To much time on his hands? (Frugality or just need to get a hobby?)

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Hubby and I were discussing frugality the other day (doing a little one-up-manship, actually) when I think he got me but good. Way back when we made a compost sifting screen we put rope handles on it. From said rope (quite thick) were left two 6" (give or take a few) pieces. I have now learned that my DH completely disassembled these end pieces and rebraided them into a (quite thin) rope nearly 60 FEET long! Yikes. He says that he was very careful when braiding in each new piece so that there are no discernible starts and stops (no knots - I've seen it, it's pretty well done) and that it is quite strong and usable. OOOOOOKAY. Can anybody tell me if I am wrong in thinking that he needs to get out more?

Any other "frugality world records" anyone would like to add? For my part, I am known for keeping my work shoes (I am a dancer) together for years, rather than the 6 months or so that most dancers seem to manage (and these are flimsy mall shoes, to boot - no pun intended). By the time I finally retire them into "private service" (after one last trip to the cobbler) or just toss them (after said cobbler gives me a disgusted look that says "there's no there there", and then only after salvaging any useful hardware and findings), there's often more aftermarket parts than original goods in evidence. I'm not crazy, but I am hard to fit and find shoes for (size 10+ wide) and I don't want to experience days of shopping and then paying money for shoes which pinch and rub until I break them in, unless there is just no more life in the old ones.

-- Soni (thomkilroy@hotmail.com), December 13, 2001

Answers

Every man needs a hobby - just be thankful his is so innocuous. He could be out chasing after wild women - and some of them might not be you. Come to think of it, maybe you could buy him some bulk cotton- reels, and let him start from there.

As for shoes - yes, I hear you. I'm anything from 11 EEE to FF to 12 ditto - depending on fitting. That's Australian fitting - add 1 to convert to US sizes. And the EEE to FF basically means my feet aren't quite as broad as they are long - but close. Normal is about AA to BB. I'll just content myself with the fact that I'm not buying shoes for Ian Thorpe - who is size 17 (remember add 1 for US size). Like they say, swimming in the lane next to him is like swimming in a washing machine.

-- Don Armstrong (from Australia) (darmst@yahoo.com.au), December 13, 2001.


One of the fallacies of frugality is that you are saving time, money, of labor when most often you are, in fact, using more time and labor. Simply put, what appears to be a savings is actually costing you more. Unless of course, your time and effort are completely valueless. Apparently, the expenditures of time and labor in his endeavors are motivated by the pleasure derived from it more so than the perception of savings. Clearly this is the case and if so, it is, in actuality, already his hobby. If he were to get out (with the intent of doing something else), isn't it likely that you would find him elsewhere performing the same type of obsessive-compulsive behavior? For any of you that consider yourselves extremely frugal (OCD), do the math sometime - you're probably not saving at all.

-- T (arbitrage@usa.com), December 13, 2001.

Well, I braid baler twine for lead ropes! The cotton lead ropes I like, with the heavy "bull snaps" wear out and I have the snaps left. I braid baler twine into the snaps and then use them when I'm halter breaking weanlings/yearlings ... let several of them them drag the leadropes in the round pen, during the day, when I can keep an eye on things. The twine holds up pretty well to the mud and crud of the pen, dragging through the muck ... and I can toss them when they get too bad.

They step on the lead ropes, their own as well as the others. Learn to stop and give to pressure, but they aren't tied so don't have anything to "fight" against ... and after a few days they are pretty much broke to lead. My aching, arthritic shoulders and hands don't get jerked around and they learn without a lot of extra stress.

-- SFM in KY (timberln@hyperaction.net), December 13, 2001.


I don't think that ANYTHING you can do to save money and valuable resources can be considered too extreme. I go to great lenghts to save money, and there are people on here who make me look like an amateur!

Of course time is valuable, but anything I can do at home, beats anything I could be doing to make money at an outside job. Some people say it is "cheaper" to just buy canned vegetables than to go to all the work to grow and preserve them yourself. But to me the whole concept of homesteading is to be independent and do it yourself. The idea that I can plant a few little seeds and pick a bountiful harvest is empowering! Of course I can drive to Krogers and buy some in a can. But there is no power in that!

So really if you want to be extremely frugal, there is no limit to the many things you can do to save money. I think OCD is a little harsh of a diagnosis though.

-- Melissa (me@home.net), December 13, 2001.


T, around here it is not the money saving that is the biggest issue; it is about walking lightly on the earth and using things up and recyling. You are right, if you do the math things don't always have the appearance of saving; but anything I can do to cut down on the unecessary use of the world resources is a HUGE savings in my book.

-- diane (gardiacaprines@yahoo.com), December 13, 2001.


This reminds me of a cute little anecdote I read once, about a woman who was cleaning out her elderly aunt's house after she died. On a shelf in the pantry closet was a tin with a label on the top: "String too small to save."

-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (gratacres@aol.com), December 13, 2001.

Oh My Soni!! I am married to one of these guys too!! Do you suppose they were bred from the same mixture?? Sissy

-- Sissy Sylvester-Barth (iblong2Him@ilovejesus.net), December 13, 2001.

I agree with diane - a lot of making do and recycling is, or should be - about using less of the world's limited resources. It may be easier to go to the superstore to buy a can of beans, but what resources are you using in addition to the money paid for the purchase? At the very least you're using petroleum (gas & oil) in your car, the packaging of the can, the petroleum used to get the can there from wherever the beans were processed, etc.

-- Cathy in NC (planey10@gloryroad.net), December 13, 2001.

Well, I'm glad to see someone else braids lead ropes from hay strings. I have one rope going in the barn that's about 30' long. When I need a length, I just cut off from the loose end and keep right on braiding the other. I don't do this except when I'm waiting for the last doe to finish her grain or similar "down time". I've taken the rope and sewn it using light string from feed sacks to make door mats for the back door--you know, the one that catches everything. I've also figured out how to braid a circle to make quick collars for my goats. I keep a few on hand to replace losses. They are soft and will break if enough pressure is put on them before the goat chokes. Hay strings are my answer to duct tape and electrical tape.

-- marilyn (rainbow@ktis.net), December 13, 2001.

In answer to the rebraiding... nah, he's just trying to save money with resources you already have purchased. And I'm planning (if I can ever find the time) to crochet the plastic hay twine into a mat for the door. I figure it should last forever. The folks had a rug- weaving loom and used to take twine to make woven rugs... I want to take the pull-tab tops off of old cat food and kipper snacks and make christmas ornaments out of them. The heavy wire mesh from a local Walmart that moved are being used as sides for a goat shed and a hay bin... So, I guess the moral is if ya got it and can find a use for it, do. If not, recycle it to someone who can...

-- Gailann Schrader (gtschrader@aol.com), December 13, 2001.


Baler Twine. We've braided it into rope for years. Since it was always associated with the cattle, our older daughter named it "cow string" and thus it has been at our house ever since. By the way, she's the one who started the rope braiding and she continues it now with her own horse.

-- Rosalie (Dee) from IN (deatline@globalsite.net), December 13, 2001.

The idea that "time is money" is the philosophy of wage slaves and wage slavers. It also makes the almighty dollar (or shekel, or yen, or kroner, or whatever) the arbiter of all truth. If you throw out this concept that the increments of your life may be reduced to particles of money, then you have freed yourself to enjoy whatever you choose to do, and to decide what a given action or item is worth to YOU, without intervening interpretation by someone else's standards. In other words, if such a simple thing makes him happy and gives him a sense of accomplishment, who is anyone else to say nay?

-- snoozy (bunny@northsound.net), December 13, 2001.

The problem comes from folks believeing the word Frugal means cheap when actually quite the opposite is true! It means you use everything and are careful with your time and materials, just ask Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), December 13, 2001.

If you are still unsure, check out the Tightwad Gazette (Amy Dacyzyn) and similar hits. Even interior design folks will tell you that you usually have what you need, just not arranged in the best manner. i.e. you don't need more! Just use what ya got.

-- Gailann Schrader (gtschrader@aol.com), December 13, 2001.

Three cheers for you, Snoozy! I love what you said about wage slaves and wage slavers!

-- (chilton@stateline-isp.com), December 13, 2001.


Your time is only worth what 'someone else' will give you for it. We are retired and our money (SS and union pension) will keep comming whether we do anything or not. When we bake a loaf of bread or weld together a couple of pieces of metal, we cannot take in the time factor into what it is worth. It is only when we take time from a money paying job to do these things can we figure in an hourly wage.

Can't remember what shoe size had to do with this but I wear size 10 1/2 AAA. Not 10 or 11 but 10 1/2. They don't make'em. I go barefoot. In th winter, I wear sox. When I go outside, well, my feet hurt, either because I have on shoes or because I don't.

-- Belle (gardenbelle@terraworld.net), December 13, 2001.


Soni, I have really been enjoying all the exchange of time vs. work frugality imput you have started, Thanks! Ummm... Am I the only one wondering how you didn't notice your husband was laboriously braiding a nearly 60 ft. rope out of 6 inch pieces? ??? ??? :) Leslie

-- Leslie Coray (leslie@webolium.com), December 14, 2001.

Don't know a lot of what he does on his own - he has his own cave...er, space across the yard in a ramshackle barn that he has turned into a "man zone". Sort of a shop/den/studio/"woman haters club" kinda retreat area. I don't go in (too messy and dark, for one thing) but he stays out there for nice chunks of the day. Between his mood swings and my PMS, it's probably the only thing standing between us and a murder conviction sometimes! ;)

-- Soni (thomkilroy@hotmail.com), December 14, 2001.

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