My Frugal Life - The Frugal Gene

I was born with a gene that not everyone is born with - the Frugal Gene. I was coming up with ideas to save money and electricity as a kid. My clothes line across my room made of yarn didn't work real well, nor did my idea to turn off all lights and only use candles. I was a little extreme in my thinking and my parents thought I was nuts, but I've always had the bug. My Frugal Life


Some of my best tips have to do with recycling or reusing things. I believe everything can be used at least 2 other ways than it's original use. And I reuse everything! Four of my best tips for reusing are:

  1. Old clothing - becomes cleaning rags, quilting and crafting material, dress up costumes and stuffing for dog beds that can easily be washed.

  2. Toilet paper and Paper Towel Holders - great for holding plastic bags, cords, ribbons, christmas lights or making elaborate works of art, rockets and alien ships by an imaginative 3 year old.

  3. Broken Costume Jewelry - great for restringing to make new bracelets or pins, accents for scrapbook pages, gift packages, home made cards or costumes.

  4. Extra Ruffles - I have made matching curtains to our comforters or shower curtain be removing the extra ruffles that are attached to the shower curtain or dust ruffle. These extra ruffles have been transformed into the perfect curtains.

The biggest challenge I have always faced is being the minority in my thrifty thinking. None of my friends or family are thrifty or frugal like me. They probably think I'm bizarre, but that's ok. There was never anyone to swap and share ideas with until now.

I love the challenge of saving money and reusing new items. I am now a SAHM and it would not have been possible for me to be home with my son, if I wasn't such a thrifty mom. Another great perk are the lessons my son is learning. We don't always need new stuff - just use your imagination to re-think it and re-use it.

Kim K. from Gloucester, VA

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August 14, 20060 found this helpful

i know exactly how you feel,my family thinks i am crazy because i buy at thrift shops,and i reuse everything,toilet rolls make great snowflakes,i recycle items for gifts,why buy new,you can reuse so many things,i cut up envelopes for notes,shopping lists,etc.good on ya,keep up the good work.glenda

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August 21, 20060 found this helpful

Along the curtain lines...I converted my daughter's beautiful crib bedding (Bought the whole set on ebay, it still looked brand new!) into toddler bed bedding by sewing the ruffle from the dust ruffle onto the comforter. It looked great and I got so many compliments on her beautiful "toddler bed bedding" and people asking where they could buy one too!

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August 21, 20060 found this helpful

My DH came home this morning to find me making my own pectin for jam with unripe apples in our yard, and I didn't have cheesecloth for straining...just old underwear! Some in my family don't have the gene too, though they made due when money was tight. As soon as the money comes in, the gene switched off, but mine is hard to turn off (BTW I have ready-to-use pectin in the cupboard, I just couldn't bear wasting the apples!) I am not even 30, and some say I act like I grew up in the 30's!

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January 9, 20070 found this helpful

I find this in grocery shopping too. When first married, we could only keep $35 a week for groceries so everything I bought was on sale. I can shop without keeping track of how much I spend now, but I still only buy items on sale unless I absolutely need it. You hear others talking about how great of a deal they got on something and I'm thinking how I wouldn't ever buy it unless it's that price or cheaper. Same with clothes shopping. Those clearance racks have nothing wrong with most items, just that the seasons are changing. Perfect time to buy. My daughter made her prom dress last year. Walked into JoAnns and heading straight to the clearanced wall of material. Made a beautiful dress and even was one of the finalists in Simplicity's prom dress contest.

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June 5, 20080 found this helpful

Dear Kim--

I'm like you! At 5, I was menu planning once when my mother, baby brother and I were left alone with very little food for about 30 hours. I went by age, appetite, need and what was available. My mother, not very good as a cook, though never a spendthrift, told me if I would learn to cook from scratch like my deceased grandmother had, my family would never go hungry.She was so right.

I don't know if any of you have ever heard of Permaculture, but the base is the best knowledge from all sustainable cultures known, with the idea being to find as many uses for each resource or expense in order to maximize utility and minimize cost/use of resources.

You are so right that the hardest thing has been being odd man out. I remember living in the midst of extended family, which was having a hard time and I suggested pooling our resources to solve the problem and they just couldn't hear.

You and I, and all the contributors to this site will soon be in great demand, and we will serve our fellow humans very well with our quirky little habits; I have dreamed it since the age of 3 (1947) and was 'given' a list of skills to learn for "a time when people would not be able to get the things they need and will not remember how to get their needs for themselves". I have learned all I was told...

In my heart, I know you were given a similar set of tasks, and those of us who are drawn to the frugal skills are here to serve a good purpose.

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