Frugal living : LUSENET : Country Families : One Thread

Here is a neat article from the frugal living site...I think Pat Varatto is the writer...

**************************** The Nature of Frugalism What does it mean to be frugal? Have you ever added just a little water to a near empty bottle of the shampoo and washed your hair "one more time"? Or used a plastic grocery bag to line a small wastebasket?

How about "handing down" a pair of jeans or a dress from one child to another, or making a new meal from yesterday's leftovers?

Do those things label you as a tightwad or penny pincher?

While "frugalistas" would argue that a penny here and a penny there doesn't make for frugal living, any time we save by choice, we become that much more in control of our money.

Being thrifty or frugal or economical (your choice of terms) is a personal matter of degrees, or as the term goes - YMMV -your mileage may vary. Just like anything else, the more effort you put into it, the greater your rewards.

There are many different types of people who practice frugal living. Some of us seem to have been born frugal, some of us become frugal out of necessity, some learn by watching others.

For some, though, the very idea of purposely not acquiring an overabundance of material goods seems abnormal, 'kooky', and weird. Mainstream America has become so accustomed to looking for satisfaction in the department stores, the car lots and the 'deli', that to do without seems a direct assault on our 'God-given right' to the pursuit of happiness.


I thought everyone does these things!!! What kind of tightwad things do you do that people think are a little off the wall??

I do things like sew the ends of socks back together when they get holes in them, use all the leftovers for something! Buy hardly any cleaners from the stores... so many things, but I want to give you all the chance to list yours, so please comment!!!

-- Melissa in SE Ohio (, May 09, 2002


Yeah, we all mostly do those things but she does bring out an important point: it's what works for you. Some of us have the time to do more hands-on penny-pinching while for others it's a matter of small degrees. Probably the biggest thing to me is trying to just stem the overwhelming tide of "stuff" Most people I know and work with are so materialistic and they become buried in the stuff and consumed by it. I find that there a lot of things I simply don't need, and therefore do not have to clean, dust, store, repair, etc. But, it is a matter of what you can live with or without and how much time you have and how demanding and supportive your family is in this effort.

-- Rosalie (Dee) in IN (, May 09, 2002.

Our 15 yr. old daughter washes dishes every weeknight, and she NEVER complains about washing used ziploc bags. I own a dryer, but it's sitting out in the polebarn since we moved up here (U.P. of MI) 3 1/2 years ago. (My mom cannot understand why I don't use a dryer!) We have an indoor woodburner, so in the winter or rainy days, I hang it on a wooden rack. I check out Goodwill or St. Vincent's at least every other week for clothes, housewares, etc. Also, this time of the year-Rummage Sales have many good deals. To help our butter last longer, I make Better Butter.--As I told my SIL this weekend when they visited us, a lot of people don't know how to be frugal anymore. These are just a few of the ways I am a frugal person. And, I must add one of my favorite books is the "Tightwad Gazette." Does anyone have a used copy for sale?

-- Maggie (, May 09, 2002.

Sorry, Maggie, but I will not part with my Tightwad Gazette! My sister bought it for me at a yard sale, for Christmas one year. Now my children are reading it! By the way, a special treat for my children is a trip to the thrift store! I plan to do yard sales this summer to pick up some baby things. I got brand-new, good quality cloth diapers at a thrift store for $8/dozen (that's about $6 US). Friends know that I will at least go through any bags of used clothes available. This is another big treat for all my children. The excitement is almost like Christmas, since everybody usually gets at least one "new" thing.

I guess the "weird" thing for me is draining the last drop out of the milk bags and then washing them out and using them for baggies. I also save every twist tie I can get my hands on, since they are hard to come by here. My aunt in PA even sent a bunch to me!

I sometimes put together an envelope of "goodies" for my Sunday school children to take home. One mom very carefully slit the envelope open and gave it back to me in case I needed to use it again. Knowing this mom the way I do, I almost expected her to do this.

-- Cathy N. (eastern Ontario) (, May 09, 2002.

I guess I'm a tightwad by COLLECTING STUFF!!!!!!!! For years hubby & I have collected things that were good that others would throw a way-- -we have bought out households --& saved anything that could be used from those houses & we have helped hundreds of families through many organizations---etc/etc/--like Battered womens shelters--care homes-- camps--church groups---etc/etc/etc/etc/etc/---or just people we knew needed help!!!

People will say/ WHY ARE YOU SO CAUGHT UP IN COLLECTING STUFF/ OR MATERIAL THINGS!!!!!! Very simply /helping others who don't have ---& who throw everything away! Or don't take care of what they have or repair broken things---etc/etc/etc/-

We have helped many /who have looked down their noses at us /for collecting & fixing things to find those people /who once stuck their noses in the air--have been some of the very people we have helped when they were down & out !!!!!

We are frugal by looking at everything as is there /or will there be a use for it---can we use this to help someone else---etc/etc/etc/---

-- Sonda in Ks. (, May 09, 2002.

I have always found it interesting that the same experiences can produce different results for different folks! We were always very poor..I recall vividly the day I had my first dress that was brand new and not worn by anybody else..I was 12 years old..same with shoes! My mother grew up poor and stayed that way until her she tells me how crazy I am because I am careful with money and re- use the tiny aluminum pie plates that pot pies come in....I wash them and some go in the garden on stings to wave in the breeze to scare the birds, and some get filled with chick feed and some get filled with tars and go into the freezer, etc.e tc..old socks become hand PJs get the feet cut out of them so they last longer....frozen food spongy paper gets dried and used for boot innersoles (very comfy!)...I save string from the butchers to re- use..and the funny papers will become gift wrapping if the mood strikes me .....Mother will spend money like water as does my brother..if something breaks, they just toss it without ever thinking of repairing it or getting it repaired! I cannot fathom that way of thinking anymore than they can fathom mine yet we all grew up in the same house! They take vacations to Europe and have loans allover the place that they will never live long enough to pay back, and yet call DH and I "weirdos" for moving here and having no mortgage! They even refuse to visit us because we are so strange and "cheap". Sometimes it hurts, but mostly I think it to be inane. DHs brother is the same way. Since we are all 50 something, DH and I wonder who is going to take care of these folks when they get older..makes us want to lock the farm gates and hide..LOL LLO LOL.....kind of like the ant and the grasshopper thing....frugality is so important, especially nowdays when most families are sadly one paycheck away from living in their cars.

-- lesley (, May 09, 2002.

I had to laugh when you mentioned cutting the feet out of the baby pj's to make them last longer. Several years ago I had my 4 th child and he had several hand me down pj's that I had cut the feet out of, I then put socks on to keep his feet warm. Mom came to visit and was appalled that poor Luke didn't have pj's with feet! She bought me some new ones for him....but I still used the old ones till he out grew them! He is now almost 13 and I don't think he even remembers! Denise

-- Denise K. (, May 09, 2002.

My kids hated the feet, so we always cut them out anyways..sure made them last a lot longer...Right now my kids need sweatpants...for some reason we just don't have many floating around. My sister said to them, they have them at Wal-mart for $3-4 a pair, and one of them looked at her and said, we aren't spending that much money on sweat pants!!!

-- Melissa in SE Ohio (, May 09, 2002.

I wasn't frugal at first, but have always been pretty careful. My frugalness(sp?) cmae into play when my dh lost his job and then had to take a $2.00 paycut when he got a new one. This was 10+ yrs. ago and I've never regretted being this way yet. Most of our friends think were nuts sometimes, but hey that's okay! I do many things but the thing that's worked well for us is just tell people what you're looking for and 9-10 times you'll get it and most of the time free. We haven't bought clothes( accept for personal garments) for our children in over two yrs. I just spread the word that we aren't to proud to have handme downs, and in they came garbage bags full, really! I try to catch personal garments on sale and stock up. I did this a yr. ago last August and we're just now using up the last of that stock. We garage sale lots and go to as many auctions as we can in the spring and summer. Our 13 yr. old so has more tool than most grown men and hasn't probably paid more than $15.00 for all of them. Auctions, yes you get a box full, but what you don't want give away. One of our best investments has been our woodstove. We haven't used our furnace in three years, more than paying for itself and then some. I'm a cosmetologist by trade so we save on haircuts and perms. We are home improvement techs, in training( by trail and error) We use our imaginations and think up new ways to use things. Don't be afraid to spread the word! :o)

-- Kelle in MT (, May 09, 2002.

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