Skip to comments.The Frugal Family Guide (Back to the dark ages is good)
Posted on 03/16/2009 4:32:51 AM PDT by raybbr
Last summer I was at my parents' cabin in rural Virginia and I noticed a dead mouse in a rusty old trap. I tossed it in the trash. Later that day I told my dad about the mouse, and he asked, "Where's the trap?" I told him it looked as though it were falling apart, and I'd thrown it out with the mouse still attached. He looked at me as if I'd punched him in the face. My mom chimed in: "We've had that trap since we got married!" I wasn't sure she was joking, and they got married almost 50 years ago. I sheepishly dug it out of the garbage and loaded it up with cheese again. Now it's become one of those perennial things they bring up every time I go home: "Remember when Steve threw out the mousetrap, mouse and all!?" This is followed by shuddering and head shaking, as they silently wonder where it all went wrong.
In today's cratering economy, my parents are looking pretty smart all of a sudden. President Obama talks a lot about personal sacrifice, and we all need to look for ways to cut costs these days. Maybe he ought to consider Bill and Joyce Tuttle as the nation's first thrift czars, because when it comes to pinching pennies and saving for the future, my parents are extreme.
Here are some real and true examples: my mom does not use a clothes dryer. "Why would I ever need that as long as we have the outdoors?" she says. (I'd like to answer that: there's nothing like pulling on a pair of frozen Fruit of the Looms straight off the line on a sleeting January morning. Thanks, Mom.) They don't own a credit card.
(Excerpt) Read more at newsweek.com ...
I can hear his dad now, "I spent all that money on your college and all I got was a son who is an editor at Newsweek!" Well, if you weren't such a pansy you might be able to defend yourself.
I know there are some good ideas in here. Like hanging clothes on a line (which my wife refuses to do). But, the author sounds like a typical lib. "Let's all make sacrifices so the govt. can have what it needs".
Chopping wood is great exercise! A tree came down in our back yard and I’m ripped from chopping it up. And here’s the great part: I have had a very bad back, lots of time spent with doctors, physical therapists, etc. Between the horseback riding and the wood-chopping I’m not having any problems anymore.
Are you actually chopping or using a chain saw?
Talk about crosspurposes, Thrift is the opposite of what Consumerism is all about, that money is not meant to be saved, not at all.
Obamao and his crack team are introducing inflationary pressures into the economy simply to force more spending and less savings.
But, but, but......this won't work. We have to consume, consume, consume to get the economy going again so we can bring unemployment down, pay more taxes, to pay for all the socialist programs don't you know! If we do smart things like sacrifice personally and use old mouse traps, how will we ever pay for all these great ideas?
Exactly. I hate it when I hear these idiots parrot the "we have to spend to get the economy going again" mantra.
What do we have to spend?
You can get all those good ideas from the Whole Earth catalog or just motor on over to the nearest commune to see how they do it. Personally, I passed on that stuff in the sixties and have no real desire to return to a “simpler” time.
Oh, the humanity! If we all pinched pennies as our parents and grandparents did, how could our cities and states collect sales taxes to pay for services that buy votes for the pols?
And we certainly can't be expected to be able to do what we don't like.
This kind of thinking leads to divorce, dead children, surrender in war and .... Obama.
I cut it up into short logs using a reciprocating saw with a big blade. As a rather lightly-built woman I find it impossible to start a chain saw even though I’m in good shape. Then I chop each log with a spike and a ten-pound maul. I like the spike-and-maul technique better than using an ax because if I get tired and lose control of the tool I won’t cut my leg.
Well, the way they are setting things up, we will be forced to spend whether we like it or not, when inflation causes prices to rise, our savings become worth less and we are forced to spend more to live.
It’ pretty darn diabolical, spend it, or watch it become worthless, if one is old enough, we can recall a gallon of gas costing 98 cents, now it is 1.89 at least, meaning no matter how hard you try, life is going to cost more under Obama.
That's the only way to go. I split about five cords a year and you really couldn't do it with an ax.
Burn more wood. It helps cut down on tax revenue to the govt. when you're not burning oil or gas.
Starving the beast that is government is now liberal?
Finding ways to legally reduce your tax contribution is liberal?
If I spend less, I pay less in things like sales tax.
If I work less, I pay less in things like income tax.
If I hang my clothes on the line, I pay less in thing like the utility tax.
Being frugal is liberal? Keeping more of your own money is liberal?
I am confused.
I can remember it at 25.9 a gallon. Cigs were 29 cents a pack. Milk was 89 cents a gallon. On and on....
Taxes were a lot less then.
I'm trying. I'm trying to live a very frugal lifestyle generally. But I am not finding any more windfall hardwood trees nearby that I can cut up, and I certainly don't want to pay for firewood. When I find something I cut it up and use it.
At local prices, five cords would cost about a thousand dollars. Does that sound right?
Lowest I ever saw gas was 22.9 per gallon and it was that low because of a gas war between a sinclair station and one directly across the street called “Working Man’s Friend”..this was on hwy 422 right at the ohio/pennsylvania line..
My idea of frugality for the new age of malignant leviathan government growth is not just to “save old mouse traps” figuratively speaking, but mainly to cut the number of projects I agree to work on, so that my income stays as low as I can make it while I still pay all my bills. I am not eating out, not wasting money on “entertainment”, fixing my 11 year old car rather than buying a new one, doing home repairs myself, learning to live with the absolute least amount of money I have to spend or earn, etc., etc.
My goal is to be sure there is not one spare penny left to pay to the bloated, rotting corpse of government.
I still remember all the dry teabags hanging in my Great Grandma’s kitchen beside her woodstove. She reused them until they stopped coloring the water! My mother has a closet full of old pieces of tinfoil to reuse.
Depends on where you are. We bought five cords of good, seasoned and split hardwood last year for $675 in WV. That’s our total winter heating bill.
Exactly, I don’t want to live in the dark ages, and if the government thinks they can convince me otherwise...they are in for a big surprise. I don’t line dry my clothes because of ticks...there is Lyme disease in Ohio...you know the disease that insurance companies like to pretend does not exist.
“Thrift is the opposite of what Consumerism is all about, that money is not meant to be saved”
Shove consumerism where the sun doesn’t shine!
“if one is old enough, we can recall a gallon of gas costing 98 cents”
That’s extremely high!
I was paying 13.9 cents/gal. for ethyl when I was in high school.
Even in 1974 until the crunch it was only 26.9 cents/gal.
Exactly, and now with the artificial inflationary pressures of 12% of GDP being federal spending, we will see price increases again, and that will destroy both savings and the value of debt instruments.
A T Bill is paying .28%, inflation is running (officially) at 2% meaning one is losing money if one purchases a debt instrument, and that will only grow worse as the porkulus monies spread throughout the economy.
I got one of the "spring-loaded mauls" marked "5" in this photo:
It works far better than it looks; the first time I tried it, (kneeling on my concrete garage floor) it popped the splits off with so much force that they flew over and dented my car in the next garage bay...
As this article says,
"This photo of mauls shows the spring-loaded maul, #5, which looks like a foolish gadget but which truly works well, and will really throw the wood around if you are wise and work on the edges and don't aim for the middle of a big one. Highly recommended by the Bird Dog Consumer Reports."
It requires much less force than a standard maul -- or hitting a wedge with a (10 lb -- ouch!) maul or sledgehammer...
I’m still making 5% on a jumbo CD and over 2 1/2% on our money markwt accounts.
I heat my house with wood. I cut, hand-split and stack 6+ cords of wood every year.
This sounds weird but if my back goes out, there are two things I can count on to make it better. One is about three hours of wood splitting. The other is push mowing. I can’t explain it and it hurts like the dickens when I start but the pain just makes me mad and by the time I am done, I feel better.
My theory is the only thing that can make your back feel normal is to kick it’s but and make it happy that you’re not making it mow or split wood.
I got a ten to twelve cord truckload last year for $400. It's all logs but I will save over two thousand in my heating bill with it. I use propane and the prices have gone up 325% in the last ten years.
Two hundred a cord sounds right for here in CT. I don't know about your area. Last October it was up to $250 because of gas prices. Or, say the sellers say.
I am not sure how a tick would get on clothing hanging on a line but I will not mention that to my wife. My neighbor hangs their clothes over the railing of their deck. I can see a tick finding its way there but even that's doubtful because they only hang around in the grass and low brush.
Regrettably I live in the People’s Democratic Republic of Maryland, and my very liberal county will not allow me to install a wood-burning stove in the area I would need to heat this house, due to ducting concerns. It’s profoundly irritating, and it’s Reason No. 4683 for me to want to GET OUT OF HERE. O God, if only this recession would end and I could sell my house, I’d be out of here so fast . . .
During the war Dad also raised rabbits for food (Yum!)
We always ate very well!
Now, I'm looking for a good "two-bottom" plow and a small gang disk for the three-point hitch on my 30 HP Kubota tractor -- so that I can follow their example -- without having to pay someone to "break" the garden plot each Spring, as they did...
When gub’mint starts making “sacrifices,” maybe I’ll start making sacrifices.
I will check out the spring loaded maul Looks interesting.
How does that gizmo work on elm. I normally use an 8 lb maul and can split faster than a hydraulic splitter on most wood. My problem is elm. Half the time, if it is too wide to fit in the stove door, I throw it away.
I need the exercise and am not interested in a hydraulic splitter but I am very interested in something that can take on elm.
Elm? You have elm trees? I thought they were all gone?
Around 1960, I can remember it getting down to 11 cents per gallon during price wars.
Oh, and I have an OTTB gelding. :)
Of course, I split wood like I knap off 'blades' from a flint or obsidian "core": I start near an edge (to split off an 'arc'), then remove the "corners" left from the first split, etc...
IOW, I "peel off" chunks around the edges; unless the diameter is small, I never try to start across the middle...
Unfortunate that the money his parents have saved all these years by being frugal will be left to their idiot son who will probably go through it in no time.
But, so were wages.
Not only was the gas cheap but with a fill-up, which was considered to be seven gallons, you frequently got a free drinking glass. My mother still talks about the matching set of glasses dad collected, each with the logo of the Philadelphia Phillies.
As your muscles begin to atrophy, your ligaments, bones and tendons start to take over the work. As your muscles strengthen, they take the load off your bones.
My Jewish landlady once told me “There is no fortune so great that a meshugganeh can’t go through it in their lifetime”.
Her daughter majored in theatre. “It’s nice but you can’t eat with it.”
heh..one of my earliest memories was going down to the local gas station (wood floor, wood burning stove to keep warm) with my dad where the attendant would hand pump, via vacuum, from the under ground tank to a glass container on top of the pump, then let the gas flow into the car by gravity..I couldn’t have been more than 5 years old or so..(late 1950’s)..
Steve Tuttle sounds like a good kid. Maybe rather than Newsweek changing him - he can change newsweek. I’ll bet Mom and Dad are proud of him.
Lots of elm, different breed than the ones killed by Dutch elm disease.
They grow like weeds then up and die for no reason. I can count on a cord or two of dead elm every year. On one hand, its nice not to have to take down live trees but on the other hand, it is a PITA to split the bigger stuff.
The only way I’ve had any luck is to let it sit for a year, cut into the end with a chainsaw about 4 inches then go after it with wedges and a sledgehammer. Needless to say much of my elm does not go into the stove.
Interesting you bring that up. I worked at US Steel making about $7/hr starting wage. The company I worked for last year the starting wage (and if you look around) is about $8 - 10/hr. Not really that much of an increase for starters. A gallon of gas was twenty five cents and I made seven an hour now gas is two bucks and starting wages are eight to ten - a much greater percentage. Not to mention taxes, insurance, etc.