few weekend courses related to addiction I became interested in working with this population of peopl...

Going Mobile

I've created mobile versions of my blogs for fellow social workers with smartphones. Hopefully they're much easier to view than the old non-mobile format! Check them out using your cell phone:

Cheap Social Worker
Cheap Social Worker Adventures


About Social Services at a Hospital

Medical social work is an expansive field, encompassing areas such as hospice, home health, skilled nursing, and acute hospitals. After a few scary moments in home health, I've decided to stay in the acute setting until I experience complete medical social worker burnout.

Though considered a specific area of practice, hospital social work is actually relatively broad. Social services departments vary in function from hospital to hospital, with individual social workers performing correspondingly diverse roles. I've found that certain tasks I perform at one hospital might be performed by a completely different profession at another, or just omitted entirely.

When asked what I do at work, I often have a hard time explaining due to the variety of tasks I perform every day. However, after some thought, I've manage to divide my roles into five categories. These categories are not mutually exclusive, and some hospitals may not even have social workers performing tasks in all o…

Proposition 8 Ruled Unconstitutional

Great news coming from California today! A U.S. appeals court ruled 2-1 against Proposition 8, a ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage in California. While the ban will still be in effect until the Supreme Court rules on the case, this is certainly a step in the positive direction.

To quote Judge Stephen Reinhardt, "Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples."

I come from a Catholic family, with a number of family members who don't believe in same-sex marriage. Most of them voted yes on Proposition 8. Arguments I've heard from my family members against same-sex marriage include them not liking gays and lesbians personally, questions about how same-sex couples can biologically give birth and raise families without "mothers" or "fathers", homo…

Salaried vs. Hourly: Which is better?

In my travels, I've had the opportunity to work in and observe places that pay their social workers either hourly (typically non-exempt) or salaried (typically exempt). Here's my analysis of each one and my thoughts of which I'd rather work.

-Time and a half overtime pay after working 8 hours
-Guaranteed lunch and break periods, with overtime pay if they're not taken
-Time and a half pay for working holidays
-Time and a half pay for working more than 40 hours a week
-Going home after 8 hours so management doesn't have to pay overtime

-Strict rules regarding lunches (i.e. no answering phones, no talking about work, no lunch interruptions, etc.)
-Required breaks and lunch negatively impacting a busy day, resulting in having to stay at work later
-Management getting upset when overtime is used too often
-Loss of paid time off or wages during holidays and sick days
-Loss of wages if your hours are cut from low workload

-Guaranteed pay, r…

Social Work Career Development: Art Therapy and Social Work

I ran across this post while perusing Social Work Blogs (and putting off sleep in the process). I think it provides some great ideas for developing rapport with young individuals. Unfortunately, since I work in a medical setting doing discharge planning, I often don't have the time to develop strong rapport with my patients. However, if I ever see children in the future, the techniques described in this blog post are definitely worth a shot.

Social Work Career Development: Art Therapy and Social Work: Have you ever wondered how to incorporate art therapy in a session with a client?  To make the most of my Unplanned Detour , I'm taking...

Non-Family Support Systems

"Social work is clerical, while nursing is clinical."

"Nurses have to give medication, set up IV, clean bodily waste, spend the whole day being waitress to a patient, and deal with difficult family on top of that. We can do the job physical therapy, pharmacy, phlebotomy, respiratory therapy, and social work. This is why nursing pays more than social work, even with your masters degree. Your job is easier than ours."

These two quotes came from my mom while we were have a discussion on why nurse case managers make more than social workers when they do the same discharge planning duties (though my mom missed the fact that I was referring to nurse case managers, not floor nurses). My mom views the different medical professions as part of a hierarchy, with doctors at the top, nurses one step below, and everyone else beneath the nurses. According to my mom, salaries should also be based on this same hierarchy.

When it comes to nurse and social worker salaries, I doubt …


I finally created a facebook page! I figured it would be another way to keep people updated on my posts and other news. Please add me here: Cheap Social Worker

(not so) Cheap Social Worker's Guide to Preventing Social Work Burnout

Like many of you, I have days when I come home exhausted, frustrated, and jaded. I wonder why I'm in this field and question whether my work makes a difference. Sometimes, I go as far googling alternate jobs I could do with my MSW. This is when I know it's time for some self-care.

As members of a profession notorious for burnout, we social workers have to be especially conscious of our need for rest and rejuvenation. While people in other fields might find the term funny, "self-care" is essential to keep ourselves physically and emotionally well. That way, we can provide the best care possible to the populations we serve.

Working in a profession that also has a reputation for being lower paying, many of us lack the funds for a fancy vacation or spa treatment. However, this is not an excuse to neglect our self-care regimen. Here are some ideas for caring for yourself while saving a few dollars:

Cheap Tip #1: Go for a walk/jog. Find a scenic area or park and get a…

Fox's "Touch": A Social Worker's Review

I just finished watching "Touch" and wanted to share my take. Please excuse this hastily written entry!

I've heard about "Touch", Fox's latest sci-fi series featuring a social worker, for months now. According to Social Workers Speak, social workers have worked with the show's producers and actress playing the social worker to ensure an accurate portrayal of the profession. While I wasn't planning to watch this show, reading about it piqued my interest enough to watch the pilot episode. Going into it, I had my doubts about how the social worker would be portrayed. Given the fact that the social worker is your stereotypical child welfare one, I expected the worst.

Honestly, I was surprised. While a quick twitter search seemed to show a number of negative comments about social worker Clea Hopkins, I didn't think the way she carried herself was that bad. Given the information in her file about Jake and his father Mark(and the fact that she lac…

The Body Shop Deal

This past year, I've probably purchased more products at The Body Shop than anywhere else. If you open my bathroom drawers, you'll find a small collection of body washes, hand soaps, lotions, room sprays, and reed diffusers. The Body Shop appeals to me because I like the assortment of scents they carry. It also helps that the company promotes a number of social causes I support.

While I did purchase a ton of stuff from The Body Shop this past year, not once did I pay full price for a single item. In fact, I typically paid less than 50% of full price after accounting for deal of the day vouchers, sales, and discounts from the Love Your Body Club. The great thing was that this left me with extra money to spend on food, or sale items at Bath and Body Works.

For two days, Living Social is offering a $20 voucher to The Body Shop for $10. This may be a great time to stock up if you think you'll need bathroom stuff in the coming months. The Body Shop has sales throughout t…

How to Host a Cheap Sports Party

Football playoff season is in full swing (GO NINERS!), and I plan on spending it on my couch with some drinks and my favorite finger foods. I know that many of you will probably be getting together with friends to catch the big games, so I thought I would offer a few money saving tips on hosting those football get-togethers!

Tip #1: Stay home instead of hitting the bars. Bar food, pints of beer, and mixed drinks are typically more expensive than throwing your own party. Don't forget other hidden costs like tax and tip! Avoid the crowded bars (and drunk drivers), buy a twelve-pack, and cook up some snacks at home!

Tip #2: Check the grocery store ads for deals. Each week, I check the grocery store ads and plan my meals around what's on sale. Grocery stores tend to stock up on snack type foods around football playoffs season, so there's bound to be some deals. Since I am lucky enough to live near several grocery chains, I use the ads to make a shopping list of sale items…

"Once Upon A Time" Bashes Social Work Profession

Normally, I enjoy watching "Once Upon A Time". It's a (somewhat) family friendly show and a creative take on the fairy tale characters I saw in Disney films as a child. For those unfamiliar with the show, here's a one sentence summary: "Once Upon A Time" is the story of what happens when the evil witch from Snow White sends fairy tale characters into our world with no recollection of their previous lives. While I don't normally watch much TV, the story was entertaining enough to keep me coming back each week. Also, unlike medical dramas, I figured I could watch it without cringing at certain professions being portrayed inaccurately... until tonight.

Each episode of "Once Upon A Time" seems to feature a different fairy tale characters, and tonight it was Hansel and Gretel. In short, the protagonist of the story (who spent 16 years in the foster system), Emma Swan, discovers that Hansel and Gretel have no parents. To "save" them …

Hospital Social Workers Receive Positive Media Attention!

While reading Social Worker Speak, I ran across an article that recognized social workers at a Utah hospital for assisting the families of police officers victimized by a shooting. In addition to praising these individuals, this article then goes on to emphasize the importance of hospital social work in providing patients and family members with psychosocial support in what can be a chaotic and overwhelming medical environment. It was my first time seeing hospital social workers discussed in the media, and I'm glad that it was in a positive light!

Part of the reason I can no longer watch medical dramas is due to the fact that they do not accurately portray a hospital setting. Oftentimes, these shows depict doctors taking on the roles of nurse, social worker, physical therapist, pharmacist, nutritionist, occupational therapist, respiratory therapist, medical technician, CNA, etc. What I would love to see is a medical drama that portrays the lives of people in these aforementione…

Should We Pick Majors Based on Pay?

Happy New Year, everyone! As I wrote on my other blog, I resolve to post at least once a week this year. Hopefully I can accomplish this goal!

For my first post of 2012, I wanted to expand on discuss an issue I touched on in a previous post - the profitability of our college major. Lately, I've been seeing news agencies and blogs post articles about individuals, including social workers buried in student loan debt and working low paying jobs. I'm sure these issues have been around for years, but I speculate that these news articles have increased in frequency as a result of the recession, high unemployment rates, and indebted college graduates participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

As usual, the comments contained as much vitriol as previous articles on unemployed college graduates. I've heard similar statement among my own circle of acquaintances (many Silicon Valley engineers) with statements like, "Teachers are dumb; that's why they're teach…

2012 New Year's Resolutions

Hello, and many apologies for the lack of updates. Between work, family obligations, travels abroad, and the holidays I haven't had much time to work on this blog. Now that things have settled down a bit I hope I can start posting regularly again!

Since it is a new year, I figured it would be appropriate to post my list of 2012 new year's resolutions:

1) Move out of my parents' house
2) Update my blogs at least once a week
3) Go to the gym at least twice a week

I think I'll start with those for now. Better to have a small list of attainable goals than a long list of resolutions I'll probably break. Wish me luck!