Life Sherpa Post #2

This inquiry is a little less serious, but I appreciate it.

Dear Life Sherpa,

I stumbled upon your Life Sherpa page and wanted to contact you about a number of pressing issues.

First of all, my real-life hero happens to be a fictional character (which was actually based off a real-life person). That person is George Costanza from Seinfeld.

If art is supposed to be an imitation of life and life an imitation of art, my life is a finger painting drawn by a kindergardener and taped to the fridge because I can’t afford magnets.

I am a man in my mid-twenties and a very cheap man at that.

Life sherpa, I seek sage wisdom on how to break out of my parliament cheap-adelic ways and to become an upstanding member of decent society.

Now I know in these volatile economic times, that it is important to save, but when you have an Excel spreadsheet of bars/restaurants in your neighborhood that give free food or cheap drinks away listed under the corresponding days of the week, is that not a cry for help? If a row of data is deleted in a forest, does no one hear it?

I hope you can answer some of these questions and provide me with insight. I am just fortunate I am not bald and live with my parents…

A boy named Sioux.

Dear Sioux,

Thanks for reaching out to me. I am glad the internets brought you to my humble corner of the web. First, Costanza is a good real-life hero, although I wouldn’t recommend being a Yankees fan. Not getting what you want in other aspects of life will be frustrating. I’d settle on the Cleveland Browns as your team of choice. If you do this, any good thing that happens becomes comparatively better because the Browns have rarely performed in my lifetime.

Finger painting is a good way to inspire. I have a crayon work of art from a 5 year old from New Jersey at my desk at work. It inspires me daily. My question is, where did you get that painting? I gave a Capitol tour to a family that was friends of a co-worker of mine. What did you do? Do I want to know? Maybe I don’t.

If you cannot afford magnets, go find a store that gives them away. Try pizza. They may be weaker than tourist magnets because it’s sheet magnets, but they’re free and will hold some stuff up.

There’s nothing wrong with being a cheap man in his twenties. I, too, fit that mold and have the ramen to prove it. Don’t make any apologies.

As for breaking your ways, why do it? If you want to be a big spender, you have to have the income of a big spender. Nobody in their twenties really makes all that much money, except Mark Zuckerburg and Joe Cirillo. I’d encourage you to keep saving.

With regard to your spreadsheet idea, I think it’s dandy. Discount food is something to keep track of, but remember this. Very rarely is it less expensive to buy food at a restaurant. If it’s free, great. Just make sure it isn’t free*. While some places might offer teasers (.05 cent wings from 5:00 to 5:15!) they have costs and inputs to pay for like rent, utilities, employees, etc. Don’t forget to tip (adds cost) because nobody likes a dick. Drinks especially, are a waste, usually even if they are a “good” deal, because that’s where the margins are. While your local watering hole might get better wholesale beer prices than you because of economies of scale, that savings isn’t always passed along to you.

Here’s a helpful tip. Whenever I want to go to a bar, I look at the beer I buy in a grocery store, specifically the per-unit cost basis for a 12 or 6 pack, and think, do I really want to pay $2.50 (tip included) for something I can get for $.74 cents? Not really. Unless the Browns are playing and I need motivation to feel better about my life.

Keep on keeping on, some day you’ll be living with your kids and you will be bald, unless you save and become a baller, like George Costanza.

Life Sherpa

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