Home Economics 101, as taught by my wife


LAS VEGAS: During this time when almost every Filipino family is complaining about household expenses, I volunteer my wife Lynn as “Exhibit A” on how to save at home. If there’s a specialized course in home economics, I’m sure she would finish it with flying colors. She knows very little about investments but on home economics, she’s a whiz.

Last Saturday, I taught of giving her an advance Mother’s Day present. We went to the Michael Kors store in Summerlin and she went about looking for a bag to her liking. But when she saw the price of the bag, she refused to have one.

“I’ll just wait for Irene (our pharmacist daughter) to get tired of her new bag. She often buys a new one,” she explained.

Well, that saved me and our household several hundreds of dollars. Wait, we, or rather Irene saved more in that Mother’s Day celebration. Like many other daughters, Irene wanted to treat Lynn to a dinner at a fine dining restaurant. Lynn begged off.

“You just buy crabs and shrimps and I’ll cook it. We can eat what we want at less expense,” she said.

Well, she’s an excellent cook as could be attested by the many who have dined at our home, including Bert de Guzman, William Depasupil, Raymond Burgos, Mike Genovea, Cebu City Rep. Raul del Mar, former Rep. Rudy Albano of Isabela and Southern Leyte Gov. Going Mercado. Senate reporters also like the “papaitan” of Lynn so much that they requested me to bring “papaitan” whenever I celebrated my birthday at the media center.

I like her cooking so much that I seldom dine out. Whenever I have the time, I go home for lunch or dinner, and you can just imagine how much we have saved because of her excellence in cooking. But while she loves to cook, she never wants any food spoiled or thrown to the garbage. That means we have to consume left-over foods, a practice that seems to be ignored by many households.

She has seen a number of housewives in the provinces who would give left-over food to the dogs or allow their food to spoil. “Always use the serving spoon” is her simple advice to prevent food spoilage.

On our first days in Las Vegas, Lynn had a “culture shock.” She couldn’t comprehend why buffet diners put on their plate much more food than they can consume. This is completely against her rule on home economics: “Put on your plate only what you can eat. If you want more food, you can always get more but never leave any food on the plate.” This is consistent with her “law” that food is so precious that none should be thrown away.

Lynn also showed her mettle as a home economist when she built what I called a “condo” as our vacation house in Barangay Mapangpang, Lupao, Nueva Ecija. Perhaps, she can afford a bigger one but she decided on a 42-square meter one-room affair, saving us hundreds of pesos had she had a more expensive taste. “Build no bigger than what you actually need” is another rule that should be applied in home economics.

Lynn’s rule may also be applied to buying things. One relative once bought several food items, drawn by the come-on that if one buys a dozen, the next dozen will cost 25 percent less. Well, the number of items was such that the household couldn’t consume them all. This brings us to another of Lynn’s home-grown philosophy: “You’ll save nothing in buying an item for only a dollar or two if you can’t use or consume that item.”

As regards bank savings, one may laugh at her practice. Early in our married life, she would deposit even small amounts like P20.” When a friend questioned this, she replied that the amount would eventually add up to a bigger amount. Another practice considered “weird” by some friends was her depositing a certain amount as soon as I gave her my pay envelope. I once asked her why she wouldn’t wait until the end of the month before making a deposit. She explained: “If I’ll do that, we’ll spend all. If I deposit immediately, we can make do with the rest.”

My wife, the economist, did save a lot of money but she seldom spends it for herself. She helped send some of her relatives to school or abroad, aside from aiding them to meet medical and immediate financial needs, and giving gifts to every household in Barangay Mapangpang every Christmas. It’s because of her that we are called the “Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus of Mapangpang.”



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