Friday, March 29, 2013


After a chat with one of my daughters, I began thinking about this topic more intently.  She thinks I am too frugal.  Is that even possible?  I do find it funny that twenty years ago, I was called a tight ass.  Today, I am frugal.  My daughter doesn't understand the frugality.  This baffles me.  In my mind, what's not to understand?  She seems to think that it's only worth it if you save big.  My Gram used to say "Mind your pennies and the dollars take care of themselves". defines frugal as:  economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful.  Furthermore, it defines frugality as:  the quality of being frugal, or prudent in saving; the lack of wastefulness.  It also states that "Many people who have lived through periods of economic deprivation develop lifelong habits of frugality and are almost never tempted by wasteful consumption".

I spent so many years having to watch my spending so very closely that I don't know any different at this point.  It's just habit.  I hope in the long run, I am instilling in my children that by watching those pennies, your dollars will take you farther.  

Here are a few more ways that we stretch our money...the odds and ends of saving!  

You know that random money that you find in the laundry each week...those few nickels and a couple of dimes?  We have a Fred Flintstone bank that we put all "found" money in.  This isn't just for laundry money but for money found on the floors too (if it was important, it wouldn't be on the floor).  When it comes vacation time, we empty the Fred bank and see what has accumulated over the year.  Yes, we only open it once a year.  One year there was enough in there that it took the entire family of four to southern Indiana to Holiday World, paid for the trip and overnight at the hotel, entrance tickets for all and a meal eaten IN the park.  All from pennies, dimes and nickels.

We switched all the lights in the house to those swirly CFL bulbs.  I wanted to see just what it would save us so I monitored the light bill for a few months as we accumulated the bulbs.  We bought a few at a time, those things are more expensive than the regular bulbs.  Once I had them all, I had my husband change all the lights in the you don't think that statement is chauvinistic  I'm 5'6", hubby is 6'4" and our ceilings are 9'.  Oh, and I don't like ladders!  LOL.  The light bill was down by over $28 a month.  In the course of a year, that is a savings of $336.  That more than covered the expense of buying the bulbs.  It's been 3 years now and we've only changed one light bulb.  I just can't get the kids to turn off the light on the landing!

I think I have mentioned before that I generally invest less than $100 in my garden each year and "put up" (can or freeze) about 70% of the veggies the family eats in a year.  I've not run the numbers on that one but it is a substantial savings each year.

I also make some of my cleaners.  First, vinegar goes a long way towards cleaning things and disinfecting.  I keep a spray bottle of vinegar on hand.  I have even gotten blood out of carpet with it.

I make my own version of Windex with 2 tablespoons of ammonia, 1 cup of alcohol and 2 cups of water.  I put in a few drops of blue food coloring (it won't stain when you use it) to differentiate it from the other cleaners.

I have dish cloths, hand towels and cloth napkins.  I do keep paper towels on hand for those messes that just need a paper towel but for the most part, we use cloth.  I think the last time I bought a six pack of paper towels was 4-5 months ago and I still have 3 of them on the shelf.  It's cheaper to use cloth and better for the environment.

I also extend the life of my kitchen sponge by running it through the dishwasher a couple of times a week.  By the way, vinegar is a great cleaner for the dishwasher every now and then as the dishwasher empty with some vinegar in the bottom of it and it will help to clean the film that seems to accumulate on the bottom and walls of the dishwasher even when you use a rinse aid.

I know my children may never be as frugal as I am but I do hope that they take some of the hints and tricks I have and use them to make their own money go a little farther.

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