This is an easy concept that I have always remembered from Amy Dacyczyn’s “Tightwad Gazette” newsletters. Yes, I was one of the first subscribers of her newsletters back in the 1990’s. I had always been frugal but her newsletter helped me to stay motivated especially when we were paying for our two sons to go to private schools and to college and planning on an early retirement. She then wrote 3 books. All of the newsletters were compiled into a book called The Complete Tightwad Gazette . Even though it was written back then, the concepts in it are timeless.
But one concept has stuck with me and I use it everyday. It’s the three ways to save:
1. Buy it cheaper.
2. Make it last longer.
3. Use it less.
It can be applied to almost every product that you use. One of the examples in her book that I use all the time is the one on coffee. Even though she was not a coffee drinker at the time, I love my coffee so I have tried to use this concept over the years.
1. Buy it cheaper: At first I was buying cans of sale coffee when I would see a sale. Usually I would buy 2 cans. In later years we purchased a Keurig. We were buying K cups. It didn’t take me long to realize how expensive they were. So I went back to buying ground coffee to use in a refillable cup in the Keurig. Then I went on the hunt for the best sale price on coffee that I could find. I tracked the lowest price I paid and when I would see a better price than that, I would stock on 5 cans or whatever I could fit into my budget. I built a stockpile of rock bottom priced coffee. If the coffee had a coupon that was so much better. I have to disclose that I am not brand loyal. By the time I use creamer and Stevia or flavored SF syrup, any coffee tastes wonderful.
This past week, Top’s had a sale on Folger’s coffee. It was $1.99, limit 1. There was no coupon but there are rarely any coupons on food anymore. I haven’t seen a price that low in years. I would have loved to get lots but I was not about to waste expensive gasoline just to go buy one can of coffee. That would not be very cost effective. So whenever I or Hubby went near a Top’s this week, we would stop and get a can. I ended up getting 2 cans for my stockpile. I now have a total of 4 cans of coffee in my stockpile. Some of the coffee is in my freezer to keep it fresh.
I have to do a disclaimer. Hubby has to drink decaf coffee and he loves his Green Mountain Breakfast Decaf K cups so I still buy those for him. After 52 years of marriage, I know when to pick a fight and this is not one of them. But I buy them at the best price I can find, usually on subscribe and save on Amazon. Will I be able to get him to use the refillable cup in the future? Maybe, maybe not.
2. Make it last longer. I do this by reusing the grinds in my refillable cup. I mix them with fresh grounds for another cup. It tastes just as good as the first one. Instead of throwing the grinds out, I will keep them to use one more time. I just put them in an empty baby food jar in the fridge. Then at dinner, I put half in the cup and mix in fresh for the rest.
3.Use it less. This I have slacked on since my surgery. I have been drinking more coffee than I should. So last week, I have cut down to one cup in the morning and one after dinner. I consider my dinner coffee as dessert. This will make my coffee stockpile stretch even further.
Another example would be cheap turkey or chicken.
1. Buy it cheaper: Buy 2 or 3(whatever your freezer has room for) turkeys at Thanksgiving when the prices are at rock bottom and cook them during the next year. I have paid as little as $.39 a lb over the last few decades and purchased as many as 6 turkeys. If you don’t have room for whole turkeys, cook more than one up and package the cooked meat, freeze, and use it in future meals. I used this method when I only had a freezer in my fridge even if I could only cook and fit two turkeys.
If you don’t like turkey that much, then buy roasting chickens at the rock bottom price. I bought these last year for $ .79 a lb. which is a great price for our area.
Use this concept for all poultry, meats and fish. You will save a fortune.
2. Make it last longer: Turkeys, chickens and roasts can be stretched into many meals. I have gotten 10 – 15 meals from a huge turkey. I would get 5 – 6 meals from one of these chickens. When you think you have gotten all the meat off that you can, then make stock and use the bits that come off in the cooking process to make a pot of soup that could last you another 2-3 meals. Freeze the rest of the stock in reused jars to use throughout the year.
3. Use it less. When it comes to meat, fish or poultry, use the portions that the FDA recommends. I don’t need more than 3-4 ounces of it and Hubby eats about 5 ounces. Our bodies don’t need more than that although we have been guilty at times of eating more.
My last example is buying clothing as I lose weight.
1. Buy it cheaper. All of the clothing I have purchased recently for my in between weight has been purchased on sale. Much of it has been bought at the Ann Taylor Factory Outlet with sale prices of up to 60% off and coupon codes. When I am down more sizes, I will resell it to recoup some of my money.
2. Make it last longer. I have been hand washing and hanging all of this clothing because I don’t want it to shrink before I lose the rest of my weight. Doing this will also let me keep it newer looking and help me recoup more money. I will most likely always hand wash and hang my clothes even when I get down to the size I want, especially anything delicate. Take good care of your clothing and it will last.
3. Use it less. I alternate all of the clothing I bought so as to wear them evenly and not have one wear out faster than another. I will continue to use this concept when I have my forever wardrobe.
These are just a few examples but you can apply these principles to anything you purchase whether it be food, household products (use less cleaners, less shampoo, less conditioner, less laundry soap, less dish soap, etc.), clothing, shoes, furniture, carpeting and the list goes on and on.
Just think about all three of these ways to save each time you purchase or do anything. It will pay off in $$$$$ in the long run.
Do you have any examples of how you apply these principles? Please share with all of us.