Friday, November 7, 2008

"In for a penny, in for a pound?"

By Lonnie Cruse

Or is it "Penny wise, pound foolish?" Maybe both?

One of the best doughnut shops anywhere in the world is Southpaws in Metropolis, Illinois. If you're ever in our area, be sure to drop by. I love everything they make, hence the pound foolish part.

As to "In for a penny," it's a most interesting story. Southpaw's owner Glenna Brown and her business partner started saving pennies more than ten years ago to see how many they could acquire toward paying off their loan. Customers noticed the various popcorn canisters of pennies and started dropping in extra pennies. Time passed, the amount of the owners' business loan dropped as the amount of pennies rose until the two met somewhere in the middle. After calling to warn the local bank she was coming, Brown arrived pushing a wheel barrow containing 39,535 pennies to pay off her final payment of $395.35. It took over ten years, and unfortunately her business partner didn't live to see the big day. If you'd like to see a picture, click here:

Some friends and I were having a discussion recently about the economy, and someone asked how we each thought we'd survive if another great depression hit. Our discussion didn't sink into who is to blame for our country's current financial crisis or how to fix it, nor do I intend to do that here. Instead, we each listed ways we could cut our spending, if forced to do so to survive. Quite fascinating.

In most cases, the first budget item to go was, sigh, our various ways of connecting to the Internet. Imagine not being able to read email, check blogs, send jokes (okay, I could easily live without that one) or surf the net. Not to mentioning ordering stuff you can't find in your home area.

Next to go was cable or satellite television. Argh. I love all the choices even if maybe 100 of the 200 plus channels are pure fluff or fillers, if you will. Surely the jewelry auction channels will suffer if we all cut back? But without that little dish, hubby and I would be reduced to a grand total of four channels and two of them are barely viewable.

After that came land lines for phones, since most people now have cell phones and their total monthly cell phone bill is usually cheaper than a land line with long distance. That cut I could live with and would have already done IF we didn't get such poor cell phone reception where we live. Still, it may come to that.

The amount of meals eaten out took a huge cut in our discussion. Eeek. And frankly, many restaurants are already struggling in our area. (Ahem, I must confess, we were on our way to eat out when this discussion took place.)

Most of us agreed that gas bills would be hard to cut to a great degree with people having to drive to and from work, (plus possibly any driving done while there, if the job requires it.) Economists frequently urge us to lump errand running together and not make extra trips. Most women I know have been doing that since they learned to drive.

One of the contributors to this discussion builds houses as well as doing remodels, and according to him new home building in our area is waaaaay down but remodels are still flourishing. Hmmm. New stove, anyone? I'm just praying my noisy washer doesn't turn up its toes.

So, what could you live without if you had to that you can't seem to live without now? Doesn't hurt to give it some thought. Just in case. And don't forget to save those pennies. 39,535 pennies might come in handy some day.


caryn said...

This is a discussion we've had. If things get worse we will need cash on hand so we've started cutting expenses now.

We have already eliminated season tickets to things like theater, symphony, and sporting events. The plan was we'd pick a couple of events from each of the things we used to subscribe to and by inidvidual tickets. We haven't even done that.

Eating out will be the next thing we will start cutting back on. And along those same lines, I've started being more diligent with using the coupons I clip each week.

More of my book reading is going to be done from library books.

DISH TV could go if we needed it to but that and internet would be way down the list.
Caryn in St. Louis

Sheila Connolly said...

People eat out at restaurants? Unfortunately we gave that up a long time ago (I don't count the occasional splurge at Burger King as restaurant dining).

For years I've been collecting lovely Irish wool sweaters, but in this country central heating is usually cranked up too high to make it practical to wear them. Cut down your thermostats, people! Give a lot of sheep jobs!

Lonnie Cruse said...

Wow, good comments. Yep, dining out would be the first to go here, and satellite, but Internet? Eeeek.

peter fallow said...

I Just wanted to add that ( is a great resource for finding out where reception problems are most likely to occur.