Relative Savings

Ever thrifty, but especially so during these recent recession years, my wife and I have paid attention to a variety of TV shows, classes, and web sites offering advice for reducing utility and grocery bills.  You’ve seen them–they promise to give you secret tips to cut yours bills in half, or some such thing.

However, we quickly became fairly jaded on any such concept after finding, time and again, that the amazing savings, the rock bottom level of spending that these clever tips and skills could offer, this budget boon due to paring away frivolity to a bare bones lifestyle and/or one devoted to cutting corners…still resulted in expenses that exceeded what we were already spending. 

Honestly, some of the items we ran across made claims such as, “With our revolutionary approach to budgeting and bills, we can cut your grocery costs all the way down to a mere, skeletal $1000 a month!”  I don’t think I’m revealing anything terribly personal by confessing that the Huston family spends significantly less than that on our monthly groceries as it is.  The big, scary question here, of course, is, if there’s a market for telling people how to get their grocery bills down to $1000 a month, how much are they spending now

But what this implies about our society’s idea of thrift, and what constitutes cutting back in our eyes, is far scarier still.  I’m reminded of the old Simpsons episode where Homer abuses his company’s medical insurance so he can get some hair restoring tonic.  When his boss, Mr. Burns, finds out about how Homer had bilked him, Burns cries out in frustration, “Blast his hide to Hades!  And I was going to buy that ivory back scratcher!” 

Alas, the recession: fewer ivory back scratchers for America.

3 comments on “Relative Savings

  1. Yeah, I’m a big fan of those tips like stop eating out three times a week, limit yourself to one Starbuck’s per day, stop paying for premium cable channels etc. Umm, yeah. Like I was doing any of that.

  2. I’m half Scotts and half Jewish; 100% cheap. My wife and I love those articles “100 ways to save money”. However, they never seem to reach the true apex of frugality: washing and reusing ziplock bags.

  3. Ditto. There are people who can use the “advice” to reduce their monthly furniture purchases?? For me, the frightening thing about reducing the budget for America’s ivory back scratchers isn’t that it will be long and difficult for the nation as a whole, but that cuts will imposed on everyone without regard to starting level, with the expectation of the back scratcher crowd that if they can cut their spending in half, so can those who are already getting by with cardboard in their shoes or for whom a $1,000 grocery bill is for four months rather than one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s