The best things in life are free

By Mir
April 3, 2006

I’d like to thank everyone who chimed in on the previous post for both maintaining civility and proving that I’m not the only spiteful, overly emotional one in the bunch. Sometimes, immaturity loves company. That said, it is my intention to get to the bottom of my feelings and then, hopefully, dispose of them. Wasted energy. I have some work to do on myself and I’ll get it done… just consider the prior rant my little “But I don’t WANNA!” tantrum. I’m done now.

May I come out of the naughty corner? I promise to be good.

In fact, in my continuing quest to better know myself, I’ve been thinking about expenses, recently. I spend a lot of time obsessing about money. It’s a little hobby of mine. Less harmful than fire-eating but more annoying than, say, knitting. I’m just trying to strike the happy medium, you understand.

Let’s take a closer look at some money I’ve spent recently, and whether or not each expenditure is a good use of my hard-earned cash, shall we?

Expense: Nutty Buddies
Justified: No
They were on sale. But they’re like Kryptonite to me. Don’t even ask me how many I ate tonight. Just DON’T. I shouldn’t be allowed to have these in my house. Ever.

Expense: Heating Oil
Justified: Maybe
Okay, yes, I have to pay to heat the house. What I would like to know is this: How is it that in the three years since living on my own that I have been unable to convince the oil company to put me on a budget plan that is actually, you know, a MONTHLY BUDGET?

The first year they insisted I hadn’t signed up in time, which was strange. I was all, “Here, please take my money in ordered installments!” and they were all “No, we cannot, the computer does not allow it!” Freaky.

The second year they said, “Okay, pay this much per month,” and I said okay and then at the end of winter they said, “That was very well and good but now we would like a great big chunk of money, SURPRISE!” and they would not even accept my first-born in lieu of payment, which I think was quite rude.

This last year, I asked for a NEW budget amount and they insisted I stick to the old amount, but I already knew that the old amount would result in having to sell my plasma at winter’s end. So I adjusted the amount, myself, based on my scientific calculations of “I’m thinking of a number between what I pay now and what will bankrupt me” and paid that each month. When it became clear that I was WAY ahead of what it was costing, I cut back a bit on the payments. Guess what! Now I owe them money again. Bastards.

Expense: Ann Taylor pants
Justified: Absofreakinglutely
Let me just preface this by saying that ANY PAIR OF PANTS THAT MAKES YOUR ASS LOOK GOOD IS WORTH ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY. I firmly believe that, down to the very marrow of my bones. If you have the resources to buy expensive, beautiful clothes? Good on ya.

Any pair of pants that 1) is expensive enough to be a size smaller than what you normally wear, 2) makes your ass look amazing and 3) are made from interesting, lovely fabric should be purchased immediately if at all possible. If you can snap up said pants at the thrift store for ONE DOLLAR, you then get to shake that fabulous rear during your victory dance. Woo!

Expense: An Automatic Laundry Bot
Justified: Yes please, where can I find one?
Obviously I don’t actually have one of these. But I spent an hour tonight pairing socks. I would happily sell my plasma AND my children for such a device; although if I sold the kids, I’m thinking that would cut down on the laundry time, right there.

Expense: Little Sneakers
Justified: It keeps DCFS off my back
Guess what I did about a month ago? I got new sneakers for both kids. Guess what I did today? I got new sneakers for both kids. What’s wrong with this picture?

Monkey’s month-old sneakers were new when he got them, and are already falling apart. He’s broken the laces twice, and I ask you, HOW does a child break shoelaces? I’m mystified by the whole thing, frankly. But at his school, there is sand on all the playgrounds, and the sand, it gets inside the shoes and EATS THEM, I kid you not. The shoes are rubbed threadbare from the constant wearing down of the sand from both the inside and the outside. In a fit of pique I have replaced them with hand-me-downs, since they’re only going to be wrecked, anyway.

Chickadee’s sneakers were hand-me-downs, so I guess I can’t be as annoyed. Still, she’s broken two pairs of laces (again with the laces!) and now has multiple holes in both shoes. I replaced them with a new pair that I got on clearance and have those bizarre bungee-cord not-laces that just sit there rather than requiring tying. I’m not sure how that’s going to work out, just yet, but we’ll see.

Expense: Balanced, Home-Cooked Meals
Justified: No
My money would be better spent on Kraft mac-and-cheese and children’s multivitamins. I can’t even do the “children are starving” speech any more; they don’t listen. No, now they ask how many bites until they can have dessert. Sometimes I can trick them by being vague, or pretending I lost count, true; but when they figure out I’ve eaten all the nutty bars, what am I going to use for motivation?


  1. Susan

    Link to the pants, please. Buying new pants seems like the easiest way to get my ass looking good. Yes? Yes.

  2. Marvo

    Wait…Was it Ann Taylor or Ann Taylor LOFT? Apparently there is a difference, so says my twin sister.

  3. Kris

    Snickerdoodles. They make for great motivators.

    And the shoelace thing – it’s from tying too tight. My kids go through laces like they’re free. (We immediately replace those springy crappy ones that come with the shoes.)

  4. Cele

    What is it with your kids and my husband. Ducky goes through shoe strings on his work boots and sneakers continuously. The difference is when he’s tying threads together and there are holes in his boots, the soles are slanting left to right and he’s limping with pain in his hips but refuses to change to the new ones I bought him eight months ago for replacement, he will keep wearing them…because they are not worn out yet. Your kids are a little more advanced that my Ducky. I’d swap you, but he’s finally broken in.

  5. Mom

    Wait! Have you thought to try tying Chickie’s eyeglass temples together with the broken shoelaces? I’ll bet it can be done quite successfully. Of course there’s the one temple piece that’s gone missing, but I’ll bet that a popsicle stick [appropriately broken] would do the job nicely. And, needless to say, don’t tell Chickie that it was my suggestion. Hehe.

    The Other Grandma – of three, at last count…

  6. Patricia

    Monkey and my boy must have kindred shoe spirits — I literally bought him a pair less than a month ago and I can the backside of leather! Now I need to figure out where I can lay in a supply of tennis shoes. And it isn’t like a 2 year old’s feet grow or anything — Mama needs shoes too ya know — please don’t spend my WHOLE shoe budget on the boy.

    I should focus on socks, right?

  7. Kristi

    Please keep all chocolate and peanut butter treats away from me, especially Nutter Butters and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. My kids don’t even know they exist, that is how quickly they disappear in my presence.

  8. Em

    I enjoy the letter I get from the oil company in August that says, “If you can pay for all of your oil for the whole winter up front, we’ll give you a huge discount. Lets see how much – based on what you used last year, carry the 7, multiply by a million, – can you come up with $1700 in 3 weeks? No? Ok, then you can just spend $4000 on a tank by tank basis.” Plus, in August I have a hard time believing that it will ever be cold again. Hey, I’ve only been here 30 years. We’re bound to have a mild one at some point, right?

  9. ben

    Forget the pants, we need video of the fabulous rear-shaking victory dance.

    Just sayin’

  10. shannon

    Asstastic pants are a must. You can never leave a pair on the rack once you have found them. If you do, the pant gods will smite you and smite you good…

  11. DebR

    Your so-called budget billing arrangement with the oil company sounds just like my so-called budget billing arrangement with the electric company.

    If the idea of budget billing is to budget your money and not have extra-huge bills during certain months, how the heck does having a settle-up month in which you owe $$$ because they didn’t charge enough the other months make sense?? And when I tried to pay a little extra each month last year, they’d just adjust my next month’s payment down so that it came out “even”….until the settle-up month when I owed about three months worth. Aaaarrrggghhh!!!

    I need a Nutty Buddy.

  12. Latte Man

    I have similar issues with both the electric company AND my Oil Company.

    I started paying the Oil Company extra, and I was terminiated from the plan for not following guidlines.

    I had similar problems to DebR with the Electric Company but just ignore the “adjusted” payment and pay the flat amount that I decide each month.

    Since my 5 y.o. has apparently inherited her mothers “shoe gene” she always seems to have 4 to 5 pairs of sneakers in her rotation so she is never really wears out any one pair completely.

  13. Lily

    I have the SAME thing going on with my kiddo’s shoe laces. Or should I say HE has the same thing going on.

    I started to buy yet ANOTHER pair of shoe laces the other day… only to look inside the shoe to find the waffle-patterned shoe architecture right there. Just, you know, wearing his way through from the inside out I guess.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked him, “What DO you do to your shoe laces?” Within a week they have lost the ends and it only takes three weeks to form a knot, and from there it’s All Deteriorate, All the Time.

    Phew – I am so glad to know it’s not just my little DARLING!

  14. Brenda

    I bought the velcro closure and pull on shoes as long as possible. My oldest is now wearing men’s size 9, so I can’t find any shoes without laces, but my younger one still wears a 3.

    As a result, my children’s ability to tie their shoes is limited, but I hate replacing laces and retying shoes. Somehow, they manage to even work the laces loose after I’ve knotted them.

    Any pants that make your ass look awesome are a must buy!

  15. osteff

    I am with you on the Balanced Meals and New Sneakers.

    Multivitamins and junk food is cheaper.

    And super glue for shoe repair is under-rated!

  16. Mary

    Oh my, I am so with you on the Ann Taylor pants. I love the fact they’re a size smaller than all of my other pants. That’s smart thinking on Ann Taylor’s part. Very smart.

    I get mine at the outlet store and they’re worth every bit of the $15.99 they usually cost.

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