May 13, 2011

Tightwad Gazette II - Day 21 - May 13th

I wrote the following post late last night and when I went to publish it, Blogger was down.  It's up and running obviously except some recent posts were deleted.  I have had my blog for about 20 months and have never had a problem with Blogger so that is very good service when you think about it.  So Kudos to them for getting things resolved with minimal problems. 

Now on to our Tightwad Gazette reading.


A reader wrote in to say that she felt like for years she was getting cheated by not being able to get that last little bit of solid antiperspirant/deodorant out of the container, she decided that she needed to try something.

She dug all the remaining stuff out of the container with a knife and put it in a glass custard cup. She put it in the microwave for two minutes. Using a spatula she scraped all the melted antiperspirant into an old deodorant container and let it cool. Four used up deodorant containers have filled a recycled container half full.

I have never tried this but I have snipped tubes and plastic bottles to get the last bit of a product. It is surprising how much is left in these containers when you think you have used everything up.


A reader wrote in to say that they knew some college students and in exchange for the students babysitting for them, they let them wash and dry their clothes. The students provided their own laundry soap.

When we were first married, we had some friends that needed someone to babysit their sons every Tuesday evening. I volunteered and in lieu of getting paid, they let me do a couple loads of laundry at their house. It was great not to have to go to the Laundromat for a while and they in turn wanted to pay me, but were happy with the bartering.


Can you be too frugal? Amy responds with this “Most people think of frugality only in terms of saving money. Under that narrow definition, the answer would clearly be “Yes, you can be too frugal.” But if you look up frugal in the dictionary, you’ll find it isn’t defined specifically as having to do only with money. It’s defined as not wasteful, economical, or thrifty. These terms can apply to the expenditure of any resource.”

Everyone tries to achieve the highest quality of life possible using four basic resources. These are money, time, space and personal energy. These resources are interconnected in an intricate way so frugality must encompass more than just money.

Amy used an example of people that collect things to the point of being a pack rat. Amy responds that these people aren’t being too frugal; rather their frugality is out of balance. Pack rats tend to expend energy moving piles of things to look for something wasting time and ultimately money since they end up going out and buying something they already have.

With the home improvement projects going on, my downstairs is a mess and very cluttered. I am expending all my time on painting and I can tell you that it has led to some frustration as I can’t find things as easily as I usually can. If I constantly lived with the clutter I am sure that I would not be saving money because I would be purchasing more stuff that I need and purchasing duplicate items.

Also because the pack rat has limited space (due to the items they have collected), they don’t have space to stock up on great grocery deals.

The bottom line is that the pack rat’s quality of life is diminished.

In contrast to the pack rat a successful frugal person constantly monitors how much is stored, never keeping more than the maximum amount of bread bags and Styrofoam trays that are needed at one time.

Pack-ratting with organization and precision is a huge money saver, especially when more valuable things are stored away. Having a just right amount of clothing stored up for the children, lumber, hardware and non perishable foods are examples of good pack ratting.

The non frugal person can have a life out of balance by working hard for something such as a boat but rarely getting the time to use it.

Amy has observed the frugal and the non frugal person and she said that this lack of balance is “usually indicated by an expression of unhappiness or frustration about some aspect of their lives – when they complain about not being able to pay bills but aren’t making adjustments in their habits. Regardless of their spending style, I don’t worry about people when they and their families are clearly happy with the choices they have made.”

“Because we all have different amounts of money, time, space and personal energy and different ideas about what constitutes quality of life we each must find our own frugal balance.”


Amy made up a list of products and she assigned each one a price that a product must be for her to buy it. For example for a cake mix it must be only 2 cents per ounce, baked beans is 1 cent per ounce, Italian salad dressing is 3 cents per ounce, onion soup mix is 33 cents per ounce and so on. (Again, these are 1995 prices.)

If the store bought item with a coupon is the same or less than the amount that she has assigned a product, then she will use the coupon and buy the item. She compares her costs to homemade, store brand and national brand.

I think it is a good idea to always have a “buy” amount assigned to your most frequently bought grocery items. For example, for me I will pay no more than 99 cents for a jar of peanut butter. When it gets that low, I stock up.

Also when I use coupons if a store brand is quite a bit cheaper, I will choose to buy it over using a coupon with a national brand. In our area there are no double coupon grocery stores so many times a store brand will be cheaper.

I won’t be blogging about the Tightwad Gazette for a few days as I am one week away from a Graduation party and I have a lot to do. I will be posting bits and pieces on the blog but will reserve a Tightwad Gazette reading for after the Graduation party.

In the meantime I want to tell everyone that I haven’t been able to respond to your comments, but I thoroughly enjoy what you have to say. Now I need to get some sleep. Have a great evening/morning depending on where you live. Take care.

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