This weekend, as my husband worked on our new sliding door (saving us hundreds of dollars in delivery and installation charges),
and I made DJ’s bed with a brand new, garage-sale-purchased sheet, I experienced that familiar feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction that I always get when I see the positive outcomes of our day-to-day frugality.
I’ve always believed that all the little stuff we do every day to save money has the biggest overall impact in the long term, because while there are only a handful of big money-saving strategies, there are countless small ones. Like most true tightwads, I get a little thrill whenever I see evidence of day-to-day thriftiness in another person’s home, because it always feels good to discover a kindred spirit. Sometimes, seeing another person’s thrifty strategies in action can help recharge your own frugal batteries, so I thought it might be fun to have a little tightwad treasure hunt. How many of these things can you find in your own frugal household?
*Note – this post is just for fun, and is intended to encourage you in your frugal life, and perhaps give you some new ideas. This list is not meant to be exhaustive.
1) Lots of items with clearance stickers.
2) Even more items with garage sale stickers (in this case, an item someone else purchased on clearance and didn’t need, but instead of returning it, they sold it at a loss on a garage sale. Don’t let this happen to you!)
3) A foaming hand soap bottle (sale-purchased) which has been refilled dozens of times, using a 2/3 water to 1/3 generic hand soap ratio.
4) A bottle of homemade cleaning solution, which costs only 25 cents to make.
5. A bottle of ketchup, salad dressing, laundry soap, or any other product, overturned and propped in order to drain out the very last drops.
7. A do-it-yourself project in progress.
8. A binder clip, or any other device designed to squeeze out every last bit of toothpaste from the tube (extra points for a toothpaste tube that has been cut open to scrape out enough paste for a few more brushes).
9. An old tube TV (in this case, 17 years old), receiving stations over the air through an antenna, because it still works fine and you can’t justify buying a new one just because it’s out of fashion.
10. Energy-saving compact florescent light bulbs in every fixture.
(In this same vein – a programmable thermostat, battery charger, or water heater timer).
11. Outdated, but still useful products, scavenged from a swap shop, or plucked from a garage sale free box.
12. A selection of saved or scavenged boxes for shipping items you no longer need, and have sold on eBay for maximum profit.
13. Some kind of system for organizing and storing garage-sale-purchased or hand-me-down clothing and shoes.
14. An impressive stash of extreme after-Christmas clearance or garage-sale purchased gift wrap (also gift bags saved for reuse, and for even more points a bag of bows, which you saved because they’re still like new, and can be reused by scotch-taping them to packages).
15. A magazine file, or any other kind of organizer made from a cardboard box. (Extra points if you store them on a garage-sale-purchased shelf, like this one).
16. Used paper inserted in printer so that both sides can be printed on.
17. A jar of buttons scavenged from worn-out clothing (bonus points if, like me, you found the jar in a garage sale free box).
18. Meat, purchased for $2/pound or less, thawing in the fridge for supper (to avoid using energy to defrost it in the microwave, and even more importantly, to avoid eating out).
19. A huge stack of library material (true, diehard tightwads typically live by a “don’t buy – borrow” philosophy, and are heavy library-users – I have cards at 7 nearby libraries).
20. A pantyhose onion string (or home-canned/dried/frozen produce, carrots or potatoes stored in buckets of sand, or any other method of preserving home-grown food).
So….what was your score? And what else might we find in your happy, thrifty home?