Sample Chapter of “Money”

Money: How to Be Rich Without It and How to Stretch It Using Ten Hints from the Past and the Technology of Today is available for purchase both in paperback and all digital formats. Check out amazon.com and smashwords.com.

Here is a sample chapter.

 Chapter 9

 Hint #6: Waste Not, Want Not: Our Grandparents Were The Original Environmentalists

 “Frugality comes from the Latin. It speaks of bearing fruit. Of our ability to flourish, not through relentless material profligacy, but through a due attention to season and cycle and the processes of maturation. Austerity presents us with an arid world, stripped bare of meaning, devoid of hope. Frugality offers us a way to re-enchant the future.”

– Tim Jackson (Frugal Living is New Road to Prosperity, Special to CNN, November 21, 2010)

 

What a wonderful way to think of being frugal – it offers us a way to re-enchant the future!

Closely related to “don’t throw that away,” is “waste not, want not.” The subtle difference is contained in a term that came into being after the Depression: recycle. What is not wasted today will still be around in the future.

Our ancestors recycled out of necessity. Even in times of prosperity, humans began to understand that recycling has a global implication.

Another reason (other than thrift) to recycle is that it is good for everyone. Keeping non-perishables out a landfill is a conscientious thing to do. Using only your share of resources (such as water and electricity) is expressing concern for others who need to use it also, as well as preserving its use for your own grandchildren.

The origin of the expression “waste not, want not” is uncertain. It has been suggested that it could be traced back to 1772. A Canadian poster from World War I headlines: “Waste not, want not. Prepare for winter. Save perishable foods by preserving now.” The saying surfaced in America when Thorne Smith, a popular writer of the time, included the phrase in his 1932 novel, Topper Takes a Trip.

“Waste not, want not” follows the same train of thought as “a penny saved is a penny earned.” What you do not waste, you retain.

 Think Before You Discard or Recycle

 Clark Howard, author of Living Large In Lean Times, has an abundance of information in his book. I highly recommend it.

One of the hints he has in this area is about saving money on printer cartridges. He says:

“I really hate to waste things. So I was excited when I read a TechWorld.com report about how manufacturers of the cartridges we all use in our printers give you a notice that your cartridge is empty when nearly 60% of the ink is still left. If you throw it out at that point, more than half the ink you pay for goes unused!

So when your computer tells you to replace the cartridge, instead just pull it out and shake it. You’ll probably get several weeks more use out of it. Manufacturers have a clear financial incentive to shortchange you and make you buy more of their product. What you pay to print per page skyrockets if you throw that cartridge out or recycle it too early….

Another way to reduce your ink use is to change the font you use to print. The general consensus out there seems to be that Century Gothic is just about the most economical font.”[i]

Let Me See: What Can I Do With That?

 When those in the Depression looked at an item, their imagination went into play.

  • The material from feed sacks was used for aprons, nightshirts, even underwear. Mothers would even take their daughters with them to pick out the feed sacks they liked because they had different patterns.
  • Leftover materials of any kind went into a “rag bag.” Out of the bag would come quilts, doll clothes, potholders, etc.
  • One pattern was used over and over again, varying necklines, sleeves, etc.
  • Apple cider and apple butter came from bruised apples.
  • Any leftover paper was not thrown away. It was used for scratch paper.
  • Jars of all kinds were used to put up jellies, display flowers, etc.

The goal of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is to produce less waste for landfills. Their slogan: reduce, reuse and recycle, has an added benefit. It also saves money. If you are forced to think in new ways about how to get by on less, this is a principle worth examining.

Reduce, reuse, and recycle may sound good, but how is it practically applied? Old habits die hard. It is easy to dump disposables in the garbage. Thinking before discarding, though, can actually result in less expenditure on some items.

Some items can be reused for a short period, avoiding purchase of similar items, and then discarded when absolutely necessary, such as:

–       Instead of buying plastic containers to store leftovers, save empty jars (such as olive jars, jelly jars, etc.)  They fit better in the refrigerator and you can easily see the contents. If you need to take food when you are traveling or on a picnic, they can be discarded after you have used them on the road. That will eliminate the need to bring expensive plastics (dirty ones at that) back home.

–       When painting, use small plastic containers (such as frozen meal containers or cool whip containers) to hold a small amount of paint. That will eliminate the need to buy something for that purpose at the hardware store. When you are finished, you can throw the container away, thus also saving the time and hassle of washing out the store-bought paint container.

–       It is amazing how much product is left in a tube. When you can no longer squeeze toothpaste, creams, etc. from a tube, cut it open in the middle. There is still a lot of product in the inside of the tube. Get it out with your finger or a Q-tip. I have made some products last for as much as a week longer.

–       The uses for the plastic bags you get at the store are so numerous that many people have blogged about it. My favorite is 36 Amazing Uses for the Lowly Plastic Bag by Len Penzo. He calls his blog an “offbeat personal finance blog for responsible people.”

–       Some creams come in heavy colored jars. They can be used to hold candles, etc.

If you have small children (or grandchildren that visit), it is not always necessary to buy toys for them. Save plastic food containers, boxes, etc. and help them create something.

  • Make play dough (recipes are on the internet) and store in small plastic containers (margarine, cool whip, yogurt, etc.).
  • Break down large cardboard boxes when you get them, store them and save for a day when you and your child can create a fort, a house, or whatever your imagination comes up with. Children want to work on projects with their parents, siblings or grandparents. The best gift is your time – not spending money on toys that won’t last much longer than your homemade projects anyway.

When my grandchildren visit, I empty my cabinets of plastic containers with lids, funnels, etc. and let them use them in the bathtub. When they return home, I wash them and put them back in the kitchen.

Leftovers, no matter how small, can be used. Don’t give in to the temptation to leave them in the refrigerator until they have spoiled so you don’t feel guilty about throwing them away.

Be creative with what you do with them.  If you can’t think of something within a day or two, label and freeze for a time when you will need the item.

  • Small amounts of leftover vegetable soup can be used as part of the liquid when cooking rice. Instead of buying expensive flavored rice cook rice (or use leftover rice) in leftover soup. You can also make flavored rice by adding small bits of broccoli, carrots, etc. when you cook the rice. Season as desired and you have a nice side dish. I often use frozen broccoli for this purpose, taking a little out of the package at a time.
  • Have a container in the freezer where you put the little bits of vegetables, rice, etc. that are left over from meals. Often it is not enough to serve again on its own, but combined with the other leftovers is a great beginning for soup.
  • End pieces of bread can be made into croutons or breadcrumbs.
  • Freeze bananas before they get too ripe. They make wonderful smoothies blended with ice, milk, vanilla flavoring and a little peanut butter.
  • If you make a full pot of coffee and have some left after you have what you want in the morning, save it for an iced coffee in the afternoon. Just adding a little sweetener and maybe creamer in a blender with ice is all that it takes.

Let your imagination run with reusing things for as long as you can.  When your creative juices are flowing, you will be surprised at what you can do.

If you have children, make a game out of this.

 Heavenly Principle

 Jesus displayed this mindset when He fed the five thousand.  Obviously, He was capable of producing food any time He wanted to, but when all the people had been fed, He made sure what was left over was not wasted. Good stewardship should make us think the same way.

And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost” (John 6:11-12).

Your Personal Reflection

Most money saving measures just require thought. It is easier to toss something than wash it and use it again.

Are you aware of any wasteful habits that you have that you can change in order to stretch your dollar?

[i] Howard, Clark and Mark Meltzer, Living Large in Lean Times, Penguin Group (USA), New York, New York, p. 54.

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