Living frugally does not mean choosing a life of poverty. Frugality is simply the act of avoiding waste. It means finding the most economical way to accomplish a task or project. Frugality doesn't mean giving up; it means living better, because when you have all that you need plus money in the bank, life becomes much easier.
Frugality is a state of mind, an attitude you choose for a way of life that is rewarding. Every day my mailbox fills with frugal tips from my loyal readers. Some make me laugh; others leave me wondering why I didn't think of them; others have become such a common way of life for me and I'm grateful to be reminded of what great frugal ideas they are. Enjoy this recent sampling.
$5 GIFT GAME. Last year, all of our children were home for Christmas, so my husband and I decided we would hand out $5 bills to each one, go to Walmart and set a time limit of 10 minutes to find a gift AND get through a checkout line. Before we left home, we drew names. The kids still talk about it. -- Sandy
CHEAPER AIR. This past summer, it got so hot where we live that many nights it was nearly impossible to sleep. We have central air in our home, but making the room comfortable for sleep would require cooling the entire house, and that gets very expensive. We decided to buy a mini window-mounted air conditioning unit (for less than $150) for our bedroom that we run just long enough to cool the room before we go to bed. Our electric bill increased by only a few dollars. -- Marielle
DOWN MEMORY LANE. To celebrate my parents' 50th wedding anniversary, my siblings and family members took them on a scavenger hunt. We split up into two groups and took them out separately. The hunt included places and events from their marriage. We took a blank anniversary card that had to be signed by 20 strangers and instructed each team to designate a photographer to take as many pictures as possible. At the last stop, which was the church where they were married, we downloaded the photos, had dinner and enjoyed the day's events. -- Jenny
TENDER MEATBALLS. To make the lightest and fluffiest meatballs, I use club soda in place of the milk or water called for in the recipe. The difference is remarkable. -- Rose
FLAT BACON. When I make BLT sandwiches, I like my bacon to be flat. Here's how I manage that: I lay the bacon strips out on a cookie sheet (with sides) and cover the bacon with foil. I lay a second cookie sheet on top to keep the bacon strips from curling while they bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. This simple trick produces perfectly cooked flat bacon every time. -- David
CONDITION YOUR LEGS. I use inexpensive generic hair conditioner to shave my legs. My skin is silky soft, and I rarely need to use additional moisturizer. -- Sharon
FACIAL CARE ON THE GO. When I travel, I don't like to pack all of my regular-size toiletries. Instead of my tube of facial cleanser, I make my own cleansing cloths. For each day I'm away, I take squares of quality paper towels, dampen them with water and add a dollop of cleanser on each. I fold the towels and place them in sandwich-size zip-close bags. -- Carrie