The Friday Five – Five Things You’re Spending Way Too Much Money On

The PO Life is made up of a band of innovative minds that drive forward thinking and push human potential to its ultimate zenith. But, like many in Generation Y, our dreams of economic prosperity have been quelled, or at least temporarily postponed, as we maneuver through uncertain times. How have we survived, you ask? And how can you too drive more value to your bottom line?

It’s simple. You’re simply spending way too much money in five key areas. Follow these five factors of frugality for framing your future family’s finances (Alliteration count: 9. Your move Eli).

1) Sunglasses – Once upon a time, Eli, Bart, Al, McCannon (only part time because he couldn’t be relied on to wake up before 1:45 in the afternoon) and I all worked at the same summer camp. It was my first job and it would ultimately last for five glorious summers. The thrill of my first payday was denied until a month and a half into the summer due to an accounting error. But when it finally came, my world instantly transformed into a real-life version of Blank Check. I made it rain at the Tysons Corner mall with all $800 I earned. My most extravagant expense? Oakley sunglasses.

Now, I’m not knocking the quality of Oakleys. My original pair lasted all five years of camp. Which, when you have little shitbags climbing over you all day while simultaneously trying to take off your head with flying dodgeballs, is no small task. But, with a pricetag north of $100, few have the budget for more than just a single pair.

Since my exit from the YMCA, my paycheck has grown but my discretionary sunglasses fund has shrunk. How?

Enter: Stunner of the Month. Get out of the way Gutenberg. Move aside Samuel Morse. There’s a new revolutionary entrepreneur whose contributions to soceity are unmatched.

The concept is a simple, recurring revenue model based around transforming the way you see the world – and the world sees you. For just $9/month, you’re treated to spectacular spectacles that leave your roommates confused, astounded, but mostly jealous. So while you compete with your gaggle of girlfriends to see who can cover not only their eyes, but their upper forehead with the oversized, polarized couture lenses, I’ll be rocking the conversation piece of the room in my latest Pixelators.

As an added bonus, I got this sweet ass calculator watch/slap bracelet for free in my July shipment that says “Time to Stunt”. They say even a broken clock is right twice a day; I say, this clock is never wrong.

Stunner of the Month

2) Music – Let’s not kid ourselves here – neither you nor The PO Life editorial staff have purchased a CD since high school. If on a road trip, God forbid, our iPods run out of juice or we hit a black hole of radio transmission (read: the entire state of West Virginia), we all revert to the music collections attached to our sun visors or stored away in Case Logic binders under the passenger seat. It’s a time capsule of the late 1990s and early 2000s, ridden with jewels such as Jewel, Vertical Horizon, Eve 6, Smash Mouth, and Papa Roach (don’t even pretend for a second that “Last Resort” didn’t directly speak to your teenage angst).

Sure, some have turned to the iTunes store to access the latest Carly Rae Jepsen hits, but what good does padding the wallets of a fat cat record executive do? And, do you really trust yourself with access to a seemingly endless library of $0.99 hits when you stumble home from the bar looking to recreate the DJ’s playlist from that night in the comfort of your living room? Of course you don’t.

That’s where Spotify comes in. All the songs of iTunes (minus The Beatles) – none of the cost. Unless, you want to take the music with you on the go. For a small monthly charge ($9.99 – again, the beauty of the recurring revenue model), you can stream ad-free music from your phone or even when you’re not connected to the internet. And, the social connectivity to Facebook allows you to see what your friends are listening to. A function that’s both equally informative when your playlists are running stale and hilarious when you find out exactly how often your roommate is listening to Macy Gray. If you’re not currently using Spotify (and deactivating the feature that automatically publishes your tracks to Facebook), we probably have nothing to talk about.

3) Food – I’ll be the first to admit, when Wendy’s told me they were replacing the Bacon Cheeseburger meal, I shed a single tear. I had incorrectly presumed that its replacement would be a faux-healthy meal designed to attract a commonly neglected demographic in the fast food industry – the girlfriend on a road trip. Oh how wrong I was. Wendy’s summoned up the #1 prospect in their farm system – The Baconater – to challenge the appetites of all who dare to cross its delicious path. And just this summer, Wendy’s pulled a 1990 Seattle Mariners on us and summoned Son of Baconater, becoming the first father-son tandem to go back-to-back on the Wendy’s Value Menu.

While it makes for a nice story, feasting on Baconaters can get fairly pricey. As can eating out in general. And who wants to slave away in the kitchen after a long day at work? There must be something out there that’s healthy, ethnic, inexpensive, and quick to prepare. Where oh where would such a hodgepodge of characteristics exist? Look no further.

Kung Pao Chicken Trader Joe's

Kung Pow: Enter My Mouth

This scrumtrulescent Asian cuisine hits you with just the right amount of spiciness without hitting your wallet (currently going at the Clarendon Trader Joe’s for $5.99). It curbs even the most intense hunger, especially when partnered with a bag of organic jasmine rice. It’s gotten to the point where Bart and I compete over real estate in the freezer to stack our 23oz bags. We’ve thrown out random accusations of stealing each other’s baggies – like coke addicts. This may, in fact, be the final undoing of our friendship.

4) Haircuts –If you’re a girl, feel free to skip to #5. There’s no sense in trying to convince you that the salon down the street isn’t salivating at the mouth and contemplating ways to extort you out of as much money as possible when you walk in reeking of low self-confidence.

Guys – listen up.

Unless you’re bringing back the frosted tips look ala Eddy and need the help of a professional, there’s only one reason you could possibly be going to a barbershop or hair-cuttery. And that’s free neck and shoulder massages from the Asian attendants.

Otherwise, you and your other male brethren should go out to Target, buy a $50 Norelco Hair Clipper, and start your Varisty Hair Cutting team (credit Papa McCannon with that zinger). Need a more precise or closer trim? That’s what your everyday razors are for.

To compound the fun, I suggest your entire group of guy friends invest in the same brand of razors and clippers, no matter what region of your body they’re used for. This spawns a game of “razor roulette” in which your gambling with your dignity (and possibly your sexuality) over whether a given razor is used to shave your own sideburns or your roommate’s gooch bush. Once you’ve mastered this effort, take your game outside to a front stoop, pop in the Best of Creedence Clearwater Revival, and go Sun’s-Out-Guns-Out. That’s how the pros do it.

Sunglasses Hair

Just be careful who you let cut your hair…

5) Comcast – The Great DC Blackout of 2012 showed that we as a society are 100% plugged in. Chaos reigned supreme during the 12 hours that we were disconnected from our precious precious blog. Our readership crashed from a whopping 100 daily readers to sub-20.

Still, 12 hours of being blacked out is a good week for the average Comcast customer. If we still resided on the North Side of Arlington, under the oppressive Comcast Crappy Connectivity Party (CCCP), our blog would’ve never been launched and you’d have five minutes of your day back.

For the poor unfortunate souls that still live under Comcast tyranny, with no other suitable options except for archaic DSL, I pity you. You are the true heroes. The forgotten few. Keep calm and carry on you wayward sons.

Comcast, on the other hand, is the fucking worst. Do not give them a dime of your money. Ever.

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