Making Do: Frugal Substitutions for Toilet Paper

Have you seen that crazy talk on the ‘net about using corn cobs in place of TP? Other than farmers, who has corn cobs laying around?! Leaves sounds more reasonable, albeit not dried ones. I can’t say I know that for a fact because Wayne is a party pooper. (I apologize in advance for the unfortunate and unintended puns in this post).

Here’s how it went. We were sitting in our three season sunroom yesterday afternoon which was glorious. The sunlight brought the sunroom temp up to seventy even though it was still in the 40s outside. The local indie oldies a.m. station was playing on the vintage radio. We sat on our rocking chairs and I asked his thoughts about leaves in lieu of TP if it came down to that. Then I had a great idea on how to find out!  I can’t believe he didn’t want to play along with my novel quarantine game.

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Moving Forward, Leaving My Book Behind, Good Things To Come

Thank you to all who took the time to comment on my last two posts. Your participation is important for me to be motivated to keep writing here.

I have some sad news about my book, The Thrifty Yankee’s Guide to Frugal Living. It’s only 1/3 finished (managing the pain after my fall on the ice and endocrine disorder issues/testing further delayed my writing) and I won’t resume until after coronavirus is history.  I know you’re thinking, wait, what do you mean? We need to learn how to live with less now more than ever! We need Yankee thrift!

Yes, that’s true and not to worry, I will continue to share my frugal living tips here in this new landscape. However what I’ve written so far in my book applies to a different world. Examples? Talking about eating out less where now we can’t at all; a whole section on how to yard sale like a pro where I share my hard-earned secrets when in reality for the foreseeable future (a year or more?) buying second-hand in crowded spaces won’t be happening. Those are just a couple of examples, but really the issue is that the overall approach would come across as tone-deaf now. This represents a loss of income I had planned on for this summer but this sort of thing is happening for so many of us. (By the way  L.L.Bean which is normally open 24/7, even during the big ice storm of ’98 had to install locks because they, too are closed.)

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Vintage Linens Add Charm, Can Save Money

In 2018 I shared that we only use cloth napkins. Many of you know that I have a huge collection of vintage kitchen linens from estate sales, most of which have never been used (then or now). Some I thought were too special to ever use, others I really like but decided that I would sell them. Well, I changed my mind and won’t be selling any of them! I’d much rather use and enjoy them, but there’s a MAJOR hindrance…

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Yankee Thrift Is Freedom Of Choice

Traditional Yankee thrift isn’t obsessed with money. It’s not frugal for the sake of frugal or only buying things on sale. It values mindfulness of priorities, adeptness at record-keeping and investing, yes, but doesn’t make spending or not spending the only focus of one’s existence. It’s not frugal in all things which is why one can be affluent yet still enjoy this fine art of living that involves creativity, intelligence and self-confidence. Only those who worry about status will spend money in an effort to “keep up” and impress in ways that go beyond taking a healthy pride in one’s appearance. It’s why online “influencers” are so good at encouraging people to spend money on image management and status brands come out ahead when they can put a price on transitory self-esteem. New Englanders value independence, so what better way to live than to spend money that doesn’t involve checking in with any prescribed aesthetic or current trend?

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Vintage Kitchens

Many of you know how much I love vintage kitchens which is why I didn’t update the one in our house. I really like the one above from Realtor.com with the mod Emilio Pucci-esque ceiling in this 1908 Prouts Neck estate! A hobby of mine is looking at homes online. I’ve been enjoying the MLS regularly since around 2005 when I was looking to buy a house, but then I never stopped because it’s a lot of fun to check out the interiors of old homes. I’ve noticed that charming old kitchens are getting harder to find now because the newer buyers of the older homes are updating them. But are they always nicer?

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Making Peace With February

Is that Godzilla punching my roof as I type this post? Kind of, only its name is February. It’s the occasional sound of things expanding and contracting when it’s in the single digits or below. It also means my house is nice and toasty inside. We had an ice storm on Friday, and while they can be extremely destructive, like cutting power for days or weeks, and most recently lifting me in the air before smacking me on my behind (I’m getting PT now, recovery is up and down but happening), it can also be beautiful. I snapped the photo above yesterday afternoon. I love how the sunshine makes the icy branches gleam brightly as if I’m living in an enchanted fairyland.

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The Simplicity of Success

I really wish the cliched photo of a human silhouette standing on a mountaintop or road with arms raised would cease to be the image to represent “success”. I keep seeing it on marketing materials and a quick google search for “success” turns up the same nonsense. It seems so 1990s Tony Robbins which works for some people, but not for me. All I can see, besides lack of imagination and following a tired marketing message is someone expressing their own greatness for having climbed a metaphorical mountain on their own. If that’s success then I’m an abysmal failure!

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The Frugal Housewife By Mrs. Child: “Time Is Money”

Lydia Marie Child was an American abolitionist, women’s rights activist, Native American rights activist, novelist, journalist, and opponent of American expansionism. She was also a New England housewife famous for her book published in 1829, The Frugal Housewife. The introduction offers a very interesting glimpse into how much has changed in our mindset since that time:

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Are You Priced Out of The Housing Market?

Record-breaking news here in Maine: Housing sales are up 23 percent from a year earlier and the median price went up 8 percent. The median cost for a home in my county went up to $325,000 from $307,000 a year ago. Nationwide, median sales prices also rose to $274,500 from $254,700 a year earlier. When I bought my house in 2009 it was after the housing bubble had crashed. I rented my entire life up until age forty. Are we in a housing bubble now? Time will tell, but the reality is that if you can’t afford to buy a house, it’s not a good time to buy. This post is for those of you who may believe that you’re throwing your money away by renting. 

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Why Frugal People Pay to Join AARP

I was so excited when I turned 49 1/2! It meant that I could join AARP and get an AARP card! WHY would I be excited about getting older and flash something that isn’t, as one person pointed out to me, “a badge of honor?” Because I think it is! Not only that, but it’s what frugal people do to save money now and in the future. For starters, if you have AT&T for your mobile you save 10% on your bill and 15% on wireless accessories! After factoring my annual membership fee I’m making money right away! More importantly AARP lobbies to keep Social Security and Medicare strong, drug prices low and advocates for many other things that DO affect your wallet. I also get their monthly publications that highlight important things like how to deal with ageism in the workplace.

I know many of you are thinking that you want nothing to do with AARP because it means you’re “getting old.”

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