Monday, November 24, 2008

A slave to frugality

“Daddy, you’ve been ironing all day long,” exclaimed my son (the one that can talk). He was right. I had been ironing all day. When the roosters started cock-a-doodle-dooling, or whatever roosters do, I was setting up the ironing board, and I toiled over that hot steam iron for hours. It didn’t help that said son wanted me to iron his underwear for him as well.

“Yes Jack, I’m a slave to your mother,” I replied, as a burst of steam rushed up into my face. Now before some of you start thinking about slave in the leather and whips kind of way, let me put it this way. It’s been so long that I’m convinced my children were (with apologies to devout Catholics) born of an immaculate conception. Although, apparently many women are turned on by a man doing the ironing and laundry. I digress.

To be fair, I’m not actually a slave to my wife, but rather a slave to frugality. The reason I had piles of ironing to do was because instead of using the dryer, which by the way next to your hair dryer and oven is one of the biggest energy hogs in your house, I have taken to hanging our laundry to dry. More often, this was exclusive to the warm days of summer, but this year I decided to keep it going.

My wife asked me yesterday what I’m saving by not using the dryer. “Well dear,” I said in that lingering way that gave me time to think of a good answer. “We’re saving three things…no actually four things…money (most important), the environment (second most important), wear and tear on our clothes (I could care less, but it sounds good), and extending the life of the dryer.” I’m sure they’ll soon be offering me the Nobel Prize, or at the very least Citizen of the Year.

“What good is extending the life of the dryer if you never use it,” my wife shot back in one of those gotcha moments.

Oh, she’ll thank me come Christmas when I have some spare change left from my frugal ways and I can buy her a few extra things at the dollar store, I thought to myself.

So what is it like living a slave to frugality? Well, while others throw pennies away I pick them up. In fact, I did just that at the supermarket yesterday. I walked past it at first, but I gave in, walked back and picked that shiny penny up and put it in my pocket. A hundred of those coppers will give me a buck. A thousand will get me ten dollars and 10,000 of those useless coins will get me…you guessed it $100. Well done. Consider that your math lesson for the day.

Not that I would know, but I imagine being a slave to frugality feels the same way a crackaddict does. When he gets his hands on a rock, he's overcome by a sense of ecstasy. I feel the same way when I score a $10 a night room while on vacation, or find that coupon in the mail for Huggies diapers.

With the state of world’s finances sagging lower than some kids wear their pants, frugality is the latest buzzword. This is convenient because now when my wife complains that we have to fumble through our darkened house wearing low wattage head lamps on to save money AND the environment (I throw that in all the time, because she can’t really argue about the world her son’s will inherit), I can tell her that the IMF, WHO, NAFTA, APEC, UN, UNICEF, WWF, OECD, ABC, XYZ have all told us that in this crippling economic time we need to tighten our belts. I would tell you what all those acronyms mean, but I’ve had the power cut at our house to save money so I can't turn the computer on.

My wife’s in the bath and I can hear her hollering at me. “I’m cold!”

“Put on a sweater,” I shout back, “I’m busing recycling Max’s diapers so we can use them again.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"A penny saved is a penny earned" and don't let the missus tell you otherwise!

If she continues to complain about the baths, one way to remedy that (and continue to save $$ and the environment) is to shower together. She'll either take you up on your offer or stop complaining. Either way, you win ;o)