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.