My father, the dashing gentleman in the above photo, has always been an excellent penny-pincher. Some people call him frugal. Others might use “cheap son of a bitch.” Either way, his bank account is consistent and stable (I’m actually not sure he has a bank account, that is a real concern). It’s not that he has buckets of money coming in—he doesn’t—it’s that he refuses to spend the few dollars he does have on dumb frivolous things like food and shelter and clothing. I, on the other hand, could max out three credit cards after spending five minutes in a Shoppers Drug Mart I had run into for a minute to pick up toothpaste and nylons. So to help myself with my own financial struggle, I have written down some tips that I picked up from my Daddio in hopes that I will one day follow in his bargain-basement brilliance. He has really, truly done everything listed below at least six times. I’m sure we can all learn something from this list, even if that something is just to avoid my father. Enjoy!
1. Keep a large stock of Burger King cups in the glove compartment of your car at all times. When thirsty, instead of paying for a drink like an idiot, take out a cup, drive to a Burger King and get a free refill.
2. “Expiry dates” on coupons do not exist. You no longer believe in them and neither should that server who is refusing to accept your many free appetizer vouchers from 2009. If need be, argue with the server until they have an emotional breakdown and their manager is forced to give you some spinach dip on the house.
3. Instead of paying for expensive parking like some kind of millionaire, drive around for a good hour and a half until you locate a free parking spot. If possible, try to find a place that’s twenty-four blocks away from your destination, in a dark alley filled with what appear to be drug dealers. It will be worth the minimal hassle because the spot won’t cost you a dime, except for the $250 parking ticket you will probably (definitely) get.
4. Don’t take your six-year-old daughter to a salon for a costly haircut. Drop a bowl on the kid’s head and do it yourself, or if you’re too busy, hand her a pair of scissors and let her go wild. Shaving her bald is also an option.
5. Forget stupid smart phones that are stupid. Opt instead for a classic Motorola flip phone from 1998. Your monthly package will only set you back $10/month and afford you a whole twenty minutes of calling time. Use these twenty minutes to call your daughter and complain about how expensive phone plans are these days.
6. Get rid of your flip phone. You don’t need that extra cost.
7. Instead of buying a laptop, or wasting money at a pricey internet cafe, follow your daughter to her university and use a computer in her school’s library for 17 hours straight. If a security guard asks you for your student identification card politely reply with “Will you excuse me for a moment?” and then GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE. THEY KNOW. THEY KNOW WHO YOU ARE.
8. Buy a senior’s ticket at the movie theatre starting at the age of 40. Sprinkle some baby powder in your hair if needed. Cane optional, grumpy attitude required.
9. If your daughter is planning to pay a professional dogsitter a ridiculous amount of money to take care of her puppy for the weekend, offer your own services as her father for the same amount of money she was going to pay the professional. If you can, negotiate more.
10. Same goes for mowing your ex-wife’s lawn. Why should she give the job to a punk kid down the street when you are just as capable of trimming a couple hedges? After you’re done, request that she reimburse you for the gasoline you purchased for the lawnmower since it was fresh out. Hint: YOU DIDN’T PURCHASE SHIT. You deserve those extra bucks! Stick it to the man! The man being your ex-wife!
11. When visiting your daughters in a city where you do not live, stay at your ex-wife’s house instead of getting a hotel. If your ex-wife demands that you pay your way while in her home, offer her discounted lawn mowing services in exchange for housing, and see tip #11.
12. Who needs glasses to see? Not you! Glasses are a luxury for people who can afford to not walk into oncoming traffic.
13. To earn some cash on the side, play poker for money with your 12-year-old nephew. If you happen to go all in when he has a royal flush, explain to him that he actually has a terrible hand and your Jack high does in fact beat him. If he asks to see a rulebook, politely reply with “Will you excuse me for a moment?” and then GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE. HE KNOWS. HE KNOWS WHO YOU ARE.
14. Wear the same bathing suit for 35 years.
15. Instead of buying proper winter boots pick up some pieces of shoe-shaped rubber that you can wear over the one pair of loafers you’ve owned since college. If you’re nervous about ruining those loafers on really snowy days, lose the shoes and just wear the rubber. It’s a cool look and you are a trendsetter.