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Monday, February 18, 2013

Frugal living

We all love a good bargain, don't we? All my life I have shopped clearance sales and "Crazy Days" events - you know - when all the stuff the stores needed to get rid of was put outside on the sidewalk, or even in the street and had crazy cheap prices. Some of it was junk but often found many good things as well. I always found new clothes for my kids before school started. I am not sure that is done as much anymore. The small mall in the next town has a tent sale that is similar. They set up a large tent in the parking lot for a couple of days. Plus the shops in the mall put their clearance things on tables and racks in the center of the mall. But it seems to me that they aren't marked down all that much.

Recently one of my internet friends said she had to throw some meat away because it had turned green in the fridge, but the other roast bought the same day was still good when she fixed it the day before. So the meat must have been old when she bought it. But that sparked some replies and the idea for this post. Before I could get around to writing I received an email with several pictures of old WWII posters. Among them was this one ~

Take notice of the words at the bottom. "Buy wisely - cook carefully - store carefully - use leftovers."
Many things, including some foods, were rationed during the war. Sugar was one of them. Gasoline was also, and tires. I don't recall the other things right now. There was limited supply at the time, and our soldiers needed food to keep them going so they could fight. Gasoline and rubber for tires was needed for army vehicles. Many factories were taken over and adapted to making war supplies so they were no longer making consumer goods for the public.
As I was looking for the pictures of the posters to include here, I found one that I wasn't able to copy. It said, "Give it style, leftovers can taste good and look good." Isn't it interesting the the government was constantly reminding people with these posters, and making suggestions on how they could help with the war effort right here at home. I wonder if they also had newspapers and magazines telling how to make those leftovers look and taste good. I am sure Good Housekeeping had lots of articles about that.
Back to that discussion of the bad meat, here is what I said ~

"No matter how good the sale was, or how cheap the meat (or anything else), if there is no room to store it or use it before it spoils, then it is not a bargain. I know you ladies are great at saving, and buying lots of bargains for stocking up, but you can get too much. Some of you have mentioned that all your freezers are packed full as well as one or two fridges. So why are we buying more? . . . . .  I know you don't throw food away very often unless it would be some leftovers that no one wanted. So I am not pointing to any one person. I have been guilty of not cooking something soon enough too. I either forgot I had it, or didn't realize how much time had gone by since I got it.

That is one good reason to do these pantry challenges and freezer challenges. Use up the stuff that has been there the longest before buying more! My little freezer is far from being packed full, though I do wish I had a whole lot of space filled with precooked foods or at least pre-prepped, but I haven't gotten around to doing that yet. It seems when I do cook I just keep eating it until gone because I don't feel like cooking. I probably throw out more lettuce and fresh produce because I buy too much at one time. Everything looks so good when in season and I get hungry for it all, but can't eat it all before it spoils. And lettuce, I like green salads, and it is really easy to fix when I cut up a bunch ahead of time, but I get tired of it, plus it is usually the last thing I feel like eating."

So the advice in WWII is still a good thing to do now, not just during a war, though we still have troops in the trenches, so to speak, in many areas of the world.

If your fridges and freezers are packed full, and there is a great sale on meats or other fresh food, and your pantry is overflowing, think twice about stocking up some more, because chances are, something will go bad before it gets eaten. So all that money you 'saved' on that sale, went in the garbage can along with much more than what was saved.

And fresh vegetables, fruits and other foods that don't freeze well (if you had the room in the freezer) and they are for sale at the lowest price you have seen for awhile, still only buy what you will be able to use while it is still edible.

Today too many families eat out too much. They may have food at home but don't feel like cooking or don't have time to cook (they think), so they go out or order in. That actually takes time too, and sometimes more time than it would have taken if you cooked at home. So by the time they get around to cooking, that food in the fridge has gone bad. I have to admit that I used to do that quite a bit myself. But now, on limited income, I can't afford to do that. I have $32 to spend on food until the middle of next month. So I will have to plan wisely as to what I really need to see me through. I know I don't need any meat or vegetables as I have plenty in the freezer. But I do need milk, eggs, yogurt and butter for sure.

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We need to ask ourselves this question now as well, since gas prices have risen over 40 cents a gallon in the last few weeks, with talk of it rising a lot more before summer. Is it necessary, and can I combine all my errands in one trip instead of making several trips?

One more thought, I wonder if the government would even consider asking these things of the people now? And would the people listen? The people in DC seem more interested in lining their own pocket to live like millionaires after they retire, and spending 'our' money frivolously on unnecessary programs.


  1. Good post and you know I agree with you.
    I don't think our govt objects to waste or overspending. They seem to think that spending will fix everything. Ha!

  2. :P Catching up night tonight, since I was too too tired last Sunday to do my Sunday evening blogs. Like this post a great deal! And I love all the good posters you found to illustrate your points.


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