Frugal people have quirks. We can’t help ourselves. We know that our frugal habits make a difference. Often, these little frugal ways can drive our families crazy. But we all know who is right in the thermostat wars. Ha! You deserve some validation. What frugal things do you do that make your family roll their eyes?
LIGHTS OFF: They turn the lights on, leave the room, and leave the lights on. You walk around shutting them all off. No need for a pedometer. You know you’ve made plenty of steps each night. You can fix their wagon. Try the Lights Out AutoSwitch by Black & Decker. It turns on the lights when someone enters a room and then automatically turns them off one to 30 minutes after the room is empty. But this doesn’t mean you have to stop having only one light on in the ceiling fan.
UNPLUGGED: They probably think something is broken or there was an overloaded circuit. No, you unplugged it to save electricity.
CUTTING IT OUT: You might clip coupons or cut out the bad parts on fruit or a block of cheese. These things can drive family members up the wall. Somehow, they’ll survive the grocery checkout and mealtimes. Keep track of your savings, and share it. Milissa in Georgia writes: “My family can’t stand it when they want to buy something and I make them wait until Saturday afternoon when I can get the Sunday paper and check next week’s coupons and sales! Many times, I have saved us plenty by holding out until Saturday afternoons. My husband bought me a picture frame. In it is my “best savings yet” grocery shopping receipt. Whenever I outdo myself, he smirks as I sing and do a little dance in the car on the way home, knowing that I’m going straight to the picture frame in the den.”
TOWN CRIER: It’s fun to announce how much things cost. You can’t help it and just blurt it out. Like that cereal? Regular price: $4. I paid 50 cents! Reminding family how much you paid for something as they’re using it will sink in eventually. They can roll their eyes only for so long before it starts to rub off.
EVERY LAST DROP: You cut open tubes to scrape the last bit out or tip bottles upside down to get every little bit of product. M.H. in Texas shares: “I always add a little water to the last of everything if I’m the last one to use it (ketchup, salad dressing, shampoo). It’s not enough to give it that watery consistency but just enough needed to get the leftovers from inside of the bottle. My family hates me. Ha ha.”
I’LL TAKE THAT: You rescue items before they hit the trash, and not just your own trash.
STOCKPILE: You like to have a stocked pantry so you don’t pay full price or pay more later. You’re covered in case of an emergency, unplanned extra expenses, bad weather or lean times, too. They might make fun of you, but they’re happy when they run out of something and you have what they want or need, right?
Sara Noel is the owner of Frugal Village (www.frugalvillage.com), a Web site that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., fourth floor, New York, NY 10016, or e-mail email@example.com.