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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Frugality 101: Buy the Next One

I think this was my very first frugal practice. I started doing this when I was in graduate school, living on my $300.00 monthly stipend, of which rent took about half. Yes, this was a long time ago, but it was still miserable. My friend in chemistry got more than twice as much. Then, as now, the humanities were not valued very much.

You can do this no matter how poor you are. When you buy something, always buy the next one if it is a good price. In graduate school, I used to buy an extra pound of dried beans, thinking, at least I won't starve to death.

I was reminded of this the other day. I woke up first and went into the kitchen. I was delighted that Mr. FS had set up the coffee for me, putting coffee into our French press and filling the electric kettle. Then I noticed a big crack in the pot.

Never fear: I had a back up French press, picked up at the thrift store for $2.00. Now I will be on the lookout for another one.

Similarly, Hunts Tomato company seems to have overproduced 28 oz cans of whole tomatoes with basil. These are 2/$1.00 at two of my favorite haunts: Big Lots and Dollar Tree. I bought a bunch, and would have gotten more except that I am overstocked on canned tomatoes. Even if you are a starving student, you can buy an extra can or two of tomatoes. Then your next tomato sauce will be cheaper than otherwise and you can either sigh happily or spend the extra $0.50 on a few mushrooms from the bulk section.

If you persevere in this practice, you will have a full pantry, which will save time and money.

Other good candidates: socks for kids and birthday gifts.

What do you stock up on?


hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Tights and never know when you are going to snag your tights or hose and Murphy's Law says it is just before going out on the town all dressed up! and all the stores that carry your favorite brand are Closed!

Revanche said...

Feminine hygiene products, and soaps, shampoos, conditioners. Anything that can be used up or will definitely be used. I loved stocking up on power strips when they were FAR from Rite Aid because those were always needed.

Deja Pseu said...

I stock up on birthday cards...silly, generic ones. That way I always have a stash on hand. Laundry detergent when it's on sale too, and those makeup remover wipes.

Shelley said...

Christmas cards in the sales after, of course. Wool cardigans are almost always useful, but I have plenty and don't shop for clothes without a specific need.

As regards food, I started with the pantry list from the Tightwad Gazette and modified it to fit (I don't do much baking of sweets). My list appears here

It occurs to me that it could use some updating. As I try new cooking ideas and incorporate the ones that work, the list can change a bit.

Thank you again for adding me to your blogroll. I regularly read and enjoy most of the blogs on yours. Thank you also for demonstrating the practice of responding to your commenters. That interchange has made me feel much more on contact with readers and has added even more pleasure to my blogging.

Duchesse said...

Uh, wine and martini olives?

Melita coffee filters (that's my kind) b/c it's aannoying to run out and you can't fake it with something else (like paper towels). A few personal care sundries.I can't stand clutter, so stockpiling is not as appealing to me even though it makes sense.

Suzy said...

I usually pick up an extra can or two of green beans, pinto/kidney/black beans, chicken broth, diced tomatoes and try to keep a few pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts and lean hamburger meat in the freezer. I don't have a lot of space and in the past I've over-stocked on stuff and wished later that I hadn't (esp when Ike wiped out the electricity for several days)

Frugal Scholar said...

@hostess--Great idea. Luckily, i don't need hose around here. I just wear pants to work. But I remember those awful runs...

@Revanche--We have tons of those things--FAR. In fact, we have a moratorium, because we have at least a 2 year supply.

@Deja--Cards! The best idea. I need to send some. Much better than email. I think I have some pretty ones--that I stocked up on.

@Shelley--It's warm here again and everyone is donating sweaters! I just got an Aran sweater at GW. Will check out that pantry list.

@Duchesse--You always have the best list! I remember using paper towels when I ran out of Melitta filters. I use a French press now, one of whose virtues is NO FILTERS.