The State of the Stars Hollow Economy:

How to Save Money in a Time of Need

By Kirk Gleason

Financial Pages Contributor

With the current state of the economy in our country, we as Americans, as well as Stars Hollow citizens, are searching for ways to save money. But never fear, good people of Stars Hollow. Because we live in a small town, we are able to support each other in our time of need. I, Kirk Gleason, have compiled a list of five ways to ensure the financial stability of our citizens in this period of uncertainty.

Town Swear Jar: Every time an expletive escapes the lips of a citizen or tourist, a quarter must be relinquished to the person who overheard the swear. Using proper grammar and alternative words will save us money.

Pick Up the Penny… Heads Up OR Heads Down: This one is simple, people. If you see a penny on the ground, pick it up. The good luck bad luck myth is actually a self-fulfilling prophecy. Picking up the penny, despite its positioning on the ground, will bring good fortune to those who save it. Remember, a penny by itself may be worthless to you, but one hundred pennies make a dollar.

Search the Couch Cushions: Don't simply vacuum out the couch when you feel the need to clean it. Take off every cushion, lift the couch itself, and search high and low for loose change. Simple manual labor can save you a lot of money.

Bartering: If you see something at the town flea market, try to get the best price for it. All too often, the seller is concerned about the almighty dollar and puts a higher price on the item than you're willing to pay for it. Ask the seller if he is willing to sell it for less money; if he isn't, then you didn't need the collectible Diff'rent Strokes mugs anyway.

Search for Deals at Doose's: Taylor Doose often has sales in his fine establishment. If the cupcakes are marked at three packages for five dollars, buy all three packages instead of just two. Save them for future movie nights and soon you'll find a stash of junk food you never imagined possible.

These are simple ways to cut costs and be mindful of the economic health of our town. If we as citizens ensure our own financial well-being, we can give that money back to the town in other ways. From personal experience, I can tell you that Mother's swear jar has already earned her forty-seven dollars that she has used to purchase a new pair of shoes.

Taking the money you save and giving it back to the town is one of the only ways that this town will remain prosperous and successful. It's up to you, good people of Stars Hollow. How do you plan to contribute? Maybe you have your own ways of pinching pennies.

Please send any and all financial suggestions or tips to k gleasonstars .

Rory looked to Lorelai, who was shaking her head in sheer disbelief. "Seriously, Kirk's basically touching on everything I've ever done to save money," Lorelai said, laughing as she leaned over to skim the article once more.

"Really?" Luke asked. "These ways seem pretty redundant to me. The first one's you spending money if you say something that could or could not be classified as a 'swear'."

"Luke's right, but on your point, Mom, there's one thing that Kirk wouldn't even know. You forgot checking your old purses and wallets for money," Rory pointed out.

Lorelai gasped. "Seriously, that's a travesty. Luke, I found six hundred dollars in one day doing that."

"Well, then, maybe you should send that idea to K Gleason at Stars Hollow gazette dot org," Luke replied.

Lorelai rolled her eyes. "Why would I give everyone else the idea? I used to buy purses at the garage sales in town and make killings off the money that people swore wasn't in them. I would ask them if they checked to make sure no money was in there, and I'd get home, and bam! Ten bucks to buy Rory a new t-shirt."

"That didn't make you feel at all guilty?"

Lorelai shook her head. "Luke, I asked them if they checked. If they said they didn't, I'd hand it over for them to check. I'd watch them check it, give them back their money if they didn't check it, and I'd probably try and turn a profit off of the purse by bedazzling it or something."

"Mom was good at figuring out ways to make ends meet," Rory explained. "She once found a five dollar bill on the ground under the bench by the gazebo, spent it on some crafty thing, and made about a hundred dollars so we could buy groceries."

"Desperate times call for desperate measures," Lorelai said with a nod. "And if there wasn't enough money to risk on the bedazzling or the painting or the sewing, I'd focus on the priorities. But on occasion, we'd have ourselves a nice rare treat to Chinese food or something with the money I made."

"You gotta do what you gotta do," Rory echoed. "Plus she learned how to make me some pretty things out of the older things I had so we didn't have to buy new stuff all the time. My old stuff would look better than half the other kids' new stuff. It gave me a secret superiority complex."

Luke snorted. "Rory, you've never had a superiority complex."

"Not that I've shown to you, at least," she pointed out. "And besides, how do you know it wasn't an interior superiority complex?"

"An interior superiority complex? Isn't the point of a complex to have a complex that others will know about?"

Rory giggled. "You take us so seriously sometimes, Luke."

"I wasn't…"

"Yes you were," Lorelai interrupted. "You take us really seriously. That's the sad part. When we say we have superiority complexes, you basically contribute to the banter, sit back, and wonder why we have complexes, but in reality, we're just being sarcastic."

"But you can't have your eggs touch your syrup or else they'll drown, and you're completely serious about that," Luke pointed out.

Lorelai reached across Rory and patted Luke's knee. "Not everything in life is as serious as my eggs drowning in Aunt Jemima's deadly quicksand."

"You two frustrate me," Luke insisted.

"Well," Rory said with a laugh, "we're doing something right then, aren't we?"

"Sounds like it to me," Lorelai replied, moving her hand from Luke's knee to the book of articles and flipping the page to the next one.

Rory thought about Luke's insistence that Lorelai and Rory's antics were actually serious matters. She gave him a smile as she leaned in to read the next article. Even though he had been around for a while, he still had a lot to learn. He had been around long enough to know a lot of their quirks, but there were some that he was still mastering.

It made Rory wish that Luke had been around a lot earlier.

A/N: Thanks to all for reading and reviewing. Your support is so appreciated! And thanks to R.M. Jackson for being my beta and fixing my minor shiz.