How to justify everything in life without even trying.
The Republicans have their economic theories. The Democrats some of their own. And, the President is responsible for overseeing the National Budget.
There are hundreds of economic theories out there: ranging from Trickle Down Economics of the 1980’s to Economies of Scale of the 1990’s.
All are wrong. Mine is right.
I call my theory: Baseline Economics to Happiness and Zen or (BE2HZ for short). I know, a long name.
WTF is BE2HZ? Well, let me tell you:
Everything costs something. And everything has a base price; you build from there. Think of my favorite industry: the airline industry. “Priceline” any ticket, let’s say — ohh, one I’m familiar with, Baltimore to Las Vegas. What is the cheapest ticket humanly possible to achieve? To make the test result even less expensive, let’s leave and return on a Wednesday, avoiding the peak travel time of the weekend. And, I won’t specify non-stop. Last, I’m booking about 3 weeks out — just far enough to avoid last minute travel rates, just close enough to get their best deal.
Drumroll please. $177 each way, Spirit airlines. Better, non-stop. WOW! CHEAP!
NOT SO FAST.
Their flight leaves at 7:40 pm from BWI, reaching Vegas about 10 pm. (1 am east coast time). Ok, maybe that fits your schedule. And the return? Well, the same $177 rate comes home — on a red eye, leaving at 11:30 pm Vegas time, and returning at 7 am to BWI. Hmmmm….. that’s yucky.
But that establishes our base rate: $354. Or does it? I must travel with at least 2 checked bags and 2 carry ons, one under the seat, one in the bin: this is standard camera equipment, clothes, and technology I can’t ship or check.
So, WAIT! On Spirit, if you have a carry on (and you pay for that carry on at time of booking, it’s an additional $35. Don’t ask what it cost if you pay when you reach the gate: think second mortgage. For the two checked bags, if paid for at time of booking? $70. Each way. So our new base rate, on Spirit, is $564. Not so cheap, suddenly. But we’ll make that $564 our base rate.
In my theory, anything above this rate is the real cost of the flight. Anything below, savings. So….let’s try the same search on Southwest, my preferred airline. Total rate….leaving on a non-stop flight on the same day, at 8 pm and arriving at 10 pm, a comparable flight to the Spirit flight — and a non-stop flight, on the same return day, leaving at 6:10 am and landing at 2 pm (my version of a red eye, leaving so early…)
SOUTHWEST’S RATE? $306 round trip, or a savings of $258 over the “low cost” Spirit Airlines.
SO FAR, everything makes sense, right? But suddenly we have $258 to play with in Las Vegas — our savings from the flight. How to spend, how to spend? Perhaps an upgrade to a suite? Perhaps a shopping trip? Perhaps a meal at R&M Seafood? Hmmm….whatever, spend without guilt, it’s free money. No different than if you won it at slots. So, get a massage. Experience economic zen. You’ve earned it.
Now, apply my theory to restaurants. Rule: YOU MUST EAT. Let me eliminate all fast food — not because it’s cheap and throws my theory off, but because it’s dog food. What is the cheapest lunch you can eat? Probably about $20, including tip, at Applebees. So, that Sushi lunch that you actually want, totaling $35? It’s TRUE COST is $15, the $20 you must spend, and the extra for the upgraded sushi. Is a great sushi meal worth $15 over eating at Applebees? You betcha!
I live my entire life according to this economic rule. It applies to everything! Base cost – what you want cost = true cost.
The T.G.I. Fridays was just off Time Square, and He Who Shall Not Be Named and I decided to hit it after watching Radio City Christmas Spectacular. We figured, TGI Fridays was the least expensive sit down restaurant for blocks. I knew it was average, but at least it wasn’t dog food, so I was happy.
HWSNBN opened the menu. “Jesus! $14 for a hamburger.”
I looked. The hamburger was $28. I, of course, told him so — a bit gleefully, I admit. The $14 hamburger was on the kids menu. HWSNBN’d was CHEAP. I — well — not so much.
He was pissed. $28 for a hamburger? I explained my BE2HZ theory — in depth. By the time I was done, I told him he was ahead $12 and he should get some cheesecake. He didn’t look happy. I thought he’d choke as I ordered the $12 cheescake for myself.
Bliss. I love cheescake.
Matthew dug his feet into the sand, cool under the cabanna’s thatched roof. The Caribbean Sea stretched in front of us, the Mexican jungle in back. We were at a cafe, perched right on the water, eating a seafood lunch caught by scuba divers just off the restaurant’s reef. We had a platter: lobster, shrimp, a local fish, clams, mussels, all grilled on an open wood grill. Total price — actual price — for the plate? About $30. What would its nearest equivalent cost at Joe’s Crab Shack? About $75. See, we saved $29. How thrifty am I?
BTW, I just booked my vacation flight back to Mexico in November. This year, we’re staying at a cabanna on the sea. Right on the sea. It’s the closest bed to ocean in all of Mexico, steps from the water. I admit it’s a deluxe cabanna, with a bathroom and a king size bed, and there ARE cheaper alternatives, some as low as $70 per night. But they have smaller beds and a community bath. Ewww. I went for my deluxe as the baseline: total cost of the cabanna I booked? About $220 per night.
Last year, we stayed in the same town, at a resort perched on top of a cliff, overlooking the sea– in a magnificant suite of marble. A huge living room, two whirlpool tubs, a deck — the suite was larger than my second and third apartments combined. Total cost, about $550 per night. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. But I wanted a more ecological experience for this trip, and we spied these cabanna rooms when we visited the beach on a day trip last year.
Once again, thrifty traveller that I am, I save $330 per night this year. So, we are going for 10 days instead of 7.