Frugal Friday the 13th of February

It was a quiet week on the frugal front. It seems like every blog had the same Valentine’s Day hints. The most common tip for saving money was to ignore the holiday entirely, but failing that, you could celebrate it late, when the candy goes on sale.

There was some mention of Lincoln on the occasion of his 200th birthday. There was no mention of Charles Darwin, a reasonably important figure in some places, who was also born on February 12, 1809. That Darwin doesn’t rate in Frugal Nation isn’t that surprising. According to The Economist, only 14% of Americans believe that humans evolved over millions of years. The scientifically minded can take heart in the fact that the trend is actually up. In 1982 only 9% believed in human evolution.

Of course, to the frugal, Lincoln is closely associated with that enduring symbol of saving really small amounts of money, the penny. Free Money Finance had an informative post of facts about the penny, including that 63% of Americans think we should keep using them. That’s actually not that high, if you think about it, and shows that at least 37% of Americans are insufficiently frugal. Imagine how much worse it would be if it was widely understood that it costs 1.2 cents to make a penny. (It takes a special kind of government to mint coins at a loss.)

According to Coinstar, which supplied the penny facts to Free Money Finance, the average American household has $90 in coins lying around. Based on the handy converter on their home page, that’s about half a gallon of change. What to do with this hoard of metal disks is of course a concern for the frugal. Dawn at Queercents suggests that you put it in a tin container rather than a glass one. Seeing the money will make you want to spend it. She also suggests other clever ways of hiding money from yourself, including inflating the values of the checks you write in your check register so that your balance is actually higher than you think it is. This has inspired me to convince myself that I belong to a high-end gym and to record imaginary large monthly checks for the membership fee. I think this will work as long as I don’t notice that I am not losing weight.

Speaking of losing weight, Frugal Living Tips suggests saving on food bills by foraging for things to eat in the woods. Not only will you save money, you will lose weight because of the exercise you will get and because you will find so little to eat, especially in February.

And finally, Tip Hero has a post about saving what must surely be many small copper disks with Lincoln on them by making your own half and half for your coffee. The recipe given is one quart light cream to one quart milk. No word on what to do if you need less than half a gallon of the stuff, but you can use that glass bottle you used to store loose change in.

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