Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I had the pleasure of paying $1.37 per litre for gasoline today. As one is pumping liquid gold into their 12 year old inefficient minivan, one gets to thinking. Not a lot of thinking time, mind you, as it doesn't take long to pump $30 worth of gas.

And I thought that the time has come for a bit of economizing.

I've been on quite a few 'money stretching' websites, all promising to help me get out of debt and actually have a savings account by reusing my coffee filters. I'm all for stretching a dollar, but I'm not convinced that reusing a 1 cent coffee filter three times will allow me to retire in Florida.

I think I do pretty well feeding, clothing and sheltering a family of 6 on one income. We eat way too many hotdogs and boxes of macaroni and cheese, and way too little steak if one was to ask my husband, but on the whole, all the basic food groups are met each day. But between the rising gas prices and the increased cost of food lately, it's time to draw up another 'list'....the Mahoney Economiser.

1. Milk

I shocked the family last shopping day by informing them I would no longer be buying so much milk. We've been going through 5 gallons a week. I told everyone I was only purchasing 3 gallons on my Friday shopping day, and if we ran out before then, I was not going to be buying more. They looked at me like I had just grown a goiter on my neck.

But numbers talk. $3.89 is the cheapest I can purchase a gallon of milk out in these parts. So when I told them that we're spending $77.80 a month for milk, practically 1/5 of our grocery budget, it began to sink in. The lesson being that we're probably going to be without milk in the house for 2 days a week, but everyone around here knows to step away from the crazy lady spewing numbers out her goiter.

2. Hot Water

This family likes to be way too clean. Patrick's the only one doing his part on this one and we can all stand to take note of his valiant efforts to use as little hot water as possible. Some 'green' person on the radio was going on about how his family uses a timer to make sure everyone only takes 5 minute showers. That got me to thinking. I was thinking that's really stupid. A hot shower is about as close as I'll ever come to a spa treatment in my lifetime, and I'm not willing to give that up yet. I think I'm going to leave this one to Patrick.

3. Children

Ha...who am I kidding.

4. Entertainment

We will no longer be renting movies. With the start of warm weather, we are now going to set up our lawn chairs on the front lawn and watch a movie through the neighbour's window on his big screen tv.

5. Holidays

I think we may have to postpone our 2 month trip to Europe. Oh, wait, that's my alter ego's life. Sigh. This year we're planning on driving far enough away from home so when our vehicle breaks down on the highway, it makes for a great story. 'Cause us Griswolds don't have enough of those. I have no idea how that's economizing, but, hey, it may be another great chapter in my future best seller.

6. The Minivan

I shall drive the hunk of purple metal until it will go not a metre farther. I shall resist all shiny ads coyly displaying beautiful 7 seater passenger vehicles. I will not be swayed by the words 'sto and go' and 'working radio'. I will only drive it when reallllly needed, and tell myself this is to save money on gas, not to lower my carbon emissions, 'cause I'm really not into that. And for all you greeners out there, don't bother leaving me nasty comments about how I don't care about my children's future. After you have convinced all the wealthy and famous people to stop flying their private jets to some far away island 6 times a year and close up some wings in their fancy mansions, you can get back to me.

I'd love to hear about other people's economizing strategies. I'm all ears and a goiter.

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