dollar menu.

6 01 2010

what’s this about the best things in life being free? i suppose they’re probably talking about love and shit. if that’s the case, i guess they’re right… but stuff is nice too, and stuff costs money.

last night i was pawing through the rite aid flier trying desperately to figure out what i was going to pick up today to get more “game of life” pieces before they disappeared completely, and i saw that carmex was on sale for $.99. cherry carmex no less! i’m a hardcore chapstick junky, and carmex is one of my very favorites. what can i say, new chapstick always makes me happy (too happy?). and somehow thinking about my inappropriate lip balm lust made me think about all of the things that cost a dollar or less that bring me great joy:

1. paperback books at goodwill. a weird thing to know about me is that i prefer paperback over hardcover . maybe it’s because they’re smaller and it means i can fit more in my apartment. or maybe less guilt in cracking the spines. or maybe it’s just that dust jackets are a nuisance. regardless, nothin is nicer than scoring a hot vintage classic for $.99 ($.49 if it’s on sale).

2. wendy’s biggie french fries. i remember wendy’s being the forerunner in the dollar menu revolution, and digging for couch change to get frosties when i was a freshman in high school (wendy’s was the only walkable fast food chain from my house). nowadays on the peninsula, there is gratefully no walkable fast food.  but any time i’m having a hardcore grease craving, i can always bribe the boyfriend into driving me out to the wendy’s for what i consider to be hands down the best fast food french fries- for one small dollar (and they’re totally vegetarian).

3. dollar store pregnancy tests. because they’re a punchline in and of themselves. because who would actually buy one and expect accurate results? because they always give me something to giggle about every time i’m at the dollar store.

4. itunes. i’m a greatest hits girl. i can name maybe a handful of whole albums that i love all the way through- but usually, i just buy the one or two songs that enchant me and tell the rest of the album to go screw. before the mp3 took over the universe, my only real single song options were cd (or tape) singles (or 45s even!)- and the selection was always rather limited. thank you interweb. now i can log onto itunes from my phone and for $.99, i can download that song that i heard on the radio this morning that i can’t get out of my head. also, even if that song is by miley cyrus (i’ve done it!), i can survive with the pride that i didn’t pay for the whole record.

5. scratch tickets. i’m not really a gamblin man. when i go to casinos, i mostly play slots- and i don’t ever play more than i think the entertainment of pulling that handle is worth (usually about $20 before a i get bored and hit the bar). that’s why i love scratch tickets. scraping that silver stuff off for the (though highly unlikely) possibility of  a big win is totally worth $1 to me. plus, they’re always named hilarious things like: “peng-wins” and “moo-lah money”. also, a good chunk of the money goes back into the state, so it’s like a charitable donation with a side of fun.

6. ramen noodles! not even close to costing a dollar (i think the going rate is $.17), and so delicious. i know i’m one of the few, the proud that didn’t max out on these babies during college- but i love salty! i love the noodles, and the oriental flavor is totally meat-free. however, i did think i was alone in this love until i found this article. if you can’t find a recipe in here that will help you and ramen find love again- then you are clearly not trying hard enough. come on, chocolate ramen?!

7. skee ball. champion of all old-school arcade games, i could play this shit for hours. and i’m terrible. but have you seen those tickets shoot out of the machine? exhilirating! and if you go to the jaw droppingly awesome fun-o-rama in york beach,  you can get 4 games for just $1.

8. word warp. ok, there are a lot of apps for the iphone that are cool… a lot of which are free, but this is hands down the very best app i’ve ever had. i downloaded it about 6 months ago- and i still haven’t gotten tired of it. i play it several times a day, every day, and it’s my absolute go-to “i need something to do with myself while i wait” activity. it’s really just a simple anagramming game, but it has a setting where you can switch the standard word list with the current (much more difficult) scrabble dictionary (you can even set the background to scrabble colors!). did i mention that i was a gigantic scrabble nerd?

9. mountain holler. mountain holler is the save-a-lot version of mountain dew. it tastes ok, but the main idea in this sentence is that it’s called “mountain holler”. also, it has its own facebook. (i’m a fan). oh, and i’m pretty sure it costs $.30 at the vending machine outside of the store on st. john st. while i’m here, i might also recommend the companion beverage (found at wal-marts), dr. thunder.

10. red box. even though i have 4 netflix movies, somehow there are always gaps in my movie-watching schedule (usually created by me not sending things back right way). redbox fills in those gaps with usually really terrible but pretty fun blockbustery type movies that i would generally never rent, except that i want to watch a movie… and i’m at the grocery store… and it’s only a dollar… so why not? the mummy returns again with friends and a monkey? bring. it. on.

did i miss anything?