Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hello. My name is Ginia and I am cheap.

When you print something for thousands of people to read, I guess you can say “the cat’s out of the bag.” And much to Matt’s dismay, I’m sure.
See, I’ve wondered for a while now how Matt really views my “ways.” And then last night he told me.
“You’re the cheapest person I know.” And I don’t think he necessarily meant it as the compliment I took it as!
But, nevertheless, I am. At least I strive to be.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no miser, I’ve just got a love for order and logic and living the “cheap” fits in.
I LOVE to make order out of things. I even offered, begged and harassed a coworker to organize her basement. (She hasn’t taken me up on my offer, yet!)
When my house is filthy — and with four kids and a husband, it is a constant battle — I feel out-of-sorts, like I can’t operate. It’s paralyzing to me when my “cleaning schedule” is not just right on track. So I plan, make schedules, make list after list after list, all in the name of order. And, this includes finances.
As you can imagine with little kids and a farm, we’ve got a drawer full of bills and only a pocket full of money, so I’ve had to figure out ways to make things stretch to cover the gaps. Like everybody, I’m sure.
I read and read and read different ways to do things with less money. I’ve found that when you make something from scratch — food and other household items — you are almost ALWAYS saving money!
I’ve got all sorts of ideas in the works. Way too many to list all of them, so here’s just a few:
Homemade laundry soap • use a lot of those ingredients in place of household cleaners you just thought you had to buy to clean your toilet, sinks, floors, tubs and as dishwasher detergent • can your own veggies and jelly • make homemade bread • create a dryer ball in place of dryer sheets or cut dryer sheets in half and then reuse two of the already used sheets per load — three times the use per box! • wash and reuse plastic bags • save all plastic containers from grocery items (like sour cream containers) and use as snack bowls for little kids or in place of purchasing plastic containers • I use vinegar instead of fabric softener • bar soap used for the laundry soap can also be used to wash your family! • hang clothes on your clothesline when the weather isn’t subarctic • use half powdered and half whole milk to stretch your liquid gold consumption ... I could go on and on!
My goal is to buy ingredients instead of convenience items and I know this isn’t for everybody. I’m not even a perfect cheapskate. Don’t judge me if you find us waiting in the McDonald’s drive thru for burgers that I surely could have made cheaper at home. (Believe me, I am hating handing over that cash!) But, it’s necessary sometimes.
Knowing where we spend/save every dime is freeing to me. A deep breath. Relaxation. Knowing I’ve worked hard to get the most out of what we’ve got.
And at the end of the day, after everything has been put where it goes (hopefully), I can rest easy on the couch with my DVR (yes, I gave in to the satellite!), knowing that I’ve worked to be my most-efficient self. And yes, that means cheap.

As seen in the Lawrence County Record

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