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I’m a big believer in the fact that little habits add up over time. My research for this article was taking a closer look at myself and my habits over the course of a few days. Based on my observations, I wrote this article as potential inspiration for you, my fellow Frugalites!
Now, I know that we are a frugal bunch with many frugal habits. Once you read about my habits, I hope to hear about your own.
Making use of every last drop
This thrifty tip comes straight from my mother, who taught all of us kids to neatly roll our toothpaste tubes so we wouldn’t waste any. I now make my own toothpowder, but I have transferred that thrifty habit to many food items.
For example, when I finish my jar of applesauce, it doesn’t end there. I add a bit of water and swish it around, and then I drink my applesauce drink. Voila! The jar is empty, and I have a few extra and tasty calories to fuel my further savings. The other way I use every “drop” is by scraping everything with my trusty spatula. Everything is also cleaner that way when it comes time to do the dishes!
Multiple uses for everything
My dishwashing brush is looking a little long in the tooth these days. When I decide to retire it, will it go in the garbage? Heck no! I have a three-step process for how I use my dishwashing brushes. Once it’s truly too old and splayed to wash my dishes, it gets sent out to my shed with a few other types of brushes where it will be assigned work like scrubbing the car or outdoor furniture.
The first step in my dish brush process is that I use a brand new brush to scrub my vegetables and fruits. This sparkly new brush gets washed along with my other dishes and is used only for this purpose. When I retire the very old and tired dishwashing brush to the shed, you guessed it! This new one steps into the role of dishwasher.
It doesn’t stop there, though! Here are 40 uses for bread tags. Here are all the different ways I use one bottle of Castile soap (that lasts me months, by the way!) and here’s a bunch of other stuff I use twice.
Knowing my prices and when to buy
Quick, what’s a good price for a roll of toilet paper in your area? How long does your favorite pound of coffee beans last you? How much do you save if you only buy those coffee beans on sale?
Yes, these are the kinds of questions I can answer in my sleep. I know the prices of what I buy inside and out and therefore, I know when to buy. This week, I was reading the flyers, as I always do, looking for some good bargains. Usually, those loss-leader items appear on the front page. I found my treasure on the third page today: my favorite applesauce on sale. It was just about half the price of the same stuff in the discount grocery in a nearby town. I actually changed my plans and went to a town around 12 minutes away to buy as much applesauce as they would let me buy. I am pretty sure we’ll never see this particular item for this price again. I now have enough to last me four months tucked away in a cupboard. Hurray!
Eating stuff others might not eat
Ya, I got told last week by my cousin that I was “weird” when I told him that I eat weeds. Yes, I do! They grow free in my garden and often do better than some of the plants that I am trying to grow. I don’t eat processed foods and consider food to be my medicine, so I’ll often throw in whatever I feel like I need – ground turmeric, Ceylon cinnamon, and cloves. All of those go into my home cultured kefir that I often eat for lunch.
Having frugalite friends
When I saw the sale price of the applesauce in the flyer, what was the first thing that I did? Why, I called my Frugalite friend to give him the heads up, of course! It’s so fun to have Frugalite friends to share my bargains with. We love to save money and try to outbrag each other as to who is the best shopper.
Buying quality footwear
I love chatting with folks when I’m thrift shopping. Just yesterday, I was talking with a married couple about our best footwear thrift buys in our local church-run thrift shop. “Look at these sandals,” she said, showing off her sparkly silver ones. “I bought these at XXX thrift shop.” I showed her my sandals that I was wearing, a pair of plain brown leather Finn Comforts worth several hundred dollars, which I had bought at the same store. I believe I won that round of thrift shopping braggery, but I could be wrong. For tips on buying quality footwear at thrift stores, check this article out. Once you have them, take good care of them with tips from this great article.
Knowing when to let go of things
Times have been tough for me lately, and I’ve been short on cash. I am glad that I know when to let go of things, and I’ve been selling up a storm to make some money. I have a garage sale most Saturdays with some lower-priced items that attract some locals and tourists. I list other items that are worth more on the local “Yard Sale” groups and other online buy and sell websites.
Year-round gift shopping
I would not have the budget for buying holiday gifts unless I spread it out over the whole year, as I do. Shopping begins with bargain sales after Christmas, although you won’t find me anywhere that the stampedes might be dangerous. Beyond that, I’m usually at the thrift shops, remembering that my aunt likes the color yellow and is a huge fan of the Blue Jays baseball team. By shopping this way, I can usually find a lovely item for everyone on my list for a few bucks apiece. Spread over the year, it’s totally manageable.
Cultivating good neighbors
I was so excited when I moved onto my Half-Acre Homestead because I had always wanted to have my own neighbors. It took a few years to get to know them. Now, we have a well-established and reciprocal relationship. We help each other. I know that when I need help with something, I have people I can ask.
This can be a lifesaver, like when my wonderful neighbor to the east comes over with his top-of-the-line snow blower after a big blizzard. (I only have a shovel!) When they go away, they know that they don’t need to hire a house sitter, as I’ll take good care of it and will keep an eagle eye on their place.
That gives both of us peace of mind, and we both save!
Being flexible with my expectations
Sometimes, there’s more money, and I can buy some extra treats or do some things I like to do. Sometimes, there’s not. I keep my eye on what truly matters to me: Frugalite friends, my family, my health, my homestead, and doing my best to help make the world a better place. I know what matters to me. Everything else, I can do without.
Frugalites are as Frugalites do.
Daily frugal habits and attitudes add up over time. Who are you as a Frugalite? Could you see yourself trying any of the thrifty tips offered here? Do you have one you can share with us? Please tell us in the comments section.
Colette is passionate about sharing her knowledge of thrifty living and self-sufficiency. She has developed her skills in self-reliance living in the suburbs, the city, and more recently, on her own Half-Acre Homestead. Colette lived five years completely off-grid and without running water in an eight by 24 foot tiny home while designing and building her own 18 by 24-foot eco-cabin. Her website, Half Acre Homestead is attracting followers from around the world who want to become more self-sufficient. Colette invites you to stop by the Homestead and check out all of the great resources including the practical How To Guides, A Tiny Home Resource Center and her organic gardening stories on her blog. She shares her wholistic model (body/mind/spirit) for achieving self-sufficiency in her Free Course, “Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture.” Stop by the Homestead today to register free of charge!