Friday, October 7

On Being DINKs and Pennypinchers

DINKs are "Dual Income, No Kids"- type people, for the uninitiated. The Stevensons, for example. These people are supposedly envied the world over by parents, who miss the days where their hard-earned money went to things like movies and alcohol and dining out. Instead of diapers (hello, cloth!) and college savings (who needs it?) and other kid-related expenses. How costly are they, really?

I kid (ha - an unintentional pun!)

And pennypinchers are these otherwordly beings who can control their consumeristic American impulses to buy, buy, buy (so, not the Stevensons). Who take time to clip coupons because it's like the Pittsbugh Post-Gazette is sending free money in the mail. Who know it's ridiculous to buy something that looks homemade and costs $75 when you can actually MAKE the same thing for about $5.

I'm not sure what I'm talking about in that last example - an imaginary wreath, perhaps? Our Rite-Aid one doesn't look homemade, and it wasn't $75. More like $20. But still. How much do DIY wreaths cost?

We in the Stevenson household should be taking advantage of these young, carefree years. Well, we are actually. We are certainly carefree. But we should be taking financial advantage of them, as in saving. Not as in "we have some surplus money left over after paying bills, so let's go out and blow through the rest of it as quickly as possible on things we will eat/drink and/or not need." My mother has always said that money burns a hole in my pocket. And I've always said that just means I have to go out and buy new pants. Right?

I've never actually said that. I am not witty in person, just on paper. And mostly not even then. Stop getting off track, Carrie!!!

I want to become thriftier. Craftier, too. I have a mental image of myself sitting at our kitchen table, twisting gorgeous eucalyptus branches (are there such things?) into a whimsical holiday wreath, perhaps adorning it with a charming little red gingham bow. I'm like Caroline Ingalls, or Anne Shirley, or Martha Stewart. Except not on the prairie, or red-headed, or terrifying.

This mental image is about as accurate and as likely as Kyle whimsically wearing one of those newsboy caps I love.

Oh, Kyle! Oh... no?

Which is to say, not likely at all. The giant leprechaun man does not do whimsy.

The point of this post (I have one, actually) is to publicly state my intention: learn the art of saving.

Remember our change jar method of budgeting? Where we planned to take out a set amount of money each week in cash and survive solely on that? That idea I thought up stole a few months ago?

Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Whew. Sorry. Yeah, we didn't do that. Really, we should try a little harder. But the problem is, I get some sort of saintly glow just from planning to do things like this, and it's enough to carry me through/ delude me into a feeling of accomplishment. Like "I thought about saving money once." POOF! I am a real adult. Thoughts about dieting work much the same.

It just seems like so many things come up every week that are necessary and unavoidable expenses.

For instance, we got fed up with using two hand towels laid on the bathroom floor as a bath mat (welcome to Animal House), so like real grown-ups we buy a bath mat. Except the one we buy is a memory foam bath mat that has "antimicrobial properties." A cushy, perma-clean bathmat? Have you ever heard of such a thing? It's glorious, I tell you. But not exactly a budget-minded bath mat, I suppose. Several things like this come up each week. Perhaps not strictly necessary, but... hand towels? As a bath mat? Come on.

Also, we realized that my husband, who is closer to 30 (I tell him) and closer to upper management (I tell myself) every day, has purchased exactly one suit since college. One. Off the rack, too. I'm giving myself a nosebleed with all this snobbery.

It's a really nice suit, actually, but the guy needs more than one. And his charmingly-earnest-and-poor-college-student suits that put him on the fast track to business prowess in career fairs at Pitt circa 2005 don't quite have the same appeal they did then.

So off we go to Men's Wearhouse two weeks ago (good thing I didn't follow my stuck-up nose to Jos. A Banks or Brooks Brothers) to purchase two brand-spankin' new, tailored suits.

Sweet baby Jesus.

Men pay this much for work clothes? Perhaps the charmingly-earnest-and-poor suits actually looked charmingly-practical-and-modest, now that I think of it...

Anywho, to add to our budgeting woes, we've also joined Costco (remember those beautiful flowers?) and as everyone knows, Costco is a budget-friendly place... where you will, in fact, mysteriously spent much, much more than you ever would shopping at a regular grocery/electronics/home improvement store. On necessities, though. Like flowers.

At least they give you 2 percent back on the total amount you've spent there throughout the year. Which, two months into our membership, looks like approximately $12,540. Not really. It's slightly less.

Look, it's time for the Stevensons to get serious, because all this mindless money-blowing is bad news bears (I've officially crammed two Alexis-isms  into one sentence).

What shall we do? Kyle actually clipped a few coupons last night, so next you'll see us on Coupon Wars, or whatever that new show is. Rather than the old college try, should we give the change jar budgeting method a sort of "last chance to prove you are a real adult" type try?

I crumble under pressure, as anyone who knows me at all is aware, so nothing too scary. I still have to have $10 to myself. For flowers.


  1. I was pretty sure I knew the Gilbert reference and confirmed when I scrolled down and saw Anne in all of her glory. LOVE Anne of Green Gables. I used to dream about Gilbert when I was in elementary school : )

  2. Used to? Ha! Gilbert is second only to my husband in terms of dream men, still :)