Do It Differently

Mosquito Repellent

A key ingredient in some mouthwashes is eucalyptus oil. This oil repels mosquitoes. Splash some Listerine on exposed skin before going outside.

 

I haven’t tried this–if you try it, I’d love to see you post a comment on whether it worked or not.

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Temporary Fix

I forget now who it was, but someone I knew long ago had two TVs. One had no sound and one had no picture (this was in the olden days of CRT-style TVs.) They put one on top of the other, tuned them to the same channel, and had the full TV experience for a while instead of having to rush out and go into debt to buy a new TV.

To me, this is immensely smart. Certainly there comes a time when you need to buy a new (or new-to-you) whatever-it-is, but if there’s a temporary fix that prevents going into debt, why not?

 

Automatic Savings with Paribus

Paribus monitors the prices of things you purchase online. If the price goes down after you buy it, they ask the merchant to refund you the difference, all without any input from you. I had signed up for this ages ago, and when it stopped working I didn’t follow up.

Thanks to a recent Facebook post by thepennyhoarder.com, I clicked through and reactivated my account. It had lost touch with my email account somehow. Soon refunds will start magically appearing in my bank account again. The service is free.

https://paribus.co

 

 

If It’s Tuesday It’s Probably Cheaper

If you’re flying somewhere and have a choice of departure days, fares are often lower midweek because demand is lower. So many people fly during, just before, and just after a weekend, that the midweek flights are somewhat neglected.

Something similar is apparently true of auto repairs. It’s easier to get my car repaired on a Wednesday or Thursday. Some pizza places have special midweek pricing.

If you have flexibility, ask when the slow days are, and save.

Plenty of Fish

 

 

No algorithm in its right mind would have matched my late husband and I. On the metrics they use, we were irrelevant to each other. On the metrics that can’t be measured in a questionnaire, we were a perfect match. We met pre-internet, back in the olden days.

Internet dating is becoming the norm. You can pay a monthly fee for the big sites that use computer constructs to find people who will be well suited to you. And maybe they will. On the other hand, for frugal dating, there’s a good, free, site called http://www.plentyoffish.com. POF tied for second place in Consumer Reports’ survey. https://www.consumerreports.org/dating-relationships/are-paid-dating-sites-better-than-free-ones/

As with any site, you have to use discernment. Meet at a neutral location such as a coffee shop for the first date. Maybe the second, too, if you feel uncertain. Don’t hesitate to decline a date if you’re uneasy about the person.

You have to use caution on any site, and the frugal path is the free sites.

Choices

A truism of mine is “There are always more than two choices.” At first glance, there may seem to be only two choices. Sometimes that is because many of the choices are so unpleasant we automatically disregard them. Sometimes it’s because we don’t have all the information yet, and when we do we’ll see the additional possibilities.

If neither of the obvious choices is attractive, look around for more.

To take an extreme example, suppose money is so tight that buying toilet paper is a problem. At first glance, the choices seem to be: 1. do without something else important in order to buy toilet paper, or 2. do without toilet paper (eew).

As described in my Frugal Living book, there are several other choices:

“The next step is cloth wipes. I’ve started with just using them for urine. As a woman of a certain age, I pee quite a lot and flush away a few cents worth of paper every time. One 2X T-shirt made about twenty wipes, roughly 6 x 7 inches. I didn’t hem them, and I didn’t need to, so that was easy. Some Internet posters prefer thicker material such as pieces of cloth diaper, or flannelette cloth.

 

I find them to be more comfortable and more effective than paper. They are much nicer in every way. And no bits of paper left behind! A damp cloth wipe can be used like the newly fashionable wet wipes. Flushable wipes can cause problems in water treatment plants, so wetting a cloth wipe is safer.

I toss them straight into a covered container. I don’t feel they add to my laundry costs enough to count. They are small, and collectively add up to no more than a T-shirt per load. I kept track for a while and learned that using this method I use roughly one third as much toilet paper as I used to. People who use them for #2 often use a disinfectant such as tea tree oil, vinegar or bleach in a diaper pail.

This is something that lets me do what disposables do, but without having to buy disposables. If I run out of paper, I’m not up the proverbial creek because the cloth wipes are there when needed. Even if I used wipes for everything, I would still keep paper on the dispenser for guests, of course.

I have seen this method scorned as “reusing toilet paper.” That’s silly. There’s no realistic and sanitary way to reuse toilet paper. People using this method are using reusable cloth instead of disposable paper. Nobody calls using cloth napkins “reusing paper napkins.”

In a pinch, the cloth wipes make okay handkerchiefs, too. A nice clean hanky or cloth wipe is also great for cleaning my eyeglasses without scratching. (Never use paper on dry glasses. It will scratch!)

On an episode of Extreme Cheapskates, I saw a family that used newspaper as toilet paper. This is NOT flushable. They put the used newspaper into a trash bag and when it was full, threw it away.”

In almost any situation, there may be more choices than you’ve thought of. Searching online and talking it over with friends and family may open up new possibilities for you.

 

http://www.amazon.com/author/mariebrack

 

A Two-Pronged Approach to Spending Less

One way to think about cutting costs is to come at it from both ends. What do I feel I absolutely must spend money on? And on the other hand, what are the obvious extravagances I have no difficulty in identifying and letting go of?

Perhaps one insists on having a home, not living on the street. That’s a good baseline for the housing part of the budget. On the other hand, perhaps one could cross expensive artwork for decorating that home off the list of future expenditures. That’s fairly obvious too.

Maybe have to have a vehicle to get around in a normal fashion, so I spend on that.  On the other end of the spectrum, maybe I don’t need to spend money having an optional moonroof installed on my vehicle.

These are wide extremes. As I’ve worked through the process of cutting expenses, I’ve gradually come closer and closer to the middle balance in all budget categories.