Monday, January 24, 2011

Tightwad Gazette Revisited: Notebook of Frugal Triumphs...and blessings

In the Tightwad Gazette Volume 3, or the Complete Tightwad Gazette, there is a note from a newsletter subscriber, who said that she had begun keeping a "journal of frugal triumphs." She found that documenting and then reviewing small successes and "scores" was an encouragement on the days that didn't go so well.

I remember reading this at the time (around 1996) and keeping a similar list...I don't have it now, but I remember such things as finding not one but two dressy dresses in my size at a yard sale, right before a cousin's wedding; a neighbour passing on some extra milk to us (she didn't know we had just finished up the last of it); and Mr. Fixit bringing home free milk and juice that he got at the gas station for filling up his work van (it was okay to do that--the company he worked for didn't want the milk and juice).

I never counted those things as triumphs, though; I thought of them more as blessings than boastings. I read a quote--I think it was in the Os Guinness book I just finished--about atheists being in a pickle when they're feeling thankful and have nobody to thank.

And though I don't always keep a list on paper, I do remember many of the small and large blessings, of the frugal and financial sort, that we have seen over the years. Things like finding something useful at the back of the cupboard; finding a recipe that just matches what's on hand; having something offered to us that we needed; finding a good sale at the supermarket or a treasure at the thrift store. Here are a few of the most recent:

A black skirt for Mama Squirrel from the thrift shop, part wool, suitable for church. Price: $1. (Back in December, MS also found a couple of holiday outfits there for a total of less than $10.)

An extra week's wages for Mr. Fixit; he didn't take enough sick days over the past while, so it was made up in pay. That is a blessing in more ways than one.

Three thrift shop books on Saturday: two by Philip Yancey, and Becoming a Woman of Excellence by Cynthia Heald, something I had wanted to read. Also a copy--a bit battered--of Teddy Jam's Night Cars.

Marked-down chicken and other meat at the supermarket--it wasn't even about to expire. Mr. Fixit cooked the chicken last night for Sunday dinner and it was very good.

Marked-down chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies. Marked-down Italian bread at the more-expensive-supermarket on a day that was too stormy to go to our usual discount store.

Ponytails got 25 Mabel's Labels free with a coupon on the laundry detergent. And a free pair of cupcake earrings on a blog giveaway.

The Apprentice won a free t-shirt and a price card good for store discounts.

Sheets on sale.

Ponytails found a good sewing section in a recently-opened Walmart (somewhere we don't usually shop, so just her being there was kind of unusual); and they had the webbing she needed for her sewing project.

Finally: do you remember the story of Crayons' Crissy doll, how when we bought her she smelled so badly of cigarettes and how her original green plaid dress didn't survive the cleaning? Crayons found the same dress on E-bay last week (Mama Squirrel was helping her look at Crissy clothes) and she got it for less than a dollar--nobody else bid on it. When Mr. Fixit mentioned to the seller that the dress was for his little girl's doll, she cancelled the shipping charge. There are some very, very nice people out there.


Erica said...

Thanks for this reminder! It is so hard not to complain about our finances! We have experienced some great blessings like this lately...looks like I need to make a list. I sure enjoyed reading yours & celebrating God's faithfulness! It is here that we are really seeing HIM providing :)

Paula Wethington said...

The Frugal Village forums have a thread that is started every month called "What did you get free?"

It's a brag list, to be sure, but it's also very obvious the gratitude that the posters have about their finds, hand-me-downs, leftovers and shopping bargains.