Frugality is Simple

I come from a frugal family. Because my mother is the oldest of 10 siblings, she has learned to be frugal. I use many of her techniques to save a buck.

I remember taking a bath in an inch of luke warm water with two cousins when we were about five, six and seven years old. My mother saves tissues that have not been fully used. She washes and re-uses plastic bags and we were told to use no more that 3 sheets of toilet tissue each time we had to go. My clothes were all homemade by Mom or Grandma. When a relative planned a wedding, the family made the wedding dresses themselves. She still hangs her laundry outside to dry. So do I. The smell is amazing and saves on dryer sheets.

So, I came prepared for the financial crisis our world is experiencing at the current time. When my daughter was a baby, I chose to stay home with her. I also made sacrifices for this plan to work including using only cloth diapers I washed myself. I breastfed her for fifteen months (no baby formula to buy) and made all her babyfood from scratch. We saved on medical expenses since she never had an infection, which I credit to the healthy diet. I purchased most of her clothes through age four at a neighbor’s garage sale.

Today, I save money in many ways:

1. I line dry almost all our clothes in the warmer weather outside. In winter, we have a large wooden clothes drying rack in the basement. We pre-plan our laundry tasks to include the two day drying time. All of the laundry is washed and rinsed in cold water.

2. Lights out when not in use. My mother is a stickler on this and now I enjoy driving the family crazy, turning the lights out after they leave a room.

3. We installed a wood fireplace insert and heat with wood ninety percent of the time and we live in upstate New York. We save hundreds of dollars a year on heating.

4. We do have Central Air conditioning. It was used one week this year. Windows and drapes are closed midday and opened in the evening.

5. We do not eat out. I cook five days a week. Leftovers the other two days, or dinner out once a month.

6. We make our own ice tea and coffee and do not drink or buy soda.

7. Winters are long here and it snows almost every day. We do not pay to have our driveway plowed or use a gas guzzling snowblower. We exercise by shoveling every day. Saves on gym equipment or membership fees. In the summer, we use the pool for the same purpose, exercise.

8. We have four gardens on our less than one acre of land here. We preserve what we grown and save it jarred or frozen. I do not buy vegetables for 9 months a year. We indulge in a good steak about 4 times a year.

9. Since I work from home, we save on gas for the car, repairs and fancy business clothes.

10. Both cars are paid for. One gets 33 mpg. The other is a pickup truck, which saves on moving expenses and delivery costs for large items suck as furniture, appliances, lumber…

11. We stopped using credit cards. If we do not have the money, we do not buy it.

12. My college education for a four year degree cost me $3000 total. Since I was unemployed and not married, everything was paid for through state of federal grants. My daughter is also getting these financial backings as well. (My fiance and I decided not to get married right away for this reason)

I could go on, but these simple things alone save tens of thousands of dollars. It’s really not that hard. Just set your mind to it and you will be amazed at what you can live without. The rewards are countless.