The Outed Tightwad

The local Quality Inn has a great apple tree for my apple crisp.
I've come out of the closet--the tightwad closet. I'm not afraid to tell those who visit my home that they've set their cup of coffee on an end table from a school Dumpster, refinished by hubby, or that the apple crisp I'm serving came from the fruit of the local Quality Inn apple tree. While some look askance when I share a tightwad tidbit, polite people feign interest.
But then there are the times when the angels sing, and a friendship is born over mutual frugality. My sister went to dinner at the home of a couple from their church--a couple they did not know well. Conversation was a bit stilted until my sister noticed the 10-10- long distance discount access code sticker on their phone and thought to mention Freeway, a now-defunct service that allowed two minutes of free long-distance for each short advertisement you'd listen to before making a call. The rest of the evening went more quickly, with an exchange of tightwad tips, and discussion of saving money for impending adoptions both families were planning.

Our local museum is free on Mondays.
Even if you don't score a lifelong friend, when you're not afraid to mention something frugal, people will know you're interested, and they'll tell you if a new thrift store opened up near them, if a relative shops at a food salvage store--perhaps even one you didn't yet know about, a neighbor has a beautiful easy chair in the trash, or that the public museum is free on Mondays. Regardless of the exact information, it does flow when people know you want to save money. VoilĂ ! You're a magnet for money-saving knowledge.

The Grand Rapids Press featured me on the front page of the Food section.

A couple of years ago, The Grand Rapids Press wrote a profile in the food section about the money-saving ways I feed my family. My husband, not seeing any benefit to the intrusion, stayed on the sidelines during the interview. There was a benefit, however: friends. Like-minded people I knew only by face introduced themselves, and it progressed from there. Now I have a fruit foraging buddy, which is so much more fun than doing it solo.

In a society where self-worth can be wrapped up in status, sometimes it feels just a little uncomfortable to let people know that I Dumpster-dive or that my favorite sweater, rather than being from Macy's, is indeed from a garage sale. But the reward comes when the little tidbit I dare to share develops into a friendship so tight that I'll even admit to reusing my dental floss. Now that kind of friendship is a real friendship.

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  1. It truly is difficult sometimes to excitedly share an awesome find.....I find that frugal fanatics are in hiding : )
    But what a joy when we discover one another and can share in the excitement of re-creating, re-using an item.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Well, I think I'm going to have to try your flax seed muffins, but substituting the pears that I cut up and froze before leaving for vacation in an effort to keep them from going to waste.

    Got to admit, I am curious about how you reuse dental floss...though I usually want to get it in the garbage as quickly as possible after I'm done!

    1. Thanks for commenting and reading, RobbieKay! To reuse dental floss, I just rinse it off, fold into quarters, and hang it from my toothbrush rack. Some people use flossers and I bet lots of them don't change the head every time, and this isn't really any different. I will say, if you reuse floss, Glide is the best. Glide is more expensive, but it's better on the 20th use than the cheap stuff is on the first use.

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