A Penny Saved Costs $83.54

Like most of you, we try to get as much from our income as is possible. Neither one of us had the smarts to work for industries with retirement programs...or if we did...we blew it. I won't go into details here but if I did, you'd say something like, “WHAT IN THE HECK WERE YOU THINKING?” Answer, “Not very clearly, but we had a great time and we have a 50-year roof.”

This means we are living on Social Security. No one is complaining. We are blessed in many ways and have been pretty lucky so far. If the luck runs out, our fall-back position is to “hit the wall,” regroup and figure out a brilliant plan. This has always been our retirement strategy but now we have a new option. If this tried and true method fails, we'll move next door and live with the Neighbor Lady. Shush ..she doesn't need to know this now.

Once each month I write an amount in the checkbook for living expenses. I never look back. I pay one credit card bill and then we can “go nuts” with the amount left. This payday, that amount was slightly more than $200. You can't buy a lot of nuts with that amount and next payday is a month away.

I never leave home without coupons or a plan to save a billion samolians on necessary items. When I see such an opportunity, one or both of us go to town.

Last week I sent the 'Grocery Warrior,' Mr S. to do the job. I carefully explained how he would buy one sugar, one toilet paper and two breakfast cookies. I also explained that without these four items...he would not get the “awesome price” that all Geezers live for. I made a list. I gave him the list.

While I was explaining the do's and don't s of stuff marked with red tags...Mr. S. was watching flat-track racing. Turns out he didn't hear any of my words. After flat track racing was over, he took the list and assured me that all would be well and he'd be home soon. He also took Grover...who didn't listen to anything I said either and can't read.

Mr. S and Grover looked really official as they set off to town. The little Mr. had a load of cans, too. It gives him great pleasure to cash in cans and get money. He welcomes all sources of cans and bottles and is quite proud of the money he makes in this way. It's his “mad money”...or at least one source.

When he got home from town, the first thing he said was, “I donated my can and bottle money for the groceries.” This is when I knew things had gone amok. Instead of asking for a treat, Grover sat on my lap, knowing I would need comfort.

“How much was it,” I asked calmly... “It shouldn't have been more than $20 or so.”

“Well," said the good shopper, “it was $83.54. I got confused by those tags. Every one of them said I had to buy four items so I got four of everything and then another one to be sure I had enough to get the discount.”

Now, in addition to some other stuff, a lot of women would say, “Why didn't you call me and ask?” Nope. Not at Casa Shaffer. His cell phone is always in a basket next to the front door and he can't yell that loudly. No sense in calling me anyway. All deeds here are typically done without counseling.

Here's the real deal. We have 20 lbs. of sugar, 72 rolls of toilet tissue and a more limited number of breakfast cookies. If you need to borrow sugar... now is the time. Toilet tissue? Nope. This is the stuff bargains are made of and we're not giving it away.

All I can say is that it's a darned good thing the “Hit the Wall” financial system works most of the time. Otherwise...these incredible savings could have been a crisis. Good thing there's a “Sunny Day” fund. We hardly ever touch that.

God Bless the men of Geezer Tribe who shop. Let them go without instructions... I think it will be better for us all.

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