photo by Mykl Roventine
Do you know a tightwad home when you're inside one? For many people, penny-pinching strategies aren't noticeable. However, if you're frugal, you have an eagle's eye. If you visited a fellow frugalista's home, you could spot their frugal ways because you probably do them, too.
KITCHEN DRAWER: You might see saved rubber bands, free samples, pencil nubs (hey, they still have a point), bread twist ties, folded aluminum foil, used birthday candles, washed plastic baggies or saved bread bags to use for pet care.What in your home is a dead giveaway that you live a frugal life?
FREEZER: What are all those baggies? They're filled with overripe bananas, frozen pesto, broth, make-ahead meals, vegetables or leftovers, of course. You'll see meat bought in bulk and divided into smaller meal-sized portions, too.
CUPBOARDS: There's a full pantry. It often contains preserved foods from a home garden and a food stockpile bought when items were on sale. One reader, Polly in Pennsylvania, shares: "Homemade mixes line my pantry along with dried beans, rice, a 50-pound bag of potatoes and pecks of apples stored for winter. There's a flyer on our icebox telling of the butcher's latest chicken specials. It's what you don't see that's more pronounced. No soda, no chips, no store-bought snack foods, no takeout containers, no bottled water, etc." You would notice homemade cleaners in spray bottles and very few brand-name foods, too.
REFRIGERATOR: You would see reconstituted powdered milk, iced tea, water, block cheese to shred, bagged apples versus individual, and leftovers ready for lunch the following day. You would see seasonal fruits and vegetables (often pre-chopped), reusable containers, a few cartons of eggs bought on sale, homemade condiments, syrups and sauce, bulk yeast and maybe some chilling cookie dough.
SINK AND COUNTER AREA: You might see a spray bottle of dish liquid diluted with water to spritz dishes, a toothbrush for scrubbing, dishrags, knitted or crocheted pot scrubbers or dishcloths, microfiber cloths or washcloths versus paper towels. You would see a kitchen-counter composter (often a coffee container reused) and a change jar, too. Coffee drinkers will have a thermos or carafe to keep coffee hot throughout the day.
LAUNDRY ROOM: You would see the washing-machine water set to cold. You would see a drying rack or retractable clothesline and a laundry loot jar, too. Another reader, Mary in Texas, shares: "My laundry room is off the kitchen, and there are multiples of Zote soap, Borax and Super Washing Soda, plus a big plastic container of homemade laundry soap."
APPLIANCES AND HELPFUL TOOLS: Most frugal homes have "tools of the trade" that help people save money. A few appliances that top the list are a food dehydrator, stand mixer and slow cooker. There's a FoodSaver, food processor, grain mill or a spare freezer. Tools such as a calculator, canner, kitchen scale, manual can opener, box grater, rubber spatula, dry erase board, funnel, kitchen shears and cookbooks are incredibly helpful and are common to see in a frugal kitchen, too.