August 16, 2012

Staying the Course . . .


To borrow the phrase from President George W. Bush, we should stay the course and keep on doing what we are doing.  No time for slackers.  Sometimes we get tired and sometimes we feel the pressure to slack off on frugality and spend some money when we really shouldn’t, but we get back on track.  So we go from Slackers to Trackers in this frugal journey we are on.

Recently I was helping in my friend’s store for a morning and a woman came in and said she needed some more makeup foundation.  She had said that she had squeezed everything out of the tube that she could.  I said have you tried cutting off the bottom and opening up the tube to get the rest?  She looked at me and laughed.  I realized that she thought I was making a joke but I wasn’t.  We frugal people are different from the rest of the world.  We are the ones who get the last bit of foundation, lotion, shampoo or whatever out of a tube or bottle.  I have always been amazed at how much is left in a tube of foundation or a bottle of lotion when you cut the bottom off and use a Q-tip to get the last bit of product left in the container. 

When you are on a tight budget, being wasteful is not an option.   As a rule we shouldn’t waste our resources.  Being wasteful is being disrespectful of the hard earned money that paid for the item.  Think about that.  When you are not getting the last bit of something out of a tube, you are being disrespectful to yourself. 

When I am in the kitchen my favorite frugal tool is a rubber scraper that I use to get the last bit of peanut butter, mayonnaise or anything out of a jar or can.  You would be surprised how much peanut butter can be scraped out of a jar with a rubber scraper.  Many times it is enough for two sandwiches, which is always worth the effort.  

Several years ago our landlord asked my husband if he would help him clean up another apartment after a tenant had left it quite messy. His wife had told me that the woman was confronted about the mess and was told that she wouldn’t get her deposit back.  Her response was that cleaners were too expensive for her to buy.  This, of course, was laughable, but I’ll never forget what the land lady had told her – that a generic bottle of dish soap (about 75 cents at that time) would have cleaned everything in the apartment.  It’s funny how some things stay with you.  Our land lady was right.  You could put a small amount of dish detergent in a bucket of water and clean everything in a home from floors to counters to mirrors.  That has always stuck with me.  So, in a pinch you could take a cheap bottle of dish detergent to clean your house.

One night last winter I was home alone for dinner.  I looked in the fridge and along with many items I saw 1 hardboiled egg.  I made a white sauce and added some cheese to it.  I took the egg and chopped it, and added it to the white sauce.  I then poured it over toast points.  This is one of those use it up kind of meals and it is something that appeals to me.  It wouldn’t appeal to the rest of my family though, but it tasted oh so good and it took me back to memories of my childhood when my mom would take small bits of this and that and make them into casseroles.  Frugal cookery means you need to learn how to create dishes from odds and ends to serve your family or yourself. 
I am not a picky eater, so I eat a lot of leftovers for lunch as does my husband.  I think that with the advent of the Food Network and many cooking shows, we have gotten away from basic cooking skills and we feel that every meal must be a gourmet treat.  Not so.  Good food does not have to be expensive due to expensive ingredients.  Use up what you have and create meals from those leftovers or on sale items.  Get a cookbook that was published in the 1950’s and you will find recipes for good home cooking that calls for basic ingredients. 

For my next post I am working on my thoughts on the Drought of 2012 and how it will affect us.  Here’s a hint:  If you are frugal, you will be able to maneuver your way through what is coming.  If you are not frugal, you still have time to change.

10 comments:

Juhli said...

Your post is so true! By the way we deal with leftovers the same way - eat them as is or get creative and make something new. Rarely do we throw any food away a recent exception being chicken that just tasted wrong after it was cooked. I haven't cut the bottoms off of tubes though and will have to start doing that.

a8383 said...

Love it! My lunch was the last tiny piece of meatloaf in a sandwich.: ) Angela

Frugalista Mama said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing.

Debby said...

Great post, you are so right it is hard to stay in a frugal mood if you do have the extra cash sometimes. For the most part my frugal ways are second nature now but I do fall off the wagon!!

Living on Less Money said...

Great post! (I just added water to my mascara to 'stretch it'. :-)

Debs said...

I'm much better at eating leftovers than my husband, so i look on them as yummy lunch treats for myself when he's at work or out!

Kathy said...

I was just thinking about food network the other day and how it's changing the way people think they should eat.
I was reading about how people survived the great depression and one person had written that they survived on soup beans, cornbread and biscuits. Now it's hard to convince people to eat soup beans, cornbread and biscuits when they are deluged with cooking shows about gourmet meals.

I've been enjoying your posts. I'm also thinking the country is in for a financial hit. We are going to be tighting our belts even further and I'd rather start now and get prepared!

Anonymous said...

Martha, Your posts are always great. That's why I check almost every day for a new one! Being an ex-spendthrift, I really appreciate this post. Unfortunately, I fall out of my frugality every once in a while, especially with eating out. We've been doing well financially for the past couple years so 2 months ago we made the decision to put a large amount of money toward our mortgage to help pay it off within 5 years. We didn't completely deplete our savings, but guess what? As soon as we made that huge mortgage payment my husbands work came to a complete standstill (he is self employed). So for the past couple of months I've been reminded how crucial it is to stay on track with saving money. Every little bit counts!

Anonymous said...

I dilute liquid soap in my reusable dispensers and line dry our clothes. I've discovered that you don't really need to use as much product as the directions say for most things.I also don't understand how much people waste when they peel or chop veggies/fruit. We use fruit that hasn't been eaten in time to make smoothies. I love reading your blog!

Anonymous said...

I so enjoyed reading your blog, now I am revisiting it as Obamacare will cost me 20+% of my income...that's my ironic punishment for working hard and managing my money carefully!

As you say so many people are against thrift I think it's hard to stay with the program sometimes, there's not enough exchange and encouragement.

So blogs like yours are really helpful!

Tracy