“Budgeting Tips from the 1%,” by Valerie Lute

Sep 21st, 2016 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

At my last gala luncheon, a senator’s wife told me a lot of ordinary Americans are having trouble getting by, and I felt called share my knowledge with my less fortunate countrymen. Budgeting doesn’t have to be hard. With a few minor tweaks, you can save tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars every month.

Buy Reusable Diamonds

Before I learned this trick, I was going through 12, 15 carats a day! You may spend an extra two or three grand finding diamonds that you can bear to be seen in day after day, but it is definitely worth the investment.

Downgrade to the Lowest Maid-Service Plan

Does she really need to dust the chandeliers Monday AND Wednesdays? Trust me, those things don’t get as dirty as you think.

Sell Your Children’s Starter Horses

Abigail and Evaline may cry when you send away the sturdy mares they rode for their first dressage tournaments, but remind them they have a whole stable full of equines who still need love.

Rent Out Your Private Island

Now, I’m not some out-of-touch bint. I know that not everyone has a private island. A cabin in the Hamptons will work just as well.

Use the Same Silver Platters for Formal Lunches AND Casual Dinners

Before you call me gauche, just hear me out: are your guest really going to be staring at the platters or are they going to be too busy enjoying the tuna nicoise and pieds paquets you’re serving?

Don’t Buy a Bottle of Chateau Margaux Everyday

I would never begrudge anyone their nightly glass or two of wine. After all, it is the only way to unwind after a long day of badminton. Even though nothing can replace the well-softened tannins of a 2009 Margaux du Chateau Margaux, you can buy a serviceable bottle of Meo Camuzet or Penfolds for a fraction of the cost and save rare vintages for special occasions.

Monetize Your Hobbies

You’ve already sunk money in sailing lessons, why not enter a competition? Or maybe you have a show-ready basset hound, or prize-worthy photos of crying Thai peasants you took on spring vacation. You win only a few thousand dollars for any of these, but every bit helps.

Shave Your Own Legs

It came as a surprise to me, but when I was having my bi-weekly wax I asked my esthetician if she’s ever tried electrolysis, and she told me she actually uses a sharp razor blade to scrape the hair from her own skin. I haven’t tried it, but apparently it can be done! And I hear you can buy the supplies you need at most major grocery stores.

Look, I know budgeting is no fun, but none of these are all that painful once you adjust to them. I freely confess to practicing one or two of these myself when my husband’s bank was awaiting bailout funds. We all have to tighten our belts sometimes, and we ought to just keep our chins up and our mouths closed about it.


defenestration-valerie-luteValerie Lute is a writer whose short stories and poetry have appeared in Everyday Fiction, The Good Men Project, Prime Number Magazine, and the Rusty Nail, among others. She lives in Massachusetts where she reads like a fiend, listens to vintage punk rock, and occasionally goes outside.


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