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byThomas Sullivan

Oh the gloom! SUV’s rotting unused like beached whales, home values plummetting, etc. English speakers, once affluent, are learning that it’s tough to live like the rest of the planet.

We hate it. It’s downright un-Anglo.

It’s cost cutting time, and we’ve liquidated everything, or so we think. But most of us still cling to one remaining asset: Our pride.

The savings can be amazing when you learn to suspend your pride. It really works. Here’s how:


AAA, the emergency vehicle rescue company, foolishly revealed a brilliant strategy for saving money on gas. The company recently noticed that their “stranded motorist” call rate jumped significantly, with people claiming to have an empty tank. Per contractual agreement, AAA showed up and added gas to the stranded vehicle. Getting wise, AAA started requiring motorists to start their car before getting the free fuel, hence thwarting the scam. Foiled motorists were shamed.

Solving this quandary is simple: drive until the car is actually is out of gas. This give’s you the upper hand, placing the onus of mistrust on the AAA technician when your car doesn’t start. Then, drive until the car is out of gas and call AAA again. Repeat as needed. This is the awesome power of pridelessness.


Lord knows we need our coffee. But when prices rise and you’re forced to choose between coffee and diabetes medicine, you know the inevitable result. The blood sugar’s gonna surge.

Here’s what you do. Last week I visited Jiffy Lube, telling myself that I was going to spend no more than $19.95 on an oil change. I ended up dropping $230 on stuff I didn’t understand. But no matter. Sitting in the lobby watching Oprah, I watched a tattooed guy walk into the room and fill a cup with coffee. He slurped it down while gazing at the TV and refilled two more times, knocking back the java like a man doing shots in a dive bar. Then he threw the cup in the trash, glanced at me with a crooked smile, and said “Have a great day” as he left. I grinned back, acknowledging a true cost cutting master.


Recently I worked in a low-rent motel. One day I visited the mall to buy some socks. Traipsing around a store, I spied a man in the shoe department peeling off a pair of dirty, battered socks. A light bulb went off in my mind and I asked to try on a pair of Chuck Taylors. While the salesman retreated to the storeroom I put on a pair of almost new, beefy tube socks and dropped my razor-thin pair into the try-on box. I passed on the shoes (wrong color) and left with a pair of sweet socks, my wardrobe complete.

I’ve had a recurring foot fungus problem ever since, but it’s a small price to pay for being ahead of the curve in our new, cost-conscious world.