(The art of Zen Budgeting)
In view of the ongoing economic uncertainty we presently find all around us, it is only natural to feel anxious about your finances and making ends meet. But do not worry. I think I can help. I am the cheapest man in the universe.
You see, for decades my parsimonious ways have achieved legendary status; among my friends as I am often referred to as ‘el cheapo, man of thrift’ – though I prefer the title “Dalai Lama of Frugality” for I am the founder of a penny-pinching philosophy known as “budgetarianism.”
So, read on young grasshopper so that I might enlighten you and help you achieve proper balance. Perhaps one day, you too will become a budgetarian master.
I will now impart the secrets to financial happiness.
Similar to the Eastern traditions of Buddhism, budgetarian enlightenment also contains four noble truths:
1. Suffering is inevitable.
2. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner eases suffering.
3. Further suffering ensues as a result of too much Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
4. Even if you’re having roast beef, your kids will prefer to eat macaroni and cheese anyways.
The budgetarian lifestyle is very similar to a vegetarians although, vegetarians intentionally omit meat from their diets whereas budgetarians often omit meat as a means to economic stability. But either way you look at it, both vegetarians and budgetarians can be considered “barn-yard friendly.”
Indeed, the budgetarian diet, though similar to that of his cousin the vegetarian, does however, occasionally include meat; but that’s only because the most cunning and clever of budgetarians have created a vast array of ambiguous pseudo-meat mutations such as spam, baloney, tofurkey, veggie dogs (not-dogs) and veggie burgers (shamburgers) all designed for those with limited grocery dollars.
Other mock-meat substitutes such as meatloaf, are an example of frugality at its finest. Containing only trace amounts of ‘moo’ and vast quantities of oatmeal, breadcrumbs, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, celery – even lint from your clothes dryer. Needless to say, this tasty low-cost “loaf” will easily qualify as an edible non-toxic by most federal food agencies though I recommend dousing these “edible substances” with copious amounts of ketchup or hot sauce as it may be necessary to avoid any taste seepage.
*Note: budgetarian meatloaf is very high in polyester, a very important budgetarian fiber.
Do budgetarians ever have fun you ask?
Well, budgetarians have loads of fun.
For entertainment, budgetarians borrow DVD’s from their local libraries. Granted, most titles available may not be among the most contemporary favourites, but older classics such as “Surf Nazi’s Must Die” or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Hercules in New York” are readily available. Your local library also offers a vast selection of educational documentaries such as National Geographic’s “Wonderful World of Lichen.”
(spoiler alert) Lichens are symbiotic associations of a fungus (the mycobiont) with a photosynthetic partner (the photobiont also known as the phycobiont) that can produce food for the lichen from sunlight.
Outdoor budgetarian activities may include tree watching. Tree watching is very similar to bird watching only the expense of binoculars is eliminated because most trees will allow you to get up quite close.
But remember, the best things in life are free, like air!
That’s right air (now fortified with greenhouse gas). It’s free. It’s fun. It comes in assorted smokey flavours. Air. Yum. Breathe in as much as you like. Go outside and make a lung-sucking pig of yourself.
The grocery coupon plays a very important role in the life of a budgetarian. Besides doubling as reading material and therefore entertainment, the grocery coupon also holds monetary value. A stack of coupons can also make your wallet appear quite thick and impressive.
Speaking of thick and impressive, sex is a fine budgetarian activity – as long as you’re only practicing. Ah yes, while all the rich couples are out impressing each other and lusting after each others possessions, budgetarians are forced to remain at home and lust after each other. This is good for the marriage. And remember, divorce is very expensive. Divorce is not good for anyone, especially budgetarians.
Finally, you may ask, Tim, budgetarian Guru of the 37th degree, penurious keeper of the old underwear of 1987 (archeologists consider them valuable historic relics), what is the secret of true financial happiness?
Well, if you have any budgetarian friends, especially friends whose name is ‘Jones’ – you must invite them over for the evening. For if their name is Jones, and they are true budgetarians, it will be so much easier to keep-up-with-the-Jones’.
As for any approaching financial doomsday, ha, ha, ha! Let us laugh in the face of the inevitable economic reckoning knowing that with superior planning and some helpful tips from a qualified budgetarian master such as myself, you too can live a full and relatively money-free life.