January 4, 2008

The Green Green Cash at Home

Buon giorno, girls and gorillas. Let's take a moment to say, "Happy Birthday" to Christina. She's there in the back, looking embarrassed. Give us a wave, Teenie. Thanks. Stop staring, Nicki. She's too young.

One thing that the boys and I know about is money. We like to get it more than give it, of course, but sometimes you have to part with it. Even though we have quite a bit of it, we don't like to part with any more than we have to.

Let me tell you about some stupid spending. Freakin' idiotic, really. I know a weasel that spends money like nobody's business. (Well, it's not her money, it's from the hardworking taxpayers or from sponging off her mother. That's why it's fun for her to spend it.) But for those of us who have to work for a living, we try to be careful with what we do with our cash.

Spend smart. Weasel girl doesn't do this. She loads the icebox with pre-packaged goodies and convenience foods that are not only unhealthy but very expensive. Sure, there's a time for convenience foods, but it's much more economical to buy a block of cheese, for instance, and cut it up, store it in small-serving plastic bags and then grab one to throw in your lunch on the way to work or school. The same with those dreadful "juice boxes". If you really have to pollute yourself with that stuff, get a big bottle and pour some into a small, portable bottle. Capice? The savings add up.

Resist the impulses. Sure, I like to buy a new gun on occasion. But I look at whether or not I really need it, the extras like the cost of ammo and a carrying case, etc. And do I need the pearl-handled revolver, really? Something a little plainer will work just as well. But if I do decide to be extravagant, I plan for a while, think things through, add the costs, and budget for it. Listen, if I buy something too quickly, I won't have money for something else later on. Can I live with that? Besides, something may go on sale.

Consider the off-brands. Go ahead, try the store brands. Little Weaselette refuses to buy anything but the name-brand stuff because it must be better. Wrong-o, Cupcake. I've found that off brands are often at least as good as the name brands, sometimes better. But you have to take a chance, try a few things. Sometimes, you'll find that a certain name brand is better for you and you can't do without it. Fine, you tried.

"But Uncle Bob, the doctor said I should use Motrin!" Shaddap! Think for a minute. He said that for name recognition. Most doctors don't tell their patients to use acetaminophen, but that's what Tylenol is. Doctors don't say ibuprofen, either, so they say Motrin or Advil. Listen, for a drug to be marketed generically, the law says that it has to be chemically identical to the name brand. I get acetaminophen and ibuprofen for half or even a quarter of the cost of the name brands. You just have to keep alert.

Don't be too cheap. I know, I know, it sounds like a contradiction to what I just said. The fact is that sometimes you have to pay more for something good. This whole thing is a learning experience. Or a game. Just keep at it and learn that there are some things you have to spend more to get because some stuff is made so cheaply that you'll wind up replacing it and spending more money in the long run. Use your judgement.

The bottom line is to think about what you're doing. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to tell Nicki that he can't have Christina's e-mail address. Hey, Bastardo!

Addendum: The continuation of this article is about saving fuel and can be found here.

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