Thursday, June 21, 2007

Commenting on Golbguru's List of 25 Frugal Habits

Who drives an old car, wears ratty jeans and kills bugs with boric acid? The answer: golbguru at Money, Matter, and More Musings, who put together his list of 25 Things We Do To Save Money. I've been a big fan of these lists and have read the collection put together by Dawn at Frugal for Life, which includes a link to several lists, including mine.
*By the way: I've corrected the headline, where I had an incorrect spelling of Golbguru's name.
Here are a few of my favorite tips from Golbguru's list with my feedback:

#2 We drive a 10 year old used car and try to maintain it regularly (as much as possible). It does gives us problems, and generally costs a lot for repairs, but we have figured out that it’s more economical (for now) to keep this junker than to buy a newer (better) car.

My comment: Our family car is also an old model. It's a 1994 mini-van. Even with repairs, it's still cheaper than buying a new car. We purchased the car last year for about $1,000 from a family friend. And we've been relatively pleased and it's great to be free of car payments.
#4 Instead of pesticide sprays for roaches, we use boric acid – one pound of boric acid costs about $2 and works much better than most other expensive chemicals. Now-a-days the roaches are gone (except the occasional visitor from outside) and I think that’s because of a combination of boric acid and a clean sink. Come to think of it, a clean sink and a clutter free home are free ways of getting rid of roaches - that’s cheaper than boric acid.

My comment: We've used plain old dish soap to zap bugs in our garden. I also recently read in a magazine (First for Women) that soap shavings on plants also control garden pests.

#5 I wear some clothes like this one in the photograph: [Frugal Duchess note: check out the photos of his clothing] It’s a picture of my favorite piece of clothing - a 4+ year old blue jeans from Walmart. This is in accordance with the 2nd rule of graduate school - No one cares about what you wear (the first rule is - It’s OK to procrastinate). Anyways, I think I have the capacity to keep wearing this pair of jeans for some more months (may another year) before I start feeling embarrassed about it’s condition. Probably, my wife will be embarrassed to walk with me sooner than that. Note that this is just an example; not all my clothes are in this condition, although quite a few of them are older than 5 years.

My comment: Some of my favorite pieces of clothing are old, old, old and my husband has several pairs of ratty jeans. I love my little black bolero jacket from Yves St. Laurent that someone gave me in 1998. I've worn the jacket at black-tie events and to sporting events.

#10 We don’t have cable. Why? I don’t think we have enough time to watch what an average cable connection offers here. Plus, we are not *attached* to any particular television program or series. We get crystal clear reception for a number of popular programs (Raymond, Simpsons, Friends, House, etc.) using a $9 antenna from Walmart.

My comment: My house is also a cable-free zone and in a earlier post, I've written about how How I Get Cable Shows For Free. Dave Lucas also recently addressed this topic.

#13 We use compact fluorescent (CF) lights only in our home. CF lights save money and I personally like the white light (I am aware that some people don’t like it too much). We use a combination of those spiral CF bulbs and those long fluorescent shoplights.

My comment: I've been meaning to try CF's for a long while. This post inspires me to finally get going on this money-saving; energy saving option.

#19 For vacations, we usually try to locate some good friends near our destinations who would be willing to host us - it saves a bunch of money on hotels. Most of you probably remember a few of my recent posts about our trip to Philadelphia/New
- we were hosted by our close friends during the visit. There are some disadvantages to being hosted by friends, but let’s not talk about it here.

My comment: Great advice! When I went to Paris (twice), I stayed with friends. Friends and family have also provided free accommodations in London, New York, Orlando, Pittsburgh and LA. I try to be a good guest by bringing gifts, a good attitude and an offer of free labor. __________

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GothamTomato said...


With regard to the boric acid for roaches, I may be wrong on this, but I think boric acid is also 'safer' to have in your home than the chemicals in bug spray. You might want to double-check on that, but I think I read that somewhere.

But with regard to WalMart - on this one I know for sure - you should NEVER, ever shop at WalMart, no matter how cheap the prices may seem.

The reality is; those prices aren't so cheap. Your tax dollars are subsidizing their underpaid and uninsured workers to the tune of well over 1 billion dollars a year (some estimates are as much as 2 billion). The Walton family have become among richest in the world - and their fortune is built entirely on underpaid workers both here and abroad.

In addition, their predatory and underhanded business practices put companies, both large and small, out of business all across the country - intentionally. They have also been perpetrators of eminent domain abuse in numerous communities - displacing both businesses and homes.

And all that is before you even start talking about the poor quality of the items in the store. Many shoppers mistakenly think they are getting discount prices on name brand products, but in reality, companies make lesser (more cheaply made) versions of their products to sell there, so you are not really getting a deal, you are getting what you pay for (or maybe even less).

Educated consumers stay away from WalMart.

golbguru said...

Sharon, thanks for featuring my responses. I had fun compiling that list.

For the above comment, "..but I think boric acid is also 'safer' " - that is sort of true. However, like other pesticide chemicals, boric acid is also harmful to humans if ingested beyond a certain quantity and should be handled with care (usually the packages carry sufficient safety instructions).

On Walmart, the arguments can fly both ways and I appreciate people who make ethical decisions on the issue. However, in the present circumstances (read our income), I don't think I can rule out a $10 jeans in favor of a $30 branded ones. We will probably stop using Walmart at some point of time in future, but we are not there yet.

scarystreets said...

Question do you drive now and i noticed you never updated the driving blog and i'm still dealing with my fear.

Frugal Duchess said...

Hey Gothtomato and Golb:

Thanks to both of you for your comments. Very insightful.

And scary: I'm still not driving. I did, however, recently pick up a drivers ed book. I'm still hopeful and very petrified of cars.

bill said...

At lunchtime, I sometimes go into grocery stores and hit all the free samples they offer ranging from seafood, meat, sausages, bread etc. and then top it off with free dessert in the confectinary department!