Being fabulously frugal or fanatically foolish?
Practicing frugality is different for everyone. What might seem extreme or petty to you is everyday life for someone else. Each person decides what they’re comfortable doing to save a buck. However, there are times it’s not simply about saving money. Sometimes it’s about being less wasteful. Frugality can be a split-second decision. Keep or toss? Buy or delay? Some frugal decisions are easy to make, but others fall into the shades-of-gray area — not because it’s foolish, but maybe it’s time consuming, slightly embarrassing to admit to or doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. But you still choose frugality. What have you done to be less wasteful that’s on the fringe of what you’d tell others?
Here are a few examples.
You flour the counter when rolling dough and when you’re done, you still have excess flour on the counter. Some people don’t feel comfortable saving it. Others will brush it into a bag to use later.
Side note: Visit our bread making forum!
You have a family with kids that don’t always finish their drinks. Some people will pour it down the drain. Others will save it in the refrigerator or freeze it in an ice cube tray for later use. Many frugal people will dilute beverages such as juice or milk, too. One reader Sharon K., from Ohio says: “I drink diet pop, but I fill up a glass with ice cubes and half water and the rest diet pop. I keep adding ice and water and will probably put in about 1/4 cup more for the day.”
Your vacuum dies. Some people will rush out and buy a new one. Other people might buy a used or refurbished vacuum or a manual carpet sweeper. Marie from Texas shares: “When our vacuum died, I couldn’t justify going out and spending money on a new one, so I started sweeping the carpet with a broom to clean it instead. It takes a lot of arm power to do the whole house, but it saves me money. Some people might think it takes up too much time, and it is time consuming, but I kind of enjoy it now. My husband just bought me a new vacuum cleaner, but I refuse to use it. It uses too much electricity.”
Many families don’t conserve water. Fewer reuse it. Some frugal families will turn a faucet off when sudsing soap in their hands or while brushing teeth until the water is needed to rinse, and some people collect cold water in the shower or bath or sink before it heats up and reuse it to water plants or to manually flush their toilet. Lisa from Indiana, shares: I let the three littles use the same bath water (unless it’s very dirty).” Some people will even reuse bath water to wash their floors.
For some people, leftovers are amounts of food that are large enough to be made into another meal or more. Of course, there are some people who don’t “do” leftovers. Many frugal people will save very small amounts of leftover food such as meat and vegetables and freeze it until they have enough to make a soup or casserole. Michelle from New York says: “I save and freeze all of our leftover meats, and when I get enough, I make a sandwich spread with it. I just add a little onion and mayo and seasonings.”