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Columns

What's wrong with being frugal?

Is there anything wrong with being a frugal person?  I certainly don’t think so.  What is wrong with washing zip lock bags after they’ve been emptied of what you had stored in them and then putting the now clean bags back into their box to reuse in the future?  I do that.  My adult sons and daughters think this is a horrible thing to do. 

“Think about germs,” they insist.  “The bags can’t get clean enough with just a simply washing,” they inform me.  I don’t listen.  While I gave the new zip lock bags they then bought me unending life in my kitchen cabinet, it became, to them, a funny story they told friends about their weird mother who reuses zip lock bags.

It doesn’t end with zip lock bag though.  Food expiration dates don’t bother me much unless they’re more than a year, but even then my rule of thumb is  “the taste test.”  When in doubt about the advisability of eating anything that’s been around awhile I give it the taste test.  If it tastes okay I can eat it.  My sons and daughters believe in expiration dates the way folks believe there are twenty-four hours in a day.  How much perfectly edible food have they tossed, I wonder?  

Let’s move on to what’s in my freezer.  There is a lot of food that’s been in there for a while, since my husband and I are the only ones in the house now and we don’t eat a lot.  To cook any kind of a meal these days usually means leftovers, and because I’m frugal you’ve probably assumed that any leftovers go into our freezer.  You’re right.  Visiting family members are never hungry if I try to feed them food from my freezer.  Again, I’ve never gotten sick from anything I’ve eaten that came from the freezer… so why should they be so unwilling to share a frozen meal with me, I ask them?  They just roll their eyes. Even food from the refrigerator isn’t safe from their complaints. 

Let me ask you; wouldn’t you cut off and throw away the bad part of an otherwise perfectly good piece of fruit or vegetable and then eat the rest of it t?  I do.  My sons and daughters frown and shake their heads.  They would never do that they assure me. 

“You need to throw away any food that’s beginning to show its age,” I am instructed like a child.   Since I’m sure I’m right and I’m their mother, I don’t take their instructions.

Beyond zip lock bags and food, another way I save money is to shop at “Favorite Stores,” a name a dear friend of mine gave to thrift stores like Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and St. Vincent DePaul.  At these stores I could buy a pair of jeans full of holes if I wanted to  (although I never would want to)  for a lot less money than the vast majority of teenage girls who shop retail have to pay.  The extremely low prices are true of many items sold in these stores, if you don’t mind things being “slightly used,” and I don’t.    Best of all, much of the money these “favorite stores” makes goes to help the poor.  Even my picky family can’t say anything bad about that. 

As a matter of fact, I know they shop these stores occasionally, but they probably don’t want anyone to know that. 

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