I got to thinking this weekend when I saw half a tablet of the dishwasher detergent (the kind that comes in the “concentrated pacs”) left in the bucket and thought I’d toss it in and get the extra $0.04 out of the jumbo bucket of 60 I got at Costco. I had plenty more to use in there, and could have just wound up throwing that one away, but no, it crossed my mind that I could still use it, save a few pennies, and not feel so wasteful.
Is that going too far? I hardly think so, I’ve done PLENTY of other frugal, penny pinching, money saving ideas over the years. It is not that I HAVE to. I think I live a pretty comfortable life, but it goes back to how I was raised that I have this mindset. Here are just a handful of them that I can recall from recent memory…
Saving half a dishwasher detergent pac that was broken open, but still useful for just 1 more load.
Food is a big one for me. My job (as I’ve given it to myself) is to eat the food that is left in the fridge near or past the expiration date so I don’t have to throw it away and waste that $. My wife refuses to, but my upbringing doesn’t seem to let it go.
I’ve saved garbage bags that I haven’t thrown anything wet into and just dumped the trash directly into the garbage; freeing up a bag for another round. Ridiculous, yes.
I was trained early to only use 3 squares at most in the restroom, and I consciously still do that today. In the public restrooms, I even guesstimate what 3 would equate to in their gigantic roll of actually paper (or so it seems). I’m all for saving trees when I can! Gosh, that one is embarrassing… oh boy…
Cardboard boxes – Criminy, if I had a dime for every large cardboard box I’ve kept that I could possibly save something later in, I’d be a rich man. About once or twice a month I’ll catch myself doing it and toss them in the recycle bin.
My shoes. I have worn the same shoes until I have visible holes in them and my feet are actually touching the sidewalk when outside. Again, no need to do so, and I’m not as hard on them anymore, but I do wear them for a long time still.
I remember one time growing up, I must have been about 9 and my lightbulb burned out. I kid you not, I tried to take it apart and fix the filament and glue it back together. Clearly I didn’t know how they worked, but I wanted to keep it going longer.
I don’t know whether it’s frugal or laziness that I don’t change the oil in my car regularly. I personally think I can go 5000 miles instead of 3000 per change, but it really turns out to be closer to 6000 before I go in.
Matchbooks – I’ll be at a restaurant or bar and see matchbooks with 2 or 3 more matches left that the bartender is taking away. Yes, I admit it, I ask to have them. That one is kinda sad. ugh…
Picking up pennies on the sidewalk. I still do this regularly when I see one. What can you buy for a single penny these days? Not much, but I still do it.
“Thermostating” – Before I had kids I would sleep in freezing temperatures to not have to turn it on. That’s what they invented blankets for, right? Now that the kids are around I figure I should give them that “luxury” or having it warm in the house.
Water bottles – I still have one I use regularly that I kept from college 10+ years ago – cheap? Or just a good use of product?
Playing cards. They cost about $1.00 per pack, but I have about 3 full decks composed of 8 other decks I’ve had in the past. Hey, they’re still good!
I will still find myself washing some of my clothes under the sink instead of wasting a load of laundry detergent on clothes that I “could” clean up with a little water. To be worn again for a bit o’ bar soap.
My mom always used to keep the ketchup and sweet and sour packets from McDonalds to be used for home use later. I am much better than her at that now, but I still occasionally find myself stashing those in my desk drawer to be used later. Honestly, if I am going to use them later, I’m going to use them on french fries or burgers and where am I going to get them? McDonalds, where I can get more if I need them. Go figure that one out.
Arguing over a few cents or dollars on a monthly bill. I’ve done this more than I care to admit. Maybe it is more a matter of principal, but still arguing over a few cents is a fairly frugal move. Comcast cable/internet comes to mind…
Coupons, coupons, coupons – I’ve clipped them for 5 or 10 cent savings in the past. I’m getting better at this, but again, seems like a mindset.
Drive 10 miles out of my way to save 8 cents per gallon on gas. A good deal? Well, not really when my gas tank is only 15 gallons total, saving me $1.20, but that 20 miles to and fro costs more per gallon than it is worth. I’ve learned to deal with this one, I find no benefit in driving the extra distance anymore.
Ziplock bags – yes, I admit it. I’ve washed them out and used them again much like the garbage bags above. I even used to save the brown paper bags from lunch growing up because that was the “cool thing to have” at one point in school. It was that or my “Kiss” rockband lunchbox; which got unpopular about as fast as it got popular.
How about combining shoes and shoelaces? I’ve had worn out shoes that have had good shoelaces, and I’ve had good shoes that have broken shoelaces. Granted they didn’t match, but I’ve done that a time or 2 also.
Pencils. Well, back when people USED pencils. But yes, I used to run those suckers down to the nub before tossing them; and I’d collect ones I’d find that WEREN’T down to the nub also for further use. Some bad humor I have to use, “if number 2 pencils are so popular, why aren’t they #1 yet?”
This one could be one of the worst. I get Top Ramen 10 for $10. I actually remember when it was 10 for $5. If I wouldn’t eat it all, yes, it would get saved in the refrigerator until the following day. A little mushy by then, but yes, I did that.
Napkins from restaurants. Who needs to pay for them at home when they give you free napkins when you’re out to eat?
I could have added this one to the above, but I figured it deserved its own line. Plastic silverware like sporks. You can buy these babies in silver form nowadays! Thanks Elaine for showing me the light!
Sticky notepads. I’ve got green/blue/yellow/used/pink/gray all in one giant memepad superplex. It’s tall, and I won’t have to buy another 30 cent pad of them for 4.6 years at my current calculations…
Socks. Unless they have 3 or more holes in them, they can still be used. Even mismatched and used. Not so much anymore, but there was a time…
I can’t even begin to state how many things I’ve duct taped for longer life. Pipes, shoes, cars, furniture… You name it, I’ve duct’d it.
I’ve not gone to the doctor on several occasions thinking that some much needed rest and water would fix. It didn’t, and I’ve always had insurance, but saving that $10 co-pay was enough of a deterrent to try toughing it out.