Saturday, April 08, 2006

Saturday Morning at a Brooklyn Diner

This morning I discovered that I had no milk in the house, so I decided to treat myself to breakfast at a local diner. I got there early enough that it was not yet crowded, but I was sitting next to two older ladies, and I listened to bits of their conversation as I ate and read my newspaper.
They were talking about typical old lady things-- their illnesses, their friends' illnesses, their families. At one point, they were talking about whether they had family in certain parts of Italy, and I thought, yeah, these are two old-school Brooklynites. Then, as one lady pulled out a circular with coupons for the nearby supermarket, the other lady complained that although there were always coupons for cereal, she could never find coupons for her favorite cereal, Post something-or-other. The Old Lady #1 then said "You know, there's that site, have you tried that?" and Old Lady #2 replied that she would have to give that a try, and then proceeded to rave about buying shoes at ("you know, Zap-, Zappo, Zapatos, yeah,, they have everything...") and the rest of the conversation was about all their favorite shopping websites.
So much for old-school Brooklyn!

Later, two guys sat down on the other side of me, both of whom had a junkie-ish aspect about them-- you know, you see two people who seem to have nothing in common other than that they must get high together, they look kind of droopy eyed and talk too loud in hoarse voices... anyway, one of them was going on and on about some friend of his who was always stealing his money, blatantly taking $100 bills out of his wallet, or stealing the change he'd left on a bar when no one else could have done it. Tales of petty theft among friends is probably another good sign of a junkie.

While listening to all this, I was reading the Times, where I discovered that Americans spent more than $8.5 billion on infomercial products last year, and that 36% of the readers of Parenting Magazine believe that if mothers were paid a salary, it should be equal to whatever Bill Gates makes. The runner-up answers were:
$100,000-- 20%
$50,000-- 20%
$75,000-- 18%

I also caught up on this week's TimeOut New York magazine, which presented an interesting article about whether eyelash extensions are worth the $300-550 you'll pay for them. Depending on the technique, and how carefully you take care of them, they'll last anywhere from a week to over a month. I had never even heard of eyelash extensions when I wrote my post about beauty and money yesterday, so here is what they are, for those who are equally ignorant of this innovation: unlike false eyelashes that are applied in one big strip, these are individual silk or synthetic strands of hairs that are glued onto your natural lashes in a process that takes 60-90 minutes. You can get brown or black lashes, or even red, blue and purple ones if you want. Here's some comments about caring for them:

"Maintenance wasn't difficult until I went to Maui where I swam in the ocean and drove with the top down-- not recommended."
"One constant problem was that the lashes picked up all sorts of detritus-- little fuzzies from my sweater or from cotton balls."

I think I can add eyelash extensions to my list of expensive things I won't be buying.

As for my own morning's expenses:
2 fried eggs, toast, homefries, and coffee: $4.40 plus $1.00 tip


Bitty said...

You tip well. Good for you! You're frugal and careful but not a miser. I like your attitude more all the time.

Interesting how you can find $$$ news everywhere you go.

By the way, sometimes I catch myself thinking, "Would Madame X spend money on this?"

You are changing my life, I think for the better!

Anonymous said...

$4.40 for a complete meal. Not bad for NYC.

Cap said...

on noes... my $450 eyelash extensions hurt my eyes. the beautiful coast of Maui, and the convertible rental is now less enjoyable. Poor me.


you know, on the flip side.. if I'm female and say, there's some magical procedure where I can transfer giving birth to my husband, I'll pay the $45 billion to transfer it.

which makes me thankful that I'm not female, and that there's no such procedure.

Anonymous said...

Out of curiousity, did not planning ahead (having milk for breakfast) end up costing you money in this case? If it would have just been cereal & milk, then you would have saved money by staying in.

Or if you are adverturous, you can do what my best friend & I did in 3rd grade. We got home from school & we were hungry, but there wasn't much to eat. We had the same dilemia, we had Fruit Loops but no milk. Necessity is the mother of invention. Fruit Loop sandwiches were born that day.

I was glad to see that you aren't so focused on your goal that you don't tip. My grandmother used to be frugal AND cheap. The family would all go out for dinner, but she left a really poor tip. It didn't matter if the service was good or awful. I had to leave some extra money, when no one was looking. When I paid & left tip, she would give me a hard time about leaving a decent tip. One time, she even picked up part of the tip saying I left too much (Back to Plan B that time, when no one was looking).

All these little choices add up over 30 years, but is good to keep perspective. Otherwise, we would all be putting a can of soup over the stove pilot in the morning, so it is heated up when we get home to save money.

Anonymous said...

I'm struck by Bitty's comment, "You're frugal and careful but not a miser". That got me to thinking. I wonder if some people out there think money management means to be frugal, or a miser. I think it can mean a lot of things, but the bottom line is, good money management says that you have a plan, know where your money goes, and you are making financial decisions for today and your future.