To: Members of the Household
From: Chief Financial Officer
Nationwide, the economy’s in real trouble, and that’s reflected here at local headquarters. Costs are rising and income isn’t keeping up. High gasoline and food prices have taken their toll, and inflation is now spreading to other areas, such as tires and waistlines. It’s time to tighten our collective belts so we can survive these hard times without resorting to layoffs that could affect the whole family.
The following cost-cutting measures will be in force until further notice:
1) Out-of-control inflation at the supermarket means we must rely on simpler foods, such as those purchased at discount stores for less than a dollar. Think ramen noodles. Yum.
We’ll be looking for foods we can make from scratch. Yes, this is more time-consuming, but we’ll have plenty of time to cook now that we’ve canceled all fun activities. (See item 5).
We’ll also keep a lower inventory of food on hand. If you get hungry enough, maybe you’ll finally consume those canned goods that have sat in the back of the pantry since 1993.
2) Utility costs are on the rise, and we can all do our part by keeping lights turned off and using less air-conditioning. Sweating is good for you. And reading in low light builds up your eye muscles.
3) We’ll cut spending on extravagances such as new school clothes. You kids only want to wear your old, ratty clothes anyway, and now you’ll get that opportunity. If colors are faded or you’re tired of the patterns, we’ll dye all your clothes black and tell everyone you’re “Goth” or "emo.” You’ll have to act angry and/or sad all the time, but that shouldn’t be difficult now that we’re poor.
4) School supplies will be provided by household members who have access to corporate office-supply closets and who can exercise the venerated “five-finger discount.” Students should pay special attention to the combinations of nearby lockers.
5) Entertainment costs must be contained. Why pay full price for “The Dark Knight” when you can watch perfectly fine old movies such as “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” on TV for free? Better yet, curl up with a book from the library.
Dining out is verboten, effective immediately. Public liquor consumption should be confined to “happy hour.” Private alcohol consumption may increase during these hard economic times, resulting in deferred costs, such as detox and/or rehab.
6) Houseplants cost water and time and provide little in return. The ingrates. Starting now, houseplants will gradually be replaced by herbs and other edible plants, such as wheat.
7) Lawn and garbage services will be suspended, replaced by the newest member of our household team, Sweetums the goat. I hope you all will join me in welcoming Sweetums aboard, but keep your distance because she bites.
8) Other so-called “pets” are put on notice that they need to start pulling their weight around here. Otherwise, they run the risk of becoming “lunch.”
9) Transportation costs simply must come down. Car trips will be restricted to those that are absolutely necessary. Household members who need additional travel should undertake it at their own expense. Or use alternative methods such as hitchhiking. This is why God gave you thumbs, people.
That is all for now. If the recession deepens, additional cutbacks may be required. But if we all pitch in and help contain costs, perhaps we won’t have to sell the children to a passing carnival.