Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Five Frugal Things

Pipney Jane started a meme that for some strange reason caught my interest. (No idea. None. I can’t explain why this meme caught my eye when 99.99% of all others end up on my “maybe later, by which I probably mean never” list.)

It may come as a complete shock, but I too have had that “uh…what…are you doing?” conversation with visitors a few times here and there, when they’ve caught me in the middle of some act that I don’t even think twice about anymore, but which to them is a kind of glimpse into a strange new world.

So, OK…here we go…I will attempt to think of five and ONLY five of my favorite every-day frugal things


This takes no more effort than sweeping the peelings / trimmings / egg shells / etc. into a bowl instead of the sink or trash can, and then dumping them into the worm tower in the garage instead of the trash tote. Each week I get up to a gallon of compost tea from the spiggot on the bottom of it (great for houseplants, and no, it doesn’t smell like rotting anything – if anything, it just smells like dirt), and about once a month in the warmer months I get a full tray – about five-ten pounds – of black gold for the garden.


This is pretty much identical to Pipney Jane’s ‘set asides’ – instead of making just one of something, I’ll make double, triple or even quadruple quantities: one to eat right then, the rest to freeze for later. It doesn’t often take triple the time to triple a given recipe, nor does it make triple the mess to clean up.

Waste not

I admit it: I’m one of those people who will add water to the “empty” shampoo bottle to get at least one more washing out of it. I push those itty-bitty slivers of soap into the new bar. Cut the ripped-up legs off jeans and call them shorts. I have a dozen ways to keep a bottle upside-down without falling over, so that I can let every last drop of whatever was in there drip out.

Advanced Laziness

Advanced laziness is an art, one that is frequently mistaken for hard work. When I spend a weekend cooking and filling up the freezer, people have a tendency to think I’m “working hard.”

Nah. It’s advanced laziness. By putting in this time now, I am actually buying myself tons of time when I’m going to want it the most – on those weeknights when the idea of having to stand up for even five more minutes is enough to make me want to cry. “Ha! Joke’s on you, Exhaustion, because dinner is already ready! I WIN!”

Be childish

I may be cheating a bit here – this is probably more of a philosophy than a simple action. But still, it’s one of my favorite every-day money-saving things, and it’s so very simple.

Instead of looking at things like a grownup – a segment of our species who tend to be rather set in their ways, prone to thinking they know what that is, it’s a {something boring and scientific}, and it is used for {something even more boring and pedestrian} – I try to look at things more childishly.

A grownup will see an empty #10 can as “recycling.” A child will see…a helmet. Or a fairy house. Or, a container garden. (You’d be amazed at the miniature container gardens you can build with empty #10 cans.)

Just looking at the things around you as if you didn’t know exactly what they were, and what they were for, looking at them playfully and as though you had just announced, “OK, new game!!” and were making up the rules right there on the spot – it both helps to keep the frustration of tedium at bay, and frequently leads to little flashes of inspiration that save money, or add a splash of uniqueness, or both, to something as ordinary as a kitchen towel or cardboard box.

1 comment:

Layne Bushell said...

tama, will you post a picture of your compost tower. Our current system is not working and I've wanted to purchase a compost bin for a long time, just don't know which one to get. thinking on the round ones, on stand with a handle that you can turn. What are your thoughts?