I love to save money! I am always on the lookout for new and exciting ways to stretch a dollar even further than I can now. Needless to say, whenever I can catch an episode of TLC’s “Extreme Cheapskates” I tune in and look for new money saving ideas.

Recently, I watched an episode about a man saving as much money as he could.  His most memorable stunt happened when he took his wife to the movies.  He paid for their tickets at a discount theater.  Then he went to go get their snacks and drinks.  Well that’s when it got interesting.  He went out to the garbage can outside the theater that their movie was in and took a popcorn bucket and large cup out of the trash!  He dumped the contents out and rinsed out the cup in the bathroom then took them to the concession stand to get his “free refills”.  Okay. Um. ICK!

Here is the clip from the show:

He never purchased the items to begin with.  He used a popcorn bucket and drink cup that someone else had purchased and then thrown away when they were done with it in order to get free popcorn and a drink.  I admit, I take our candy into the movie theater but I always buy popcorn and a drink for my kids and I to share.  Personally, I think that taking items out of the trash and presenting them as if you were the original purchaser in order to take advantage of the “free refills” is stepping over the line.

The movie theater that the kids and I go to most of the time is pretty cheap.  For us to get tickets, popcorn, soda, hot dogs and nachos comes to a TOTAL under $20.  I think that is reasonable.  The popcorn is about $5 and I LOVE saving money but I am not sure that I would ever feel comfortable using someones popcorn bucket that had been in the trash can.

Anyone out there have an opinion on this ? I would love to hear your comments on this!
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Today I had an interesting experience and the chance to teach Ben a little more about right from wrong.  Ben is Autistic and has a hard time dealing with social issues so any time I get the chance, I try to explain in detail what happened, why it happened, and why I am responding the way I am.  Anything I can do to make Right From Wrong clearer for him helps a lot in the long run.

This afternoon we went to the McDonald’s drive thru.  I ordered a few things off the dollar menu and our total came to $6.36.  We pulled up and I handed the cashier a $20 bill.  He gave me my change.  I pulled up again and got our food, checked the food in the bag to make sure we had everything and headed home.

Once we got home and ate, I dug into my purse to get the change out and put it in my wallet.  After unfolding the money I realized that the cashier had given me an extra $5.  He gave me $18 change instead of $13 change.  I have been a cashier many times and I know that if the drawer shows up short, you get in a lot of trouble.  I felt horrible for the guy!  Thankfully the McDonald’s was only 5 minutes up the road and we still had to get Shelby from band practice.

We left the house a few minutes early so we could go by the McDonald’s first.  I explained to Ben that the cashier gave us too much money back and it is not right to keep money that is not yours.  I further explained that the cashier could get in trouble because he would not have all the money in his drawer that he is supposed to have. He would be missing money!

Once we got to the McDonald’s, we went inside and asked to speak to the manager.  I showed him my receipt and explained what had happened and what our cashier looked like. He knew right away which employee it was.  Both he and the cashier and all the other employees were thankful but also in shock that I brought the money back.  Apparently this is just not that common anymore.  Honesty is not common?  How sad is that? I understand if you find $5 in an empty parking lot on the ground and there is no one around but to KNOW that you got money back that isn’t yours and just keep it?   Something just isn’t right with that!

By the way, Ben loved the fact that we helped that cashier out by being honest.  He learned a little about telling right from wrong  and he was thrilled to be a part of that.  It’s helping him understand the kind of man I want him to grow up to be (even if he isn’t aware of it yet).

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For those of you who don’t know, my son Ben is Autistic.  He is a “special needs” child.  He has been in therapy and special schools since he was three.  It is my job to make sure that he gets all the services he is entitled to and that the specialists who are supposed to be helping him do what they are supposed to be doing for him.

Since the beginning of this journey, I have always been hands on at his school.  I never just assummed the staff was doing their job and that I did not need to follow thru or support them.  It amazed me then and still amazes me now that so many parents just don’t get involved at their childrens schools.  Especially since these are the parents of special needs children.  To me this just ups the importance.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I know that there are many families where both parents work and also many families with single parents doing their best for their children.  The truth is that when the teachers send home a notice about a parent teacher meeting and then the parents don’t show up, they just assume you are not that interested in your child’s education. I have heard this first-hand from many teachers.

I am not talking about going full out PTA parent or anything.  I am simply talking about showing up for parent teacher conferences and volunteering a few hours during the school year.  Kids LOVE to see their parents on their school campus!  They just get such a thrill to know you are there too (even if you are not in the same room).  Email the teachers when you have a comment, question or concern.  Ask the teacher if there are any items you can contribute to the classroom (kleenex, snacks, juice, whatever they need).  Let them know you are an active and involved parent!

As much as it is the responsibility of the teachers to help your child learn, it is your responsibility to make sure that they are able to help your child in the best way possible!  Your input is INVALUBLE 😀


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One of my favorite quotes, from the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”:

“For what it’s worth, it’s never too late, or too early, to be whoever you want to be.  There’s no time limit.  Start whenever you want.  You can change or stay the same.  There are no rules to this thing.  We can make the best or the worst of it.  I hope you make the best of it.  I hope you see things that startle you.  I hope you feel things you never felt before.  I hope you meet people with a different point of view.  I hope you live a life you’re proud of.  And, if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”

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