4 foes of frugality - Page 2
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  1. #16
    Registered User KathyB's Avatar
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    SD, I think you are right about the women's movement and traditional woman's skills. At least that has been my experience.

    My husband is a much better cook than me. His mom was a feminist and thought that all her children - not just her daughter - should know how to cook. I like that attitude better. Let's stop thinking about cooking and clothing repair as women's things and start thinking about them as life skills for all humans.

    I am not sure if money plays a factor. When I was in my early 20's I was very poor. I had lots of friends who were as well. They tended to be unemployed or only working part time. You would think that with lots of spare time and little money, they would be cooking most of their food from scratch. But most of them did not. One couple I knew ate hot dogs and canned beans every meal because they "could not afford anything else." We were both on food assistance - back then it was called food stamps, now I think it is called SNAP - which is a set amount per person. So we had the same amount to spend on food as them. But we were eating soups, curries, roast chicken, homemade biscuits, rice, baked potatoes, pasta, cornbread, banana bread, homemade cookies, etc.

    I don't understand why the hot dogs every day couple did not make some effort to learn how to cook even a few cheap things.

    I should add a disclaimer that some of my friends did actually know how to cook at least some food or learned how to cook things after a few years.
    KathyB

  2. #17
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    I think the women's movement is only one part of it. Technology is another aspect of it. Why bother with the time and effort it takes to make something when you can just go to the store and pick up a replacement when X breaks or wears out. I know I'm guilty of that. On the other hand, I do appreciate not having to hand thread a loom to make cloth or spend all day canning during the summer and fall to make sure I have food in the pantry for winter. But I also appreciate the knowledge and skill that goes into doing those things and making sure they get passed on.

    I'm part of ALHFAM (Association of Living History, Farming, and Agricultural Museums). They recently initiated a program/succession plan to pass on the skills and knowledge the current (and aging) members have to younger members who are/will replace them. One of the parts of this succession plan is to create online step-by-step videos that member museums and sites can access in case they need to and for training new hires.

    Kathy, one thing my parents did was have my siblings and I alternate chores when we were kids. Each week we'd do one big chore (cooking dinner, clean the kitchen, clean out the dishwasher and set the table, etc.) and we'd alternate, including my brother. Granted, I'm not the best cook/chef out there but at least I learned the basics and I can read a basic recipe. I do know some basic sewing skills, enough to sew on a button or mend a rip on my clothing. But I'm sure I've forgotten a lot of stuff over the years because I didn't use the skills.

    One thing I always got a kick out of when I was more into re-enacting than I am today is that some of the guys I knew would do some basic sewing repairs or knitting/lace making. I would enjoy watching them do their stuff and never made a big deal out of it because it was a guy doing it.

  3. #18
    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    I made all our kids cook and bake, too. And we made them all learn to drive in our little Cadillac, because it had a 5 speed on the floor. The girls and boys learned to use basic hand tools and were expected to help with chores and repairs around the place regardless of gender. Etc.

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  5. #19
    Registered User KathyB's Avatar
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    I recently joined reddit (mostly as a lurker). They have a reddit for Frugal Female Fashion (Frugal Male Fashion is a separate reddit). Unfortunately, it is all about posting about when big sales are at various different stores. Occasionally there will be a post about where someone asks if any one is making something that looks like a specific piece of high end clothing, but at a more affordable price.

    Nothing about thrift stores or consignments. Nothing about mending or alteration.

    I googled frugal fashion and skimmed a few points. A few did mention thrift stores and consignment. None of them had anything that mentioned sewing of any kind. One did mention fabric tape for loose hems. There was a also some bits about fixing scuffed shoes.

    The overlap between people who are sew and people who are frugal does not seem to be very big.

    Most of the frugality stuff out there is just "buy less stuff" said 20 different ways. Also, how to buy stuff for less.

    People who are making, repairing and buying used are seen as "too extreme" by many wanna be frugal people. It is common here, but we seem to be the exception.
    KathyB

  6. #20
    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    Kathy, check out https://sewing.patternreview.com/ It is the best, most active group of people who sew clothing that I'm aware of. There are people there who thrift and remake garments.
    Stop trying to organize all of your family’s crap. If organization worked for you, you’d have rocked it by now. It’s time to ditch stuff and de-crapify your world.

    If you're not using the stuff in your home, get rid of it. You're not going to start using it more by shoving it into a closet.

    Use it up, Wear it out,
    Make it do, Or do without. ~unknown

    A clean house is a sign of a wasted life. ~unknown

  7. #21
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    I think this link is probably more suited to people on this website: https://www.homeandgardeningideas.co...rom-the-amish/

  8. #22
    Registered User KathyB's Avatar
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    A lot of this is good common sense things.

    Some of it is more context specific. Knowing how to bail hay might be a useful skill for some people. Less useful for others.

    There is also a time vs. money element in there.

    How much work will you go through to save money? Is it worth my time to save the money? Sometimes it will be. Sometimes it will not be. And my answers may not be the same as yours and that okay. People have different amounts of free time and different amounts of income. I expect when I retire my answers may change.

    Something that does not come up in the time vs. money thing is whether it is something you enjoy doing. For example, the mentioned making your own pasta. It is a lot of work for product that is not very expensive. For a time vs. money thing it will probably not be a good payoff for most people. But some people might really enjoy making pasta.

    It is much easier to be frugal if you are a person who likes cooking, making things, repairing things, refurbishing things, etc.

    Can you learn to like something? Can you train children to like something? I have noticed that people who cook their own food tend to be people that enjoy it. People that think cooking is a hassle tend to not cook their own food. They may make occasional attempts to save money, but tend to drift to their old ways. Of course time is a factor. Some people work really long hours or have schedules that make it very difficult for them find time to cook.
    KathyB

  9. #23
    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    I think there is also a skill factor involved. I can prepare bacon, eggs, toast, and coffee/tea for breakfast in under ten minutes. Someone who does not cook will take longer and not do as good a job and may prefer to wait in line at a drive thru window for ten minutes. Similarly, if they haven't the skills to shop wisely, they look at shopping and cooking as an expensive chore. I think a lot of single men do this. They'd rather spend money at restaurants than learn to make something that might not taste good the first few times. I know I can save money doing my own oil changes, but I don't want to learn and I don't want to do it myself.
    Stop trying to organize all of your family’s crap. If organization worked for you, you’d have rocked it by now. It’s time to ditch stuff and de-crapify your world.

    If you're not using the stuff in your home, get rid of it. You're not going to start using it more by shoving it into a closet.

    Use it up, Wear it out,
    Make it do, Or do without. ~unknown

    A clean house is a sign of a wasted life. ~unknown

  10. #24
    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    I'm not so sure the Amish are the best example of how to live frugally in today's world. The so-called "simple" life is anything but, and usually labor intensive. I have to wonder how many of the things mentioned in the article the author does on a daily basis or has even done once.

  11. #25
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    The Amish may not be the best example of how to live frugally but the list is better than just "don't go shopping" tips from the first article. And most people on this site do tend to be more crafty than the norm.

  12. #26
    Registered User KathyB's Avatar
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    Being willing to keep at something till you get reasonably good is a big part of life. I think there are a lot of people who try something two or three times and then decided they were not very good at it. Even if you succeed the first of second try, it will take much more time and effort than it will with practice.

    I think another factor is whether a person wants to put that much time and energy into it. With enough time and effort, I could probably learn to make decent furniture. But that really is not important to me. So I will not be trying to learn.

    Sometimes "I am no good at this" really means "I do not want to spend the time or effort to get good at this." But sometimes the person really believes they have no potential at all in a given area. I often see people act as though people who are good at something were just born naturally talented. But in most cases the person is good because they practice a lot.

    Some people do learn quicker, or learn specific things quicker. In most cases, anyone can learn with enough effort. But even someone who is a quick learner still needs to practice.

    It is easy to write people off as lazy, but the reality is more complicated. Even if you have an hour or two after work, you might be too worn out to learn something new. It is not just about being physically exhausted, people can feel mentally or emotionally exhausted. It is why people sometimes feel worn out after a day at the office even though the work was not physically demanding.

    ***********

    I am guessing the author has probably not bailed hay. Or made furniture. Probably not pasta either.

    There may be some foodies out there who make their own noodles. But common sense would tell you that spending an hour to make $1 worth of pasta is not the best way to save money.

    There was not a lot of thinking about what advice would be workable for the average person and what would not. There is some good advice in the article, but it tends to get overshadowed by the unpractical sounding parts.
    KathyB

  13. #27
    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    I've baled hay. It ain't fun. Especially when it's 95 and humid. I've also made furniture, which was much more fun. I can't do really nice furniture. I'm sure I could learn but I agree with you, in my case it doesn't make sense. That's what garage sales are for. Which is actually much cheaper than DIY, if the materials aren't salvaged.

    I do think people should learn basic life skills whether it's fun for them or not. Cooking is the main one that comes to mind. Pretty much everyone should learn to make 15-20 good, simple, healthy meals. To me it's just crazy not to know cooking basics when they have to eat every single day.

    Making pasta is fun and doesn't take long. Wish I could eat it more often. I use my pasta machine more for making crackers though. I don't know that it's frugal compared to dry pasta, but fresh pasta tastes better, and buying that is probably more expensive than making it. But dry pasta is good, too. And cheap and convenient. Now I want pasta.

    In general, sewing clothes does not save money. If you buy new fabric, it's ridiculously expensive, usually. Stuff like buttons are outrageous. If you can pick up cheap fabric at thrifts or work a sale it helps, as does salvaging things like buttons from worn out cloths and reusing those instead of buying new. Repairing or making over clothes can save a lot.

  14. #28
    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    I guess practical frugality depends on where you are in life. I used to make chinese dumpling wrappers by hand, because I had more time than money. These days it's not worth the effort, my time is more valuable and I can easily afford to purchase wrappers.

    I happen to know how to build nice furniture. I took 4 years of wood shop and cabinetry. Sure, I could get a couple hundred dollars worth of quality wood, and a few thousand bucks worth of heavy equipment, build a shop and spend weeks making beautiful hardwood furniture. Or we could just go to Sears. I have knocked together some storage shelves for the garage, because lumber was laying around, and that may have saved us from needing to buy something. I repaired the keyboard tray on my desk, too. It was practical to get a board rather than a new desk.

    I have no need or desire to bale hay. Getting one in the back of my car is enough.

    I agree that sewing your own clothes, unless you have special needs, isn't practical. The fabric alone costs more than something ready made. But being able to do repairs, oh yes, that is certainly practical.
    Stop trying to organize all of your family’s crap. If organization worked for you, you’d have rocked it by now. It’s time to ditch stuff and de-crapify your world.

    If you're not using the stuff in your home, get rid of it. You're not going to start using it more by shoving it into a closet.

    Use it up, Wear it out,
    Make it do, Or do without. ~unknown

    A clean house is a sign of a wasted life. ~unknown

  15. #29
    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    I was being paid to throw hay bales. Or maybe it was straw. Whatever, it was dirty, dusty, hot, sweaty, exhausting, and hard on the back and hands. My job was to haul the bales off the baler and stack them on the hay wagon being towed behind the baler.

    I've had lots of weird jobs.

    I'm envious of formal carpentry training. I would have loved 4 years of shop. I got one quarter when I was in 8th grade, back when people still thought if girls were allowed to use power tools, we would somehow cut off our own heads or something. I still want to learn to weld, but not sure what I'd do with that skill besides build the trailer I want for our HydroBikes.

    Now that we're officially retired, I'm feeling the need to start focusing my time and energy more. Sewing and crafts, light carpentry, but less big projects. I still want to learn a few but not many big, detailed skills like gardening, and want to get back to writing, too, which is an ongoing learning experience.

  16. #30
    Registered User KathyB's Avatar
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    Maybe making furniture is more common that I thought. Or maybe the groups is not a typical representation of the populations.

    I don't know anyone in real life that can make furniture. Of course I know very few people in real life that crochet, knit or sew.

    If you are good at home cooking, you can usually make something tastier than your heat and eat products. That can be more of a motivating factor than money. Special dietary needs can be a factor as well.

    Homemade pasta is most likely tastier than the dry pasta sold in stores. I have seen fresh pasta for sale before in the deli section. I think it was around $4.50 for about 8 ounces. It that case the money vs. time ratio is much better.

    While I agree that everyone should have the skills to cook, there are cases where it does not always make sense to cook. Take the case of a single high income person with no children. It can come down to how much you feel your time is worth. Someone making $10 an hour might consider a lot of things worthwhile that someone working making $40 an hour will not. In my opinion, $40 would be considered a decent salary in this area, but not high income.

    Of course, that $40 is probably more like $25-30 after state and federal taxes. (The more you make, the higher the tax bracket.) But people do not think that way. They think of their time as worth $40 an hour.

    The federal government pays us a cost of living bonus of 30% for the DC area. Because it is literally twice as expensive to live here as the US average. I suspect I make more than many people on this site, but my income is still bellow average for this area. Well my husband makes pretty good money, so I should not complain too much.

    Hmm...if i stop to think about it I understand why the higher income geared frugal advice is more on not buying stuff. As opposed to things like home cooking and DIY repairs.

    I feel like home cooking has a psychological value as well. There is something comforting in eating home cooked food.
    KathyB

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