David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Money-Saving Tips

March 2005:  At the end of the road.  Eventually, the columns were perceived to be undermining the scholarly intent of WCAC/QuAAC.  By this point, my role as comic punching bag for Gary was starting to wear thin.  We also probably could have used a tighter editing job.

Nevertheless, RIP WCAC and QuAAC.

WCAC/QuAAC Corner: In for a penny...

David Fleming, division chair, English, communications and humanities

Gary Franchy, division chair, math

 

Dave: Gary, you scoundrel! You tricked me with that "double the penny" payment plan!

Gary: I take you for over 20 million dollars and the best you can do is "scoundrel?"

Dave: This is a family show.

Gary: Relax, Skippy, I never cashed your checks. It's wrong to take advantage of the mathematically impaired.

Dave: You never cashed my checks! Oh, thank heavens.  Do you have any idea what you put me through?  By the time the third week ended I had refinanced my house and taken other drastic measures.

Gary: You didn't, by chance, send that anonymous question about life insurance?

Dave: No.

Gary: How's your wife?

Dave: Fine, why do you ask?

Gary: No reason.  So what were these "drastic measures?"

Dave: I started cutting my own hair.

Gary: You mean you were actually PAYING someone, before?!!!

Dave: Yes.

Gary: Well, that's one bet I just lost.  Just where did you get a hare-brained idea like that?

Dave: I found the following sites when I Googled for saving money tips:

Stretcher.com

Bankrate.com

You wouldn't believe how much money I made by following their suggestion to sell my wife's wedding gown!

Gary: Uh, Dave, did you ASK Pix???

Dave: It's not like she can still wear it, and if she ever can, again, I'll be happy to buy her a new one.

Gary: [shaking head]...big mistake. Do the words "family heirloom" mean anything to you? The moment you let something like that go, the relatives will forever refer to it as a "museum piece!"

Dave: Well, I figured it's not like our son will want to wear it on his wedding day...

Gary: Let's move on. What else are you doing to save money?

Dave: I am going to neuter our new puppy myself.

Gary: There's a website that suggested that?!!!

Dave: Nope, that one's all mine.

Gary: No doubt.  How about the other things they actually suggested?

Dave: I drive around looking for the best deal on gasoline.  The other day I saved 10 cents a gallon compared to the gas stations on my way to work.  Can't beat that!

Gary: Did you drive around for a while looking for that cheap gas, Dave?

Dave: Yeah, what's your point?

Gary: In a moment, would it be fair to say that your car gets 20 mpg in the city?

Dave: Yes.

Gary: 15-gallon gas tank?

Dave: Sure.

Gary: OK.  20 mpg means you use 1/20th of a gallon of gas for each mile you drive.

Dave: Right.

Gary: Well, at $1.60 per gallon it costs you 8 cents per mile.

Dave: I finally got you, Gary!  I paid $1.80 per gallon!  You were going to try to use a cheaper gas price to make me look bad, but I'm on to you.  You are going to redo you math to reflect what I actually paid.

Gary: That's right, Dave, you finally got me. So at $1.80 per gallon, it now costs you 9 cents per mile.

Dave: Doh!

Gary: So if you saved 10 cents per gallon and filled your tank completely, you saved $1.50.

Dave: I know I'm going to regret this, but my tank was still half full when I filled it.

Gary: Then you only saved 75 cents. Now, as long as you didn't go more than 8 miles out of your way, you still may have saved money.

Dave: Finally, good news.  The place I went to was just 5 miles off my route.

Gary: Was that 5 miles total, or was it another 5 miles back to your route.

Dave: Doh!

Gary: Plus, there is a reason the IRS allows the 37.5 cents per mile allowance; it accounts for wear and tear, maintenance, and the other expenses involved in operating an automobile.

Dave: I suddenly feel very sad.

Gary: Not to mention the old adage: "Time is money."  I figure the extra driving was at least 20 minutes; at minimum wage, that's another couple bucks.

Dave: Do you have a Kleenex I could borrow?

Gary: Borrow?  No.  Keep?  Yes.  And even if you don't factor in those last couple dollars, which was time you could have spent with your family instead.

Dave: Would you like to hear some of the other things I did to save money?

Gary: I can take a hint.

Dave: I'm using mayonnaise for shaving cream. In fact, I now use it for hand lotion, hair conditioner, squeaky door hinges, shoe polish, hairball remedy for the cat, furniture polish and other uses I won't mention here. It's saving me a bundle!

Gary: {under breath} And it explains plenty.

Dave: Huh?

Gary: Nothing.

Dave: I've also started keeping a diary of household expenses, to see where the money goes. There were some big surprises, let me tell you. I'm going to see if Davenport will pay for me to get a degree from a beauty college, so I can do my wife's nails.

Gary: I'm not sure that's the type of higher degree the University meant, Dave, but good luck. I've kept an expense dairy for quite some time, too.  In my home, it's the incredibly expensive Atkins Diet that's killing us: Shrimp, steak, radicchio lettuce, Royal Blue Stilton cheese...

Dave: I've got the answer to that one, Gary: squirrel.

Gary: Squirrel???!!!

Dave: Sure! I learned this back in West Virginia, it's versatile and delicious; plus you don't even have to leave your backyard.

Gary: But what if I can't convince the rest of the family on the merits of consuming this endearing rodent for dinner?

Dave: Have you tried "Butchery Clearance Item: Note Expired Time Date?"

Gary: Um, no.  Anything else?

Dave: I did have another friend who told me about a really cheap way to do Atkins. You find a carb-loving friend who's had a heart attack or two, and have lunch with them. When they order pizza, you express concern about the meat and cheese, and denude their pizza, leaving them their healthy Heart Smart pizza. Everyone wins, and they never notice you ate for free.

Gary: I'll have to remember that.  By the way, do you find your quality of life reduced from following all those money saving tips?  For example, what would you do about your annual vacation?

Dave: Instead of going to a warm, sunny resort, I'm telling Pix that this year I'd like to stay in the backyard, and RENEW OUR WEDDING VOWS!!! With any luck at all, I'll get away with a "vacation" for the price of a backyard barbeque, a dozen roses, and a night at the Red Roof Inn we stayed at during our original honeymoon, which was all we could afford at the time. And the irony is - I'll still be her Hero!

Gary: You sell her wedding gown and then renew your vows over barbequed wings?  Sorry, ladies, he's taken.

Dave: What did I tell you about breaking the fourth wall?

Gary: I'm sorry, Mr. "This is a family show."  What was I thinking?  But speaking of the fourth wall, you said that you refinanced your house?

Dave: Yes.  Is this going to be a repeat of me driving out of my way for gas?

Gary: I sure hope not.  Did you get a better interest rate?

Dave: Yes, I lowered it by a full percentage point.  Is that the biggest thing people should consider?

Gary: It's one of the biggest.  Besides a better interest rate, what other money issues did you discuss with your broker?

Dave: I had her calculate how long it would take for my 'savings' to pay for the refinancing costs. 

Gary: Excellent!  If you were planning on moving in the very near future, it's possible to spend more than you would save.

Dave: She said it would take about a year and I don't plan on moving anytime soon.

Gary: OK, so you're staying for a while, but for how long and what were the terms of both the new and old loans.

Dave: I'm not sure what does that have to do with anything, but I'll probably move in about five years.  The old mortgage was a 30-year with 20 years to go and the new mortgage is also for 30 years.

Gary: If you were going to stay in this house indefinitely, then instead of making your final house payment in 2024, you will now make it in 2034.

Dave: Egads! That's 10 extra years of payments!

Gary: But that's only if you were going to stay there for the next 30 years, and you said that you will move long before that.

Dave: I would have never thought of the last one.

Gary: Most people don't, and considering that the current national average for the time people live in a house is roughly six years, it's usually not an issue.

Dave: Thanks for everything, Gary, and best of all I'll get to keep all this money I've saved.

Gary: Great, and I'll take $500 you originally offered me.

Dave: You're a true fiend.

Gary: You have no idea. Hey, you forget the "r" in "friend."    Dave?     Dave?

 

[Note: Mr. Franchy is not a certified financial planner or licensed mortgage broker.  The examples contained within are for illustrative purposes only.  We recommend that you seek professional help if you were tempted to ask Gary for financial advice]