Sometimes the frugal things that we do in the day to day aren't all that spectacular and don't seem to stand out to us as anything special. Unless you mention what your day is like to someone else and then you get a different perspective on what you are doing and find that it isn't mundane but a new idea to them. This is my mundane day to day, whether frugal or a new idea is up to you. Take what you will from it.

One of the most valuable things that I have learned from my partner is to not fear failure, to step out and take a chance and learn from the falling down and getting back up. It has been a long road me and I have a lot longer to go but I am noting the change for the good.

Recently I was offered the chance to learn the ropes of those in a pay grade above me and when an opening comes up, I would slide right in to the position and pay; barring I set a desk on fire or something. Before I would have been too scared, felt I wasn't qualified or it wouldn't be a sure thing and probably said no. But this time I said yes and took a leap of faith that I could do it and low and behold, things are going well and the new job responsibilities are starting to feel comfortable. No word yet on when the job position will open but anywhere from 1-3 months is a good estimate.

Frugal living is about saving money where you can but also about making extra money where we can. I want to live on less so that I can save more money and then work less when I want to and not have to worry.

There were two major expenditures this holiday season that are bringing about a feeling of relief and a bit of anxiety.

The first one is a bit of anxiety, I bought brand new furniture (sofa/loveseat) that will be a regular monthly bill. The reason I bought this furniture was because we needed it and I wanted something new that would last a very long time. I also like that they had a  deal for 26 months interest free. Basically I'm paying on my furniture like layaway but instead I get to use it. I know it is still credit and I have a budget setup that includes getting this paid off in a few months. I have done this once before and it worked out well, I paid it before the interest kicked in.

The second expenditure was an iMac computer that I have been drooling over for the last few months, however this buy was bought by saving the money and then buying it outright with no credit. There is definitely a different feeling between buying something right out and having to still make payments on it before you can say, "This is mine and doesn't belong to the bank."

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Over the holiday I have been going through the closets and drawers as I figure out what close fit me and what don't. Over the last 3 months I have been on a journey to get my body healthier and lose weight, so far I have lost 22lbs and am 1/3 of the way to my goal.  Because of this weightloss I am having to figure out what clothes I should keep just a little longer and what I know I will never wear again.

One of the unexpected side effects of doing this type of exercise, cleaning closets, isn't that I get to go shopping for new clothes but that I have cleared out so much clutter, my closet is half full now and I like the way it looks, half empty.

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As I was cleaning my drawers out I found a number of prescription glasses and sunglasses and I didn't want to just toss them out but I knew thrift stores wouldn't take them. But after inquiring online I found that I can get those glasses to the Lion's Club so they can get them overseas to be used by those in need. And there is a second location called New Eyes for the Needy that takes eye glasses as well.

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We ran out of jars for canning the beef stew and chicken soup and that is when we saw the plastic bags in pantry and tried it out. It works wonderful and is easy to slide them into the spots in the freezer when we had it well packed. Jars are still the preferred way since we can wash and reuse them, bags not so much with meat (cooked or not) stored in them. The "soup in a bag" is a double bag to be safe.


One thing we have learned is to not cook the noodles and then freeze them as they don't hold up very well and pretty much disintegrated. So now the noodles are cooked up quick and then the soup is poured in with them.

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Recently I bought a gallon of chocolate ice cream, a store brand that was $2 cheaper than the name brand that was beside it. After trying it out, we found it is tasted more like chocolate marshmallow ice cream, but not really. Since I had already tossed the receipt, I couldn't take it back. I was going to toss it into the trash and chalk it up as a loss, but my partner shot back, "Don't waste the money, it's not THAT bad, we can still work on it over the next few months." Which I have to agree with, sometimes others have to point out where we aren't being the most frugal in a situation.

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Lately I have been keeping those magazine junk mail items I get because I want to make sure I am getting off of their list. I signed up at Catalog Choice to make sure I am getting off of the mailing lists of different magazines that seem to show up. In some cases though I have found that marking the magazines I get that I don't want doesn't help, they want a subscriptions number off of the magazine. Since signing up my junk mail has decreased a noticeable 40-50%. Worth a sign up and bookmark I would say.

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Thank you again for your patience and I am back on the m-w-f posting that you are used to.

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day, saying.."I will try again tomorrow."

~Mary Anne Radmacher

10 Comments

  1. JStone // Monday, January 18, 2010 8:34:00 PM  

    Frugality and my wife.

    I like to use a soap with a pleasant fragrance to it. However my wife and her mother insist on a cake of soap with an odour resembling some kind of harsh industrialised detergent.

    I don't know where they find this soap, but it certainly wouldn't sell in a Coles or a Woolworths.

    Every time I get near it I get an idea of what life would have been like in those concentration camps in China during the cultural revolution. This is really harsh soap that leaves one feeling that their body has been stripped of all vital moisture. It is certainly not a luxury item.

    In any case, its always there in the shower, whether I like it or not.

    In order to get around this, I recently purchased a bottle of body shampoo, as something that I could use and at least feel like I had a real showever.

    The day after I purchased it, the bottle went missing.

    When I asked my wife what happened to it, she quickly ran to the bathroom. She returned with an old handwash bottle.

    She then proudly stated that her mother diluted the contents of my bottle, and got to fill four old handwash bottles.

    When I told her that it was for me to use in the shower, she looked at me strangely and said, "why would you use that in the shower? We already have soap!"

  2. Dawn // Tuesday, January 19, 2010 10:12:00 AM  

    @JStone
    Sometimes luxury is in the eye of the beholder, or in your case, the skin of the washer. Hopefully she will understand with a comparison to something she considers luxury.

  3. Jill // Tuesday, January 19, 2010 10:52:00 AM  

    Great post!

    I was thinking the same thing so last night I added a new resolution...to actually track my frugal activities. I had about 20 just for yesterday. They've become so habitual to me that I was thinking I was slipping and not saving when really, I'm doing OK. I cooked meals for the week including sourdough bread (cheap! and delicious), hung my laundry up (don't even have a dryer) an put more blankets on the bed so I could lower the heat even further at night. Other people wouldn't find it impressive, but it's nice to remind myself that I'm doing these things and that they lead to my goal of working less and buying land for cash.

    and Jstone...maybe you can switch over to nice cheap soap. There are some. If it has a chemical smell it can't be good for you. Kirk's Castile soap is nice and there is a coconut based one that is fine for my super dry skin. Hopefully they don't have you using that orange fels-naphtha! That's harsh.

  4. David@noisecake // Tuesday, January 19, 2010 2:54:00 PM  

    I hear you about the difference between buying something on credit and buying something outright. I think one of the most painful costs are auto repairs. When I am paying with money set aside for that I feel okay (even though it still sucks!) but when I have to pay it back on credit it's REAL painful.

  5. baby crib // Tuesday, January 19, 2010 7:42:00 PM  

    I like your phrase "not to fear failure"! It made a big impact on me since I always worry every time I know that I am going to fail.

  6. Anonymous // Wednesday, January 20, 2010 5:10:00 AM  

    Good for you cleaning out the clothes you can't use any longer. Someone else will appreciate them. After losing a lot of weight 5yrs ago I got ruthless in my closet. Now each morning it feels like I'm shopping in a store that carries only my size. It's a wonderful thing to look in the closet and know everything in there fits, looks good and is being worn regularly. You don't need nearly as much stuff when everything you have is useful.

    On the soup bag thing, that's the way we always freeze soup. We don't have shelves in our freezer so we freeze the bags on cookie sheets. Then we "file" the bags in one of the basket in the freezer. We write the flavour on the top edge of the bag so we can flip through our filed soup bags to find the one we want. Anything frozen spread out in a thin layer like this defrosts really quickly if you just lay it in a little water in the sink. We freeze all soft things this way to maximize the storage capacity of our freezer: mashed squash, meat/gravy mixtures etc.

  7. Diane // Thursday, January 21, 2010 9:47:00 AM  

    We've recently embarked on a mission to clean out everything. We're tackling the garage this month. We've found plenty of items there that have never been used and were able to list some items for sale in the Amazon.com marketplace. We're saving the money we make form these forgotten items for a rainy day!

  8. Sfaith // Friday, January 22, 2010 12:01:00 PM  

    Thanks for the link to donate old eyeglasses. I've been saving mine for nearly a decade because I can't bring myself to throw something I know someone can use away.

    I'll also be using the soup freezing tip.

  9. Dawn // Saturday, January 23, 2010 8:58:00 AM  

    @Jill
    It is amazing, when you take a moment to think about things, just how much we all are accomplishing and have changed our habits with small areas. Seeing them as blessings help to move on to bigger frugal challenges.

    @David
    The freedom of not having to pay the banks for your stuff is wonderful...especially when all our material goods depreciates over time.

    @baby crib
    I was thinking... when we were small it was our goal to stand up and walk, it was just what we did..occasionally mom was around to kiss the pain away from falling but sometimes not. Either way, we still had this desire to keep trying.
    Sometimes I wonder where that desire went to keep trying?

    @Anon
    That is a great way to organize the soup bags. Good idea!

    @Diane
    Isn't it a great feeling to clean out clutter...AND get money for the long forgotten items? I love that feeling.

    @Sfaith
    I'm glad I could help you declutter your eyeglasses to a good cause.

  10. youtube.com/debbje // Wednesday, March 10, 2010 9:26:00 AM  

    JStone : your wife and her mother seems control-freaks. Let them know what you want before they rule your life.