Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ten Ways to Eke Out...And A Really Good Joke

I try hard to be funny -- but the best I normally get, telling jokes to the girlies and the Brick, is a snort and eye-rollings. (Daughter #2 also likes to imitate cricket sounds -- 'See, Mom? No one is laughing.') It's when I'm trying to be serious that I get the bellylaughs. (Sad, yes. I know.)

All three of my harshest critics have laughed at this one. See what you think. (Thanks to Jeff Yeager for passing it on.)

     A rich man asks his accountant, priest and lawyer to come to a meeting. When they get there, he says, "I don't have long to live, but I'm going to bring my money with me, whether people like it or not. I'll give each of you 10 million dollars. You're my pallbearers; just before you set me down by the graveside, slip the money inside the coffin. I know you'll follow my instructions to the letter."
    After the guy's funeral, the threesome stop by for a drink. While they're talking, the accountant says, "I have a confession to make. I only put $9 million into the casket -- we're in the process of redoing our house, and need the money. I'm sorry I did it...but I did."
     The priest shifts around for a while, then says, "I didn't put the full amount in, either -- our church is funding an orphanage in Africa, and I just kept thinking about those kids. I only put in $5 million."
     The lawyer is aghast. "I'm shocked -- shocked," he says. "I would have thought you'd both keep your promise. I did -- I put a check for the full $10 million inside."

(The Brick said, "What would he do, if someone cashed it??")

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Are you paying off a debt or two? This is on our minds big-time, right now...new cars aren't cheap. (Well, new to us.) Both the Brick and myself HATE being in debt. Here are some ways we save on everyday expenses, that will help you save a buck or two, too. That means a few dollars more to be applied toward the bill.

*Add liquid. A few cups of water stretch your milk a little; a few cups of broth stretch the soup or stew. You've got enough not only for supper, but lunch tomorrow, as well.

*Cut back on going out. Instead of restaurant fare every other week, make it every third week...or once a month. (Use coupons and save even more.)

*Keep the heat off -- or down -- longer. (It's currently at 62 degrees at Chez Brick,and will pretty much stay there all winter, except in the mornings.)

*Get creative when it comes to firewood. Craigslist is full of ads for free firewood - all you have to is find a tree-trimming company who's clearing out their excess. Or an ad like this --

    Eight hundred pounds of hardwood trimmings, at $20 a bundle. It's what we've been burning in the fireplace for months now, along with leftovers from our recent roof and indoor renovation jobs.

*Clean and mend what you've got -- instead of buying more. Buy classic versions of your socks, shirts, sweaters and such, then keep them clean and in good repair. (Make them last even longer by not using the dryer, but hanging them up, instead. They'll fade and pill less.)

*Give a lesson...or perform a needed task. Do it for pay, and you've got extra money that isn't spoken for...

*Refill your print cartridges -- or buy refilled ones. We do this all the time for black ink, and you couldn't tell the difference. Turning in your used cartridges gets you credit at office supply stores, as well.

*Don't pay full price for anything you can bargain on.  Large appliances, hotel rooms, vehicles. Haggling can really save -- and keep you from having to borrow so much money in the first place.

*Plan for the holidays NOW. You've still got time to find baking ingredients, decorations and presents on sale -- it will be more difficult in a few weeks. (Hint: once Halloween is over, all those bags of little candy bars are going to be half-price...good for hunting, as well as Christmas stocking stuffers. Hint #2:  Thrift shops, more often than you think, have unused items still in their original boxes -- and ready for gift-giving.)

*Get inspiration from others.  Like Ken Ligunas, who lived in his van to pay for college, and has been living and traveling on a shoestring ever since. I wouldn't do everything this guy does to save money -- but he does help me think more creatively about it.

Save on the everyday stuff -- and you'll have money for luxuries.

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