Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How to Be Cheap

Some people believe that cheapness is innate and unchangeable. They believe that in order to be cheap, Mom's birth plan had to assume your birth in the back of the Vega, Pops cutting through side streets, hunting for the lowest gas price. 

If you were not to the tightwad born, don't fret. They can believe what they want; I believe you can overcome a generous nature. Here are some tips on how to cultivate cheapness.

  • Convert a Christmas cookie jar into a bank. When the kids get rambunctious and ruin wrapping paper for re-use, fine them.
  • For Easter, cut jelly beans in half. Give some to the kids and save the rest for Halloween 'tricky treats'.
  • Homemade wrapping paper: use original store bag, scribble on it, and call it 'eco-friendly art packaging.' Feeling self-conscious? Say it was the kids' idea.
  • Buy a 99-cent card for Mother's Day. Insist that she give it back so it can be reused the next year. If you have a mom and a step-mom and/or mother-in-law, make them share.
  • If leftover meat remains on the guest's plate, cut around the bites and store for your use later.
  • Once you buy the week's toilet paper, ration equal amounts for each person in your household. Extra Cheap Tip: make guests bring their own.
  • Dental floss: measure out a comfortable length and mark in two-inch increments. Use only one section per day. Rinse and save in toothbrush holder until entire length is used. 
On Vacation
  • Never book a motel. Only travel where you have family. Fall asleep while looking at old family movies; play "sound sleeper,"and they'll feel bad for you and let you spend the night. Raid the fridge on your way out in the morning before anyone else gets up -- free room and board!
  • Dress the children alike. Ask all clerks if they offer a 'multiples' discount.
Social Life
  • If your girlfriend is short, try to get her into the movie on a kid's "12 and under" ticket.
  • Invite a friend out to lunch and 'forget' your wallet. Keep friends away from each other, so you can do this more than once.
  • Make your kid use the same plastic bag and messed up piece of tinfoil for his school lunch all week. Explain to him that it's a 'Friendship Test': he doesn't need friends who would tease him about saving money. Extra Cheap Tip: make him reuse a napkin too. 
    Apply these and they will naturalize, like day lilies dug up from alongside the road and transplanted to your flower bed. Congratulations on your spreading cheapness!

    This is my third collaborative article, and it's always a good time. Thanks Jennifer B., Tina C., 
    Mary Ann D., Fred H., Gina L., Kamla L., Kathleen R., and Mike T. Want more? You can read about writing your own bio blurb, or surviving Michigan's rich tradition of high school graduation open houses.


    1. Original post was missing links, and missing the Mary Ann D. in the list of credits. So sorry. Corrected at 8:37 a.m. Thursday.

    2. What a fabulous use of crowdsourcing! These are hilarious... Though sometimes even a bit disgusting. :-)

    3. Thanks Lisa! I actually held one back, believe it or not :). Humor writing with a group is something I really enjoy doing.