How to save money, if you are complete and total idiot

My wife told me about this article from Yahoo news.  It is about how a family is saving money in these tough times.  Sure, I’ve got lots of things I need to catch up with on the blog, but this was just too awesomely stupid not to fisk.  Judging from the over 6,000 comments about how ridiculous this is, I’d say I’m not alone.  As usual, they are in italics, I am in bold.

In these difficult times it is always useful to learn how other people have tightened their belts. Let’s see what wisdom Yahoo: News For Imbeciles has to share.

How do you explain to your kid that he can’t have a summer vacation because of inflation?

Easy. You just explain it to them as you would with any complex subject. As a good parent you owe it to your children to teach them about fiscal responsibility. Only a total loser parent would turn their kids out into the world without understanding how to balance a budget.

Instead, my family and I looked for meaningful ways to save on our summer activities.

Yep. Loser parent.  

By doing some of the work ourselves, looking at money more rationally, and committing to stuff, not fluff, we plan to save $12,975 in summer 2011.

That’s not too shabby. That sounds like some really serious cuts! Let’s see how they pulled it off.

Summer entertaining – Garden parties, barbecues, and family reunions make summer special. To keep our menus rich while saving money, my sister and I agreed to serve ground beef instead of steak at all 10 of our family get-togethers. In this way, we plan to spend $1.50 per person on meat instead of $15, for total savings of $1,350 this summer.

Holy crap!  Who has 10 family get-togethers over the summer? My wife has 62 first cousins (no, that isn’t a typo) and they don’t come close to that. Who the hell are these people? The House of Saud? $15 in meat per person?  You invite all of your relatives over two out of every three weekends and give each of them a lobster tail?

Summer vacation – To save on airfare and rising fuel prices, we searched the Internet for a local venue that would make a good vacation site.

You used the internet? Wow! I hear they have the internet on computers now!

We chose Mount Baker, located 30 minutes from our home. We plan to pitch a tent, camp for a week, fish, hike, play guitar, and listen to audio books by the campfire. Instead of our usual $5,000 vacation allowance, we plan to spend $400, thus saving $4,600.

Wha…. Huh?  Your usual vacation allowance is FIVE GRAND per YEAR? I’ve been married for 13 years and I spent about half that on a vacation. Once. And I’m now upper middle class. You do that EVERY YEAR?

I’m suspicious that this was either written by Timothy Geitner or a Kardashian sister. It really could go either way.  

Painting the house – Every year we hire student painters to refresh the exterior paint to keep our home looking pristine and to protect the wood siding.

Seriously? You PAINT your house every year? Where do you live? Mars? Are you outside the terraformed zone?

What in the hell is wrong with you idiots? A financial article from these people is like reading an article on safe sex from Ron Jeremy.  “I only did it with 200 hookers this year, for a savings of nearly 100 hookers!”

Our neighbors, on the other hand, paint their homes every five years. To save money this summer, we’ve decided to paint the trim around the windows and doors only and to do the work ourselves. That will save us $1,500 this summer.

I hope you die in a fire.

I like to put a new roof on my house every year, not that I’ve ever done it. So this year I didn’t do it again for another savings of $20,000!

Garden landscaping -In summer, we typically hire an arborist to trim our trees, spray them against parasites, and feed the roots. We also hire landscapers to edge the lawn, mulch the yard, and plant perennials.

A real financial savings article would tell you what brand of shotgun shells trim tall branches the best… Or in really lean times the article should tell you what types of bark are edible when boiled.  

This year we plan to do the work ourselves and to borrow tools from our neighbors.

If I was your neighbor and you asked to borrow my tools, I would hit you in the face with a shovel. Then I would throw your corpse into the pig pen I built in the back yard, which would not only conceal the evidence, but would also fatten up my pigs! By slaughtering my own hogs without having to pay for feed, I’ll save nearly $1,500 on bacon!  

We also intend to mulch the flowerbeds and give up on perennials. In this way, we intend to save $625.

A proper article on financial savings and gardening would point out which species of weeds can be woven into shoes.  

Summer clothing – Every year we shop for clothes by inspiration, walking through the mall and picking out a new bathing suit, dress, T-shirt. This year, we will each get a small summer-clothing budget, which will force us to shop at outlets or secondhand stores. This step will help us save $1,400.

You know you are in trouble when one of your big tips is to buy clothes on sale. Cavemen who wear skin cut off of dead caribou with sharp rocks know that.

Summer remodeling – Because of dropping home values, this year we will not go ahead with the deck remodel we were planning. Instead, we will patch the old wood with wood putty and prime and will paint it once more to protect against water damage. In this way, we will save $3,500.

I was totally going to add a tower onto my house made out of gold bars, unicorn horn, and Faberge eggs. Instead I bought the kids a Slip & Slide. In this way, I saved a billion dollars!

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that whoever wrote this was one of the people we had to bail out from under their interest-only home loan. Thanks, Yahoo, now I have even less faith in my fellow man.



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