Saving money is in my DNA. I grew up in a family with very little money. (We had a couple of eviction threats; we didn’t get a phone or a TV until the early 60’s.) My thrift mindset is a habit. For two years I walked to work (which I’d do anyway) and bought a savings bond each month with the cash I saved. Fifteen years later I really needed extra dough and cashed them in and made my rent. My self-denial wasn’t punitive – it was practical – and it saved me.
“There’s a difference between being thrifty/frugal and being cheap/stingy.“
Money saving habits
My thrifty habits are pretty well ingrained by now. I can probably quote you the serial number of anything bigger than a five in my wallet.
Now that inflation is imminent, I resurrected my ‘price book.” (This was invented by someone who literally wrote the book on saving money – Amy Dacyczyn and “The Tightwad Gazette,” which I highly recommend.)
“…sometimes being frugal is fun.”
I track the price of items I buy regularly in stores in my area. The discrepancies are eye-opening and I now know when a sale is really a sale. Again, it’s not punitive – I’ll buy an occasional treat or stand a round of drinks for friends – but I’m smart about it. There’s a difference between being thrifty/frugal and being cheap/stingy.
And to be honest, sometimes being frugal is fun.
My favorite money-saving tip
My favorite money-saving tip was borne out of frustration with my mail. I pay a lot of bills by phone, and the companies still send me invoices with window envelopes for payment. I repurpose them instead of tossing them. I use blank address labels and cover the windows (or the address).
Voila! Instead of sending it to a landfill, I now have a blank envelope I can repurpose to mail something else. I save dough on stationery and help the environment. (Now if only I could save on printer ink….)
But what about you? Do you have a favorite money-saving tip you are willing to share? Let us know in the comments!
Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send your suggestions for Open Threads to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Dmitry Demidko for Unsplash