It's me again, back with more end-of-the-year common sense saving tips for these uncommon economic times. Last year I gave you ten tips to help you pull yourself up by your own suspenders. But since things have gotten much worse and you've already sold those suspenders, I've got a bunch of new tips that can help even the tightest belt tightener bring it in another notch. Here goes:
Home Maintenance: Go Hermetic In last year's column I showed how caulking those leaky windows could cut your heating bill in half. But now that your heat has been shut off entirely and utility companies won't even return your phone calls, it's time to get serious and completely stop the air exchange with the outside world. A sheet of quarter-inch plywood nailed to the window frame and stuffed with landfill-found insulation will make things a little darker but a whole lot warmer!
Exercise: Just Churn It Ok, so you've cancelled that gym membership just like I told you to but now you've had to go and sell your bicycle and your free weights on eBay. Why not take the money you earned from that downsizing and buy yourself a butter and cheese churn? GoAmish.com is now offering great deals on a wide selection of hand-crafted dairy vessels one of which lets you set the difficulty level from smooth and creamy spreads to wrist-wrenching Roquefort. For every calorie you burn you'll create ten more with your churn.
Make Your Mental Health Care a Team Sport It's tough staying emotionally stable nowadays and many of you bridled at my suggestion that you trade in your one-on-one-$150-a-session-Ph.D.-accredited-shrink for a $50-per session group therapist. Hah, how times change! With a fifty dollar bill now as scarce as a snow leopard, it's time to go one step further with Dr. Vivian Schwartzbloom and her Team Scrimmage Psychotherapy Conflict Resolution Symposia. Using a unique combination of Freudian, Adlerian and Primal Scream approaches, Dr. Schwartzbloom pits as many as eight therapy groups against one another in a no-holds-barred collision of id and ego. And at only $10 a session you'll find more emotional fireworks per unit of expenditure than anything you've encountered -- on or off the couch.
Algae It's high in Omega 3 fatty acids. It's unicellular. It grows in a bathtub. Need I say more?
Mortgage Relief: The Final Solution I know, that mortgage is a downer. And even though last year I showed how renting out a room to a subletter could help bring a monthly payment down to size, that's still not enough. Your mortgage is now worth twice as much as your house and frankly, who cares whether you pay it or not? What you've got to do is get rid of your mortgage altogether. And the only way to really do that effectively is to fake your own death. If you cover your tracks well enough that irritating subletter I convinced you to take in last year might just be left holding the bill.
Night Out, Old School So you've done what I told you and swapped "dinner for two" for a cheaper "meet for a drink" date option. Still finding ends don't meet? What about crack cocaine? "But that was for poor people in the 80s!" you say. Not so. Crack cocaine gives a quick delivery "classic" hard-burst high that never goes out of style. Cheaper per shot than many hard alcohols and more socially acceptable than crystal meth, crack offers the added bonus of a high intensity "crash out" minutes after snorting that stops an expensive night-on-the-town cold in its tracks.
Live-in Bulk Last time I suggested that buying bulk foods at extreme wholesalers like Costco can shave dozens of dollars off your weekly grocery bill. But after you've gone to the trouble of staging your own death and dumping your mortgage, it might make sense to use a bulk seller for both your dietary and housing needs. Instead of buying the 48-ounce Skippy peanut butter container I mentioned last time, why not consider Costco's generic 70,000-ounce "Maxi Nut"? Turned on its side and emptied of peanut butter, the Maxi is a watertight sleeping unit that can be rolled to any number of vacant lots.