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A steady rain taps against the window as thunder rolls in the distance. There’s a slight breeze and yet the humid air still hangs heavy in the early evening hours. The technical end of summer festivities came to a close with the sun setting on another Labor Day, but this warm storm reminds the pumpkin spice latte connoisseurs that fall isn’t quite ready to make its appearance.
Inside the house sits a scantily-clad girl with her hair in a haphazard messy bun not worthy to be viewed in public. No, this is a hairstyle of necessity, not Instagram likes. A fan blows on its highest setting in an attempt to move the stagnant air around the stuffy bedroom. The bottle of sparkling water on the nightstand drips condensation that gathers in a tiny pool beneath it. What would normally be a peaceful soundtrack to an average Tuesday night, the storm merely adds to her irritation of the situation at hand. You see, despite the relaxation Mother Nature provides outside, the thermostat inside displays an uncomfortable reality. 79 degrees. A stifling reminder that the air conditioner had been off for over 12 hours.
This was my life last week when my roommate decided to save money yet again by preemptively turning off the AC in her house. Had the day before reached a high of 85 degrees? Yes. Was the weekend scheduled to warm up again despite a couple days in the low 70s? Also yes. Did she consult me on this decision before I came home from work to a hotbox? Nope. I get her intentions, I really do. BUT there is a time and place to be cheap.
When I first moved in with my roommate, I knew that although she never intended to have someone live with her in the house she proudly owned, she was excited about the extra income I would provide her. I was excited about the cheap rent and she was excited to use my money to travel more with her boyfriend who wasn’t officially her boyfriend. Plus, I was a built-in dog sitter for her pit bull. Wins all around.
My initial glimpse at how cheap she really is came when we were first running low on toilet paper. I arrived home from work only to discover a replacement package of one-ply paper from the dollar store. Confused, I thought that maybe she didn’t have time to go get the real stuff considering the house is merely blocks away from said dollar store. But when a few days had passed with no change, I knew I had to start buying my own stash of luxury TP.
After the toilet paper discovery, I should have understood what I was dealing with. But alas, the depth of the extremes to which she went in order to save some cash was startling. There was the time our heat went out and instead of getting it fixed immediately that day, she saved a whole $40 by getting the hardware delivered from Amazon and replacing it herself. We had no heat for THREE days in the interim.
I learned that her love of the dollar store extended to other products — including tampons. Yes, the awful cardboard applicator kind. Gentlemen, let me tell you that opting to assault your lady parts with this form of discomfort is not something a sane person would do willingly.
Perhaps the most extreme case came when she attempted to change internet providers only to learn that the new company would charge $180 to install and the old company wouldn’t let her come back without doubling the monthly costs for a period of 90 days. I asked often how things were going and when I could resume having Netflix grace my TV screen only to have the days stretch by with no change. Over 90 days later, the internet returned after I spent many a night not at my house. My consolation was money taken off my rent, but come on.
I realize my roommate is not the norm, however I recently witnessed another brazen attempt to pull the cheap card out in the wild.
My friend’s bachelorette party weekend was concluding with a much-needed brunch before we all dispersed to nap away the afternoon. The checks were passed around the table, and what followed was a shocking outburst in the form of multiple girls complaining about how expensive their bills were. I’m talking full-on, “Omg, are you serious? I didn’t bring enough cash for this!” type of stuff. All said right in front of the bride.
To be honest, this brunch was not expensive. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I paid that little. On top of this, the restaurant choice was in the bachelorette party invitation everyone had received months in advance. The menu and prices shouldn’t have been a surprise. The cost of the weekend as a whole shouldn’t have been a surprise, because it was also laid out in the invitation! Bachelorette parties in general are expensive; get over it. And if you’re going to complain about the financials, at least do it in a less tacky way (AKA behind the bride’s back afterwards).
I’m all for saving money, don’t get me wrong. Use that coupon code, buy that $5 wine, eat a box of mac ‘n cheese for dinner, stay at a less-than-5-star hotel when you’re in town for a one-night event that results in passing out for a few hours then leaving the following morning in a hungover stupor. These are acceptable and recommended ways to make your wallet happier. Just don’t let your enjoyment of life suffer because you can’t loosen up the purse strings a bit. You can’t take it with you, right?.