OK, I think I have been pretty good about not whining or complaining about the state of my personal economics; I also know that I have been really consistent in allowing that, despite the hard times, I am fortunate enough to be doing OK compared to so many out there. But, I got to admit that all the recent talk of reducing entitlements and increasing taxes plus the rising costs of, well, everything from car insurance to potato chips, scared me right into conjuring up a budget. So, last evening, instead of sitting on the porch and admiring the heap of rusted scrap at the end of my yard, my hedge against inflation, I sat down to apply economic theory to my own little nut, if you get my drift.
I will admit right from the start that I am a poor handler of money; if I got it, I spend it; if I don’t got it, I don’t spend it. For years I never carried more than a dollar anywhere. If I had a dollar when I set out in the morning, no matter where I headed, I spent a dollar before I got back home. If I left with ten dollars, I got home broke, just the same. I am such a wastrel that my fiscal restraint had to be not to carry any money any where, any time. But I guess I am like most of you when it comes to balancing a budget, if I ain’t got enough, I have to use something cheaper or quit buying completely. So, I took a look: gots to have car insurance and shopping around revealed that all companies were exactly the same price despite my driving a car that is ten years old and truck that is 29; gots to have electricity and despite deregulation I gots to buy it from DPL; gots to have gasoline and except when Sam’s Club occasionally losses its head, the price of gas is exactly the same no matter where I buy gas; you know where this is headed, right. You did all this yourself, right? There’s so much that I need to pay for over which I have no control that I had to take another tack to working out a way to balance the ins and outs of my economy.
I can’t enter the free market for electricity so I will lower the thermostat from 66 to 64 which ought to save me at least 4 or 5 dollars a month; I can’t do a damn thing about gasoline; despite an economy in dereliction, the price of that stuff has moved right on up. To work things out, I figure I can cut down on travel. The only place I go is to golf and to Sam’s, that’s it. Gots to eat so I cut golf, as of today, down to once a week. This will cut my gas bill by 66 percent unless I get bored and take to driving the roads looking for aluminum cans. I smoke the cheapest cigars that are rolled by hand, less than a buck a piece, but I can switch to machine made for about fifty cents a smoke, a savings of two dollars and fifty cents a week. I could just quit but then I might take up the drink again, one crutch for another; you know how that works, and the booze costs me way more than a couple of bucks a day. White Owls for me from now on. I was spending 6.88 at Sam’s for Diet Dr. Pepper but gave that up for Shasta Diet Cola which runs 6 dollars for 24 but they are 16 ouncers, a good deal all around. Problem is going to Dollar Tree to save bucks with Shasta puts me right in the middle of a store which sells Good and Plenty and Twizzlers Black and Whoppers for a buck and now, Good Humor, too, for a buck. But a guy has to tough it out; as of today, I will use Dollar Tree only or paper essentials, diet sodas, and deodorant- no more candy. Cutting candy’s a biggie, by the way, probably about 40 bucks a month. Other than eliminating candy, I can’t do much with the food budget; I currently eat so much Sam’s 4.98 roasted chicken that when I fart I look to see if I laid an egg.
Cutting out and reducing all this little stuff adds up for sure, but one huge budgetary move has to happen; I have to cut loose from the cable television service to which I am fondly tethered. There is no escaping it; I have had the coupons for digital converters for over a year; cable has gone up just like car and home insurance more than 20 percent in the last 18 months ; Joe Scarborough has swung back to being a redundant, blow-hard; I can read a book instead of watching movies. However, I have not had the guts to call Comcast to see what keeping only high-speed-internet will cost; I know cable subscriptions have declined for the first time ever, suspect Comcast knows how hooked I am on speed for the net, and am afraid I will blow a brain- gasket when it wants to charge me more than 60 percent of my current bill to keep cable even though I am cutting two thirds of the service. But as of today, I am going to do it; I am turning in all the boxes and remotes. I am going to save a plethora of bucks with this move: I wish I were not such a poltroon about it.
And so it goes with balancing the national budget: fools, who say that we don’t have to mess with earmarks because they are such a pitifully small percentage of debt, are fools. Remember what daddy used to say: a hundred pennies make a dollar and finding a hundred places to save a billion saves a hundred billion, pure and simple. And surely, all over the government bureaucrats and politicians can quit using stuff and hundreds of millions will add, up there too (I am going to hate admitting even parenthetically to a momentary admiration for John Boehner when I heard this morning that he is going to NOT use military jets to travel to and from home but will fly commercial instead). But to effect a real change in our national budget, our leaders need to throw off their poltroonery and suck it up: chop some fat from sacred cows plus bring in more revenue. That’s what I am going to do; on the way to drop off the cable apparatus, I am going to drop off my resume at Wal-Mart.
Title by ABC