Friday, 3 February 2017

7 Quick Takes 49: How Frugal Are You?

1. How did January go for you? Were you one of the many who decided to tighten their belts, hide their credit cards in the cat litter, and spend as little as possible in January?

For starters, here's a few things from a list of 60 extreme money saving ideas that we're guilty of. By guilty, I mean that if it's straight giving up on something, that's me. If it involves buying something at a certain website through another website with a particular credit card to save 5%, get 3% cashback etc., that's Mr Money Ponytail in the household (and if you get that reference you have extra bad ass frugality points). But back to the list:

2. Taking hotel shampoos. While we don't raid the cleaner's cart when she isn't looking (like the respondent), why not take the extra home if you've opened it? It'll only be thrown away. But you know, now I'm sort of tempted to lurk in the corridor... at least I would be if we hadn't just bought hundreds of dollars in Airbnb gift cards (see #6).

3. Get rid of paid TV completely. I don't suppose this really applies to the UK yet, where it's not the norm, but how is it extreme to live without cable or satellite? We've done so for years, and our children aren't too warped. We saved $600 by switching to Netflix and then gave that up entirely because there's a lot of viewing out there for free (she says vaguely).

4. If it's brown, flush it down, if it's yellow let it mellow. Well, I did do this one, until I had a toddler in the house again. For obvious reasons.

5. Stop using paper towels. Another one I was good at until Alcuin arrived and I got a bit overwhelmed. That is, we've used cloth dinner napkins for decades, and have a store of rags and old towels, but I had got to the point where I was using old tea towels and napkins to dry rinsed fruit and veg, inspired by Zero Waste Home. That's where I've backslid. I have to say, though, that it takes more courage than I possess to clear up a combination of vomited cat biscuits and mouse guts and then rinse and reuse the rag.
Along the same lines, I don't buy cling film (plastic wrap) any longer. I use old bread bags or wax paper (which can then be burned or composted). And honestly, the only time we really miss it is when we stop in the middle of a painting job and want to wrap up the paint brush instead of washing it out.

6. To add my own confessions. Apart from the normal frugal habits like using coupons, buying three months' worth of cheese when it's on sale, and washing out ziplock bags (you do that, right?), we are in the habit of:
Heating the house with rubbish. On days it's just a little cold, we burn paper and cardboard in the wood stove, maybe supplemented with sticks, to avoid turning on the heat. Setting fire to student exams warms us inside and out :)
Buying gift cards for supermarket points. One that I swear I read on the original post but wasn't there when I rechecked was buying hundreds of dollars in gift cards  at the supermarket to get extra petrol (fuel) points. Guilty, guilty, guilty.

7. I was going to mention the blog Mindful 45, where the author is on a mission only to buy necessary items in 2017 - but when I click on the link now, the blog has been removed and is labelled as not available. The last, missing, post was labelled Trip Tips. What happened? Did she go one step too far? Did Amazon or Travelocity order an assassination? A great, frugal mystery (seriously, I hope she's OK).

And, though this is sort of off topic, I'm particularly obsessed with this because another acquaintance's blog was recently removed from Blogger. It was her story of how she beat cancer using vitamin B17, which of course doesn't make money for the pharmaceutical companies. Is this all an anti-frugal conspiracy engineered by Google?

What about you? How far have you gone to save money? Are you heating your house on chinchilla droppings? Using moss for toilet paper?

(The reference, by the way? That's Mr Money Mustache aka "early retirement through badassity". Too extreme even for us.)

Get that hamster wheel hooked up to the grid, and get on over to This Ain't the Lyceum where I'm happily not quite the only one who's frugal.


  1. I got the Mr. Money Mustache reference. I'm the cheapest person you'll ever meet. And I wrote two entire posts about slightly insane things I do to save money. The first one is here:

  2. I enjoyed reading both your lists - we do a lot of those things, or equivalent!