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Friday, July 30, 2010

Work-related Cake

Maybe you are living the same story at your office place: it’s someone’s birthday and you and your coworkers gather in the conference to celebrate it with some cake.

At my workplace, this has been going on at least one day a week, the last 12 weeks. That’s a lot of free food! It’s been birthday cake but also bridal shower brownies, retirement breakfast buffet, pizza for the staff meeting and random acts of bagels. It means I keep my brown bag lunch one more day in the office fridge, and save a little bit more dough because I’ve eaten some bagel dough for lunch instead.

You may have guessed I, along with thousands of other cheapos, brown bag a lunch for work instead of going out to eat (or whatever). Another facet of the free workplace-related food I’ve been NOM NOM NOM is the fact that my coworkers, however, often do not brown bag their lunch, and instead order a tremendous lunch somewhere and end up with leftovers. More often than not, they offer me one-half of a turkey sandwich, the two lonely slices of pizza, or the remaining French fries from lunch. FREE I TELL YA!

I decided to figure out how much money all this food is worth and tally it all up for your enjoyment. Please note the figures are just guesses, due to my sheer laziness and also because it is a mystery where my coworkers buy their pizza.

5 bagels with cream cheese $7.50

3 slices of pizza $6

2 brownies $3.50

6 packs of Saltine crackers $.30

One-half a chicken Caesar wrap $3

Half an order of Chinese dumplings $1.5

1 breakfast buffet $12

1 order of fried calamari $7

2 Diet Cokes $2

12 bottles of water $12

5 Munchkin doughnut holes $1

3 candy bars $2.25

5 pieces of cake $10

All this adds up to:

$68.05

Not bad, I’d say!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

The King's official food tester

As the story goes, some poor soul is designated as the official Person Who Tests The King's Food to Make Sure It Ain't Poisoned.

For obvious reasons, a shitty job. And yet, at least you ain't eating porridge. You are eating pheasant (albeit a poisoned one). Hey, it's a fine and noble way to die.

Yesterday I decided I was the King, as well as the King's Food Tester, all in one. I discovered a mysterious fruit-bearing tree had fallen over the path I walk on my lunchbreak. All this fruit, whatever it was, would soon perish now that this tree was dying a slow death.

In a moment of brilliance, and in hopes to avenge this tree that had so obviously been hit by some fool on a vehicle and left to die, I determined I would find out as much as I could about this fine specimen, and whether or not the fruit it took such time and care to bear was edible and not poison.

So no, I did not simply reach amid its branches, pluck a piece of fruit, and send it down my hatch hoping for the best. No, instead I researched this tree. And by research, I mean I posted a picture I took of this tree on Facebook and hoped I inadvertently was Facebook friends with a botanist or other agriculturalist.

This lead to some creative answers, guessing this tree was anything from persimmon to cherry to crabapple. I have never eaten a persimmon or a crabapple, and didn't really want to start, so I crossed my fingers it was a cherry, but that still left me with questions about the TYPE of cherry it could be.

I'll interject here that I was also excited by this mystery because it could yield a big bag of fruit, for free. FREE I TELL YA! And food's expensive. Who doesn't want free food? Jerks, that's who. And for the most part I am not a jerk.

To determine what type of tree I had, I'd have to take to the Google of it all. Eventually the claptrap of search results lead me to find the Arbor Day web site, which has a field guide for trees.

What an incredibly useful site. I felt as though I could walk up to any tree in the eastern United States of America and determine whether it was a ginkgo biloba or an Eastern Hemlock. However in my tree mystery I learned there are all sorts of botanical terms I needed to figure out about my mystery tree, stuff about the leaf margins, the petioles and all this other scientific stuff I forgot since graduating the 8th grade.

Eventually, however, I came to a definitive answer!

This tree was a Sour Cherry Tree!

At least, I think.

Which means, it's edible! Free food! FREE I TELL YA!

At least, I think. I tried a sample. Still alive, a day later. I think I'm safe!

I'd like to report I picked the fallen cherry tree clean of all its fruit, netting a sizeable bag of cherries, comparable in size to a bag of cherries you'd buy at the grocery store.

It's about two pounds of fruit. California, Bing and White Cherries are regularly $3.99 a pound at my local Shoprite, but two of these varieties are on sale at $2.99 a pound.

I may have saved six bucks, but this time I had a real adventure, which is priceless, I think. Plus I get to make this shit.

My cherry booty:





Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Getting paid to answer the same questions, ad nauseum

I was told about www.opinionoutpost.com, which provides you with the opportunity to answer a bunch of surveys and get money for it.

So far, I've answered about four surveys or so, and have earned $8.60. It's taken up a good hour of my life.

I guess, that's not too bad a take, while you are doing nothing at all. And it's not like they are asking you to perform rocket surgery, just remember your annual income and the last time you bought dog food.

It can be tiresome to answer what seems like endless questions about how strongly you feel about Icy Hot, and this product's reliability, sincerity, social consciousness and product value. And of course it is totally boring to keep repeating your answers with every survey, explaining your gender, marital status, race and annual income, and it kinda makes you wish Opinion Outpost would log your answers somewhere so you only had to answer new questions each time.

I mean, that way, I could free up time to answer more surveys and earn wildly more spare change...because you are paid after you complete the survey, regardless of how long it takes.

After you earn $5, you can request payment.

So, certainly not becoming a Daddy Warbucks with this methodology. But, I started this about two weeks ago, and at this rate, earning another four bucks a week, would be $208 extra floating around a year. That's a lot of dog food and/or Icy Hot.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Misadventures with the local parking authority

One of the seaside communities I frequent has streetside parking with parking meters for about two blocks. Thereafter, it's free. FREE I TELL YA!

So I head straight there. I want to avoid paying 0.25 for 15 minutes of parking. Considering how long I will be parked, we have a potential savings of $4.50 if I find a free spot.

But oh, so many people have also surmised it ain't too bad walking two blocks, if it means avoiding parking meters. The free street parking spots are filled, up to another three blocks. Now, I'd have to walk five blocks if I want so save $4.50.

Hrrrmmmm, what to do. It may rain, and I am going to be a bit late if I walk that far to my destination.

Instead, I will park in this semi-spot. A quasi place to park legally, a bit by a yellow curb and maybe too close to a stop sign. I think to myself, yes, this is a wise idea, and using no science, math or data research, I determine that the likelihood I will be noticed and ticketed by the local parking authority is slim.

I park my jalopy, lock its doors, and head confidently toward my destination, thoroughly enjoying myself and certain I will be adding a savings of $4.50 to my monthly tally.

If you haven't already figured out where this story is going, shame on you. You must be someone who hasn't encountered a plotline in at least 15 years, or still have a few years to go before reaching the fifth grade to learn the basics of storytelling via irony and foreshadowing. Those are the only excuses to not know what happens next in this tale, Misadventures with the Local Parking Authority.

In summation, my parking ticket for parking too close to a stop sign: $54.

Which, of course, is $49.50 more than using the parking meter in the first place.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Welcome to Misadventures with Money

Hello, valued reader. The purpose of this blog is to detail my misadventures with money.

Money, it's something I am affected by everyday. Why not provide insight on my attempts to get more of it?

I am a quirky character and perhaps you will enjoy reading all about my strange and (hopefully) resourceful ways of earning and saving some moolah. Maybe you will be inspired to think creatively about the dollars and sense that rule our lives, or maybe you will point and laugh at me and think I am of unsound mind.

Regardless, I warned you. This isn't claiming to be an adventure, but a misadventure. The stuff of folly, spontaniety, and downright randomness. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'll keep a chronicle of all that happens, here.