"A fool and his money are lucky enough to get together in the first place." ~ Stanley Weiser
Stop what you're doing for a moment and examine the contents of your pockets or purse. Dig deep and you might find your house or car keys, a pack of stale gum or lint-covered breath mints, a scrunched up taxi receipt, Jimmy Hoffa (threw that in just to see if you're actually reading this!), a credit card or two, some loose change if you're lucky, and maybe even a mangled buck, fiver or even a Jackson. Now, if you discover "Bacon," "Bread," "Clams," "Dough," or "Lettuce" - either you just shoplifted the local supermarket or you've just visited your nearest ATM.
Money, no matter what you call it, has been around as long as people have had the necessity to buy and sell rather than barter for what they need or want. Printed currency and coins evolved from prehistoric forms of cash and a need to create a more convenient means of payment. (Imagine if you will the following: "Ummm...I'd like a decaf-mochachino-low-foam-extra-soymilk-latte-grande, please. Are you still accepting cows and magic beans, or may I pay you with some shells and a handful of whale's teeth?")
The awkwardness of handing over a pig to pay your rent, offering a live chicken in lieu of money for your phone bill, or swapping a kitten to settle your bar tab might be colorful (albeit unsanitary and against PETA principles!), but the simplicity of handing over even a grungy wad of hard cash makes the entire exchange much less messy and, for certain, alleviates the hassle, emotional distress and trauma to our wildlife, four-legged friends and barnyard animals.
But while more sanitary than "financial fowl," if you haven't noticed...money's just plain old dirty. It's been handed from one unknown individual to another unknown individual, time-after-time, after which it makes its way to you and then gets conveniently stashed away in your wallet, pocket, change-purse, or mattress. And even assuming that you, personally, are fastidiously neat and hygienic, those bills and all that coinage have been sweated on, smudged and stained from greasy fingers, fallen on the ground, handled by just-sneezed-on hands, or collected dust and cat dander while lost in your favorite chair or couch. Yick!
And what about that nest egg of yours? Nowadays, rather than your money multiplying (no matter how dirty), pretty much all that is happening is that the mints are making the ink on our greenbacks more colorful, and the metal surfaces on our coinage more sparkly. Your money's not worth as much as it was a year ago, but it sure is clean and crisp straight out of the ATM.
So I ask you, with the economy in a such a slump, the housing crisis at its peak, and interest rates at an all-time low, why pay others to clean your moola'? (Hmmm...Neat and tidy "Georges," "Bens," and "Abes" vs. the potential of literally "rolling in it?") Why continually let the big boys have all of the fun?
My Tip-of-the-Week? Withdraw your savings, load up your washtub with tepid water, add a cupful of baking soda and 1/4 cup white vinegar, and launder your money yourself. By doing it by hand you won't only be saving an arm and a leg, but you'll gain peace-of-mind from knowing that your financial reserves are naturally fresh and clean.
And in the event you've been saving for a rainy day, not to worry. The occasional April shower may bring mayflowers, but it too works wonders for "re-crisping your lettuce!" To be even more environmental, rather than hand washing your cash as suggested above, consider merely hanging your greenbacks out back while it's drizzling. They too will benefit from a downpour. (I'm not sure why, but our neighbors seem to get so excited when we put up our clothesline!) A day of fresh air and sunshine will revive your own stagnating economy.
Remember -- broke, nouveau riche or tight-fisted, dirty dollars are a no-no. Use your newly laundered currency with fiscal pride. And again, be thankful that we no longer trade critters for payment, much to the relief of doomful does, harsh hamsters, humorless hedgehogs, somber squirrels and "stearn bears" everywhere.
GOTCHA. (April Fools!)
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