Posted: 18 Jun 2010 03:38 AM PDT
This list is off the top of my head. If you ask me again tomorrow, it will probably look slightly different, and the week after that I might remember something else I think is even more important. There is probably something more important that we do that I learned at my mother's knee so I take it for granted that everybody knows. That's why I didn't title this: "The Ten Most Important Frugal Things We've Done".
1. This advice given to us at the beginning of our marriage. We did know this one from the beginning, but we also strayed from this one too many times. Still, having been told early on, we did do much better than might have otherwise. We'd have done better still to never use a credit card at all, or at least to never, not even once, use it without paying off the balance at the end of the month.
2. Laundry soap, home-made (Also check out my Q and A posts on the laundry soap here. also here, and for more information on suds try here.) This would have saved us a bundle if we'd done it from the beginning or our 1982 marriage instead of only the last five years.
3. After far too many years of ordering pizza delivered on pay-day, we finally realized that if there is any regular indulgence in your life that you can only afford on payday, you really cannot afford it at all and need to get your spending under control. We needed to get our self-control under control!
4. Home-made diaper wipes and travel wipes. We did this pretty well for the last three children. Even though the 'baby' is now nearly 12 years old, I still make these from time to time for traveling. So refreshing! And so nice for sensitive skin. Also, I asked my grandson's mama to tell me off the top of her head her favorite frugal tip she'd learned from me, and this is what she thought of. My grandson's mama is my second daughter, and while I do love being the grandmama, I can't really say it's more fun than being the Mama. It's loads of fun, but not more fun- just different.
5. This home-made stain remover, which works even on thrift shop baby clothes with yellowed stains of undetermined origin. In fact, sometimes I can buy used baby clothes that are drastically marked down because of those yellow stains, and then I soak them, launder them, and sell them at a yard sale or consignment store for more than I paid.
6. Washing my hair with baking soda I do have incredibly soft water. When we went on vacation we stayed in places where the water was incredibly hard, and my hair just felt stiff and icky, so while we were gone I switched back to shampoo- only Head and Shoulders because my hair felt so gross (Pipsqueak, who has thin, silky, very blonde hair, does not use baking soda, and she, too, complained of her hair feeling 'gunky' from the hard water). I noticed that I had to shampoo my hair daily or it was greasy and clumpy, whereas, at home with baking soda, I can go three days between washings, and my hair still isn't as disgusting as it was in 24 hours with hard water and shampoo.
7. Washing my face with cod liver oil The first week I did this every night. Now I only use the oil a couple times a month, and mostly just splash my face with warm water and baking soda the rest of the time (the baking soda when I am washing my hair), and maybe take clean, wet washcloth to it. I don't wear make-up, so this regimen works well for me. If you wear make-up, the cod-liver oil is a great remover.
8. This recipe for cookies- no wheat, no corn, no eggs, no sugar, no dairy, but the Cherub still loves them!
9. Reading the Tightwad Gazette Books To be fair to myself, I could not have read these from the beginning because they were not published yet. I do have all my Progeny read them for part of their Home Economics class in our homeschool. If anybody tells you these are 'extreme' ask them how much they are saving each month and what their debt level is, and then ponder whether or not that's the sort of standard you share or desire.
10. Revising my way of thinking from 'what do I feel like having' to the What's In My Hand principle (see also here) , because the biggest aid in frugality is attitude. I know you've heard me say that before, but I don't think we can hear it enough. Y'all are probably much nicer than me, but there are always new areas I am discovering where I am a bit of a spoiled brat. I am 48 years old and I think I was a late bloomer at this growing up stuff.
So... what do you wish you'd known way back when and put into practice from the start?
Posted: 17 Jun 2010 06:49 AM PDT
Walking into the restaurant, my heart sank. The music would not be to our taste and the animated atmosphere not conducive to heartfelt communication. Driving Friend to the airport, a nice coupon in my purse, the original plan had been to eat at a quiet place. Morning errands had taken longer than planned and another spot to have lunch was needed so the airplane would not be missed.
Knowing there was no other alternative, we sought out a booth and decided to make the best of these new circumstances. A special lunch, well within my budget, had been my plan. Perusing the menu, my frugal senses began to throb. The coupon in my purse would not be honored in this establishment and I quickly ascertained my little budget would now not suffice.
Choosing to put my frugality in my pocket, I made a decision to cheerfully bear the consequences of this secondary option. Some other budget could be "pinched" and I went on to enjoy this precious time. Hearts were shared, some misunderstandings cleared up and my frugal thoughts kept in check as I left the restaurant with no regrets.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~My feet sinking into the wet soil, I wondered what the cause might be. Knowing no rain had fallen in recent days, panic set in. My assumptions were correct. Hose was running!
Too late, I now remembered Air-conditioner technician had not be told our hose had a second valve that needed to be tightened to insure the cessation of our water flow.
Again, the decision was made to pocket my frugal thoughts about the water bill. Nothing could be done now and although we had been having a wetter spring, a little extra water never hurt this south Texas soil.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Answering the phone, Husband's voice came through in a excited mode. On a whim, he had entered a contest and actually won a night's stay in a hotel! My thoughts began to race. Earlier in the day, I had been trying to figure out how to give a special gift to someone. Gift budget had left me with few alternatives and this news seemed like the perfect answer. As Husband began to share his plans for this winning, I again put my frugal thoughts in pocket and chose not to mention my idea!
Finding the balance in the frugal life can be a never ending process for me. Certainly not encouraging people to live outside their means, there are still times when choices can be, or need to be made that don't always seem as frugal as originally desired, but still have to be cheerfully accepted.
When do you pocket your frugal thoughts?
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