Remember To Breathe (228/365)

Today’s guest post is by Trent Hamm of The Simple Dollar. Trent lives in small-town Iowa and loves to give advice that’s both helpful and profound. This is part of a series in which he repeats himself. Not just within the post, which is his signature move, but across several posts.


In the past, I’ve discussed how you can save huge amounts of money by washing your hands, turning on the oven light, brushing your teeth (complete with instructions), developing a clothes-wearing rotation, swimming in a t-shirt and bra or other underwear, brushing your teeth, spending 5 hours planning your vacation for every hour you spend actually on vacation, brushing your teeth, counting the grains of salt you season your food with, brushing your teeth, closing off some of the rooms in your house, sleeping, eating breakfast, eating breakfast (reprise), drinking water, spending hours gathering the supplies to make your own laundry detergent instead of just spending a few bucks on a bottle, then doing it again, and again, and a 4th time, not smoking, drinking less, and brushing your teeth. That’s when I’m not conjuring up imaginary people to write emails that I then answer, usually by recommending a board game or a method of doing some painfully obvious task.

Today, having exhausted every conceivable activity save one, I’m going to simply mention a wonderful way of saving money that always works. Use it, and you’ll simply find yourself several hundredths of pennies ahead of where you’d be otherwise.

Breathe. Every time you find yourself gasping, or your lungs are a little low, just open your mouth (or your nostrils) (or both) and simply take a big deep breath. You’ll be bringing air into your respiratory system, which will keep you alive for a few more seconds than if you hadn’t.

Of course, it’s important to remember your surroundings when you’re doing this. If you’re in a gas chamber, one that uses hydrogen cyanide, you’re probably not going to want to take a deep breath. The same goes if you’re rioting and see police using tear gas. Also, if you’re attempting to assault a woman, and she sprays you with mace, taking a deep breath will not be recommended.

This wonderful method has been used by me for years – and also by my wife and children – and I can simply say that it works wonders. When combined with the right proportions of nitrogen and other gases, your lungs will simply move the oxygen to your bloodstream and simply emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in its place.

Which brings up an important point – don’t forget to exhale. It’s also known as “breathing out”. Just simply reverse the procedure that you used to draw the air into your lungs in the first place.

The wonderful financial benefits of this strategy are not to be underestimated. For one thing, you’ll save on ambulance visits. Not breathing is a fairly common reason for being transported to a hospital via ambulance. If you breathe, you’ll have simply eliminated that reason. And ambulance trips are not inexpensive. Which makes inhaling (breathing in) a pretty big money-saver.

Another wonderful thing about breathing in (and its partner, breathing out) is that you can do it while performing other money-saving activities. For example, when I find myself preparing my family’s weekly meal plan, or making one of my multiple weekly visits to the grocery store, or spending an hour tearing ads out of magazines because I think ads are invasive and occupy too much of our time (chew on that one for a second), or clipping coupons (which my inconsistent mind has chosen not to consider to be a form of advertising), I’ll often find myself inhaling and exhaling. Do this in concert with the other money-saving tips I love to theorize about, and you’ll simply double your saving power.

Did I mention that I was featured, inadvertently, on Cracked last month? The author wrote a piece entitled “7 Useless Money-saving Tips People Were Paid To Write”, and guess what one person was responsible for 42% of them? It took me the better part of a year to notice that Control Your Cash devotes (at least) one day a month to my punchline of a website, so it stands to reason that I didn’t notice the Cracked article until now. Actually, considering I’m not really Trent, I still don’t know about it.

Unfortunately, if you want to make fun of me in the comments for my stilted and arid manner, my endless repetition, my pathological cheapness, or my exalting of everyday knowledge as revolutionary truths, you can’t. I finally disabled the comment system on my own site after figuring out that if I replaced it with Facebook commenting, anonymous people couldn’t chime in on on how my site has gone downhill, not that it was perched atop K2 to begin with.

This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere. Of course, I happened to choose a year that has 366 days in which to repeat this tripe. Images courtesy of Brittany Lynne Photography, the proprietor of which is my “photography intern” for this project. She’s also my cousin, or possibly niece, but I’m trying to keep that quiet for some reason. runs on the Genesis Framework

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