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Monday, April 4, 2011

Picture this: how I saved $30 or $40 or $12

Dear readers, help me by using your imagination for a moment. I can take a picture, but cannot post it as yet. When I get around to following your advice, maybe I can.

For months I have been lurking in Office Max, wanting to buy with my maxperks rewards a pencil sharpener that is not hand operated. I really have wanted to buy it for my daughter and her children. I supply them with the tiny ones with a plastic case to contain the shavings, lots of them. And, they promptly lose them....sigh.  Thankfully, I get them all on sale.

In all this pondering, shopping, and wishing, I decided getting one for me would be nice. Decisions have to be made: Do I get top of the line for her? Do I buy mid-priced for each of us? Do I buy cheap one for both of us? How large might be too large for her desk and limited desk-top real estate? Should I get an electric one or battery-powered one? If electric or battery operated, should it be the type where you stick the pencil in the top or the one where you stick the pencil in the side...vertical or horizontal?

What if the electricity goes off and they need to sharpen a pencil? Can I use my Max Perks rewards for a better purchase? (I am not paying a dime in cash for this.) Will batteries be a pain when the nine-year-old needs new ones to do some desperately-must-be-done-now project with the only pencil she owns? (She is dramatic. I don't know where she got Will my daughter kill me if I get the old-fashioned kind that screws onto the wall and has the little hand crank? (She is dramatic. I don't know where she got See where this is going?

Finally, I just bought a box of ten reams of copy paper to use my perks before they expired. No, I did not take a picture.

Later. When I came to my senses, I figured no one will suffer by having a hand sharpener. Of course, I have a hundred pencils to sharpen and it will hurt me. Another epiphany coming in---> I don't have to sharpen all 100 at once. Whew, that reception is hurting me.

Before the storm
So, today before the storm comes and blows away my roof completely or drowns the inside of my house, I have to work off the nerves. (most of roof gone from my house anyway) I have my tiny pencil sharpener and three cups of pencils to sharpen.  This will make my hands hurt and take me longer than it should.

Nature appreciation
Outside on the picnic table will be a nice place to do such a boring boring boring job. When I taught GED, I kept a plastic pencil box of sharpened pencils ready each day. I sharpened about two dozen pencils twice each day. Yes, students could have done it themselves, but my doing it kept down noise, distraction, wandering around, and excuses.

When I get this done once, I will transfer pencils in need of sharpening to another pencil cup and do this once every few months.

Three pencil cups
I know your burning question: Why do you have a hundred pencils in three separate cups? A friend asked me that the first time he came to my home. The answer: So I will have a pencil in any room in which I happen to need one. Okay? Got it? Next reason: I will not throw away pencil nubs, so why would I discard mostly whole pencils?

Maybe I will put a rubber band around half the pencils and store them in the file cabinet with office supplies. Honestly, these things just happened.

Pat me on the back
Today, I saved $40 by using a $0.39 cent pencil sharpener. I can send my daughter a hundred of those with the money I saved.

Parsimony is painful
but satisfying. The painful part was thinking, planning, anticipating. Not spending my "money" on even the $12 sharpener was satisfying. Besides, the box with ten reams of paper will last longer than a $40 electric pencil sharpener.

Your turn
Have you ever agonized about a purchase and then found that all you really need is something you already have that is  soooo simple and cheap that is is just too obvious?


  1. I'm going to WISH a che-E-eap pencil sharpener for will buy it for a song at one of the first garage/yard sales of the season. let me know when my wish comes true, Practical!!

  2. Dmarie,
    Thanks. I will take it. Go ahead and wish me a I need your positive

  3. I wish you a roof! And a cheap old fashioned pencil sharpener, the best kind:)


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