My Frugal Life: Penny Wise or Pound Foolish

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Is there such a thing as being too thrifty? Are we many times penny wise and pound foolish? I ponder this because by nature I am a logical, practical person. I have been told this all my life. So the following situations make no sense to me. One is "saving money on soda pop". No matter how much you save, you are still wasting the amount you spent because soda pop is a useless product and if you drink too much it can be harmful. We all like it but one or two on the weekend with a burger should be the limit IF you are talking about thrift.


Another area is the money spent on cigarettes. I am not speaking about health issues. A five dollar a day habit, if you have a family, is money that could benefit everyone. Five dollars a day is $150.00 a month. If two people smoke, double that. Think about how your life could change if you didn't spend that money on cigarettes. You could add it to your mortgage and pay it off a few years sooner. You could put it in a college fund for the kids. Your whole family could go on a nice vacation. If nothing else, your budget could be a little less pinched. If you bother to save on other things, and use coupons, and pass up items you think you cannot afford and still smoke, you are not thrifty.

A third area that not only makes no sense but irritates me is the misconception some people have about recycling. Bottling companies used to charge a deposit. You used the product then returned it. The bottles were used again. That is recycling in it's simplest form. If, in those days you had taken the bottle and used it for something else, you were not recycling because the bottle did not go back to the plant to be used again. The same principle applies today.


I personally do not want to walk into my home and see picture frames made from bottle caps and fruit bowls made from old CDs. I don't want a purse made from grocery sacks or for my yard to look like a dumpster exploded in it because one liter bottles are hanging from the trees as bird feeders and shoe soles are used as hinges for gates, etc. But that's just my taste.

The point is that IS NOT recycling. Manufacturers use raw materials to make these things. Raw materials are natural resources. If the liter bottles and cans and grocery bags go back to these manufacturers they can be reused and the manufacturer will not have to draw on natural resources to make more. If you do not return them, but use them for something else you are not recycling, you are doing the opposite. If you can afford birdseed all winter then you can surely afford five or ten dollars for an attractive bird feeder. The cost would be covered if you did not buy the soda that came in the bottle at least for a few weeks. If you can afford the CDs that were made into a fruit bowl, you can afford to go to the goodwill store and spend a few dollars for a pretty ceramic or glass bowl. For the sake of the planet we need to understand this. Recycling is the act of returning the materials so they can be used again. That's thrifty.


By Lilac from Springfield, MA

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July 20, 20110 found this helpful

Oh, this is too funny. How about the people who suggest you use old pantyhose to strain food? Yuck!

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July 20, 20110 found this helpful

I guess we can go a bit overboard on some things! Thanks for sharing some funny stuff.

I agree with SusannL,no pantyhose food straining!


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July 21, 20110 found this helpful

I guess it kind of depends on what each individual thinks is necessary. I drink diet cola for my caffiene fix, because I hate the taste of coffee.

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July 21, 20110 found this helpful

I love to recycle. To me, it just the right thing to do. Recycling not only extends the life of a landfill, it takes less energy to make something from a recycled product than it does to make it from the raw material.

Recycling has created many jobs. There is a big demand for plastic bottles, aluminum cans, glass bottles, cardboard, paper and all the other materials that we are encouraged to recycle. For example, plastic bottles can be made into many things from shorts to park benches. It's such a waste to put a plastic bottle into the trash. When it goes to a landfill it is buried and protected from the weather. It does not deteriorate. Landfills are like Tupperware bowls. They are constructed so that the garbage juices will not leach into the ground water.

Glass, plastic and aluminum do not breakdown and go away. These materials stay in the landfill forever. Landfills are very expensive to build and they take up a lot of space. When a landfill reaches it's capacity, another one has to be made to take it's place.

We need to become more conscientious about recycling. Why use our tax money to bury recyclable materials when they can be reused and made into something else?

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July 25, 20110 found this helpful

The slogan is Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Recycling comes last for a reason. If you can reuse an item to make something else and help keep your costs down from buying another item then by all means do it. You are being smart with your money and creative at the same time. When you are finally done with reusing an item then it can be recycled. I worked in the recycling industry for nine years.

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July 25, 20110 found this helpful

I totally agree with you. I have developed a bad pop drinking habit for my caffeine fix as I don't get enough sleep at night. I do want to cut down or out on it (but it is so hard), so maybe I can try to get it down to once a day or only on weekends. I need to set a good example for my child, too. I agree that many "reused" items for crafts or different purposes just look junky.

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July 25, 20110 found this helpful

Anne 136 makes a good point. Reuse of an item for something other than its primary use, is still Reuse (Reduce Reuse Recycle). I do agree returning an item for remanufacture is a great way to reuse large amounts of material. But lesser efforts are not unimportant. As a lobbyist I worked to pass the 1st comprehensive recycling law in the US in 1988. If it hadn't been for all those die hard reusers and recyclers that had plugged along for so many years, recycling on the grand scale we now know it would never have happened. They were the peanut gallery that pushed it over the top. So to all of you, keep making those bird feeders and be proud.

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July 29, 20110 found this helpful

Repurposing items that you have already purchased and are no longer using, is the ultmate form of recycling. I agree that some can go overboard, but I've seen so many things tastefully made from typical household items, not to mention, items used for purposes other than what they had been originally intended. Shabby chic is a perfect example of what I am talking about--it may not be to your liking, but enough people have liked it to make it a popular decorating style. Etsy is a site that has also made repurposed items extremely popular. Furthermore, with the economic and job situation, many simply do what they can afford to just keep going. My point is, if you don't like what others are doing, then don't do it yourself--but please, do not attack those whose ideas may differ from your own. You would not believe how many people thought I was strange when I grew my vegetable garden and canned 30 years ago; when I had garage sales to get rid of things we weren't using anymore; and when I started making rag rugs and quilts. Now, I have people asking how they too can start doing the same.

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August 1, 20110 found this helpful

For all those complaining about the reuse versus recycle argument, remember this is satire. I think the bigger point you could glean is to think about not purchasing products that aren't using up natural resources. What difference does it make if you have a billion 2liter coke bottles used to form a skyscraper if we've destroyed pure air and depleted the earth of oil to manufacture the bottles to begin with...jus' saying.

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