The expression “getting on board the bandwagon” dates from 1900 and is of political origin meant to describe one who acknowledges, promotes or advocates a popular movement or cause. And, jumping on board the frugal bandwagon certainly described my state of mind in the late 1990’s when our country was still in the throes of recovering from that recessionary period. We, too, were impacted by that recession. Newlyweds, my husband was unemployed for more than two years and we were deeply in debt.
I was reading Amy Dacyczyn’s book, The Tightwad Gazette (see my earlier post, Hero Worship), as well as Joe Dominguez’s and Vicki Robin’s book, Your Money or Your Life. And, I was attempting to apply many of their principles to our daily living, thus “jumping on board the bandwagon.” To that end, I adopted several strategies I learned from those two books, that upon recent reflection, I still do to this day. In the spirit of “jumping on board the frugal bandwagon” again, to help weather this current recession, here’s a recap of the 15 strategies I adopted 22 years ago and still do to this day:
- Hanging clothing to dry rather than drying them in a dryer (we dry sheets, towels, tablecloths, blankets in our dryer; so it does, indeed, get used)
- Doing full loads of laundry and not partial loads
- Hand washing most of our dishes (we didn’t have a dishwasher until 4 1/2 years ago; it has ruined numerous dishes, utensils and implements, so I’m not convinced of the benefits of using a dishwasher)
- Using bar soup instead of liquid soup for hand washing, showers, etc. You go into our bathrooms and you will find a bar of soap; not a bottle of soap.
- Using the same bath towels every day, hanging it up to dry and washing it once a week with a load of other towels
- No paper or other types of disposable cups in the house
- Not using our car to run errands unless you have a minimum of 3 errands to run at a time
- Making 90% of our food from scratch (I don’t make things like bread, cereal, pasta from scratch)
- Buying store brands instead of name brands
- Stocking up on food items when a significant opportunity presents itself
- Shopping at big box warehouse stores for frequently used staples
- Not using coupons (because 95% of the things we buy are store brands and because the items that have coupons are not items we usually buy)
- Cleaning our floors with an electric floor mop that uses water to make steam and doesn’t use cleaning solution
- Using old towels and wash cloths as rags for cleaning and dusting instead of using paper towels
- Dusting our wood furniture with a damp rag followed by a dry rag instead of using furniture polish
We have been “practicing” these strategies now for more than 22 years. I’ve never calculated the savings we have enjoyed from these tactics that are now just ingrained and a part of our everyday life. Maybe I’ll attempt that exercise (calculate savings based on 22 years of “practicing”) another time and report back. But, the point of revisiting these strategies, and jumping on the bandwagon, is that they are easy implement and over time result in significant savings.
Have you been practicing some of these frugal habits or others not listed? Pat yourself on the back and share in the comments.
Here’s to Amy!
P.S. Both The Complete Tightwad Gazette and Your Money or Your Life are available in our Amazon store, Shop Toot Sweet. Check them out (or check them out of the library!)!
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(on saving money)
- Hero Worship
- Saving Mr. Lincoln
- Saving Mr. Lincoln – March 2013 Update
- Saving Mr. Lincoln – April 2013 Update