Friday, November 21, 2008

War of Wealth

Geez, y'all stop collapsing the world financial system, would you?

This is a poster from a 1895 play. I'm not sure if today's equivalent would be War of Wealth, War on Wealth, or War for Wealth.

Wikipedia has a handy reference of Economic disasters in the US that includes 16 incidents labeled "Panics". I guess since the last one was in 1911, somebody thought it was high time for a good old-fashioned panic. Many panics seem to start when the Joe Moneybags of the world try to grow even filthier rich, by means of dodgy schemes designed to swindle everybody else.


Here are a couple of money-saving tips that I learned by accident.

#1: Discounts.
Hubby had a few medical tests a while back (he's fine). The bill was substantial, about $1000. I always feel a little cheesy doing it, but since we have one of those BigNameGasStation credit cards that rebates 1%, well, why not use it. I've learned to tolerate a little cheese.

"Can I pay over the phone with a credit card?"
"Yes. How much would you like to pay?"
"All of it."
"I can offer you a 20% discount for paying the entire amount."

I'm sure if I'd written a check, they'd have happily cashed the whole thing.

#2: Look closer.
Counterfeit $10 bills have been passed in Oneonta recently. Who's risking a felony charge for $10?! ("Teenagers" comes to mind.)

This is another thing I love about small-town living. The bank teller not only told me about it, she showed me the bill in question. I would never in a million years have caught this bill as a fake. It just looked and felt like one of the new tens that had already seen a lot of wear.

She told me there were two ways to spot it as a fake: look for the plastic security strip by holding it up to the light, or check that the glossy "10" (in the lower right) changes color when the bill is tilted. But who does that kind of thing for $10 bills? I check the strip on $50s and $100s at craft shows, though it always makes me feel so rude. Hubby's been saying that I need one of those currency-checking pens instead, but the teller told me that counterfeiters now use paper that the pen doesn't detect.

Bottom line, if someone hands you one of the newer bills that seems like it's seen a lot of wear... take a closer look.


Beau said...

That's a cool poster! Makes you wonder, but in a strange way I find that reassuring. We've been here before in terms of financial issues, and we'll work our way out of it. May take a while, but we'll get there!

fletch said...

the strip is why I quit printing my own bills. Now I just use other people's credit cards.

Rurality said...

Beau, that's what I thought too.

Fletch, heh. Going to make sure mine are well-hidden now. :)

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Ever little trick helps. It's true that just like water, where conservation is the "new source", we can "supplement" our income by cutting back in various ways.

Pablo said...

I've always said I would never go to the hospital unless they were having a sale. So far, I've kept my word.

I don't really expect a panic or widespread economic depression (not to discount the very real financial troubles of many unfortunate people) and I think we'll find out way back to prosperity sooner rather than later.

Rurality said...

RVS, yes! Don't even get me started about "going long" in toilet paper. :)

Pablo, I kept thinking that everyone was wrong and things would turn around quickly, but I believe people are almost talking themselves into a long downturn.