The Domestic Goddess: Queen of Frugality*


September 24, 2008 by Marj Hatzell

*Stop laughing.  It’s meant to be tongue-in-cheek.

I figured that since I’m the Domestic Goddess, I oughta live up to my name once in a while and give y’all a few tips about being all domestic. You know, because my name is DOMESTIC Goddesss. So Maybe I should actually attempt the domestic part?  You don’t have to thank me. I know, I know.

Anyways, my husband is the King of Cheapness Frugality. He is the most cheap frugal person I have ever met in my life. He is great with money (since he grew up with folks that ain’t the best at budgeting) and keeps us going.  Lately, however, we’ve been feeling the pinch like everyone else.  Add the fact that I am not currently tutoring or doing childcare (though, that may change soon) and we just don’t have any extra. As in, barely enough to cover our monthly expenses.  We’re trying not to empty our savings, but with $10,000 in out-of-pocket therapy expenses (which we do not regret spending. At least I don’t.), let’s just say I’m in a state of panic. For the first time ever.  And so is the husband. And we don’t want to have to discontinue therapy because Bugaboo is responding to it so well.  Sigh.   On top of the money woes, we still do not have a deck (just a dirt pit where it once stood) and we’d love to paint walls and replace broken stuff, but it ain’t gonna happen, especially right before the holidays come looming over us.  Oh, and did I mention?  The stress around here is so thick it could be cut with a knife.  The husband and I only ever argue about one thing: Money.  And let’s just say we’ve had our share of discussions about this in the past two weeks.  He wants to stop therapy. I want to continue.  He wants me to get a job, there ain’t no way in heck I can get one (don’t get me started on this particular topic, puh-lease).  That leaves us changing our budget, cutting back on food and electricity and driving and other things.

Which brings us to the whole point of this discussion ( OH MY GAAAAAH!  THERE IS A POINT TO THIS!).

I have ways to save money.  I’m gonna enlighten you.  You can thank me later.  Here goes:

  1. I buy most of the boys’ clothing (and mine) second hand.  I scour and search through racks and stores to find the best I can find.  I’d rather pay $10 for RL jeans for the boys is slightly-used-but-excellent-condition than pay $15 new at Tarzhay.  The RL jeans last MUCH LONGER.  And?  I can usually find pants at Goodwill for them for $2.  We all win, because I’ve even been LUCKY enough to find designer jeans for myself for $5 and $10.  It doesn’t get much better than that.  I do, however, purchase underthings and shoes brand new.  That’s the one thing I do NOT compromise on.  It’s a hygeine thing with me.  But, rest assured, they are on clearance or on sale.
  2. Speaking of clearance or sale, I scour them, too.  If you walk around the outside perimeter or Tarzhay, that’s where they keep the clearance.  It’s all about end caps, people.  I can usually get items for 70-90% off of the original price. I stock up on things for the future.  I have gotten birthday and Holiday items this way, shoes (put away until they grow into them) and even food.  HUZZAH!
  3. I group my errands and organize my lists to make for efficient shopping.  I buy as many items as I can at discount stores, shop regular grocery stores only for sale items and get the bulk of our stuff at TJ’s because it is WAAAAAY cheaper for most of the items we buy.  I call it cherry-picking. I currently shop at the closest stores because my previously-favorite grocery store is just too far out of the way.  The gas I am using does not justify me driving there, since the gas costs more than the savings I am getting (at $4 a gallon!  ACK!).
  4. I use dish rags, dish towels and cloth baby diapers for spills, cleaning and kitchen use.  I have a whole big drawer full so I can use a few rags a day.  I do a load of laundry with rags every few days and sanitize them to get rid of germs. This has cut down on paper products ( I hate using paper products but the toilet paper is kinda necessary) and makes me happy because I am doing my best to get greener.  Oh, and we use cloth napkins and I was them every few days as needed.  I used to make my own baby wipes (e-mail me if you want the recipe!  IT’S SO EASY AND CHEAP!) but Bugaboo has major skin issues and I could not get it worked out so I began buying them.  These days he goes on the toilet most of the time so I barely need them.  I could use the cloth baby diapers for this, too, but Bugaboo’s poo is toxic. Trust me, you’d understand it if you saw it. It’s horrible.
  5. I use vinegar to clean tons of stuff. It is totally cheap by the gallon, folks. It is great for surfaces and such.  I do NOT use harsh chemicals, but instead get environmentally-friendly stuff that I use once in a while to disinfect and get tough stains out. But Vinegar!  AWESOME STUFF!
  6. We switched to all high-efficiency appliances long ago.  We were shocked to see the savings on our energy bills.  I hang stuff to dry as much as possible. I just don’t like crunchy socks or towels, so those get dried.  If my husband would let me hang stuff outside (he considers it trashy, so we have lines in the basement instead) it would also be sun-fresh.  PBLLTTT!!!
  7. IN the winter we eat very cheaply.  Tons of stir fry, soups and stews.  And, I have a crock pot!  EFFICIENT COOKING!  Time saver!  WAAAHOOO!!!!!
  8. On line auctions.  Consignment.  I make money from those.  It takes some practice and research but is well worth it. Last year I made enough money to cover Holiday and birthday purchases for the boys.
  9. Calculators.  I carry one with me everywhere.  When I see a supposed sale or good deal, I always check to make sure it is cheaper per roll, diaper, bar of soap, etc.  Most of the time it is not.  I also try to buy store brands when I can.  Sometimes buying in bulk is cheaper.  Sometimes it isn’t.  Hence the calculator.
  10. I am a trash picker. No, seriously. If I see good stuff in people’s trash and it can be re purposed, I grab it.  I’ve gotten bikes, toys, slides, wagons and other goodies for the boys this way.  Heck, plastic never breaks down, right?  A pressure washer is an amazing thing.  Also?  I got a $900 special needs jog stroller this way.  Yes, I AM awesome.
  11. I cut Darling’s hair and Bug Boy’s hair. I used to cut Bugaboo’s but it is a gosh-awful ordeal.  I took him to a local kids’ hair place and he behaves, so guess what?  I now spend $12 a month.  But, it’s $12 less Happy Pills I have to take and $12 less blood pressure medication, if you catch my drift.  We also wash our cars ourselves.
  12. I also groom my dog myself.  She is totally fond of it (LIAR).
  13. I have family members that pass stuff down to me.  Like, clothes and toys and stuff.  This makes me happy.  I’m glad we have almost all boys around here.
  14. I have neighbors that do the same. We swap books, toys and clothes all the time.  That’s why I live in Mayberry.
  15. Speaking of books?  Goodwill.  twenty-five cents to a dollar.  HELLO?  LIBRARY, TOO!  Stop buying them. Yes, you CAN wait to read the latest Oprah selection.
  16. Go around the house and unplug stuff, like the coffee maker, radios, toaster and such.  You know, the phantom electric suckers.  Every little bit helps.

I figured I tortured you enough. I think you get the whole point. I’ll do anything to save money, plus it is FUN and I get all warm and fuzzy inside when I find a good deal, kinda like when I eat mashed potatoes and gravy.  Nearly.  Ok, not even close, because we all know how I LURVE me a tater.  But I still get giddy as a school girl when I find cool stuff.

Now, for the audience participation portion of our show:  What do you do to save Moohlah?  Please share with the class…Leave your comments below.

4 thoughts on “The Domestic Goddess: Queen of Frugality*

  1. Jen P says:

    I have to come back to read this post in its entirety but I wanted to let you know that I awarded you! And don’t forget to change your link in your blogroll! Thanks!

  2. Lauren says:

    What a great list. We figure out I save only $4 per month by hanging laundry, but that’s because we have cheap energy hookup, which is no longer available.

    Our one way to save money that you didn’t mention: We eat much, much less meat than we used to. It happened gradually. We have turned into Bean People!

    The other thing we try to do sometimes is have people over and ask them to bring something. This forces us to clean! And it increases social capital. Just a fairly cheap way to have old-fashioned fun as opposed to entertainment.

  3. pkzcass says:

    I hear you on the husband being cheap. I mean frugal. We do basically the same stuff you do.

    Anyway, GREAT idea to bring a calculator! I can’t tell you how many times I stand around trying to figure out what 35% of $27.95 is.

  4. I get a boyfriend.

    I kid!

    I no longer have cable. So, I don’t pay for that or for the electricity.

    I drive the oldest car in the world and walk wherever I can.

    I don’t buy any newspapers, magazines. Only what is free. Everything else is online!

    I live below my means. Wayyy below my means. There is nothing I need, only things I want.

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