Category Archives: frugal momma

Don’t Waste Your Trials

I grew up with generations of extremely frugal women.
Remember that squeezing a penny so hard a booger comes out of Lincoln’s nose?
Yea, well, that’s the kind of amazing women I spawned from.
Not only frugal, they were creative and could make anything, really.
Mom and Gramma could cook up a tasty dinner out of almost nothing.
My Mom can sew anything. 
She even sewed a new top for a pop-up camper when we were kids.
Uh, HUH!  She did! 
She figured it was cheaper to buy canvas and ribbits,
as we kids called rivets, and replace the failing one,
than to buy a whole new camper. 
She made piggy banks and paper dolls out of bleach jugs. 
She made hats out of pop cans and yarn scraps.
She sewed doll clothes from scraps.
Her mother was also frugal and creative,
and we have adorable little panties that say”sugar” on the rearie
just to prove it.
Gramma was known for her quilting and crotcheting abilities,
each kid and grandkid have items to prove it.
We have piles of Christmas ornaments carefully
crafted with a bajillion sequins.
How could she sit still so long?
So, with this long line of amazing, talented, creative and frugal women
lining up for generations behind me,
sometimes I have a hard time…..
throwing things out.
There’s not a bleach jug that goes into the garbage
that doesn’t make me cringe.
Last year, I actually cut that thin strip of bleach jug from the middle,
and laid it under something heavy in the garage to make it flat.
I was pretty sure I was going to make paper dolls,
just like my mom.
I threw it out this week. 
It’s so not gunna’ happen!
I long ago lost that feeling of anguish over throwing out bread bags,
but not washing out ziploc bags makes me kinda nervous.
They can be washed in the washing machine and hung to dry,
as long as you don’t use them for food again.
I also realized you can just buy a new box.
After  reading Tightwad Gazette,
the guilt just grew leaps and bounds.
Do you know people actually make stuff out of
The shredded paper from the shredder? 
Frugal people have uses for that stuff.

I hate wasting things.
But, I confess, week after week
I still throw out my dryer lint and shredded paper.
Guilt taunts
“waste not, want not”
“what would your gramma say?”
“waster, waster, waster!”

There are things I don’t want to ever waste,
as advised by my husband’s mentor, John.
He loves to encourage us,

“Don’t waste a good trial.”


Trials have a spiritual purpose in our lives,
or the Lord wouldn’t have allowed them.

James 1:3-4
“knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
But let patience have its perfect work,
that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

Throw out the lint and shredded paper,
but look at the trials with new light.
What can the Lord fashion in your life with these struggles?

C’mon,
waste not, want not!

Five Fingered Frugal Momma

Whenever I take the kids shopping, I try to impress them with frugality.

I teach them how to read the little stickers beneath the products to compare price per ounce, not just price.

Spotting a clearance sign, basket or aisle has become almost as exciting as spotting a garage sale sign.

The Sunday paper is an economic lesson, as I’ve  taught them how to use coupons and compare sale ads.

I’ve even taught them to not be swayed by “marketing propaganda.” A company will charge $1-$3 more for an item, like toothpaste, if there is a cartoon character on it.  If it is something we eventually throw away, it doesn’t matter what the label looks like.

I’ve taught them to beware of the last ditch effort on the part of stores to come between parents and their money, by stationing candy and toys in the checkout aisle.

We try out generics whenever possible, unless the product is inferior to the point of being a poor value.

They are warned about letting their money “burn a hole in their pocket” – spending money just because they have it.

My children need to be wise with money. They need to value money that is earned and given, and spend it discerningly.

I want them to be able to leave my house and be able to function successfully with or without money.

I think I overwhelmed 4 year old Beka on an extensive Target shopping trip a few years ago.

She buckled into her carseat, then leaned back into the chair, exhaling in frustration.  She was quiet and I knew her little brain cogs were churning.

With an imaginery drum roll in my mind, I waited.

Finally, from the backseat, came her little voice.  “Maw-aw-aw-aw-aw-m.”

You know the longer it takes them to say your name the more thought they have put into it, or the more money they need.

“Yes, Rebekah?”

“Is it cheap to steal?”

I educated her on an aspect of shopping  I had neglected to cover,  shoplifting.

This frugal Momma loves all discounts, sales and bargains, except the five-fingered kind.

Flying Frantic – Tote Bags

This is the second in a series,
hoping to inspire some organizational processes into frantically busy lives.
My husband lovingly calls me The Bag Lady.
Partly in jest of being an Ol’ Bag,
but partly because I use a lot of  tote bags.
I am a mom,
I homeschool,
I teach Sunday School
and am involved in a homeschool coop.
 I have discovered that instead of having one tote bag
that I would always forget to unpack or repack,
it’s easier to have one bag for each activity.
My coop bag has

the binder I need with all the information in clear sheet protectors,
 and a zippered pouch filled with school supplies.
They are never leave this bag, except during coop.
I can also throw in a book, a game to play or a purse project
Anything I need to bring, I slip it in during the week.

I have a church bag.
Throughout the week, I fill it with things I need to bring to the church.
 A book to return to someone, sanitizers, tracts I ordered,
Sunday school treats, prizes or craft items.
On Sunday morning it eliminates the frantic rush,
helping us to get to church on time
AND
in the Spirit.
My camera bag is also stocked.
The right pocket has personal items,
the front pocket paper items,
and left pocket camera supplies.
 I can leave the purse, throw my wallet in my camera bag,
 and I am ready to hike, sightsee or just stalk my children.
Even though it isn’t a bag, this errand basket organizes my life.
When Woolworths went out of business,
I bought a stack of these beauties for $1 each.
They are some of my prize possessions.
I keep it by the door and add:
-returns that need to be made
-lone overdue library book found under the couch
-packages that need to be mailed
I even have a special Zune bag from Hawaii.
The bag orignally came with coffee,
but is perfect for my Zune and accesories.
Yes, I made the container for my ear phones
from a dental floss box.
Remove label, add a monkey sticker,
and it is a cute little thing ready to hold treasures.
During their younger years, each of our kids had a library bag. My husand mounted a peg shelf at their level, so they could always return their bag, with books in it, to the peg shelf. It kept books from being lost and  made it easier to return the books. A clear pocket on the outside would have been a great idea for the checkout slip.

When I am beginning to organize things to bring or send to someone, I begin a brown paper bag in the closet with their name printed in black, bold letters. As things are purchased, found or finished, they are put into the bag. If it is to be mailed, I might even pick out the box ahead of time and put that in the closet labeled. When it is full, it is mailed.

My youngest keeps a toy bag packed in the van. She is encouraged to keep a few toys, books, personal items, water bottle and maybe a snack. Living in a busy area, one accident on the highway and your commute home just got 29 minutes longer. Baseball season is here, and games can get long for the little ones.

Now that it is baseball season I have a baseball bag. Because it can be chilly, I keep a fleece blanket, extra hats and gloves, snacks and kleenex.

Just for fun, I looked up bag in the Bible.

Didja’ know David organized his five smooth stones  in a shepherd’s bag? 1 Samuel 17:40

The best use I found for a bag yet was in the book of Job.

Job 14:17
My transgression is sealed up in a bag,
And You cover my iniquity.

Another good reason for my hubby to call me The Bag Lady.