Who doesn’t like getting a solid bang for their buck?

    Who doesn’t like getting a solid bang for their buck?

    But as we go about seeking value in return for our hard-earned cash, we all possess different philosophies when it comes to spending money and saving it.

    When my wife goes to the grocery store, she's looking for bargains. She's not an extreme penny-pincher, but she's looking for a strong return on her dollar. When I go to the store, I'm looking only for what I insist on having. I'm a moth to the flame when it comes to any product with "NEW!" plastered across the label, and I avoid the ultra-common brand names in favor of the smaller, mom-and-pop food offering, because it just has to be better.

    The best example might be the aisle with pastas and sauces. I spend an eternity there, looking, obviously, for anything "NEW!" but also looking for an obscure brand or variety I've never purchased before. When I come home with the groceries, my wife will see the sauce I bought and ask what it cost. I have absolutely no idea, I tell her. I know what nothing costs. If you told me a dozen eggs costs $1.99, I'd reply with a shrug. If you told me a dozen eggs costs $7.99, I'd reply with a shrug.

    When my wife comes home with the groceries, the scene in the kitchen plays out differently while we're putting everything away. I come across the jar of "Prego" or "Ragu" in a bag, and she knows the thousand-mile-stare is coming.

    Maybe I'm the one who's flawed. Maybe it's my fault we didn't save enough money to pay for the entirety of our two sons' college tuition. If I'd settled for Ragu more often, or maybe a 12-pack of Bud Light instead of the latest, triendiest craft brew, or a dozen Top Flite golf balls instead of Titleist, or regular rifle ammo during deer hunting season instead of the bullets with the fancy tip, or the cheap bird seed that's full of worthless filler instead of the premium blend sunflower seed, or the mass-produced cat food full of mystery ingredients instead of the cat food that's recommended by veterinarians...

    Sorry, boys. I hope you truly savored those fancy Italian meals growing up, because you'll have to take out some loans to finish college.

    I do know how it get value out of things, however. I started feeling better about myself when I was watching TV the other day and I saw multiple commercials pitching the opportunity to save lots of money on razors and contact lenses. This is, like, an official thing now; we're being robbed blind when it's time to buy a new razor or new contact lenses.

    While I have no idea what the Schick razor occupying our basement bathroom cost when I first bought it, I do know I bought it eons ago. It's a Mach 3 or something, which means it has merely three blades, which makes it archaic in the world of razor technology. I also know I rarely buy new blade inserts for it because I use a blade until it's so dull it practically peels the epidermis off my face in jagged fashion. I also haven't used shaving cream since college. I simply lather up with soap in the shower, gaze into the small shower mirror, and shave away. I can confidently say that the money I've saved by not buying shaving cream over the past two decades-plus has, at the very least, paid for our oldest son's first-year parking permit at college. Maybe even the futon we bought for his dorm.

    Seriously? I'm supposed to join a "shave club" and have amazing yet economical razors delivered to my home every month?

    Contact lenses are the rare item of which I’m cost-aware. It's not like you buy contacts with a bunch of groceries; when you buy or order contacts it's typically an isolated purchase, so not knowing their cost requires almost willful ignorance.

    While it's officially recommended that I change my lenses every couple of weeks, my eye doctor said if they continue to feel comfortable and my vision is fine, I can definitely extend that out to a couple months. So I do. I make six pairs last a year. If I do some rough math, I think my contact lenses are costing me around 30 cents a day. Thirty cents! For vision! To see! Value!

    Which makes me all the more want to reach into my TV and throttle these two young dudes who started a business called "Hubble" to shill contact lenses. Why did they start Hubble, the scrawny kid on the right asks. Because contact lenses are too expensive, he answers. Hubble contacts come in cute, pastel-colored boxes, and they're apparently affordable. But I doubt they're cheaper than 30 cents a day.

    I doubt these Hubble dudes will be around long. They look like two guys who would have been offended and quit the "Young Enterprisers Club” in the 1983 film, "Risky Business" after learning Tom Cruise's character, Joel Goodson, was holding a massive house party full of prostitutes and booze in order to make some serious cash in rapid fashion. They would have hung out with the girl who marketed the paper towel holder and netted something like $127.

    Be like me, and you can get bang for your buck. My face may be all chopped up and scabby, and I can barely make out the post office right outside my office window, but darn it if I don’t have 11 bucks in my pocket.