For 21 years, I've lived the "frugal life" so, I guess it's really a way of life for us now. I've done all the classic frugal things. Most people say I have a knack for being in the right place at the right time, but I think it's really about being aware of what's going on.
I recently went to a store and noticed they were having a "sidewalk" sale. From where I was, it looked like it was all beer and patio furniture, but I walked over anyway. Past all that was a small canopy with the stores used floor decorations on sale. I got a huge valentines table cloth and two pieces of burlap (that I'll use for my rug making) for $1 each.
Watch for things out of place. When I'm at the grocery store and I see a worker's cart just sitting, I go check it out, that's usually where the bargain produce is. A couple of months ago, I spotted a big box marked "deer apples" $4. I had no idea what "deer apples" were, but for $4, I could find something to do with them. Well, a little research taught me that deer apples are any apple considered inedible. For the store, it meant any apple with the slightest blemish. I got 30 pounds of perfectly edible apples for $4!
The biggest lesson I've learned is to watch my attitude about money with my children. My 20 year old son is on his own now and called to ask if I had any ideas how he could make a little extra cash. I mentioned picking up cans and redeeming them. He didn't think it was worth it. I said, "We used to do that all the time. We'd go to the state park and pick up the cans, redeem them, then go get the bargain foods from the fast food place, go back to the state park and have a picnic." What he said next still leaves me smiling. He said, "I remember the picnics, but I don't remember the cans."
Make it fun. And make it normal. Being frugal, doesn't have to mean being a miser. My frugal life is more than just making it, it's a fun adventure.
Laura from Coupeville, WA
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I loved your story. I too am a veteran at frugal living, but still am always willing to learn a new thing or two. I find that I learn them in the most surprising places and at the craziest times. Please post more hints. You may be able to teach even us old-timers a thing or two.
"Frugal" for me has evolved into "free items only" that I WATCH for because of my lower than low income, but God inspires , often for recycling and even earning a little added income or for sharing with those more needy.
I also am reminded that, "Necessity is the mother of all invention", by Edison, I believe, and "Where there's a need, that's your 'call'..", not always referring to as a material need, but can apply there also. So, I don't waste a drop of expensive gasoline searching for curbside items I can recycle, use, sell, share. I go through a neighborhood street to get to my destination WATCHING, like you, to see if there's something curbside. I stop to inspect, etc.
I do NOT DIG or make a mess rummaging, but rather consider it courtesy to leave the curb as I found it, or better, and that "one person's trash can be another person's treasure", a lesson I learned from my family and friends who took what I used to toss curbside and made wonderful things from it, neighbors sometimes even thumbing their nose at what I had "missed" in the tossing, and in my haste,
or lack of being "alert" to my wastefulness. You see,
folks who are required to be THIS frugal, don't really
shop much for ANYTHING other than "bare necessities" at ROCK BOTTOM PRICING at stores, and yet become rewarded, often times DEARLY, for doing what Jesus likely wants us to do in the FIRST PLACE, right? lol. Shopping became addictive when I had EARNED more money, but in order to help others in crises later as I saw the need, I had to shop at thrift stores for my needs so there would be money to share and stretch.
I was over-indulged as a child with "things" rather than love. My family home was like a museum with plenty of prized "sale" antiques/accessories, but I learned the wrong lessons for a long time. When I later married for many years, got over-confident, taking too many things for granted like much of America has, getting fat and happy, unaware that I was my OWN "god" (because I thought I could solve ANY problem or FIND and TAKE CREDIT for finding someone who could. The definition of "god" is one that knows everything, can do all things, and can be everywhere at once if desired.), God allowed a single tragedy in my family to get my attention and bring me back down from where I had been "living on Cloud 9", which, like any good parent usually does for their Child,God gave me both my first good and gentle dose of HUMILITY and REALITY, and ALSO OPENED MY EYES TO WHAT HE EXPECTS FROM HIS CREATED HUMAN BEINGS. Like the loving God that He is, ALL WISE/KNOWING, ALL POWERFUL,
CAN BE ANYWHERE/EVERYWHERE AT ONCE, I began
to see His BETTER ways. God bless you for seeing
better ways as well as sharing frugal tips. :)
I loved what you said about your son. It's interesting how they remember the treat, but not the work that went into it. You must've done a great job making life an adventure for them.
I like all the posts. I get a great deal of joy out of recycling things that were never meant for uses into things that were, like the other day at Lowe's when I bought one big floor tile, the shiny smooth kind, and the checker was so curious as to why I bought one, and she was so amazed when I told her it was for my ferret to have a cool surface to lay on when it was tired of laying in the hammock or on the blanket. She was so amazed, and I could see her mind start going on how to use other things.
Creating memories for others is so important. Kids still today prefer boxes to play in, rearranging cans in cupboards and playing with pots and pans and lids to bang on not the "toys" that we are so inclined to get for them!
the media has played such a huge role in the way they want us to think, feel, etc; and created such false "guilt" as if we are not up to their false standards!
you are so right in looking for how to use or reuse things: recently got an outside patio table with umbrella which was $5 at a yard sale. Fusion paint fixed the bleached out spot on the top only; neighbor gave me 2 chairs and voila! many a great time with neighbors, friends, family; in my yard!
Watching the birds, who I feed, eat, drink, and that is free folks!
good times had by all! (I already had some chairs, these added for others to join us!)
What a nice story. I am a can collector myself. Sometimes my mom makes fun of me, but I am a hardcore recycler and there is extra money in aluminum and steel cans!
My best friend's mom got me into recycling, and I always thought it was fun to go to the park and look for plastic bottles and cans, kind of like a scavenger hunt!
What a great story. I have been guilty of throwing out perfectly good things but most of the time, I try to get them to the Goodwill. We are on the very low end of the poverty scale I suppose but by making our own things, not eating out, and cutting way back on things we buy for the house, we are doing alright. A house looks better anyway with a lot less sitting around and it is easier to clean. I got rid of all my duplicates of kitchen things and blessed someone else with them. We all have too much just sitting around and not being used, even the poorest of us. We need to bless others with it.
We do not save our pop cans any longer but use to, our son takes them now. You can get quite a bit of change from that. I also try to make my own soup and such, its fun and better for you. Hubby is on a restricted fluid diet and low salt so it's a lot better. I am retired and hubby is have issues with cancer and a heart condition.
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