The Frugalite Holdout: Things I Refuse to Get Rid Of

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In the spirit of “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without,” I’d like to share my “wear it out”, better known to me as a Frugalite Holdout. Now that fall has arrived, and it’s cooler, I find myself doing more baking and cooking. When I reach for my oven mitts, I always feel a surge of affection and pride. Why is that, you might ask? Well, dear Frugalite readers, my oven mitts are what I call my “Frugalite Holdout.” 

I know from the comments sections of the Frugalite articles that there are many Frugalite Rockstar’s among you. For this reason, I am sure that many of you have your own “Frugalite Holdout.” Please let me explain! A Frugalite Holdout is my own coinage: it came from my feelings when I reach for my oven mitts. A Frugalite Holdout is something that you could afford to replace but simply will not. You refuse! Why would you buy a new one when this old one is perfectly fine? 

Frugalite Holdout #1: my beige oven mitts

I have had my beige oven mitts sooooo long that I actually cannot remember being without them. (Circa 2013 or before!) At that time, I mainly lived in my tiny house and now have moved into my new eco-cabin. Technically, these oven mitts no longer match anything in my new kitchen. I don’t care! I know that these oven mitts would be destined for a landfill if I abandoned them.

Really! They don’t look terrible, and I do wash them! But they have that worn kind of greasy finish on them, especially on the thumbs and the parts of the mitts that grab the baking dish. 

When I go to the dollar store or even a higher-end store and see the luscious displays of colorful oven mitts, I feel a surge of affection for my good ole mitts. I don’t need to spend money on new ones! Yes, those colorful ones are quite nice. And, yes, I have heard that they make oven mitts out of silicon these days. I’m not buyin’!

When I try to get to the essence of my Frugalite Holdout, it is the principle of the thing. Why spend money on something new when something old works perfectly well? I think this is where my Frugalite pride comes in. According to my values, it is more noble and accomplished to retain my Frugalite Holdout oven mitts than to splurge on a new pair even though I could. In some way, this can define the Frugalite spirit: a practical mindset and ability to prioritize, a talent to look beyond the looks of something and see its value.

When you do this repeatedly and set your priorities, you can create the life of your dreams, as Daisy writes about her life of travel here.

For further inspiration, here are a couple of frugalite holdout examples from my extended family:

Frugalite Holdout #2: my cousin’s taped up coat

While my oven mitts are my own private Frugalite Holdout, you might have a Holdout that friends and family tease you about. Such was the case with my cousin, Joe, a farmer. He loves good stuff, a new tractor, newer vehicles. So, I was quite surprised when I saw him in his winter coat. It was an old blue, well-insulated, well-worn coat held together by red construction tape! It seemed like the coat was almost more tape than coat!

Everyone enjoyed teasing Joe about the coat, including me. In fact, I even gave him a new roll of the red construction tape as a joke Christmas gift, “just in case” he needed to repair his coat. We all had a good laugh at that one! However, Joe insisted that he would never give up his beloved coat. Although he might not claim the name of Frugalite, Joe’s heart is clearly in the right place!

Frugalite Holdout #3: my cousin’s thrifty car

I have another cousin who drives a red Ford Focus that is approaching an unbelievable 300,000 miles. She is an operating room nurse who owns her own home and could clearly afford to buy a newer car, but she sticks with her old gem. It has some rust spots that show its age but otherwise looks to be in decent condition. Many years ago, I bought my own great value in a beater car, Rosie. She was impressed with what I got and asked me at that time if I would help her find a new car if her current one needed replacing.

That was more than four years ago. Let’s just put it this way: she hasn’t needed to contact me yet! Not too long ago, I had to make the difficult decision to replace Rosie. My cousin was again impressed by my new car but mused aloud that her trusted Ford Focus was not costing her anything. Therefore, she intended to keep driving it! For my cousin, each mile she drives with her Frugalite Holdout car is like money in the bank!

Don’t hold back on your Holdout!

As you read this article, did a particular item of yours spring to mind? What is your Frugalite Hold Out? Do others tease you for your Holdout? What do you love about it, and why do you hang on to it? Please tell us about it in the comments below.

The Frugalite Holdout: Things I Refuse to Get Rid Of
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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!

23 thoughts on “The Frugalite Holdout: Things I Refuse to Get Rid Of”

  1. My blue blanket was a wedding gift in 1989. It is full of holes. This blanket is my last holdout on a marriage I deeply regret leaving. As a consequence of the blanket I have a big stack of other blue bed linens, but I no longer have a room with a compatible color scheme. I’m downsizing and need to part with the whole stack, but I can’t.

    1. Hi Karen, Thank you for sharing a touching story about your blue blanket. I was sad to hear about what happened with your marriage; I can understand your feelings about your blue blanket given your story. Sometimes these holdouts are attached to deep feelings. It doesn’t matter what our common sense says about colour scheme or other, they are staying. I wish you the best!

  2. so many to choose from—probably my furniture. My bedroom furniture is 30-50+ years old. I have my childhood bedroom outfit (minus twin bed that my daughter got) that I got used. I got a waterbed with under dresser & when that needed replaced I put in mattresses (a few times now) instead. I recently had to sell my big desk with bookshelf because moving/downsizing. All are similar design in various (because of age of paint) shade of white with similar handles on some. I just can’t see spending money on new because this still works. I might eventually try to get matching hardware/handles, if enough are gone.
    I like older furniture because better built & repairable & lasts decades!

    1. Hi Regina, I am with you on the quality of older furniture! My prize furniture item is a red oak armoire made by a local furniture company….I’m sure long out of business due to competition with the plastic coated chip board furniture companies. I got it for a very low price from a cousin who bought it and it didn’t fit in her bedroom. I wish you well with your well-built collection of solid wood furniture. It still works and sure to be around for more decades to come!

  3. I think my biggest “hold out” item was my flip phone – it had served for the better part of a decade. My phone carrier did an upgrade so I was forced out of it, but I still got a new flip phone instead of switching to a fondleslab. The new flip phone isn’t as good. Yet, in a way it’s still a holdout because I didn’t have to switch to a more expensive plan by sticking with my old style phone.

    My car dates to 2006 and I’ll probably drive her till the wheels fall off. New cars come with too many bells and whistles and my car has something they don’t – a paid off title.

    1. Hi Redbranch, Always enjoy your comments! Good for you for staying free from the “fondleslab” craze (hahahah got a good giggle out of that name)! I’m sure your flip phone Frugalite Holdout has saved you bags of cash to date. I miss my Rosie, a 2001 Nissan Sentra, and wish you the best with your 2006. Long may it run!

  4. My favorite is probably my near-antique multi-function woodworking machine called a Shopsmith, Model 10ER, made about 1950. It came stock with capabilities of a table saw, disk sander, wood lathe, horizontal boring mill, etc. Though I grew up on a farm with access to hand tools from about age 4, I wasn’t introduced to power tools until 7th grade woodworking shop class. Then one of my college years summer jobs was machining out aircraft and missile parts to thousands of an inch accuracy.

    Years later I spotted an estate sale ad in the Greensheet for a Shopsmith, so I borrowed a girlfriend’s mini-pickup and was then able to bag a bargain deal for cash on the tool. Over the years in that pre-internet era I slowly learned what an incredible find that was. I learned that it was the most widely sold multi-function woodworking tool for home shops in America in the late 1940s. I learned that the beloved comedian and ventriloquist Edgar Bergen had used his to help build his dummies, Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd. I learned that Arther Godfrey had given one to his radio show writer, Andy Rooney (long before the 60-Minutes TV show), and Rooney later wrote in the 25th anniversary edition of Fine Woodworking Magazine that it changed his life. I even met a former Shopsmith salesman and service technician for Montgomery Ward who told me that the 10ER model I had was the same as one he had used to help build seven houses, and that the bearing structure was strong enough so that if I wanted, I could swap out the stock 1/2 hp motor for a 1-1/2 hp motor which could easily power any of the later model Shopsmith accessories that were mostly introduced after my machine was made. I hurried to devise an oaken adaptor for any of those accessories and began to find frugalite-style deals on most of those accessories over the years. I’ve acquired most such accessories like the band saw, belt sander, jig saw, etc.

    These days I use that Shopsmith mostly to help with various repairs although sometimes I need to create some gadget from scratch to solve problems or add new capabilities.

    For anyone who’s curious, there are plenty of videos on YouTube accessible when searching on Shopsmith 10ER.

    I will be eternally grateful to the European refugee who escaped Hitler’s Europe in the late 1930s in time to work in our California shipyards during the war, and came to recognize and reward the American DIY instincts which were to some degree less appreciated in Europe. Dr. Hans Goldschmidt’s invention of the Shopsmith tool product line proved to be a stunning addition to our DIY community.


    1. Hi Lewis, I loved this comment. As I’m still in the midst of building my eco-cabin, I was already drooling at the impressive list of jobs the Shopsmith can do. WHAT…A….MACHINE!!! I enjoyed the story of how you acquired yours, and especially the rich history it had. I could picture Edgar Bergen at work on his dummies. What magic! Dr. Goldschmidt surely has left a rich legacy, and I so appreciate your sharing your own Shopsmith Frugalite Holdout. If you ever want to sell it, please keep me in mind! ha ha ha! Thanks so much!

  5. I refuse to get a new iron. The one I have was given to me as a wedding present 52 years ago and it still works; so why get rid of it? And just this weekend, my granddaughter and I were using it as I was teaching her how to iron shirts and blouses.

    1. Hi Tamara, Wow! You have shared a GREAT Frugalite Holdout. A three generation iron is quite impressive. So happy to hear that you are sharing it with your granddaughter in that way.

  6. A friend gifted me a Korean Mink Blanket back in 1980. He did a TDY there in Korea every year, opp pork chop. We were stationed at Hickam A.F.B. Hawaii. I treasure that blanket, it’s been around the world with me. Unfortunately my friend passed this past May, I’m going to miss his teasing me about toting that blanket around for so many years.
    I still lovingly place it on my bed every Fall when the weather turns cooler, and in the Spring it gets cleaned and stored for the warmer months.

    1. Ooooooooh! As soon I read “Korean Mink Blanket” I was squealing, June. It sounds soooo cozy. I am sorry to hear of the loss of your dear friend. I’m sure the blanket will bring back many happy memories as your bring it out of storage this Fall and lovingly place it on your bed. Thank you for sharing this long lasting Frugalite Hold Out, which is clearly a dearly loved treasure, a symbol of your wonderful friendship!

  7. Call me pragmatic but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I have lots of “holdouts” that I like too much to part with like my down comforter from the early 90’s, my father’s old wool coat, my “lucky” underwear from the early 00’s, the car blanket I used as a child in the 70’s. I also have the practical holdouts like the furniture we adopted from my in laws that I will not replace because we have cats and kids who destroy everything. We drive old cars until the wheels fall off to avoid having a car payment. However most of all I am a creature of habit and find comfort in using the same thing again and again, even stupid things like the scoop we use for snow melt that was made from a plastic milk jug. Some years ago my husband threw out something like that, it was basically worthless but I was still upset because it worked so well and I didn’t know if I could make another one that worked as well. Frugality is my silver lining to the bad habits of not liking change and being a bit attached to my things.

    1. Krispimae, I enjoyed your post and especially liked how you were able to connect your frugality to being a creature of habit. I am the same! I used a soup can as a scoop for my melting ice in winter until it rusted right through. There was a time I thought I had lost it and looked all over for this rusted soup can. It had become part of my winter routine and I liked it a lot! Thank you for sharing your great holdouts and for adding an extra dimension to the Frugalite Holdout!

  8. I just sold my ’99 Toyota sedan a few weeks ago. I’m the original owner and I always said I’d drive it until it died but I figured with the car shortage and severe inflation it was better to replace it while I knew I still could. Someday I’ll sit down and calculate how much money I saved ignoring everyone who told me I “needed” to replace the car 10 years ago.

    1. Hi Charlotte, Your post gave me a big chuckle when I got to the punchline: everyone who told you you “needed” to replace the car 10 years ago! Ha ha! I’m sure you saved thousands taking your own Frugalite advice. Good for you!

  9. My frugal holdout is my Oster Kitchen Center, bought for me by my husband of 50 years sometime in the first 3 years of marriage. On one base, I can attach the blender, or the mixer, or the food processor, or the salad slicer, or the meat grinder. The mixer has dough hooks as well. One time, maybe 10 years ago, I was attempting to mix frozen strawberries in whipped egg whites and sugar. The mixer heads stalled on the hard strawberries, and broke some plastic gear inside. I was able to find a replacement for that attachment on eBay, so I continue to use it happily. I also use my husband’s grandmother’s Sunbeam mixer (avocado green!), whose bowls are interchangeable with the Oster. She made so many cookies with it over the years, both in Indiana and California. My dear daughter-in-law uses the crockery bowl my grandmother used to make complicated salads in the 30’s the yacht club luncheons. Yes, I would say hanging onto useful relics are not only frugal and habitual, but sentimental, of which obviously I heartily approve!

    1. Hi PL C, I had never heard of an Oster Kitchen Center before: what a gem! No wonder you have held on to it all these years. When I read that it broke, I could only imagine how you felt at that time. So happy you were able to replace the gear and mix on! I have a fondness for avocado green, myself! These are lovely holdouts that also hold wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing about these baking and kitchen-related items that have been lovingly handed down. Right now, even as I type, I can see my great grandmother’s green glass butter keeper with embossed golden thistles on it. To me, irreplacable and not going anywhere!

  10. My grandmother’s hand held Sunbeam mixer she bought in the 50’s. Yes, it works fine!

    I also have her dining room table and chairs she bought in the late 1890’s. Perfect shape, oval pedestal, simple lines, dark oak. I can sit 12 easily, and when I use my mother’s china, it still feels as if those two are with me.

    I have a toaster that is going on 30 years old.

    I did get rid of my 1976 wedding dress; I gave it to the local theater group who welcomed it. My father’s navy uniforms were also welcomed. I couldn’t figure out a use for those things.

    1. Hi Marie, Oh yes! A hand held Sunbeam Mixer! This brought back very fond memories of Mom giving us the beaters to lick after she mixed up a cake batter, or even icing! I love the image of your grandmothers beautiful dining table set with your mother’s china. You have many Frugalite holdouts that are still going strong. Good for you. Even a Frugalite may not need to keep everything. Good for you for finding a welcoming home for your wedding dress and your father’s uniforms. Thanks so much for sharing these great holdouts and great memories with everyone.

      1. I enjoy your articles very much, and I think it’s very good of you to reply to all of the comments. I think all of us at this site are kindred spirits!

        1. Hi Marie, Thank you so much for your kind words. You just made my day! Yes, I agree about the wonderful community on the Frugalite and OP websites. What a great group of kindred spirits. After one of my articles is posted, I look forward to the comments from readers like you, Marie. I love to find that someone has shared a great tip or idea, or has benefitted from an article. Wishing you a great day and looking forward to hearing from you again.

  11. What an enjoyable post and comments! I have several things I enjoy and won’t get rid of: our bedroom furniture is the set my parents bought new for me about 1967. Our coffee table has seen better days, but it was made by my brother in his shop class in the mid-50s. Our kitchen table is the one my parents bought new in 1965. And our electric clothes dryer is a Sears bottom-of-the-line model we bought new in 1975 for $119. Our bottom-of-the-line Maytag washer lasted 27 years and we held onto it until my husband couldn’t get parts for it, even on ebay. It was great and I wish I still had it. Our experience with newer appliances is sad. The old ones are far superior.

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