Frugal Living - Attitude Adjustements, Part II

7. S-T-R-E-T-C-H
How much can I stretch or cut back on __________ and still have good results? Fill in the blank with shampoo, laundry or dishwasher detergent, meat in cooking, etc. Cut back until you notice a difference, and then bring it back a notch or two.
I've found that 1 1/2# of chicken breast (boneless, purchased for $1.79-1.99/pound) is ample to fee the nine of us at home. Some dishes require less. Previously I would purchase packages of 1 1/2 - 2 # and use whatever was inside. Now I cut off the part I estimate to be more than 1 1/2 pounds and put it in the freezer. It only takes doing this three times from a 2# package to equal another meal of meat. I do the same with ground beef which we purchase from a local butcher in 1# tubes. Stretch meat with more veggies, sauce, starch and beans. (More on food savings in a later post.)

8. Use the 5 Rs: Repair, Restore, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Last week Ben had a pair of PJ bottoms passed on from another family and already worn by Paul as well, whose elastic was shot. I considered trashing them, but remembered I had some bits of wide elastic left over from skirts Amanda and Faith had sewn. I zigzagged two pieces together and stitched this to the PJs. The whole thing took less than 15 minutes. Voila! New life for cute jammies.

9. Beware of false economies that cost you in the long run.
When we replaced our fridge a few years ago we bought a cheap model. Once it hit the 1 year warranty deadline, it's given us a series of problems. None are life threatening, but it's not going to last as long as a better quality appliance would.

10. Don't despise small savings.
Growing up, I often heard my dad say, "Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves." This advice served him well in his business, and it works just as well in the home. The benefit in following this advice is not just in the pennies you save, but that by watching your pennies you become almost automatically careful about the dollars. Who wants to save money by hanging laundry on a line ($.50 savings/load) only to lose that savings by being a spendthrift at Target?

11. Think of money savings as a challenge or a game instead of a hardship.
Thinking frugally means looking at all our spending areas and being creative. Just because we've always done something one way doesn't mean there aren't alternatives. Stepping back and asking if there is a cheaper way to do something can result in great, innovative solutions.

12. Use your savings to bless others
Remember - the goal of thrift is not to hoard things against some future need, but to better manage your resources to meet your family's need AND to be generous with your savings. When you find a good deal on something, share what you buy with someone else. Don't warehouse items indefinitely that will lose their value by sitting forever in your closet unused. Bless others with generosity - particularly in this time when there are going to be more hurting people around you than normal.

Matthew 6:19, 20 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break in and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither most nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
3 Responses
  1. Anna Says:

    I tried to pursue the clothesline idea this summer--but Wal Mart does not sell lines or clothespins! Maybe I'll have to get more creative, like you're suggesting :)


  2. Jill Says:

    Dear Anne,
    Thank you for addressing attitudes as well as posting practical suggestions. Making frugality a game helps overcome self-pity, although I have kept myself awake at night trying to plan an entire week's worth of dinners from one chicken and $25--not from worry, but just for the "fun" of it. But living frugally can also be a temptation to pride--"look at how accomplished I am at living on less." We must keep our hearts focused on glorifying God as we serve our families. Thank you for pointing us in the right direction.


  3. Anne Says:

    Anna - Tim buys clothesline at a big box store like Lowes. I don't know if they have clothespins or not. I'm surprised WM didn't have any! I think our last set (plastic, not as nice as wooden) came from the Dollar Store.

    Jill - Pride is so sneaky, isn't it? Even when we feel we generally aren't doing so well in being frugal(or anything else), if there is one area we are, then we can feel proud about that. That's true for me anyway. I've also been thinking about other sin tendencies with frugality - greed and lack of trust in God's provisions. Guess it's not surprising that so God addresses our attitudes and actions having to do with money so often throughout the Bible.
    I love your $25 and a chicken idea and have tried thinking that through before sleep. Have you carried out any of your nocturnal plans?