Okay, I’ll admit that we keep and reuse those snap-lid containers that lunch meat comes in. They come in handy. Sometimes you have leftovers or want to transport food. Sure, you could use Tupperware, but then you risk not getting your container back. I know you could buy these containers from Glad or some other company, but why? I bought the lunch meat, isn’t that enough?
I’ll even cop to keeping some napkins that come with fast food. They give you a ton of napkins (only with food where you don’t need a ton of napkins, you order Bar-B-Que and you get like one napkin, but that is another rant)! I keep some in my car, in the glove box, and we have some at home.
I don’t think either of these things are a big deal. These are small ways in which you can be more frugal that don’t hurt. But I’ve also read about people who do frugality in the extreme.
Some ideas that I read that made me cringe:
Tell nearly everyone that you are going out of town this Christmas and will not return until after New Year‘s Day. Then buy most of your gifts during the after-Christmas sales. So Santa is on vacation, getting some sun, but he’ll be back? That’s not frugal, that’s being a dick!
How about this idea instead? Shop at the after-Christmas sales and buy stuff for next year. You still save money, but you get to keep this picture out of your head.
Okay, I know Rachel Ray makes some truly yummo food, but I’m thinking this might not be the best idea. Sure, my friend is telling me that this is good advice, but I’ve been fooled into taking bad bets before. Besides, Can you imagine inviting a special someone over for dinner and this is what they get? (I mean a plate of dog food, not a flirty puppy, who wouldn’t want a puppy that flirts with you?)
Instead of buying toilet paper, I use yesterday’s newspaper.
What am I, some sort of parakeet? Seriously, this could be a good idea, but it just doesn’t go far enough. Why buy a newspaper when you could do one better and grow a tree with large leaves? Good for you and for the environment. Or why not come up with some other creative way to take care of things? (I’m sorry, but my next idea was disgusting and made me throw up a little in my mouth. I will save you pictures of my idea.)
There are thousands of other ways that extreme people can save money if they really try. Look, nobody has a problem with you hoarding condiments from fast food places. I’m not begrudging you for picking up every penny you see on the ground, although I still remember that scene from Empire Records where one of the kids hot-glued quarters to the floor and some dumb kid was trying to pick them up. Hell, I know a guy who washes plastic forks and spoons, and he’s friggen rich! My point is that the whole point of living frugally is to have more money in the future so you can live a better life. The point isn’t to live so miserably that you are a pain in the ass to yourself and your loved ones. In Economics, we call it opportunity cost. I can either eat dog food, or kiss my wife. I can’t do both. Think about what you are giving up in order to live frugally. Is it worth the price?