The Value of A Dime

by Sarah Kennington

I learned a valuable lesson last Saturday. I bought a Little Tykes chair at a garage sale for 10 cents. I am guilty at times of not picking up a penny on the ground or not cutting a coupon because it's only worth 10 cents. To live The Frugal Life truly means to do just that. Live frugally.

At home:

  • Use half a cup of detergent and vinegar for laundry. This will stretch the cost of soap and makes no difference on your clothes.
  • In the summer, hang your clothes out to dry. This can save on your electric bill. Also, keep all doors in your house closed to help with the air conditioning. Set the thermostat as high as you can and still be comfortable.
  • Cook your own food. If you can truly learn the art of this, your grocery bill will be cut in half.
  • Learn to cook in bulk and freeze or can. Try once a week or once a month cooking. When you've had a long day you can just pull something out of the freezer.
  • Grow your own vegetables, if you have the space and sun. I have 31 tomato plants that I started from seed. The cost of all plants was about $3 and I am currently picking about 50 a day. If you grow your own you know exactly what your family is eating.
  • Garage sale on a regular basis. Not only will this teach you the value of a dime but you can buy your clothes, household needs, gifts etc. for a fraction of the cost. I recently bought a pair of brand new Jones of New York sandals for $2. I go on a consistent basis and am able to buy things throughout the year for gifts. I've bought a case of hair conditioner for $1, and enough olive oil to last me two years. Before I buy anything in a store I think to myself, "can I wait and buy this at a garage sale?". Most of the time the answer is yes.
  • Use your imagination when it comes to entertainment. Go on picnics, go to the park, wait for movies to come to the dollar theatre, have friends over and everyone pitch in on dinner and a movie.
  • Trade babysitting with friends. Have your friends take your children; then, cook a romantic dinner.
  • Camp.

In starting with the basics your imagination will enable you to carry it over into your everyday life. Chances are you or your spouse probably work hard for your money so why not do the very best with it that you can. Don't give it away; make it work for you.

Being frugal doesn't mean living poorly. It actually means just the opposite: living within your means and using what you can to save what you can. All you need is imagination and skill. We all have that.

Like I said, I learned an important lesson last week. Ten cents is a lot of money.

Sarah Kennington is the editor of The Frugal Life.

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