Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A Tightwad's Guide to Frugal Living



In yesterday's newspaper there was an article about a woman who lives cheaply. Maybe frugal is the correct word, or maybe, just maybe, tightwad is more accurate.
She's a recycling Nazi, which I can accept. We should all be careful with the planet's resources. But this woman takes a bucket into the shower with her, collects water in it that would just go down the drain, and uses that to flush her toilet. OOOOkay, that's a good idea in a real drought. But I'm afraid that I envision a toilet that isn't flushed often enough to suit me. I mean, are we talking saving stuff until you have enough stuff to flush? Ugh.

This woman sleeps not on a bed, but on "several layers of sleeping bags and blankets found in the trash or thrift shops." Okay again. It's her house and her sleeping. (BTW, she's not homeless. She lives in a chic part of town actually.) She says, "I want to write a book called '100 Uses For a Bandanna.'" She uses them as paper towels, hankies, napkins, and wrappers. She once brought leftover pizza home in her bandanna because she refuses to use a take-out container. (This bandanna had been in use on her head up until then.) She even saves the bibs from dentist visits.

Then the current Reader's Digest has an article called Cheaper Than Thou, written by Mary Roach. She says that each night "I remove my eyeliner with the end of a Q-tip and then set it aside to use the other end the following night." Hoo boy.

Listen to some Hints from Heloise:
1. Instead of throwing out used coffee grounds, leave half in the filter, then add half of the freshly ground coffee for a second pot. (Give me a break! Bet that tastes great.)
2. To make an inexpensive whiskbroom, roll a section of the newspaper lengthwise, then cut across one end a few times and spread out the fringe. Use to brush away cobwebs or crumbs, then toss it out. (What next? Tell your kid that Santa Claus died, save big on presents?)
3. Instead of facial tissues, use toilet paper, which costs less. Remove the cardboard core from a roll and throw away. Then place the roll inside an empty square tissue box and pull from the center of the roll through the opening. (We've all used TP instead of Kleenex, but only because we were OUT of the real thing.)
4. Instead of replacing my travel-size tube of toothpaste, I refill it from my regular tube: I simply hold the nozzle of the big tube against the small one and slowly squeeze. (Oh sure she does...NOT. Heloise has gotta be rich by now.)

Okay, so I confess that I save old pantyhose to use to tie tomato plants to a garden stake. And the hubby figured out that it was cheaper to buy the biggest sizes of French fries at McDonald's and then split them up among the kiddies, rather than buy each one of them their own individual fries. The man actually COUNTED the damn fries! This went on until the rebellion of 1975, when our son staged a coup and declared that he and his sisters would all get their own, individual, small-sized fries. (Note to daughters: I now have to share fries with your father again. It's not worth the fight.)

How do YOU save money? Big or small. (It's usually SMALL.) Posted by Hello

15 comments:

dddragon said...

Actually, Girl Scouts have an official list of "100 Ways to Use a Bandana" - I'll have to find it...

And, oooops, sometimes Kiddie A&B share large fries. And I do remember daddy counting out the fries.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

dddragon, you make my precious granddaughters SHARE fries? I'm going to tell the Pope and Ask The Devil about this.

AP3 said...

Um. Yeah. Those ideas are mostly nuts. I mean, I dunno. I do use TP instead of Kleenex, personally. I buy generic a lot of the time, or the store brand. I've gotten good about trying to fix things rather than getting a new whatever-it-is. That's all I can think of...

thc said...

My parents both grew up in the midwest during the Great Depression and some of their values have been instilled in me. I'm not whacky about it, I just don't waste much. And I go around the house turning off lights...gawd, I've become my father.

actonbell said...

oh, we keep lights off, too! And we pay the rock-bottom for cable TV (which the hubby had to poke and prod somewhat to find out about)--whatever sports we don't get, we either see at a local establishment, or at one of our parents:) I buy mostly used clothing,too--it's soo much fun to find t-shirts from places you've been for 50cents on Family Night than it would've been to fork over $20!

Tom & Icy said...

I found that my wife was saving used toilet paper and giving it to the dogs as chewy treats! That grossed me out.

Raine said...

Tan Lucy, I'm totally cracking up over hubby counting the french fries. That is too excellent! And now that you're an empty nester, you're back to having to share. You really should sneak off sometime and get your own fries.

Well, although I'm not frugal--as in, I don't recycle and clip coupons and such--I don't buy a lot of clothes and accessories for myself. I'm proud to say that my only debt right now is my mortgage!

Jamie Dawn said...

Refilling the toothpaste tube??? No way!

That bandana lady is most likely a little mentally ill. She'd keel over about my hubby. He uses several Q-tips after each shower. I'll blog about this sometime.

jevanking™ said...

I don't save my money, which is why I will die a poor man.

GodlessMom said...

Just like THC I'm the product of Great Depression parents and I'm a kind of anal about things like leaving lights on and leaving water running. My hubby on the other had is just the opposited, so I spend a great deal of my time following him around and turning things off. It drives him nuts!

I'll have to tell him about pizza/bandana lady, that will put things in perspective!

AP3 said...

Yes, I run around turning things off too... and I don't run the dishwasher until its packed, etc. I do try to save electricity and water, as much for environmental reasons as frugality.

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

My husband like to use the coffee grinds for fertilizer! Go figure. I'll have to show him your list.

The Lazy Iguana said...

The recycle everything lady is crazy. It is actually one of the more common mental illnesses. I had an aunt who would not turn on the hot water heater before late October. Why? Well, before October was summer time! You do not need hot water in the summer. She lived in Tampa Florida.

She lived through the Great Depression. Her family was quite rich during the 20s, she grew up in a three story Chicago mansion, and her family owned two or three cars. Her family lost a lot in the depression, but not all of it. She still had money, but the stress of almost loosing it all left her a little batty. She did not trust banks, so she would keep bags on cash under the floors of her house.

Then there was the famous miser lady in London in the 1800s. She would only burn meager amounts of coal - barely enough to keep one room of her mansion warm. Was she poor? HARDLY! Just crazy.

I do things to save money, but only so I can use the boat. A boat is not exactly a cheap thing to own.

Also, no matter HOW tempting, NEVER attempt to save money by buying cheap toilet paper! It is just a bad idea. You might as well use 100 grit sandpaper.

natasha said...

A big one for me is not carrying a lot of cash. If I have to use debit, I'm a lot less likely to buy something that "only" costs x dollars. I try to empty the change out of my wallet every day. Two coffees is enough to do a load of laundry!

Also, I never turn down free food. But then again, I'm a student.

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