The buck stops here

(Published in the New Waterford Community Press, March 20, 2009)

Now, I don’t got a lot of money, but I always consider myself sort of an investment expert. I’m a fan of the quick buck, the easy buck, and I always make sure I get my two cents’ worth.

The trick with bein’ a successful investor is to make money doin’ somethin’ ya like. So the other week there, little Rosie comes home from school with a couple of spelling tests she done, and she got 100 on all of them.

Holy cripes, I says to myself. Rosie’s probably smart enough to be the first person in our whole family tree go to university. Well that ain’t cheap, so I got to thinkin’ about ways I could make some money to save for her.

Now a lot of fellas might go out and get a job, or they might to talk to someone at a bank or something. But see, I’m all about workin’ smarter instead of workin’ harder. So I put my noggin to it and here’s what I came up with –

I’ll drink more beer.

Now you’re probably thinkin’ what my lovely wife Minnie thought when she seen me comin’ home for the third night in a row with a big case of beer to watch the hockey game. What in the hell do you think you’re doin?

Well, I tells her, pointin’ at a tobacco can I put on top of the fridge. The more beer I drink, the more bottles we have to return, and the more bottles we return, the more money we’ll get, and the more money we get the more we can put in the tobacco can for Rosie’s college education.

Minnie wasn’t so enthusiastic about my investment scheme. She’s one of these people who thinks that hard work pays off and you should always eat your vegetables and all that kinda stuff. She sees it as $20 a night on a case of beer and a drunk husband passed out in the living room – I see it as making a little girl’s dream come true.

But every time I get the opportunity, I try to educate Minnie a little bit about
finances. Don’t get me wrong, now, she handles all our money and pays all our bills and figures out whether we can get groceries or oil – she’s real good at that stuff – but I mean comin’ up with ways to make a buck.

For example, one night I come out to the kitchen during a commercial in the
hockey game and there’s Minnie with stacks of grocery store flyers all over the table, snippin’ away with the scissors, cuttin’ out the coupons.

There’s some great deals on this week, she says. We’ll save $5 at the Lo-foods alone.

Minnie, dear, I says to her, did you ever hear of a cost-of-your-benefits analysis? (I seen this mentioned on one of them get-rich-quick infomercials on late at night.) See, you think you’re savin’ money, but you’re actually costin’ yourself money sittin’ here clippin’ these coupons.

She sighs and shakes her head. And how’s that now, Captain Moneybags?

Well, see, it probably took you – what – a good half hour to go through them flyers and clip them coupons. Now, what’s a good wage? Let’s say a good job would pay ya twelve bucks an hour. Well in half an hour at that job, you’d make six bucks. But here you are, clippin’ coupons in the same amount of time to “save” five bucks. Really, you’re costin’ yourself a dollar.

I noticed her knuckles were turnin’ white grippin’ the scissors, so I went back in the room as she was yellin it only took her five minutes to do it and besides, where the hell somebody would get a job that paid $12 an hour to clip coupons?

Same thing with loose change. You can save a lot of money with loose change by just throwin’ it away. I saves my quarters for Tim Horton’s, but if it’s anything smaller than a quarter, I just chuck it right in the garbage.

Minnie comes in one day and sees me drop a handful of change into the
garbage can in the kitchen. What are you doing?? she yells at me.

But I calmly explained to her that loose change is the biggest scam there is. It’s just a big scam by the banks to get people to do their work for them. She looks at me like I got ten heads.

Think about it, I says to her. Let’s say ya got pennies to roll. You gotta count out FIFTY pennies before you then take the time to put them in a roller and tape it up or fold it over. Do you know how long it takes to count to fifty? Let’s say it takes 10 minutes. Now see, if you make $12 an hour, that means you make $2 every ten minutes, right? So really, you wasted two bucks worth of time to make yourself 50 cents.

She stormed out mutterin’ somethin’ and kicked the clothes basket in the
doorway.

And if ya worked at a bank doin’ the same thing, they’d pay ya even more than $12 an hour, I said, but by then she wasn’t listening.

I felt kinda bad for tickin’ her off because I needed to get more money from her so I could buy more beer for Rosie’s education fund. But one thing about me, buddy, is I know when not to go too far, so I didn’t bother askin’ Minnie at all, with the mood she was in.

Instead, I took the tobacco can off the top of the fridge and counted out just
enough loonies for me to get another case of beer. Because let’s face it – you gotta spend money to make money.

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