Seven things frugal people don’t buy
You want to make every penny count. This can include never or rarely spending money on certain items. Sometimes you can substitute with a cheaper alternative, make it yourself or simply go without. Are there things you’ve stopped spending money on for the sake of frugality? For frugal families, paper towels and plastic wrap top the list of easily forgotten products.
Here are a few more of the most popular things my readers have stopped buying.
Opt for homemade wipes. You can make them by cutting a roll of heavy-duty paper towels in half and adding 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of baby oil and baby wash. Not into paper towel wipes? Make your own from Sherpa fleece or bamboo velour on one side and cotton knit or flannel on the other. Cut them to approximately 8-inch-by-8-inch square and serge together. The same concept can be used to make household cleaning wipes.
Thrift-store shopping allows you to have a wonderful low-cost wardrobe. One reader, F.M., from California, shares: “I don’t pay for clothes in retail stores anymore. I gave that up over a year ago and switched to Goodwill. Then I gave up shopping at Goodwill in November and shop for free for clothes at clothing swaps every couple of months.”
Choose fresh foods, cook from scratch and preserve your own food. You can learn to skip the entire frozen food aisle at the grocery store. For local resources to help you with your food-related goals, check your library, university cooperative extension, 4-H or visit www.freshpreserving.com/pages/learn_to_can/328.php to see whether your community offers canning lessons.
Most frugal people make their own bread. You can make your own pizza dough, breadcrumbs and croutons, too. For homemade bread crumbs, freeze any leftover bread until you have enough to make breadcrumbs. Place it on a baking sheet in the oven with the light on until dried. Place the bread in a plastic baggie, and use your hands or a rolling pin to make them into crumbs. Or you can break the bread into small chunks and run them through a food processor or blender until you have coarse crumbs, then bake your crumbs in the oven at 200 F for about 45 minutes. Place in an airtight container, and keep in a cool, dry place or in the freezer until ready to use.
Making salad dressings, ketchup, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, peanut butter and marinades isn’t difficult. They taste better, and you control the ingredients. Many of these can be whisked or use your blender. Visit www.frugalvillage.com/2008/05/29/blend-with-the-times for recipes.
Open your cabinet and count the various cleaners that you can replace with simple supplies, such as vinegar and baking soda. While many people replace glass cleaner with vinegar and water, they’re hesitant to try much else. You can replace store-bought scrubbing cleaners with the following.
2 cups baking soda
1/2 cup liquid Castile soap
3 teaspoons vegetable glycerin
few drops essential oil if using unscented Castile soap
Mix together, and store in a sealed glass jar. When cleaning areas such as a bathtub, spray the area with vinegar to loosen dirt, apply your natural cleaner, use a loofah sponge to scrub, and rinse with water. You can even grow your own loofah sponges in your backyard garden. Seeds can be bought cheap on eBay. One reader, Durgan in Canada, shares: “Method to manufacture is simple and takes little time. Remove the shell, which is hard and comes off cleanly. Cut the ends off, and shake out the seeds. There are about 100 seeds in each fruit. Wash in the washing machine with soap. A normal cycle works fine. Hang up to dry in the sun.” Some people bleach them. If you don’t like the natural color, consider bleaching with a nonchlorine bleach such as Ecover or diluted hydrogen peroxide.
OK, most frugal coffee lovers aren’t going to give up their morning java. But rather than buy it at a coffee shop, brew it at home. Roasting your own beans is easy, too. It can be done using a popcorn popper. Visit www.frugalvillage.com/2007/12/27/gourmet-coffee-on-the-cheap for directions.
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