"Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!"

Saturday, January 28, 2012

This saying from the Great Depression and then WWII shows the way to frugality. I have subscribed to its principles for a long time. When it was first coined and in this economy, it just makes good sense.

I come from a family of thrifty folks...I have always been thrifty and shunned debt. Good thing. As a single woman living on a modest income, it is more important than ever for me to be thrifty. Over the holidays, and then with the planning of daughter's baby shower and the arrival of grandson, it just has seemed that my checking account has been bleeding outta control. I knew once these events were behind me it was time to get back on the frugal bandwagon -- then I saw Jeff Yeager, The Ultimate Cheapskate and was very intrigued by what he calls a Frugal Fast. Jeff says, "one way to rein in out-of-control spending is to observe a "fiscal fast" for one week. The idea is to try to spend no money for seven days, to see which expenses you can and cannot live without". This is perfect for me and my plan is to *Fiscal Fast* the last week of the month every month of 2012.

Some of Jeff's suggestions are:

Grocery-Shop in Your Pantry: You may be in the habit of stocking up at the grocery store once or twice a week, but see how many free meals you can come up with by raiding your own freezer or cupboards for foods you bought months ago.

Cut Down on Commuting: Is it possible for you to carpool or ride a bike to work for a few days? You could save money, socialize with co-workers and maybe lose a few pounds.

Flush Out Those Toiletries: You may have travel-size bottles of shampoo, tubes of toothpaste or bars of soap from past hotel stays in a closet somewhere. Try to use them up before you buy more.

Free Family Fun Night: Break out the board games or a movie from your library rather than heading to the movies on weekends.

My plan is to NOT purchase anything with the exception of gasoline to get back and forth to work during the week. Otherwise, I will use what I have on hand. That includes what is lurking in my pantry and freezer. No stocking up before the fast starts either -- just using what has already been purchased. I am really thinking this is going to be a breeze but I just may be surprised. Wish me luck!! What are some of your best frugal tips?


  1. Mary Ann said...:

    Oh, this is a great idea! I'm going to talk to my husband about doing this, we are already pulling in our purse strings hard.

  1. Shug said...:

    This is a great challenge. I'll certainly be praying for you. Our 21 day food fast ends tomorrow, and this has been quite a challenge in itself. We have not had a meal out in 21 days! I know you will feel great about your achievements each month....
    sounds like something that would be good for all of us to do..Thanks for sharing..

  1. Gail said...:

    I will do it. Thanks for the suggestion re fast. God has blessed me with everything and the fast should clear my emotional " vision" with seeing the abundance I have on hand

  1. CTMOM said...:

    I'd start by inventorying what is actually on hand. I recently emptied out and reorganized a large storage cabinet for my surplus health and beauty aides. Some expired stuff was tossed, some stuff we no longer use was offered up and given away on Freecycle, the rest reorganised. Although I have always been pretty organized (always store the shampoo on shelf X), I was surprised to unearth some shave gel, for example, that I thought I was out off. Off the grocery list it came.
    Use what is on hand is a great way to keep the purse strings shut.

    With cooking, cook at home. Avoid convenience foods (unless almost free after sale plus cpn for instance), cook once and have a planned over meal. Tomorrow's pot roast, for instance, will become Sheppard's pie later in the week.
    Use small appliances vs the energy sucking oven. When you do use the oven, make it an oven meal, cook everything in the oven: roast, potatoes, a fruit crisp, etc.

  1. Mecky said...:

    Great idea!
    I don't like to spend alot of money, but I sure can learn to be more thrifty. I was raised by a thrifty mother. She was a child of the Depression and lived by the rule of Waste Not Want Not. I think I rebelled to a point once I started working.

    I will have to see if my husband would be willing to get on board with this.
    I wish you well this week!

  1. Kim said...:

    I think that's a great idea. I know I could shop from my pantry for awhile.

  1. Sounds perfect. I love this idea. I am trying to save as much as possible. I may give this a try also. Hugs, Marty

  1. Remembrances said...:

    I love going to the library and that is how I read most books. However, I discovered Kindle for PC and began downloading free e-books! My husband gave me a Kindle for my birthday/Christmas gift this year and so I now have many, many good books to read, no matter where I am, and they are all free! I also downloaded an electronic version of the King James Bible for free, so I am never without a Bible, even if I forget to transfer my little one from my kitchen table to my purse. And like you, we eat from the freezer and pantry more often than not. Keep up the good work! We have been living frugally for years and have not once felt like we were "giving up" anything!

  1. Renna said...:

    Hubby & I have lived frugally for years. So much so that I'm always surprised when I read articles with suggestions for being thrifty. As I read through them, I'll be thinking to myself, "yeah, yeah, now tell me something I DON'T know", lol. ;-)

    Seriously, I think we could write the book. However, I'm smart enough to know there's ALWAYS room for improvement.

    Some things I do is to save all good (food-safe) plastic bags & re-use them; bread bags, hamburger bun bags, tortilla bags (I especially like those that have zip-lock style openings). I don't re-use bags in which I've stored meat, though.

    I use my crockpot a lot. My energy level often peaks in late afternoon. If I've done the bulk of preparing the meal early that morning, we aren't as likely to end up grabbing junk somewhere.

    I've been making my own laundry soap for a few years. Now there are tons of laundry soap recipes on the net, for liquid or powdered soap.

    My list of things that help is way too long to share here, and my suggestions are probably already being done by those trying to be frugal, anyway, so I'll stop now. ;-)

  1. Lynnie said...:

    We are actually not grocery shopping currently either.. maybe for a month or more based on our supply. Of course we will have to purchase some greens, milk, cheese perhaps, those types of things... but we are living out of our freezer and our cupboards for a long while. Just to use up our large surplus then we will restock some and go from there. Best of luck!!You can do it!

  1. I think the idea of a frugal fast is really interesting ;) :) Once my student loans are payed off, I will be completely debt free, too :) :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  1. MamaMonki said...:

    What a fantastic challenge. My hubby and I could certainly stand to give that a shot. I think we might shoot for the first full week of each month though. Thanks for sharing this!

  1. Good luck. We could all cut back in ways I am sure.

  1. Marigene said...:

    What a great idea...I know we could survive for quite some time with what is in the pantry and freezer! Maybe I will give it a try...

  1. Becca said...:

    What a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing.

  1. You're the second person I see trying this fiscal fast out. Sounds like a good idea, most of us don't really know all we have in the pantry/freezer:@)

  1. We do so much of this already but I have been having as many no drive no spend days as I can cram in. My family gets a little nervous when I start shopping the pantry and they see the cupboards getting thinned out. There is still always food to eat but you know kids they want to open the cupboard and find snacks not have to actually make anything.

  1. I've also seen a few people doing the fiscal fast. I'm pretty frugal and don't have a deep pantry or freezer so we live pretty much using all we have then restocking with sales. It's a great idea. Good Luck. We can all learn to cut back more! Hugs Linda

  1. This is very good advice. I have often looked at my pantry and wondered by I have so many things stocked piled in there that never seem to get eaten. It seems quite wasteful as does having around so many old cosmetics and such. I think the trick for me with the makeup would be to just throw it all out and start over and do not buy anymore until what I have is all gone. As for the food, it would probably be a good idea not to keep adding to the pantry stockpile either. For me, decluttering is often an eyeopener at how wasteful my spending is at times. Very thought provoking post!

  1. I'm trying to do the same thing. I came close to buying some fabric for new curtains at Hobby Lobby the other day. But I put it back and made some today from fabric I already had. A good feeling!

  1. Pam said...:

    I can't wait to see how you make out. I just had to throw out some expired canned goods and that makes me wonder why I buy them anyhow if I'm not going to eat them. Such a waste.

  1. Debbie said...:

    This is a really, really great idea, Gail. Of course, for me I woke with renewed diet vigor and really don't have the right food stocked up.

    I still think it's a good one. I even stopped before commenting to mention it to my husband.

  1. Love all these great ideas and comments. I, too, feel that Waste Not Want Not these days and feel so guilty for purchasing decor. I really fight with that, getting a nervous belly over almost every little purchase. When our kids were little and our budget was soooo small we always made do and I was much more creative. Sigh.

  1. April said...:

    We don't keep the heat up any higher than absoulty necessary in the winter time, do laundry on a weekly basis so water does not get wasted on half loads, use sunshine instead of artificial lighting whenever possible, eat leftovers or freeze them for another day, use hand me downs ( I just got two of the CUTEST pairs of boots this way), and don't go out except for special occasions, birthdays, anniversary, etc.

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