Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Frugal is as frugal does

Today (the day I'm writing this post, not necessarily the day you're reading it) is the 54th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, and I have not heard a single mention of it on the telly or wireless (translation for American readers: television or radio). Plenty of stuff about Judge Roy Moore and Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Rose and the death of David Cassidy (a.k.a. Keith Partridge) and the pardoning of a Thanksgiving turkey by the current pardoner-in-chief, but nothing at all about The Day That Apparently Will Not Live In Infamy.

Moving right along....

Our household expenses have become a little lower lately, and I thought I would share the reasons with you.

1. Our monthly telephone bill hovered around $170 USD per month for some time, and part of the reason was that it included monthly payments on two Apple iPhones and an additional line for an Android G-pad. I saved $12 per month by de-activating the G-pad line since I wasn't using it all that much, and I saved (if you can call it that) another $22 per month when one of the iPhones was finally paid in full (it took only 30, count 'em, 30 months). So now our monthly telephone bill has dropped to $136 per month. In only another two or three years the other iPhone will be paid for as well and the telephone bill will drop again. I am pleased, but I have no idea whether our bill is in the high, medium, or low range as telephone bills go. Let me know what you think.

2. We had been paying $48 per quarter for once-a-week trash and garbage removal and use of a 95-gallon wheeled cart to roll it out to the curb. A couple of years ago the bill rose to $51 per quarter because I requested a second, smaller (65 gallon) cart from the company to recycle glass, metal, paper, and cardboard. Last year the company increased their rate to $54 quarterly (just because they could, citing rising costs at their end), while simultaneously notifying all customers that glass would no longer be accepted for recycling as it had become non-profitable. Pay more and get less, as it were. I hope I'm not boring you. Anyhoo, last week we received the latest bill from the trash removal and recycling people in the amount of $69.95 for the coming quarter (Nov. 1st through Jan. 31st). Turns out that the old company has been purchased by a new company that will charge $54.95 quarterly for trash removal plus $15.00 quarterly for recycling. I did what any right-thinking payer of household bills would do. I called up the company and cancelled recycling and told them to pick up their 65-gallon cart posthaste. Henceforth the recyclable stuff will go in the plastic bags with the garbage, some of which is bio-degradable and some not, but that doesn't matter one whit when it all goes into non-biodegradable plastic bags and put into a landfill. I will save $5.00 each month (times three months in a quarter equals $15 per quarter -- I was always good at math) simply by rejecting their price rise.

I could think of some more savings, but you get the picture. Thirty-nine dollars ($39.00) per month, which would have come to $468 per year, now remains in our household budget. I'm sure the environmental people will not be pleased, but I'm determined to be impervious to their criticism.

Perhaps it is a case of "penny wise, pound foolish" as we also have a new bill of $250 per month for the next year and a half as I attempt to pay to the hospital the portion of their ministrations to me last summer that our vaunted Medicare Advantage (ha!) health plan did not cover.

One step forward and two steps back.

It was ever thus.

And so it goes (and goes, and goes).

I close with what both Ephraim Levi and Horace Van Der Gelder said to Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly!: "Money, you should pardon the expression, is like manure. It doesn't do any good unless you spread it around."


  1. I had no idea that you were drifting into abject poverty, needing to severely tighten the household purse strings. I have looked online for a place where I can make a donation. Have you set up a suitable charity website? It's just that I haven't found it yet.

  2. I read a lot about President Kennedy's assassination in the news that I read online. I guess we use different links.

    1. Ouch. I paid for a less expensive snart phone. My bill is $35.00 per month. I thought that was high.

    2. Our rates for garbage renewal went up to $18.00 per month as did our water. Don't even ask about the lights.

    It feels good to save a little.