I hope you can help me. As you know, it is Tax Free Weekend here in Texas and a lot of other places. I want to take advantage of this as much as possible. Do you have any advice on how to maximize my savings?
Unfairly Taxed in Austin
Dear U.T. Austin
The best way to maximize the effects of Tax Free Weekend (TFW), is to stay home, close all the blinds, and turn off the TV, radio, and internet. Once you have accomplished that, find a room in the interior of your house, away from any windows or doors, and lay on the floor and curl up into a fetal position. It is okay to cry if you want to.
Plan B is to actually venture out to a store and to throw yourself into the madness that is Tax Free Weekend. While TFW is ostensibly a way for cost-conscious parents to save money on school supplies, it is, in fact, a clever way for the government to subtly begin to get people used to the idea of a Hunger-Games-like method of commodity distribution.
If you thought Black Friday shopping is an example of humanity at its lowest point, you should see what people are willing to do in order to save a mere 8% off of “school supplies”.
If you have ever looked at a crowd of crazed shoppers willing to trample a little old lady and her service animal to get 50% off of a flat screen TV during Black Friday, you will marvel as you watch hoards of people doing that and worse just so they can save three dollars on a backpack or a 18 cents on a pack of gel pens.
You can also watch as silicon-based life forms try to convince battle-weary store clerks that the seventeen hundred dollar Gucci clutch they want is really a backpack for their child. I’m sure it could hold at least two or three #2 pencils (sold separately). Perhaps their child is from Lilliput.
Which brings us to Plan C.
Go to Lilliput where 8% actually looks like a sizable savings and worth shanking a fellow human being over.
My name is “Cliff” and I have been married to “Jane” for about two years. She works for a large insurance company, which is really great, because she has been able to take out really huge life insurance policies on me because of her employee discount.
Last weekend she told me that, because of all the money she has saved on my insurance policies, she has booked us a mountain climbing holiday in Denali, Alaska.
I have never been mountain climbing before. Do you have an advice for an amateur mountaineer? Should I look out for anything in particular?
Cliff in Cleveland
Yes. You should look out for any sudden and unexpected changes in altitude. Also, inspect your gear every few minutes for nicks, cuts, abrasions, oiled areas, poison spiders, etc. One can’t be too careful.
Also, prudence dictates that you should allow Jane to precede you up the cliff face (so to speak), and to be below you as you descend. If she invites you to stand at the edge of a precipice to take in the breathtaking view, take a deep breath and refuse. No one likes a pushy mountain climbing companion, particularly if they are behind you.
If you somehow make it back to Cleveland in one piece, I recommend calling the insurance company and cancelling all of your life insurance policies and donating all of your worldly goods to charity. I suspect that Calamity Jane will find those actions repellent and will repel away from you at a rate of about 32 feet/second².