Now that times are a bit tough, I'm hearing of how people are looking for ways to cut costs. My husband and I are a bit smug, in that we live pretty simply. Simple living allows us to dig deep and come up with the funds when it's time to throw a birthday party for one of the kids or travel for my daughter's gymnastics.
My two big money savers have more to do with what I won't do as opposed to what I will. I refuse to shop unless absolutely necessary. And I refuse to fix broken stuff in my house. Why? because it just breaks again. I remember calling Sears about my new refrigerator that had died without any warning. When I called, I asked the Sears repair operator why my new refrigerator would live such a short life. "Your refrigerator isn't new, it's eight years old. That's about how long they are supposed to last." I was appalled. It was new to me. Aside from my toaster oven, that was the last appliance I ever bought.
* We have basic cable on a dated TV. We don't TIVO, in fact the whole process of TIVOing is a little unnerving. You won't find us at the video store every week, either.
* I own two pairs of shoes. Sandals and sneakers. I've owned both for close to two years. I usually replace them at about the three-year mark.
* Manicures, no. Supercuts, yes. I'm the only member of my family that splurges every year or two for a salon haircut.
* My oven has been broken for almost a year - which explains the toaster oven splurge. My dishwasher requires that I wash my dishes prior to loading them since it doesn't really wash anything, it just hot-bakes leftover food items onto my dinnerware. My clothes dryer won't stop until I open the door. With no buzzer to warn me of a certain time commitment, my dryer is happy to chug along all day. I won't let it though, because I realize that sparse homes go up in flames just as quickly as the fancy ones.
* My microwave gets its own bullet point. The handle has broken off and the front plastic panel is loose. Don't worry, my kids are not allowed to use it.
* I'm a cheap date. We almost never eat out - fast food included. Rarely do we get take-out, perhaps once a month. And when I say take-out, I'm not talking about fancy chinese food. Five dollar pizzas and sandwiches, baby, that's what I'm talking about.
* My car. My husband's car. I'm the one with the ten-year-old Saturn practically GIVEN to me by my sister. That's the same Saturn that has a trunk door that slams on my face. The upholstery is unraveling. It also has a broken skylight and one window that will open but not close. The bum window is where my daughter sits. I'm able to forcefully pull it up as needed. The alarm is broken, but I'm not worried.
Compared to my husband, I drive the fancy car. He has a beloved '94 4-runner. I can hear it squeaking and groaning a good quarter mile before I see it. Love that vehicle. With its hand crank windows, manual door locks and ten-year-old Cheerios shoved in the cracks of the seats. Both our babies were brought home from the hospital in that car.
Enough of my cheapness. Yes, I can go on and on of my sticker-shock horror when I have to go and buy $50 in new underpants - Hanes packs on sale, of course. I learned the drawbacks to cheap unknown-brand underpants in college. Won't go there.
The new cars, new appliances. They can wait. I got a call yesterday from a friend who is throwing a 50th wedding anniversary party for her parents. She got the supplies, to include table clothes and decorations, new and unused, off Craigslist for $15. She had a moment of pause when she found out the previous owners hadn't used the supplies because the husband of the celebrated union had died on the day of the party.
What I find most impressive about that story, is that the family of the deceased actually posted and sold that stuff for a mere $15 bucks on Craigslist. Now that's keeping your head about things.
And I guess now is as good as time as any to let my mom know that the new packages of unopened underpants (good quality Hanes Brand, even) that she bought for my grandpa right before he died were not worn by my husband. Ever. They were donated. But thanks for thinking of us.