Save money the Mr. Mom way

 

By Jim DeBrosse

When the economy gets tough, the tough get cheap. Most parents have devised household strategies to curb expenses as stocks fall, wages freeze and jobs disappear. Mr. Mom offers here a list of cost-cutters you may not have thought of.

Keep it simple: There isn't a polymer of difference between shampoo and body wash except the label. So buy a $1 bottle of Suave shampoo and use it for both. (Not recommended for parents with teenage daughters.)

Keep it Simple Green: The father in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" spritzed Windex around to clean and sanitize everything from clothes to countertops. I like that approach, but prefer Simple Green because it's cheaper, smells better and works better. A gallon of concentrate will last for months.

Discover Two-Buck Chuck: If my children are starving, I shouldn't be drinking wine, right? On the other hand, if I have children, I need to drink wine. The good people at Trader Joe's have solved this dilemma for parents with their Charles Shaw label of wines -- nicknamed Two-Buck Chuck -- although with Ohio's liquor taxes, it's more like Three-Buck Chuck. Still a bargain.

Keep receipts: Your kids tell you they don't have a thing to wear? Ha! Keep all receipts for children's clothing purchases and enter them on a spreadsheet. When the whining begins, print out the sheet and go down the list.

Buy store brands: I haven't found a single national brand product that tastes any better than the cheaper store brands, with the notable exception of Heinz ketchup. Anybody who would substitute Valu-Time for Heinz and put it on a hamburger needs his American citizenship revoked.

Hit Goodwill: I will never talk my kids into wearing second-hand clothes, but that hasn't kept me from doing so. No one really notices what a guy wears to work anyway, unless you're a lawyer or CEO, and they can afford to buy new.

Deselect Select Sports: Say goodbye to egomaniacal coaches and uber-involved parents and save hundreds, even thousands of dollars to boot. Your kids can play free for the school team and you can buy them a Bowflex with the savings.

Respect the e-Machine: Don't listen to the scare talk from the techies. My $300 e-Machine has been running like a racehorse now for four months. And if it dies after two years, so what? By then, all the software will be out of date and I'll have to buy new anyway.

Cancel your landline: The only people who still have landlines are those who need to break up their lonely day by talking with phone solicitors and telemarketers. A cell phone is more convenient and more private. Why have both?

  • DATE: July 18, 200

  • PUBLICATION: Dayton Daily News (OH

Copyright, 2009, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights reserved.

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