Thursday, February 15, 2007

Staying Home

You want a really good frugal tip? Stay home. Don't go shopping until/unless you really need to, and continually revamp what "really need to" means. It's best to plan on one day a week, or every other week and refuse to shop before then.

When I was growing up, we lived on a ranch 20 miles from town. Mom didn't drive and Daddy worked 7 days a week. We went to town once a month, when Daddy got paid. Toward the end of the month, we ate just as well as we did at the beginning (you thought I was going to say we ran out of everything!). The exception was that when we got home from our trip to town, we had sandwiches on "boughten" bread, with lunch meat.

It's true that we sometimes ran out of things, but we made do, or did without and it didn't make that much difference in how we lived.

Did you know that it isn't critical to have cheese on hand? And that you can wash dishes with laundry detergent if you need to? And... that you can make a meal from a handful of rice, a chicken leg and a bag of wild greens? Or whatever you have on hand.

Making do is just as much a frugal and sensible pursuit now as it was back then. The truth is that we're spoiled into thinking that we have to run to the store when we're out of two or maybe three items. If we're out of more than that, it's panic time.

But if we would calm down and admit that doing without commercial bread for three days won't send us to our graves (it may help keep us out of them), we wouldn't have to run to town every other day. It's true that the more often we're inside a store, the more we spend there. Staying home makes frugal common sense.


  1. How true this is. I am working on doing this very thing. I know that every time I am in the store, I am tempted by things that are not on my list. Also, that the simpler the meal, the better the results. Who needs to make a meal like one on the Food Network? Baked chicken legs, brown rice and a vegetable or two from the freezer make a wonderful, comforting meal. There aren't any complicated ingredients and you can pull it all from the pantry and the freezer.
    I love your blog, thanks!

  2. Hi Pat! I love your blog and miss the "About" site. As a single parent I've depended on that site especially during the summers here in Houston when our electricity bills go sky high, and our schools started back up in the middle of August, further adding to budget constraints.
    I've posted your link on my blog at http:\\ My personal blogging goal is to show people that you can live in the big city, in a nice part of town and also enjoy a frugal life, including local cultural events.
    Please keep writing - you inspire me! Ms. Terre Parker, Houston, TX

  3. Thank you, Terre! I'm going to be adding more and more content here, so hopefully you can find something to help.

    Thanks for the link! It looks like you have a good running start to your blog. I wish someone would do something like that here. (List free concerts, etc.)

  4. Hello Pat!
    I was so disappointed when I stopped receiving your newsletter from About, and I'm so happy to have found your blog! Your advise led me to consider how much it was costing our family to have two incomes. I finally am able to stay home with our young daughter, and during the first 3 weeks we saved more money than we thought we would! I wanted to thank you for leading us to realize staying home was not a luxury, but a frugal choice!

  5. I love to hear success stories like yours, Donna! I know that not everyone can quit work, but working can be expensive.