As a first order approximation, the amount of money a person spends is a good reflection of how sustainably they live. It’s not an exact correlation—environmentally negligent junk food costs a lot less than locally-grown produce—but the ratio tracks well for most human carvings and their planetary impacts.
I’ve never been much of a shopper, so spending little money isn’t difficult; and ever since my time in Haiti, I’ve made a personal parlor game of celebrating days of spending zero dollars. The Awkward Poser’s folly against the bombarding temptations of our consumer economy. Still, even I am not immune from the adrenaline jolt of savvy shopping.
It’d been a tough week. Three days of drizzly rain. A dear friend in Worcester in and out of the hospital, then back in. Finding a new tenant, off-season, after one suddenly moved. Jumping through hoops with the city arborists to remove a tree that’s shearing my neighbor’s retaining wall. A family member in Utah lost in a coma. The usual stuff of life: sliced grim.
I needed a walk. Fresh air. Heavy-breathing at the gym. I also needed spackle to repair damage in the empty apartment. $6.99 at Whites Ace Hardware in Porter Square.
I’d squirreled a $5 coupon issued from a different Ace Hardware in my wallet. “Will you accept this coupon from another Ace?
“Sure thing. It’s a corporate coupon. That will be $1.37.
“How’s that? The spackle’s $6.99; the coupon’s five bucks.”
“First, I applied the 10% senior discount. Then subtracted five dollars. The sales tax only apples to the remainder. That makes $1.37.”
“Wow.” Amazed how the clerk applied benefits I didn’t even know existed, and then tallied them to my best advantage. I walked out of store whistling a happy song. The emerging sun seemed a little brighter, my step a little lighter. The jaunty satisfaction of such sweet purchase. Was there ever a day when a tub of spackle delivered so much joy?
Of course, White’s Ace Hardware won as well. I may not shop often, but I won’t soon forget this great deal. I’ll be back.
Sometimes my CVS coupons reduce the cost of an item enormously. And senior discounts at least offer one advantage to age. Hope you went wild with the money you saved!
Oh yeah. Took a discounted ride on the MBTA!