Girl Math

Ladies, if you are not fully immersed in the world of Girl Math, then I am going to need you to get cracking. While I was not aware of how widespread its use was, I stumbled upon New Zealand’s dream team of Fletch, Vaughan, & Hayley and a library full of Girl Math guides and, well, things may be taking a terrifying tally of a turn. The bad news is that my husband also stumbled upon FVHZM and, well, he may be onto me. 

What is Girl Math?

Truthfully, it was invented long ago by one of our queens, Sally Struthers. When Sally begged for our help, many of the Girl Math pioneers were lying on living room couches next to a bucket. We were home from school, sick, and Sally popped in during the Price is Right pleading for our help. Honestly, I’m not sure what she needed my help with, as I was too locked into my first lesson in Girl Math:

For only four cents a day …

What? Four cents a day? Well, that’s nothing! 

For less than a cup of coffee …

Coffee? Coffee is less than four cents a day?

Okay, in fairness, this was the pre-Starbucks era of the seventies and none of us actually drank coffee yet.

Did we heed Sally’s call? Well, no. We were still at an age where incoming funds were limited to what we received from our parents, typically in the form of allowances earned via a list of chores. Still, while Sally’s cause did not benefit, we did. We filed away that first lesson in Girl Math to be mentally retrieved at a later date. 

Today, Girl Math reveals itself at nearly every purchase price, but most importantly in relation to items that some may see as frivolous and unnecessary. And by “some,” I mean our husbands or partners or parents or friends. 

Just kidding, your real friends would never question Girl Math.

What? This purse is one-thousand-four-hundred-sixty dollars? Why, that’s only four cents a day! That’s nothing!!  Add to cart—prayers up, Sally.

There are many versions of Girl Math called to the financial table and all are dependent on exactly just how justified a purchase justification needs to be. 

Basic necessities? No Girl Math needed. 

New socks? Well, yes, I wear socks all the time except when I’m wearing heels or sandals or flats or flip-flops. New socks because they have cute pictures of tacos or cats? Well, yes, it’s not what they look like, it’s that they are a necessity. Anyway, a twelve-pack seems like automatic savings, so thank you and, no, I do not need a receipt.

Kitchen-related items require no Girl Math for the simple fact that no one will even notice the purchase. Anything that involves getting dinner on the table, requires no justification, period. Do I need to buy a new coffee maker every year? Some would say no. But being awake in the morning enables my ability to focus on the day which will inevitably end with preparing dinner for my family. Sure, it may be more cost-effective to do a deep clean on the existing coffee maker periodically, but I’m going to get a new one in a few months anyway, so … no Girl Math needed.

Girl Math for shoes is a bit easier as you can divide by 52 as you’ll definitely/probably/maybe wear that new pair of Manolos at least once per week. Divide that price tag by 52 (don’t worry about taxes, those aren’t your fault). On sale for $520? Why that’s only $10 per week! That’s nothing!Add to cart. Should I buy two pairs? That seems logical, what if my feet lose weight?

One of my Girl Math rules is that if I am saving our house money, that savings should belong to me. I’m not talking about clipping coupons or stocking up on a buy-one-get-seven-free item. I’m talking about savings that are born from filling out forms, eliminating a service call, or cashing in those credit card points. Savings born from those administrative tasks that typically land on the shoulders of the house managers.

My husband (hi, honey) loves ease. He will happily overspend infinitely if it means ease.

Should the washer start making a high-pitched sound that screams “There is something stuck in my guts!” my husband’s initial response will always be “Just buy a new one.” My initial response will always be “I’m going to need a screwdriver, a headlamp, and the manual.” Just kidding, my husband will need all of those things because while I do like to save money, I am not an appliance mechanic and it’s always better if he breaks something worse than it was already broken. We often land on Google or YouTube and we do have about a 70% success rate which means a savings of significantly less than, say, just buying a new one. (Ed. When your wife asks you for a screwdriver, a headlamp, and the manual the best response is to carefully remove the screwdriver from her doubtlessly talented hands and prepare to exercise your “sailor words”)

Should those spoils not go to me? Girl Math says Transfer funds, you washer wizard.

Years ago, I signed our pets up for insurance. Pet insurance is not the same as people insurance in that all claims have to be filled out and followed up endlessly as if the supplier really, really, really wants to make sure you’re seeking a refund. I am willing to do this work as I know that eventually, a check will appear in our mailbox as a gold-star reward for my persistence. Just last week, our beloved Gunter (rest in peace, big guy) sent me a few hundred dollars, posthumously, courtesy of that time he tried to chew my ankle off.

Turns out, Cigna considered the wound an accidental injury and sent an “Oh, yes, that sounds terrible and you could probably use a new tattoo” reward. Of course, “accidental injury” was iffy here as Gunter very much did it on purpose.

I did think about depositing the funds into our family bank account, but dismissed that thought after three seconds and instead switched that drop-down to my own fun-money account. 

If you filled out the forms, the funds are yours—Girl Math.

Every woman knows that Kohl’s Cash is a form of female crypto and we juggle it accordingly, purchase to purchase while engaging Girl Math. Did I need another new curling iron? Well, no, but if I buy it I will get $30 in Kohl’s Cash which I can then use to buy my son new underwear and free underwear is always a “yes.” 

Amazon is no different as we slide credit on returns to future buys with a quick shrug of the discount shoulders. I nearly always have a credit balance waiting to be applied to my cart as I often make odd purchases after a few glasses of wine. As I do the returns clicks of shame, I always select “credit my account” because I do love seeing that credit applied to my next purchase. It’s like a runner’s high with no need to tighten my laces. 

Double bonus? The Amazon-Kohls sandwich. When dropping off a return at the Kohl’s Amazon kiosk, you are rewarded with a discount card or, occasionally, a $5 off coupon to be used in-store, that very day. I really can’t tell you how many free greeting cards I have stacked on my desk. 

As I took a new position a few months ago, I have entered a dangerous Girl Math territory. Is it though? I am in the infancy stage of my reign as a Travel Agent and it seems perfectly logical to test my certifications with bookings for, well, me. Just yesterday I booked a flight/car/hotel to piggyback my husband’s September work trip because:

  1. Wouldn’t he love to see me during his downtime?
  2. Shouldn’t I make sure I fully understand how the booking software works?
  3. Didn’t he mention once that we should drive the PCH?
  4. Isn’t this kind of like a business expense?

Is it bad news that my husband has made the Girl Math discovery? Probably. Yesterday he sent this list followed by quite a few “Is this for real” question marks:

Girl Math Basic Rules:

  • Anything under $5 is free
  • If you can pay with a gift card, it’s free
  • If you buy something and then return it, you’ve made money
  • If you’re going to a concert is free because you purchased the tickets so long ago
  • Anything discounted by more than 50 percent is free
  • Money stored in Venmo doesn’t count
  • If you pay in cash, it’s free

I have yet to respond.

For more on Girl Math, run to this account immediately because, good grief, these are my people and they should be yours as well.

Here are a few excerpts:
FVHZM Designer Dress Girl Math
FVHZM Taylor Swift Girl Math

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