Sunday, April 3, 2011

FRUGAL OR CHEAP: We Report, You Decide!

Ben Franklin was truly a wise man.  He has blessed the nation over centuries with such wisdom as this:

"Lost time is never found again"

"Any fool can critize, condemn and complain and most fools do"

"A man wrapped up in himself makes a small package".

He also said "A PENNY SAVED IS A PENNY EARNED"  This is a follow-up on my recent blog on THE BEST INVESTMENT:  It Ain't Gold!

The current print media and talk shows all speak of today's high prices and of the great probability that they will get even higher.  Well-to-do folks can assorb the price increases, those less well-to-do must make some hard decisions.  I understand both groups.  When I earned more in a month than I now make in a year, costs were not all that important, even with major purchases.

 I've called up a car dealership and told them to deliver me a new Lincoln Towncar to my office at 4:00PM that day without even discussing the price.  Today we shop dilgently for a low mileage, used Lincoln like this one. We still pay cash.

I also understand the time constraints of some highly successful, working people.  They have money, they don't have time.  BEEN THERE, DONE THAT!  My daughter, Kimberly, is just such a person.  A couple weeks ago she sounded about like this lady looks!

During the 27 years that I was an Industrial Manager, with 24/7 responsibility for hundreds of employes and a fortune in controllable costs, I always kept at least one business, with employees, on the side.  That was before I "jumped from the frying pan into the fire" and became a stock broker, I was always taking studies at the University of Akron or else where.  And, I ALWAYS REMEMBERED THAT MY FAMILY CAME FIRST.  And, whether it was Church, Rotary Club or Scouts, I always made time to serve my community.

I really do understand time constraints that make "A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned" seem unrealistic or of less importance.  This is not a situation that most people face today, however, and even more may face in the potential upcoming world economic melt down.  The current distorted price items are oil, food and health items.

What can one possibly do about oil?  Well, at the very least you can locate the lowest price and buy it there.  Of course, you must plan the purchase while you are in the vicinity of the low price gas otherwise you can use up more than the savings just driving to the cheap station.  Julie filled her car today while we shopped at Sam's paying $3.56 a gallon, a $55 purchase.  Expensive but gas everywhere else was $3.79. 

What can one do about the high cost of medications.  Julie and I both use a lot of prescription medicine.  We like a local CVS drug store where we get excellent service from a friend of long standing.  My oldest grand daughter even manages a CVS.  Albeit, when CVS recently decided to stop "Price Matching" the costs of our medicine, after Julie "shopped" four drug stores, we transferred our prescriptions across the street to Acme where the prices are half, or less than CVS.  IT IS OUR MONEY!

Food, however, is the elephant in the room, the 800 pound gorilla if you please. What can one do about food.  SHOP, SHOP AND SHOP SOME MORE!

Understand, we do not run from store-to-store looking for bargains.  Even we do not have the time, or interest, for doing that.  We do watch the ads in the weekly flyers that come to our home.  Eggs for $0.99 instead of $1.59.  Grapes for $0.79 a pound instead of $2.49.  We keep a list of our needs and each week look to match this up with lower prices.

AND, I MUST ADD, WE NEVER SACRIFICE QUALITY FOR PRICE.
Conside our savings this week:

ITEM                                     REGULAR PRICE       WE PAID
Maxwell House Coffee                      $7.99                    4.99
Green Grapes                                    2.49#                  0.79#
Danish                                               4.98                    1.98
Golden Delicious Apples                      3.99                    1.49
Canned Peaches                                 1.89                    1.00
Yellow Onions                                    2.49                    1.49
Bread                                                2.29                    1.00
Eggs                                                  1.59                    0.99
Mussels                                             6.99                    2.99
Salad Mix                                          2.49                    1.09
Green Peppers                                   5.19                    1.14
Whole Ham                                      47.31                  21.66
                                                        _____                 _____
TOTAL...................................$89.61..............$49.08

YOU MIGHT NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT A CONCISE COMPARISON!  For example, above is quoted the price per pound of grapes, while several pounds of grapes were purchased, or a price per can of coffee when actually four cans were purchased, all making the savings even more.

NONE-THE-LESS, IT IS OBVIOUS THAT WE ARE REDUCING OUR FOOD COSTS BY MORE THAN HALF.  And, this does not include the security of having the food on hand, or the transportation expense of going for single items.

We shopped from four stores, all within a five minute drive of home, Acme, Giant Eagle, Aldies and Save-a-Lot.  IF YOU CONSIDER YOUR TOTAL FOOD COSTS, YOU MIGHT MAKE MORE FOR THE TIME YOU SPEND SAVING FOOD COSTS THAN YOU DO FOR THE SAME TIME WORKING.

THINK ABOUT THAT, FOLKS!

You might be thinking that you'd never buy all this for a week.  WELL, NEITHER DO WE.  We do  not need coffee.  We still have six cans on the shelf.  But, the price was right and we replaced 4 cans we have  used since our last purchase.  We may not buy any more for a year.  Julie uses peaches for Peach Cobbler and I bake Peach Pies.  We have peaches but the price was right and we bought 20 cans.  The mussels?  Well, they are frozen and down the road we will be doing another Sea Food Buffet and we will have them on hand.

WE ALWAYS LOOK FOR BARGAINS!  When we go to Sam's Club the first place we head is for the Mark Down Bins.  Our children love to tease us about Sam's.  We have made some great purchases in these Mark Down Bins, some of them major items.

We faithfully check fresh meats, as Julie is doing here.  Some bargains here are beyond belief.  Consider today's Rack of Lamb bargain.  Look at these packages, nearly the same size, side-by-side in the same cooler.  One costs $26.95 and the other marked down to $12.06  We are not lamb people but consider the savings.

BOOKS!  The Kindle has spoiled me on books, none-the-less, consider the new James Patterson book, "TOYS" for $17.12.  It is probably $26.00 in the book stores.  Uh, $9.00 on Kindle.  HA HA HA.  One more time let me say to my loved ones, Thank you, Thank you and Thank you for my Kindle!

FRUGAL OR A CHEAPSCAPE?  "I report, you decide!"

Keep in mind  however, that I never hesitate to serve lobster tail and crab to a dozen friends at a full Sea Food Buffet, or to pay $100 to a singer to entertain them.  Or to kick out $1,200 or more for Ribs and Chicken in a rented hall for a hundred and more at a hoedown.  Or, to pay $600 for a night at an exclusive B&B for two couples to be our guests.  Won't even go to leasing a beach front Pent House Suite for the month of October for 20 years for family and friends.

AGAIN, CHEAPSCAPE OR FRUGAL, YOU DECIDE?  Foolish?  You may have something there!

Now friends, I know I have "rode this horse" pretty hard.  I WON'T WRITE ON IT AGAIN ANY TIME SOON, I PROMISE.  I just thought that it is very important and, even my loved ones, may not be fully aware of the "number" of pennies they can save/earn.

Take care and God Bless! 

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