May 31, 2011

TIghtwad Gazette II - Day 29 - May 31st

I started a new subject the other day on “What If” scenarios. We never want to think that some scenarios can happen to us, but they can and do happen. I have hoped that over the past few months of going through Amy Dacyczyn’s books that everyone has learned to save money and spend less so that you can be prepared for those “What If” scenarios.

Let’s look at today’s reading that runs the gamut of Salads to Dry Cleaning and Wrapping Paper.


“When it comes to produce, our ancestors ate seasonally. When their gardens were producing, they ate greens, cucumbers and tomatoes, but during the winter they ate sweet potatoes, carrots, and butternut squash because these would keep without freezing or canning. Now, with modern transportation and food preservation, seasonal eating is almost nonexistent.”

When I was growing up we ate seasonal salads. In the summer we ate tossed salads of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and other “tossed” salad ingredients fresh from the garden. In the winter months we ate cabbage salad or coleslaw, carrot salad, gelatin salads, salads made with home grown frozen vegetables, and fruit salad made from home canned fruits. It was a rarity to have a tossed salad in the winter months.

Amy asks the question “how does fresh supermarket produce, which loses nutrition through aging, compare to canned and frozen vegetables, which lose nutrition through processing?”

The nutritionists Amy interviewed all agreed that the exact form of produce (fresh, frozen, canned or dried) was a minor concern. Instead they stressed volume and variety. “Eat a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, including some that are high in A and C. Eat cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage and broccoli) several times a week. Several studies have shown that these help to prevent cancer.”

If you want to save money and still eat nutritiously, shift your diet to frozen out of season produce and to fresh, low cost winter vegetables during the cold weather.


A reader wrote in to say that she marks the date on certain products. She sticks on a piece of masking tape and marks the first day of use on it. It gives her the incentive to beat the number of days she can make the product last. Examples: dish soap, dishwashing detergent, shampoo and so on.

I’ve been doing this for several months and have been amazed by how long I am able to make certain products last longer than I ever did before I started to mark the beginning date of use on the container. As an example I opened a 77 oz. bottle of Ultra Downy Liquid Fabric softener on August 16, 2011. One third of the jug is left. I only use it on towels and dressy clothes. By use, I only pour in 1 teaspoon per load. The rest of the clothes I use dryer sheets cut into thirds.

Why the dryer sheets on some clothes and not on others? I found that the dryer sheets were leaving marks on my husband’s dress shirts so I switched to liquid fabric softener. I purchased 4 boxes of name brand dryer sheets for 50 cents two years ago with a coupon so I do want to use these on everything else. I have cut the sheets into thirds to get the most out of them. When I am able to hang my clothes out on the line, I switch to liquid fabric softener for everything.

I have purchased about 4 jugs of name brand fabric softener over the past few months as there have been some great deals with coupons and I have paid about $1.00 for a large jug of Downy. I have enough fabric softener to last me a very, very long time.


Follow the manufacturer’s instructions unless you’re willing to risk ruining the garment. However, if you buy a blouse at a yard sale for 25 cents and it is to be dry cleaned, you may try to hand wash it and if it is ruined, you are only out 25 cents.

“Reader after reader reported success with home laundering dry clean only clothes and very few cited ruined garments. They generally suggested hand washing or using the gentle cycle with cold water and a mild detergent, then laying the garment flat to dry.”

I have never used the home dry-cleaning product, Dryel, which is available so that you can dry clean your clothes at home. Instead I try to avoid purchasing any article that requires dry-cleaning if at all possible. My husband wears dress pants, dress shirts and ties to work from Labor Day to Memorial Day. Then during the summer months it is a casual dress of Docker style pants and casual shirts.

He needed some new dress pants 12 months ago and I happened upon a catalog sale with JC Penney. I ordered several pair of dress pants that are not to be dry-cleaned but instead to be washed in cold water and dried on low. These pants have the look of a dry cleaned pant but without the cost of dry cleaning. He still has a few pants that require dry-cleaning and the cost is around $7.00 per pair of pants. Sometimes our drycleaner sends us discount coupons.

I respect the Dry Clean Only label and I wouldn’t try to clean an article of clothing on my own.


A reader wrote in to say that she lived in a tiny apartment which had a small flimsy metal freezer above the fridge. She learned to go to the grocery stores on the last day of a sale and get a rain check for frozen sale items that they were out of and she didn’t have room for at the moment. Then, a week or so later when she had more freezer room, she would go back and pick them up. Some rain checks last for 30 days.


A reader wrote in to say that at the after Christmas sales she looks for Christmas wrap that could double as an all occasion wrap. She gets one roll for adults and one roll for children. I came across some Christmas wrapping paper last year that could double as all occasion paper. It is white paper with little red dots. It is perfect for any occasion for a child or adult.

We will continue our Tightwad Gazette II reading on Thursday, June 2nd by focusing on pages 229 through 239. Tomorrow I will post my response to the first “What If” scenario and I will propose a new scenario for everyone to consider.


Phoebe said...

your post has given me much to think about and it is scary. Thanks alot!! Just kidding. it is very scary to think about this and I need to do a major overhaul.

Martha said...

It's only scary if we don't do what we need to do to make the necessary changes in our lives. We can sit in a chair and wring our hands about the things that could happen to us or we can make some small changes to save money and start to be prepared for anything that could happen.

Some people are able to sock a lot of money in the bank in a small amount of time for those emergencies. While some of us are only able to get a couple of hundred dollars in the bank over a longer period of time. In any event, money in the bank is still money in the bank and it brings some peace of mind.

Small changes can lead to big savings over time. We all have to begin somewhere.