Monday, October 13, 2008


I hope and trust you are all having a grand Columbus Day. If you're like me, it's not much different from any other day. No day off work. No parades. No TVLand marathon. No delicious sugar cookies shaped like the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria.

Columbus Day is sort of the Tito of holidays. Not all that remarkable. Nobody's favorite. But as far as we know, it is still technically a holiday. Oh well, I guess that's what happens when you discover a continent by accident.

I considered recapping my week for you today. For instance, last Wednesday I got spit up on for the first time ever. Then Thursday, I sank a 45 foot putt, the longest of my career. But I figure you've had enough baby and golf stories, at least until tomorrow.

Instead, I want to share with you some tips for saving money in these uncertain economic times. Things I've practiced that have helped me to scrape by for umpteen years on my own now. Not obvious things, like selling your plasma. But more subtle ideas that you can use, say for instance, if you've already reached your 12 times per year plasma donation maximum.

Tip #1 - Ignore expiration dates

We are taught in this country, likely by the biased media, to throw food away if it has expired. Well that's fine if there's a money tree growing in your front yard, or if you go to the grocery store more than once a month. But what about the rest of us?

Expiration dates are nothing more than a way for food companies to get you to buy more often, and probably to avoid litigation as well. An expiration date is like a little ultimatum saying, "Eat me by this date or it is so over!" You wouldn't stand for that from your significant other, so why stand for it from your dairy?

This weekend alone I had a hot dog on buns that were six days past expiration and cereal with milk that was two days past expiration. My rule is, the nose knows.

We all have five to seven senses. Use them! When we're injured we feel pain and curse. When we need to communicate, we open our mouths and speak or grunt. When we hear Celine Dion, we feel pain and curse. And when food has gone bad, we can smell it.

Tip #2 - Do a supper scavenger hunt

How often do you find yourself in this situation? It's 8 or 9 o'clock at night. You don't feel like putting clothes on to go get something to eat, but you haven't been to the grocery store in a long, long time so you figure there's probably nothing to cook.

Well, you just might be surprised. By scrounging around in the cabinets, I'll bet you can come up with a decent meal from things you already have. It's kinda your own personal episode of Survivor. Or maybe not. I've never actually watched the show.

For example, in my cabinet right now (I just went and looked), I have some penne, a thing of syrup, a few sunflower seeds, some unopened Valentine's candy, some peanut butter that "expired" February 23rd, and some corn.

Now, from this... let's see... I could easily make... hmm... Well anyway, you get the idea, I'm sure. Let's move on.

Tip #3 - Never turn down anything from your parents or a free meal from anyone

In my early bachelor days, some of my favorite memories are when I'd be looking thru mostly barren cabinets containing only peanut butter and corn, and Mom or Dad would call asking if I wanted to come over and eat supper.

I learned early on to never turn down a free meal, and here's why. By eating one free meal, you have immediately contributed to a fiscal surplus. Even if it's not the best meal, or not particularly your favorite food. You can eat better food another day, but you can never get back the money you just saved.

As a general rule, parents want to help us. No, they need to help us. Giving makes them feel good. And we should not be so selfish as to deny them that good feeling by not accepting their gifts, or monthly allowance.

So never turn down anything from your parents. And never turn down a free meal from anyone. Ever. Unless, of course, the person preparing it has some sort of massive germophobic violations going on. No amount of money is worth that.

Tip #4 - With laundry, less is more

I do laundry as infrequently as possible. Basically, as long as I have clean underwear, I don't see a reason to do a wash. I'm all about wearing jeans two or three times. And while this has more to do with laziness than frugality, surely there are financial benefits as well.

Do you have any idea how much electricity it takes to run a dryer for one sixty minute cycle? Well, me neither, but it's probably a lot. My suggestion would be to buy up as many pairs of underwear as your drawers will hold, and let everything else go.

Of course, you might occasionally run into minor problems down the road, say if a shirt you want to wear doesn't happen to be clean. That's why I also suggest leaving laundry you think you might wear again lying around on the floor. That way, it doesn't get that musty, stinky hamper smell in it. Because once it's buried in the hamper, all the Febreze and Drakkar in the world won't get that out. Trust me.

Less laundry means less electricity, less costly detergent to purchase, and also less folding and ironing. And that means more fun for everyone.

Also, in the future when you see the bachelor, don't be so quick to judge his fashion sense. Most likely, he's wearing the only thing he could find that was clean, or had only been worn once.

"I ain't goin' down on the border with you tonight, drinking tequila and taking chances on our lives. All the women are crazy. They like to party 'til daylight. On second thought, if I can find a clean shirt, I might..."


  1. Hmmmm.... Where should I start....

    I went looking for a money tree in my backyard last week, but I didn't find one. Too bad because I really could use one right now!

    Tip # 3.. Never turn down a free meal..... I will be referring you back to this tip sometime in the near future when Mr R and I invite you over and you turn us down! Ha!

    The Godson says hello!

  2. I think Mrs R knows you as well or better than I do and she said exactly what I was going to say :)

    Though I'm glad you have the parents need to help thing down, and I really needed to laugh so thanks

    I just did a laundry and used the cold water only in my bldg to help green the world and I'm staring at my jeans. Can I really wear you--cold water wash--public laundry or do I have to wait to get to North Myrtle when I can do cold water washes and feel safe

    The washer is in my building and I can't imagine that people have....oh you know...

  3. well Federal employees celebrate the accidental finding of our country! ;)

    And we don't have a money tree or a place to sell plasma...

    hummm I ignore the expiration dates on some things...but I also make a point to find products with the farthest out dates I can...why buy something that will expire very soon...unless it's meat that you can cook and freeze (it's good forever that way, I hear.)

    I know all too well the supper scavenger hunt and from your list of ingredients you could make a Thai dish I think...I don't eat Thai, but I hear they cook with peanutbutter all the time. and cooking it should kill off anything that might have gone bad in the expired peanutbutter.

    I have to say that you shouldn't accept a free meal from someone you KNOW cannot afford to buy the meal. But otherwise it's just fine.

    and I so follow your laundry advice. When DH & I were first married I was going to I bought up loads of underwear for both of us so that laundry days could go as far as 3 weeks if necessary and I still follow that rule. Cuz, you never know what's going to happen. It's a real bummer to say "No, I can't go to the awesome once in a lifetime event, cuz I have to do the laundry." And I have to add that if your closet is big enough or you have the space elsewhere (like on unused exercise equipment) hanging up clothes that can be reworn is a good idea. Just make sure that you don't rewear clothes when you're hanging out with the same people...ya know it's probably a better idea to rotate your friends so the laundry issue doesn't come up.

    and a timesaver is to just wear those clothes to bed (buy wrinkle me, it's worth it!) Then when you get up the next're already dressed!

  4. Greetings from Columbus, OH on this fine Columbus Day. And no, I didn't get a day off work either. I have been quietly enjoying your humor over the past month or two. You're quite funny and your grammar is above average--two thumbs up in my book. I'm dying to know-- you referenced 5 to 7 senses. Do you really about the little-know senses number 6 and 7? I would be so impressed if you do, as most people have never heard of them!

  5. Mrs. R - I think your use of the term "money tree" must have gotten stuck in my subconscious :)

    Haha. I told you, I felt like I was inviting myself over :)

    The godfather says hello back.

    Pia - Sounds like you were talking to your laundry. I've talked to my computer, and iPod, but never laundry :)

    Oh, and you're welcome.

    Renee - Remember George's goal? To have 365 pairs of underwear so he only had to do a wash once a year :)

    Oh, you're cracking me up. I always worry about wearing the same clothes around the same people. You have to be vigilant!

    And sleeping in your clothes? Next thing you know, you'll be living in your shower. Let me know if that does occur, I'll show you how to make a decorative radish rose.

    SC - Is Columbus Day extra special in Columbus, Ohio?

    No, I don't really know. I guess the sixth sense would be seeing dead people. And the seventh? Um, intuition?

    And thanks! I really focus on my grammar more than my humor.

  6. "Eat me by this date or it is so over!" You wouldn't stand for that from your significant other, so why stand for it from your dairy?

    ROFL That was unintentional, right?

    Thanks for the money-saving tips: I've definitely been looking for some. Unfortunately, as a bachelorette, seems like I'm usually the one offering to cook for other people.

  7. Thanks, I'm now ready for the recession, bring it on! "Oh, I forgot, garbage day was yesterday and I threw out all the out-dated food...

  8. P.S. I meant to say, if you've made it this long without being spit up on, you're doing well. Or you can sense when to not hold a baby, as opposed to the rest of us who just hold constantly, with no thought to the potential consequences. Just wait 'til the first time you toss them over your head and they lose it...

  9. When I lived on East 63rd Street I had two months worth of underwear. And I forget how many sheets and towels as I had to bring my laundry to my parents or friends building's. There was no laundramat in the immediate hood or within 30 blocks and I was too cheap to send it out which was very very pricey

    I had more clothes than anybody I knew had ever seen--except for my mother. I have changed

  10. I am not big on doing laundry. If you can believe that. I also wear jeans many days in a row as long as there are no visible signs of like food spills or ink stains or grease stains etc.

    Same thing with shirts, but i won't wear them on back to back days. like on sunday if i wear a nice shirt to church, for like an hour, then i will wear that same shirt to work on Monday.

    peace out.

  11. Someone - Was what unintentional? Hmm, that would be tough. I've never been a bachelorette, so it's hard for me to offer any advice. Let me think on it for awhile.

    Yep, I made it a pretty good while. And I still haven't been peed on yet. Apparently, that's a common thing. Of course, I haven't changed a diaper yet, so that's probably why.

    Sage - Well, as long as you smelled it before you threw it out.

    Pia - I like that a girl admits she had two months worth of underwear :) I think that's more than I have. Unless you count novelty underwear, like my snowman boxers and the ones with hearts on them.

    Java Boo Boo - Yeah, I rewear dress shirts and sweaters a lot. They're so difficult to launder and care for.

  12. I have provided you with several Tip #3. I even made you birthday cakes for your birthday. Of course you don't come see us anymore so I can't do it near as much. You are more than welcome anytime to stay the night.

  13. As long as you don't have small animals roaming your house (domesticated or otherwise) then leaving once-worn clothing out or lying a chair is a very good suggestion. It's a practice that I, as a 10-year married man, still follow, much to the chagrin of my wife who likes to re-hang my trousers (upside down, by the cuffs) which results in loose change spilling out over the floor.

  14. oh this was fun... a light and bright spot in my day.....thanks bone......

  15. well, let's be serious, these things are true for Bachelorettes too!

    Fact: Jeans aren't dirty until there's a stain.

  16. Nevermind. My mind took those two sentences together and obviously went places it's better not mentioned.

    Yeah, bacheloretteconomics are needed. Besides the "get a boyfriend and make him pay" for dinner out advice. I've heard it, but I find it both insulting and hard to do (for more than one reason).

    You haven't changed a diaper YET?!?! How exactly is it that men get off so easily? I was changing diapers before the little guy was out of the hospital. And I honestly have been peed on so many times I lost count. I for sure have been peed on way more times than spit up on.

  17. "If you're like me, it's not much different from any other day. No day off work. No parades."


  18. I truly believe you need to send that into a magazine or something. Not only is it entertaining, but it's all kind of true. Christ, I don't even want to look in my cabinet right now. I think there's peanut butter, cous cous (yes, for real), pretzels, and old corn chex. Yuck. Last night I opted for Taco Bell at 11 p.m. but only blew $3.75, not bad.

  19. speaking of this, as you saw on my blog about my new office set up with the mini-fridge and toaster oven... I need ideas on what to cook, as it is cheaper than eating out.

    I know you have become "healthy" lately (as in concerned about what you eat ... not healthy as in -fat-) and was wondering if you had any success with any frozen microwave stuff. Or if you had any ideas for quick one person meals.

    Also, I found out my tea maker jub fits in my refrig, so I'm taking it to work.

    I also found a george forman grill at Wal Mart for $15 this morning that is for single-servings, so I'm going to get one of those and I'm going to have a full kitchen in my cube before it's all said and done!

  20. Bone, you should go shopping at Costco or Sams (but leave your wallet in the car). Those stores always have free samples on every corner. Dinner might include a shot of an energy drink, a chip with dip, a square of pizza, cheese on a toothpick, and fried shrimp but I figure that's about the same as peanut butter, corn, penne with syrup and sunflower seeds.