REALLY do the Math


Hallelujah!  I survived Black Friday!  It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.  We made it to Bass Pro at 4:37 am, and waited in line until 5:00 am.  It was a ‘Door Buster’ sale on some items Lorea wanted to get for gifts.  Amazingly enough, we were back in the car and rolling at 5:22 am, with everything she wanted.  At 5:38, we were at Belks.  I have to laugh.  Lorea is as frugal, if not more so, than I am.  Why Belks?  They were giving away free gift cards to the first 200 people through the door.  We walked away with ‘free’ $15.00, without purchasing a thing.  Lorea is the Coupon Queen.  With all her fliers, coupons and keen eye, I guesstimated that I spent 1/3 of what I would have otherwise.  Yes, we had to stand in a few lines, but we also had the opportunity to visit with some very delightful people while waiting.  To me, that was a win/win situation!

One thing most everyone knows and understands is that frugality is a major building block in Simply Living.  We clip coupons.  We study sales fliers.  We shop around – in brick and mortar and in online stores.  We do the math – or do we? 

My friend Steve and I were talking one day about the cost of a new vehicle.  Steve presented it this way.  “I take the price of anything I want to buy, and I calculate how many hours I would have to work in order to purchase it.  I can’t tell you how many times I have walked away from something, because the cost of the item vs the hours worked to pay for it just didn’t add up.”  I now have the habit of doing the math in my head long before I whip out my Lincolns, Jacksons and Ben Franklins, even on small items.  I also calculate the cost of the gasoline it will take to get me to the store in the first place. Thinking along these lines really puts your spending into perspective.

Like everything else, saving money does take a little bit of work.  But the few extra minutes you take looking for the best bargain pays off down the road.  Those few pennies will begin to add up – like dried corn at harvest time.  A few ears of corn will net you 20 times more kernels.  It’s the same with watching your pennies.  A few good bargains added to walking away from something because it just ‘doesn’t add up’ could save you money.  I watch my pennies like a hawk watches a field mouse.  And now, I do the complete math problem.   

Considering that I do this year round, and plan well ahead for Christmas, I find myself in a position of never having to venture out on Black Friday, unless a friend really needs me to go.  When that happens, I just put a leash on the Monster, comb his hair, straighten his tie, and tuck a calculator in his pocket (he is so much better behaved when I give him something to occupy his time), then venture out into the madness.  But hear me when I say this – you had better be a very good, and very brave friend to even consider asking me to go shopping on Black Friday.  At the very least, you had better be able to hold something over my head, or offer bribes.

Rats.  Lorea really does offer some great bribes…


Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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