Friday, June 13, 2008

Frugal Tips for the Day

Did you know: ...?

~ When you brush your teeth, you really don't need a 1" strip of toothpaste down your toothbrush. Just a dab of toothpaste gives you plenty of lather.

~ When the shampoo bottle says "lather all over your hair, rinse, and repeat" you really don't need to repeat ...and if you have long hair you really don't need to use shampoo on all your hair - just the area near your scalp. The shampoo that finds its way down your hair as you scrub and rinse will be plenty to clean the rest of you hair.

~ For most recipes (pudding excluded) you can replace half the milk with water, and not even tell the difference.

~ A little laundry detergent goes a long way. Most loads of laundry will get by just fine with about 2/3 of the amount the package recommends.

~ For those who don't use a dishwasher; ...the dishpan doesn't need to be full of water.

~ Most Americans could survive nicely on much less food than they eat. A woman once asked my mother how she manages to feed eight people. I almost laughed when I saw Mom's face. I guess she hadn't thought much about it before. (Amazing how hard it is to have a "big" family, huh? You can tell the worries just consume the mothers, right?) Mom finally replied "Well, I just make a meal, and tell them that when the food is gone, it's gone." We can't eat it if she didn't buy it!
(Just for the record, all of us are VERY far from starving!)

~ You don't need to use all hot water when you take a shower. Water must be at the boiling point to kill germs anyway, and since you aren't going to reach that temperature, why not use as much cold water as you can stand? (Great way to cool down on a summer day, too!)

~ Studies show that when people are asked to test a product without being told its brand, they almost always can't tell the difference between generic and name brands. Why not save your brand-buying for when it really makes a difference?

It almost seems as if the advertising community is waging war on us, doesn't it? We really don't need much of the stuff we buy, and what we do need, we often don't need as much of.

I guess I'd better put a disclaimer in here and mention that I'm no expert (as if you couldn't tell!). I just was sitting here, thinking of different ways our family has found to save money. A little here and a little there can add up. As Dad said the other day, some folks are interested in "frugal living," almost like a fad, but they aren't motivated enough to make it work. If they want to, they can still afford to live wastefully. Having a "big" family - which means more costs - gives us motivation to really find ways that work, and stick with them.

Just one more great reason to love "large" families!


Anonymous said...

8 people is not a large family.

Sarah said...

Sounds like life in my family growing up. I'm one of eight children and we were always doing little things here and there to help with keeping costs down. The hot water sure adds up in a big family too...we could never all take showers at the same time of day or we would be using ice cold water!

Mom2fur said...

A lot of brand merchandise comes from the same source as generic. My husband is a safety consultant for an insurance company. Once he went to a site where they package cake mix. Guess what? The same cake mix that went into the store brand went into Duncan Hines!
I'm always willing to give generic or a store brand a try. Sometimes, I go back to brand names--I've yet to find a decent generic storage bag. Sometimes, I can't tell the difference. After all, last time I looked sugar was sugar--so why should I pay for Domino?

Amber said...

Dear anonymous,
I know. Though it's really all relative, I don't consider eight people a large family either - that's why I put "large" and "big" in quotation marks. I know of lots of families who are larger than us; 7 children, 9 children, 14 children, 15 children, and even 17 children. But compared to families that live under China's "one child" rule, and looking at the fact that the average American family has 2.5 children (don't ask me how you can have .5 children!) :) then I guess we MIGHT be considered large.... all in how you look at it, I suppose.


Tracy-Jayne said...

In South Africa (where I live), anything more than 2 children is considered a 'big' family! We have 2 girls and when I've commented that I'd like another 2 children, people respond as if I ought to be admitted to a mental institution!

People have this notion that having children is too expensive. My husband and I have never really understood this thinking because its all about attitude. Our girls don't wear fancy clothing but between bargain shopping, my sewing machine, knitting needles and the generosity of loving family and friends, they always have more than enough to fill their closet and look good. We don't eat fancy food but are never hungry and enjoy tasty food every single day, and even though expensive private schooling is considered a necessity these days, we're giving our girls a wonderful, taylor-made education at home for a fraction of the cost.

Perception is everything! Thank you for sharing some of your frugal insights with us - I enjoyed reading the article!

Sarah Jane Meister said...

Great tips! I am from a medium size family (relatively) of 7 people. . .and my mom got the same questions your mom does! She still manages to feed the 6 people still at home on less per month than I spend for 4 of us here (and 2 of us are wee ones). I admire her frugality and am learning to save more here and there. You are SO right about the generic v. name brands. There is almost always no difference in the product. Actually, sometimes I find the generic product is BETTER than the name brand! :)