My Adventures In Cheap Skating

Living frugal can be a very simple, yet rewarding change in your lifestyle. I used to think that meant eating rabbit food and living in bamboo huts. Me, in a loincloth? Never! But it's actually very easy to do and you don't have to give up the things you love.


I started small, with hanging clothes to dry on a line, recycling, thrift store shopping, cutting down on energy consumption. It didn't make a huge difference and I started to doubt that I could keep it up. Then, I discovered the world of frugal living via the internet! There is a surprisingly vast wealth of tips and knowledge to be found here. I decided to try some of the suggestions, and I haven't looked back. In fact, some of the ideas I gained from the web pages I visited have inspired me to look at everything now with an eye for repurposing or repairing.

We've all had a beloved dog or precocious child scratch the top of our beautiful coffee table. With regret, we throw it out and search for a new one the next time we head out to Wally World. I used to do it, too. Then I saw a photo of an end table refinished with a deep, dark cherry red finish and I thought to myself, "I have to try it." Of course, I didn't want to experiment on one of my own possessions. A short time later, when a neighbor was putting out a small wood table for the trash - you got it! I snatched that mother and slapped a few very messy, drippy, uneven coats of stain on it before I realized there must be some technique to doing this right.


Once again, my compadre Mr. Internet came to the rescue and I found that I needed to apply it, then wipe off the excess. You live and learn, I guess, but imagine my surprise when I sold it in a yard sale a month later for $20! The stain cost me $8, the clear finish coat was $10, and the paintbrush was $1. I still had enough left to do every piece of wood furniture in my house, and since I sold that table - it was FREE!

Two summers ago, I began to be interested in gardening and organic foods. Buying fresh in the grocery store was getting so expensive, and I figured growing it at home wouldn't be so bad. I bombed my first attempt by not doing my homework (my kids must think me a hypocrite!) and planting all the wrong seeds, in all the wrong places, and in all the wrong times. I grew a gigantic patch of hardy weeds, not even suitable for livestock fodder. My wonderful neighbor Bob schooled me in the techniques of planting a garden to feed my family. I brought in some lovely yellow squash, gorgeous tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, although very small, and one cute little sprig of basil from my garden this past year.


And I found that gathering seeds for next year's planting was easy too. I kept seeds from watermelons, pumpkins, peas, sunflowers, beans, etc. and dried them on wax paper. In my (finally) useful saved egg cartons, I placed the dried seeds in napkin pieces in the cubbies, then affixed labels to toothpicks and poked them into the sides. The herbs I have decided to grow in small planters in the window to keep the insects from enjoying my harvest.

There are many things you can do to scrape by on a budget. Clip coupons and sign up for online savings, save candle wax to melt into jars, buy roasts when they're on sale and slice into chops or steaks, make your own beauty products like natural masks, lip balms, and milk baths, color in chips in wood furniture with markers or colored pencils, frequent yard sales, have your own yard sales; and look to the web for inspiration. Get your family involved. There are so many ways to save, and it's easy. Make it fun, too.


By Ree G. from Hilliard, OH

Watering The Garden

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January 25, 20130 found this helpful

That is so wonderful! I really enjoyed reading this!


Robyn from Tennessee


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