Thursday, January 12, 2006

Rule #11: See No Evil, Hear No Evil...

I met a professional dominatrix at a party the other night. (Being able to say this sort of thing 100% truthfully is reason #1364 why I love New York.) Now if I was really the stellar personal finance blogger that I aspire to be, I would have thought to ask her some relevant questions about her work, such as "how much do rubber bodysuits cost these days," "are your whips and handcuffs tax deductible," and "does the dungeon you work for offer a good 401k?"
I'm sure she would have been willing to talk to me about some of these issues, as she was off-duty and really quite friendly: at one point, she sat on my lap and stroked my cheek, and twice, she bent over and slapped her own ass in my direction, which I think is dominatrix sign-language for "I like you."
Anyway, that was about as much dominatrix as I could handle, so I doubt the PF interview will ever happen, but the encounter did leave me feeling like it was about time we had a few more RULES around here! So appropriately enough, I present Rule #11:

  • Sensory deprivation.
I think anyone would agree that if you are blindfolded, gagged and restrained, it is virtually impossible to spend money, unless the person who got you into that condition is charging by the hour. But let's think about some more reasonable alternatives, at least as they apply to my life.

I don't watch TV. I think this alone is a huge factor. If I don't see something, I won't want it. And let's face it, advertising works. I can't tell you how often I've had to grit my teeth and pass up buying a Swiffer-- my brain tells me a regular mop or paper towel will do the job, but the commercials make the Swiffer look so much more fun!

I don't read all the catalogs I get. Of course I don't have the willpower to throw out every single one, but most of them go straight in the trash, unless there is a chance I might find something I particularly need.

I don't go window-shopping, and I rarely read fashion magazines, decorating magazines, etc. Just more glossy, beautiful ways to think you need something that you really only want.

I try not to listen to the proverbial Mr. & Mrs. Jones, so I won't be tempted to keep up with the various vacations, new cars, clothes, social activities, and real estate that they are no doubt bragging about.

And though this one might really seem impossible to most people, I don't tend to listen to music radio stations. I used to listen to a great alternative radio station back in the 80s and early 90s, and I was constantly buying records, tapes and CDs of the bands they played. Now I listen to talk programs on NPR and use my iPod for music, and I'm much less tempted to buy new CDs. I still hear music in stores and through friends, and I still read reviews and check things out on iTunes and then buy the CDs I really want. My CD collection may not be the most up-to-the-minute, but I have plenty of great things to listen to, and if I miss some catchy new tune from a one-hit-wonder, I figure it's no great loss.

So that covers some options for the senses of sight and hearing, which are, as it happens, the senses of which a dominatrix is most likely to deprive you. I'm sure there are also ways to save money by not allowing oneself to touch, sniff, or lick things, and if you happen to think of any, please let me know! But be aware that from now on, I will be enforcing a strict policy that all comments be prefaced by "May I speak, Mistress X?" I know you love it, you miserable worms. Thhhwack!


Dwight said...

Heh... I would call that approach "Lead us not into temptation."

Also, your post reminded me of the real definition of a sadist and a masochist. A masochist pleads and begs "Hurt me." A sadist replies "No."

Ass-slapping has so many nuances to it...I should probably take a course on it. Oh, and feel free to delete this since I didn't ask permission to post ;)

Anonymous said...

if you dont watch tv how do you know what a swiffer is? I watch tv constantly and have never heard of it. maybe they only advertise on those women shows like oprah, the view and tyra banks (not that you watch them).

mapgirl said...

Hooray! Another person without a TV.

Advertising works on me. I saw a bus today for a movie that looks awful, Bloodrayne. But I remember thinking, "Hm, I wonder what that is. I should look it up on Google when I get home."

You left a comment on my blog that usually if it's worth knowing, it'll be in print. Honestly, my only print media is the Wall Street Journal, which isn't keeping me up to date on celebrity gossip.

Madame X said...

Though I don't have a TV, of course I can't 100% avoid seeing it now and then. I haven't actually seen a Swiffer ad in years but I remember the ones from when the product first came out, they had such an impact on me!

Anonymous said...

Yup I bought a swiffer because of advertising. I like it honestly, though it is a waste of money.

Anonymous said...

"May I speak, Mistress X?"

You seem to have found another calling.


Anonymous said...

LOL, this is my favorite rule Mistress X

Anonymous said...

my fav is the gripn'flip. my gf got this thing for me and what a piece of crap. it doesn't grip or flip anything! the metal is too weak. and it was like 19.95.

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed you understand dominatrix sign language! I like the metaphor.

yhurg said...

My wife has a Swiffer (I think). Is that the thing you swipe the floor with? I think the expense is budgeted in our monthly spending...shame.

Sensory deprivation is one of the better disciplines you can go with. This is one area I am lacking lately. Impressive that you resisted the dominatrix.

Bitty said...

I'm with you on most of this, but I'm also here to defend the Swiffer.

Sometimes efficiency is worth paying for.

I only buy one or two boxes a year, which probably says something about my cleaning routine, but these things clean without just rearranging the dirt. Maybe I appreciate them so much because I have a cat. And they can be used a long time before you have to get rid of them.

Most cleaning products ARE worthless, or at least redundant. This one is unique.

And I'm just referring to the basic cloth and the dusters. The Swiffer Wet is worthless (do they even still make it?) and the "flick" doesn't appear to do enough actual cleaning to satisfy me.

And no, I don't work for Proctor & Gamble.

Lindsey Saunders said...

I have to agree about the Swiffer (sorry I know this is an older post, but I just started reading your rules and I love them!).

The Swiffer really is amazing and I don't think I could live without mine. The cloths do last a long time and if you look at the time saved (I can do my whole house in about 5 minutes!) it really is worth the money.

Of course, this is if you have a lot of hardwood floors. I'm not sure I would get one if I had carpeting. But another good use is dusting cloths. I usually dust everything in the house just holding the cloth, and then stick it on the Swiffer and do the floors. Very nice and easy.

moocifer said...

yes.....getting in the habit of not going into stores is the best way to avoid unneccessary spending. For *necessary* spending, you will know when you need to do it. Otherwise, stay out of the stores is my philosophy. Of course, I don't live in a large city so this is a bit easier for me.

In particular, I try to keep my grocery shopping to once a week or once every two weeks....because it's so easy to just buy more more than you were planning once inside the store environment. This strategy has really helped me to reduce my food spending over time.

Also I stay out of cafes. One coffee can easily turn into $6.00 once you see the pastry case and smell all the food. I have gotten to the point where I pretty much bring all m y own food with me...and keep supplies at work for coffee and tea.

I do eat out every once in a while--once a month or so. Actually, if I could afford it I'd do it more, as i like eating out a lot. But it's not in the cards until I have more income. So I just bring my own food and don't go to cafes and restaurants almost ever. I've gotten used to it and now it feels "normal".

Anonymous said...

It isn't always possible to tune out mass (almost wrote madd instead) media but I think you are doing a good job.

How do you ignore advertising on the interweb, though?

Anonymous said...

This is only slightly related to your post -- it's about the people with whom you associate.

My ex-boyfriend is materialistic and was always wanting the newest gadgets. That influenced me and I also wanted everything.

Now that I'm on my own, I am content with my 1.5-year-old laptop, my almost 2-year-old cellphone and my almost 2-year-old camera. I bought the best I could afford back then so I don't see the need to upgrade them right now. Or for a while still.

Or perhaps I'm just growing up a tad.