If this is a familiar scene in your kitchen, you may be living with a Scotsman. The ketchup, mustard, salad dressing and even the beer I may be drinking is not safe from the infinite drain. In order to ensure that every drop that we have paid for is used this process must be repeated in our household with every item that is drainable.
If “Waste not want not”, is a phrase you hear frequently in your home, you may be living with a Scotsman. Things do not get thrown away merely because they don’t work. Let’s buy a part, get the hot glue out, repaint it, weld it back on. It’s still of good use and will not be named trash yet!
My husband, whom I love DEARLY, seems to have inherited the familiar stereotype of a penny pinching, provident, unwasteful Scot. Being half Scottish doesn’t mean these inherited qualities have been diluted either. I do not bring this to light to mock my dear hubby. In fact, I love that he isn’t a spendthrift and watches our finances carefully. I also love that his Scottish tendencies have indelibly made me a little more frugal myself. I watch for sales, shop at consignment shops and thrift stores and like to peruse Pinterest for the most economical way to rip off an expensive design or idea. Being frugal actually gives me an endorphin high when I know I get a great deal or I find a coupon that allows me to enjoy an experience or outing for a fraction of the price. I’m the kind of person that wants to tell everyone when I do find such deals.
Okay, maybe I’M now an honorary Scotsman myself!
Now that I have finally admitted that, I guess there are some things that we both have found over the years that have taught us how to save more money. Here are a few of our favorite ways to stretch the almighty Benjamin.
1. Shopping at thrift stores and consignment sales- I have to admit, I love getting a barely or never worn named brand sweater from a thrift store that would retail for $60.00 for $5.75. It’s even a bigger adrenaline rush when said merchandise is the ”tag color of the day” and you get it for half off that! Consignment stores are great too, especially for the kids. My kids are very hard on their duds so there is no way I’m going to spend a lot on something that will rip the next day while my son is perfecting his parkour skills. There are even coupons in newspapers and the mail for some of the local thrift stores. Some have entire days when merchandise will be half off! Love it!
2. Coupons For dining out-We love the BOGO special as much as the next guy. When you have a family of five you have to spend wisely. Using these “buy one get one” coupons really help keep the bill low which is really needed now that my son is eating as much if not more that an elephant, eh hem, I mean adult.
2.5 Kids eat Free nights-I guess this is a tag along to #2 but definitely worth mentioning. Since my three kids are all still young we can take advantage of one of these deals almost any day of the week. So if we hit it just right and have a BOGO coupon, we could actually only have to pay for one adult and one child. Ha! Now that is cheap! This is Scottish Frugality in full force baby!!
(This has never happened, but just imagine if it had!)
3. Free Activities-We travel all over the country. In every little tiny, what would seem insignificant, town in the U.S. there is always something to do, something to see, something to experience and most of the time you can find that something for free. We take advantage of every monument, museum, state, city and national park that every area has to offer. More often than not we are able to do these things for free or at a minimal cost ($5.00 to enter a park). We have been to the major theme park cities MANY times and almost never partake in these parks because there are still so many free things to do. If we ever do participate in visiting a theme park (one time) it is because we have gotten a deep discount. Being a homeschooler, we are able to take advantage of homeschool days at theme parks, zoos and museums. This helps a lot in bringing down the cost of a regular priced admission.
4. The Dave Ramsey Show– Whether its the first time or the 192nd time I hear the words “We’re debt free!”, come from a caller on the Dave Ramsey show, it never ceases to bring tears to my eyes. The show has great tips and advice on getting your finances in order and even a step by step process to get to the goal of being financially independent. It’s great to listen to callers and their stories and how some of them have gone from near financial ruin to total financial freedom. Truly inspiring!
5. Mr. Money Mustache– This is a blog that has opened our eyes to the fact that we can live on so much less than we do and have a great life, even a better life. I will admit some of MMM’s practices are a little extreme. But the basic premise is that we as Americans live excessively in all facets of our lives and still complain about the lack of finances, not having the time to spend with family and friends and having to spend too much time taking care of our things. MMM preaches from the seat of Minimalism and is retired in his 30’s. He and his family are happy and healthy and hell bent on living a life free of the shackles that tie us all to a confined, stressed out existence. And he’s willing to share his secrets.
Living below your means and being frugal in order to meet financial goals does take some adjustments in habits and behaviors. But, I have to say that it really does feel good to conserve resources, save money and work towards the freedom that deep down inside we all want. Come to think of it, I think those Scotsman are really onto something.