Learn harmless frugal secrets
photo by aprilandrandy
Frugality takes creativity. Sometimes you have to be a little sneaky when the family won’t buy into your plans to save money. Secret solutions can be revealed after family members have successfully accepted them unknowingly. Some people would never keep frugal secrets. I’m not suggesting you hide important financial decisions, but you can adopt simple, creative and harmless ways to be frugal without drawing too much attention or resistance from family members. The big reveal is funny and not hurtful — for example, incorporating leftover vegetables into spaghetti sauce or putting unfinished drinks back in the refrigerator for later instead of throwing them away.
Have you ever done something sneaky or secretive to save money in your home?
Here are a few suggestions.
BUDGET MEALS: Maybe one person doesn’t like leftovers. Freeze them and give them a makeover a few days later rather than the serving the same meal the following day. For example, vegetables can be saved for soup, casseroles, stir fry, fried rice or pasta dishes.
USE LESS: You can use fewer supplies and still get good results. For example, you can use less meat when cooking, fewer cleaners when doing housework, install a low-flow showerhead to use less water or use your oven less often and a slow cooker more, to name a few.
PANTRY INVENTORY: When building or maintaining a fully stocked pantry, a common problem is that your family will tend to consume more than usual because there’s more readily available. Another reader, Valerie in Washington, shares her strategy: “I hide things from my husband, like his favorite pop, which never goes on sale. I bought a 24-can pack of it (at full price) a while ago. Every once in a while, I pull out a six-pack and let him have it. I also bought a big jar of peanuts, but just put a pint-size canning jar full of peanuts where he would find it. The big jar is tucked away.”
LOOSE CHANGE: Change found when doing laundry or cleaning is fair game. Keep a change jar, and gather loose change you discover around the house or have left over from shopping. Use it to pay debt or save for something fun such as a meal out or toward a family vacation.
THERMOSTAT WARS: There always seems to be one spouse who wants it warmer in the winter or cooler in the summer than the tightwad in the household. Rather than go through the thermostat wars, simply change it by one or two degrees and not five degrees or more.
PACKAGING HACK: Save and refill containers with less expensive alternatives. C.J. in Nevada confesses: “I do sneak stuff he does not like (or says he does not like) into our meals, and he is none the wiser. The biggest thing was bulk cereal. He loves Frosted Flakes. I bought the bulk kind, and his reaction was, he hates the stuff and it’s disgusting. So I hid an empty Tony the Tiger box, filled it with the bulk cereal from my shopping trip and he ate all of it and never complained. About a year later, my father made a comment about cheap cereal, and hubby commented that I bought it once, and it was gross and he would never eat it again. Not being able to contain myself, I told him that he has been eating it for more than a year! I thought my dad was going to need medical assistance from laughing so hard, and hubby was in shock for a few days. He does not have a problem with bulk cereal now, though.” Try this with products such as condiments, shampoo, fabric softener, etc.