We, like many, are living in reduced circumstances. Unlike the REALLY wealthy victims of the aforementioned Bernie, we have fallen victim to a lower level of perniciousness. When asked why we don’t go out to eat any more, Charlie will tell you that we have been eviscerated by a FONZIE scheme, which has left us clipping coupons, shopping at Wal Mart, and putting spare change in the piggy bank.

So these are a few tips to all of you out there who are looking for ways to save, but just don’t have the creativeness to think of ways. I have come to your rescue:

Food is always expensive. I have found a few good ways to cut down on the food budget. Try this: one night a week, eat a nice big lunch, and go to bed with a Tylenol PM at around seven. Voila! One less dinner per week. If you wake up hungry in the middle of the night, go downstairs and mix up some high fiber powder in some water, drink it really fast, and go back to bed. Don’t do this more than one night running, or you will be way too regular.
Another food tip: Sleep in. I think this might revolutionize food budgets around the world. If you sleep till noon, you can just get up and eat lunch, therefore saving ONE WHOLE MEAL A DAY; SEVEN A WEEK! When Charlie questioned me on this and I gave my economical answer, he became thoughtful, and actually AGREED that this is a wise thing instead of weakness. So now I am no longer a lazy slut, but a contributing member of society!
Entertainment has always been a big part of our budget. I have had a hard time cutting down on that. I have discovered though, that spying on the neighbors can provide a good time, and again, provide a real service to the community at large. Since when do those “neighborhood watch” groups really WATCH anything? I mean, really—if the neighbors were really watching, would things ever get stolen out of cars? Would people really be able to have affairs with the neighbor’s husband! OF COURSE NOT! This is because neighborhood watches are a sham! No one is really watching anything but Tivo. So I have appointed myself the guardian of my street. This takes up quite a bit of time, and has really cut down on our movie ticket outlay…
Clothing. This is another sticking point, since I have lost weight and now LOVE to shop for clothes. Solution? Charlie has been wearing the same two pairs of pants and four golf shirts for at least five years. When he asks me if he looks ok to go out, I say “Of course!” This has worked very well for me for years, but of course, I have a husband who has a well established reputation as a real eccentric. That makes this part of our economic recovery program very easy. On him fraying hems and weak seams are the norm. Just last night we went to the theatre (a splurge, I know) and I looked over to discover that Charlie had his golf shirt on inside out. Need I say more?
Entertaining. Now this is a no brainer, and I would guess that many of you already practice this economy. If you MUST have people over, make them BRING THINGS. And if you do this well, you can have people over for dinner and spend next to nothing. This involves asking enough guests. Nice people always ask if they can bring something. So if you assign enough, you can actually get away with having the guests provide everything. If you have a friend who considers him/herself a gourmet cook, all the better. A comment like, “Oh I wish I could make your crab stuffed filets, but since I can’t, we are having macaroni and cheese,” will almost always produce an offer to bring the aforementioned entrée. The rest is just like falling off a log. If you get good at this, all you will have to make for dinner is iced tea.
Savings. This is a tough one. But I have devised a plan to put away at least fifty dollars a month. I just take money out of Charlie’s wallet whenever he puts in on the dresser. This has allowed me not only to save a little money, but to continue to have my nails done twice monthly. Charlie is none the wiser, but he has said a couple of times that he must be getting forgetful, because he THINKS he went to the green machine yesterday, but he must not have, because he is out of cash. I just look sympathetic, and say, “Well, people do get forgetful as they age.”
Finally, one last tip. Keep your eyes to the ground. I have a friend who has been practicing this one for years, and she has found (I am not exaggerating) over a hundred dollars! This is a real inspiration for me, and I have repeatedly asked for a metal detector for Christmas from my family. They do not respond. But I feel that armed with my dog and a metal detector, I could replace MUCH of the money that our brokers have lost over the past two years. I have heard of people finding diamond rings and things, just walking around with their detectors. But I think that in this case, Charlie’s reputation has had some bearing on the family’s decision to deny me this coveted piece of equipment. I guess that one weirdo per family is the allocation. In the meantime, I just keep watching the ground. And last week, I did find a quarter in the Dayton Mall parking lot. See, it does pay off.

So you see, all of us can prosper in this time of dire economic events. All it takes is a little dedication and willingness to go the extra mile. I have to sign off now. There is a sale at The Gap.

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