April 26, 2011

Tightwad Gazette II - Day 13 - April 26th

If you live in a small apartment, have you ever thought about how much money you could save on food if you were able to purchase a small chest freezer and fit it into your small living space? Amy makes this point in one of articles in today’s reading.

Also there is a great tip in today’s reading for a homemade laundry pretreatment.


One of the basic tenets of tightwaddery is to pay off your mortgage as quickly as possible. One way to do this is to get rid of the extra charges attached to your mortgage.

1. Private Mortgage Insurance – If you make a down payment of less than 20% then you most likely will have to pay private mortgage insurance. The purpose of this insurance is to pay the lender if you default on your mortgage. Once you build up your equity beyond 20%, this insurance is no longer required. This does vary from state to state so contact your lender to see what percentage in equity you must have in your home before you can drop this extra expense. You could save an average of $600 annually. When you reach the point of dropping this insurance, apply the amount you were paying to P.M.I. to your mortgage.

2. Many banks require an escrow account in which you pay the monthly equivalent of your homeowner’s insurance and your property taxes. Some states require the lender to pay you interest on the escrow account while other states do not. In order to earn a little bit of interest on your money, contact your lender to see if you could set up your own escrow account or can otherwise arrange to pay the property taxes and insurance yourself. You could collect your own interest money on a savings account into which you deposit this money.

Explore these options prior to getting a mortgage. You should really do your best to put 20% down or as much as possible.


A high school teacher wrote in to say that she always volunteers to help with the clean up after the dances as they throw out all of the decorations. She scavenges as much as she can and reuses the metallic paper, ribbons, streamers, bows, stars, bells and plastic flowers throughout the year.


To make a mirror fog free, simply spread liquid soap on the glass with a cloth to cover it completely. Then polish dry with another cloth.


A High School Home Economics teacher sent in this homemade laundry pretreatment recipe.

Combine 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup ammonia (sudsy or plain), 1/2 cup Wisk liquid laundry detergent and 1/2 cup water.

Spray on grease or food spots or dirty collars and cuffs. Wash garments as usual.


When Amy was single and living in Boston, she didn’t own a car and used public transportation. She never lived near a large supermarket and the groceries she purchased had to be hauled onto public transportation and then up flights of steps to her apartment. No wonder she used convenience foods and ate out a lot.

Years later she looked back and thought about how a small freezer would have benefited her during that time. By having a small freezer you could make a lot of meals and put them in the freezer for later use, thus avoiding eating out and spending a lot of money. It would pay for itself in no time. They sell small chest freezers which fit into small spaces.

I have thought about this too. The years that we rented and lived in apartments we could have benefited from buying a small chest freezer. We lived in small apartments and we could have fit a small freezer in each of them. It may have ended up in the living room with a tablecloth over it, but we would have still had room.

I remember back about 28 years ago I worked with a woman who lived in an apartment with her husband. They had purchased second hand a small portable washing machine that hooked up to their kitchen faucet. They were able to wash small loads at a time and then they hung the clothes up to dry. In no time they had recouped the money that they had used to purchase it as they no longer went to the Laundromat.

It is the same with a small freezer. You are able to save money and it is these sensible purchases that can put you on the road to putting money into savings even while living in a small apartment.


Frugality naturally creates less trash, but even frugal people can learn to generate less than they do. Remember, dumping items in the landfill costs money and worse yet, it is bad for the environment.

Here are some tips for saving on trash fees:

1. Buy used items. Secondhand items rarely come with packaging.

2. Omit convenience foods, most of which have excess packaging.

3. Eliminate as many disposable items as possible such as paper plates, disposable diapers and so on.

4. If given a choice, buy products in recyclable containers.

5. Buy concentrated products.

6. Buy bulk foods. A 25 lb. sack of flour produces less packaging waste than five – 5 lb. bags.

7. Bring your own bags when you go shopping.

8. Participate in your area’s recycling program.

9. Reuse everything as much as possible. An old athletic sock makes a great dust rag.

10. Compost your grass clippings, leaves and food waste.

11. Buy with durability in mind. Avoid buying things such as toys that break easily.

12. Reduce your incoming junk mail.

13. Cancel magazine subscriptions and borrow from the library.

14. Instead of throwing things away, give them away.

15. Make the extra effort to repair things before throwing them away.

16. If you live in a rural area, you may be able to get a permit for a burn barrel to burn nonrecyclable paper.

17. Compact your trash by flattening it, cutting or breaking it into smaller pieces.

18. Try to locate a scrap metal dealer in your area.

19. Grow and preserve your own food. Canning jars and freezer containers can be used from year to year.

20. Think hard about if you need the latest recent gadget or invention.


As with everything, you don’t need to use a lot of a product just because they show it on TV. You don’t need a gob of toothpaste on your toothbrush. A dental hygienist told Amy that about 1/4 inch is all that is needed. She also told Amy that actually you don’t even need toothpaste to brush your teeth and get your mouth clean. What you need to do is to practice proper brushing and proper flossing. “If you use the proper stroke and brush for a total of five minutes, getting every tooth, you should be able to remove most of the plaque.”

Now I think it is important to add that toothpaste freshens your breath and it also contains fluoride for your teeth. However, if you have a child that gags a lot and doesn’t like the feel of foamy toothpaste in their mouth, perhaps they could still have good dental health if they brush their teeth for 5 minutes without toothpaste and then use a little bit of toothpaste to quickly brush their teeth. You could slowly decrease the amount of time they spend on brushing with just water and then increase the time they brush with toothpaste.

If you are faced with buying food and can’t afford toothpaste, you can always use baking soda on your toothbrush along with brushing your teeth with water only. But I would not advocate going without toothpaste for long.

For tomorrow read pages 106 through 116.

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