I’ll be the first to admit that there are about 1000 ways that I’m not frugal. However sometimes I go just a little cuckoo about the stupidest things. You see, it all started with a couple of unrelated events. The first was reaching one of my debt reduction milestones and finally taking a breather from counting pennies. After Christmas I went out and did things like buy new work clothes and undergarments that were long overdo. (Kris, I also replaced my broken measuring cups too and I would have done it sooner too if I knew the restaurant supply store sold them for $3.49.)
Anyway, after a couple of months of buying stuff that I have been putting off literally forever, I got a little bit of sticker shock at my credit card bills. My second realization was that non-food grocery expenditures (toilet paper, diapers, tissues, shampoo, etc) are actually the budget busters in my weekly spending. This put me in crazy Sandy mode. I wish I was one of those people who could do things in moderation, but as my husband says “you’re either on or off…there is no in between with you.” When I decide that I’m not spending on non-essentials, than it literally will take an act of god or my children outgrowing their current size to get me to spend. When I decide something must be done, I find little else to focus on but that item. That hyper focus has served me well in my career, but it can be pretty annoying to live with. I wish I knew about these Walmart coupons back then because I would have added that to my pile of cost savings measures as well.
Saving Every Last Bit
Here’s an example. I’m starting to run low on conditioner and rather than just chuck the mostly empty pump bottle I had, I decide I wanted to get every last drop out of there. I even thought to myself that it’s a dumb idea to go through all that trouble for $0.15 of product. As I go to chuck it out, I just can’t get myself to throw it out. I take the bottle down to the kitchen and start to operate on it with a paring knife. Darn, this is no suave plastic bottle..this stuff is tough. I think to myself, “take it easy killer, because before you know it, you’re going to slice your finger clear off.” Here I am with knife in hand trying to cut this bottle in half and just at the moment when the bottle is cut in 2, it slips out of my hand and starts spinning through the air like a boomerang whoosh whoosh whoosh. With every turn, I see the last bits of conditioner splattering all over my cabinets and floor. I start talking to myself. “I told you something like this would happen, you should have just thrown the stupid thing away.” Do you think I threw it out after this monologue with myself? Of course not, I went around scraping the lumps of conditioner off the cabinets and floor and salvaged as much as I could.
Did I learn? No again. Not two days later, I decided to do the same thing with my neutrogena face lotion but this time when the bottle got cut in two the lotion splattered all over me in a grand star burst pattern all over the shirt I had just put on.
I didn’t have to look far to see where I get these idiotic tendencies. The other day I was filling plastic easter eggs at Babci’s house (the secret hiding place for all holiday things). I made it through the pile rather rapidly with the exception of one cracked egg. I went to throw it out and my mom was like “don’t throw that out, I can tape it.” Um, no, it won’t snap shut anymore. Then she was like “look it has little holes on the end, maybe I can make it into a salt shaker”…really? Is this kind of ridiculousness some sort of genetic defect?
The other thing I do that I hate is I force myself to use up products and/or food that I don’t like before I replace them. You know when you buy a horrible shampoo that makes your hair just limp or flat or a really bad brand of hot dogs or something? At least with the beauty products, I have a friend with shorter hair who will always take them off my hands. I am trying to get better at this. If I’m going to consume calories, they should be enjoyable.
On a related note, the third thing I do that benefits no one is eat the leftovers off my kid’s plates. The only thing that does is give me a few extra pounds to carry around. I’ve been getting better at that though. Thankfully my older one eats like a horse and my little one is so disgusting that he’s been helping me wean myself off that habit. For example, last night at Easter dinner, he stole my dinner roll and so I decided to take his instead. I went to take a bite and immediately spit it out. It was all soggy Eeew. All he did was suck the butter off and left the rest of the roll sopping wet with his spit.
Do you do things that are irrational for the sake of frugalness? What are they?