Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Penny Saved Is Still Worth One Cent

     I was browsing the Internet one boring afternoon when I stumbled across an article entitled, “Five Ways to $ave Big Money!”  My interest was piqued, partly out of irritation at the use of the dollar sign in a flagrant attempt at being cute.  I was further irritated when I saw the article was written by someone named “Penny”.  I know the poor woman can’t help what her parents named her, but I couldn’t help but have a distinctive feeling that this entire article was staged.  After scolding myself for being pessimistic, I clicked on the article and decided I would read with an open mind and a firm resolve to do whatever the article suggested.  After all, “Penny’s” bio indicated she was a successful stock trader and author.

      Tip #1: $ave money on your water bill by showering at the gym.  My shoulders shook with an acerbic, snide chuckle as I read this first tip, but I had determined that I would follow these tips as penance for pessimism at the outset, so I got on the phone.  I called the gym with the reputation for being the largest, most state-of-the-art facility in the city: “Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me if you have showers at your facility?  You do?  Wonderful.  Also, do you have early morning, late evening, and weekend hours?  Yes?  Fantastic.  Now, do I have to call and make an appointment for a shower or do I just show up whenever I feel dirty?  No, not that kind of dirty.  What? … I assure you, madam, I am not a prank caller.  I just read an article on how to save money and … I see.  No, no you don’t need to call the police.  I was just looking at this website and … hello?  Hello?”  So much for my water bill. 

      Tip #2:  $ave money by reusing your sandwich bags.  This one sounded more optimistic than that last fiasco, so I decided to take a serious look.  I quickly estimated how many sandwich bags I use in a year.  I then figured that at least half of them were filled with greasy, messy, mayonnaise-y, peanut-buttery messes so those would have to be discarded.  Of the other half, at least half of those were split down the side by The Yankee’s firm belief that sandwiches need to be filled to the point that they cannot fit into the average human mouth in one bite.  That leaves us with one-fourth of the sandwich bags in our household that might possibly be reusable.  If I washed those sandwich bags, taking out money for soap and my water bill (which is now higher than I was hoping, thanks to the skittish receptionist at the gym), I would save approximately $2.44 per year!  Oh my gosh!  Thank you, Penny, thank you!  If I put that money in a high-yield account and promise not to touch the principle, at the end of the decade I can treat myself to a small cola at the movies.  And all because I took Penny’s insightful advice.  Oh, Penny, you are a marvel.

      Tip #3: $ave money on parking meters by having your driver circle the block while you pick up your Egyptian cotton sheets from the laundry service.  I think milk came out of my nose when I read this one.  Driver?  My experiences with “drivers” are limited to: 1) my bus driver in elementary school who blew a whistle whenever the whippersnappers was a-gettin’ too loud, 2) the guy with the gold tooth who swerved his taxi so hard, I grabbed his dreadlocks and screamed, “Here’s 20 bucks!  Pull over!  For the love of mike, PULL OVER!!”, and 3) riding with The Yankee through inner-city traffic and praying I would make it home alive.  When he looked over at me and said, “Why are you so limp with your eyes closed?”  I said, “I’m totally relaxed because I heard that’s how the drunks survive crashes.”  Seriously, does “Penny” really think the average Joe has a “driver”?!  And “laundry service”?  This woman is funnier than most of the comedians on TV!

      Tip #4:  $ave money on vacations - consider flying coach.  I’m definitely sure milk came out of my nose when I read this one.  After I looked up the word “vacation” in my dictionary to be sure I knew what that actually was, I flipped back to the letter “F” and looked up “flying” … wasn’t sure what that was either.  The last time I went on a real, honest-to-goodness vacation, my dad said good old American pay phones would always trump something as faddish and fly-by-night as a “car phone”.  Then he picked up his folded map, mockingly held it to his ear, and pretended to talk to the president.  My brother, Wolverine, who was sitting in the back window cutting his teeth on that belt thing bolted to the seat, laughed along with the rest of us.   

      Tip #5: $ave money on lunches by having your waiter put half of your dinner in a box for tomorrow’s lunch.  This time, I laughed so hard, I fell down and hit my head.  Concussion or not, I had promised myself I would follow through with each tip, so I decided that since we eat dinner out about 4 times a year, I would have to commit this tip to memory.  Sure enough, 3 months later, we were having our special night out and I remembered this valuable tip.  I asked to have half of my meal in a box for tomorrow’s lunch.  Tonya, my favorite drive-thru manager at the “Sammich Hut”, drummed her six-inch fuchsia fingernails on her wireless headset and said, “You want yo sammich cut in half, you take it home and cut it all by yo bad self.” 

      Well, Penny, I tried.

© Bertha Grizzly 2011.  All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or distribution.

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