Frugal Friday Dog Days Edition

The hopeful promise of spring has now been fulfilled by the sticky and oppressive heat of summer. But that just means more opportunities for frugality, summer-style.

MigrantMother Free Money Finance gave us a list of ways to save on golf. A few were obvious, including using cheaper clubs and fishing in ponds to find lost balls. But also it discussed the frugal strategy of befriending people with memberships in golf clubs so you can play as a guest without having to join yourself. The key is finding suitable marks. “When meeting people for the first time at different social events or just by random chance, be sure to throw in your golfing interest in conversation.” Good tip.

Meeting the right sort is often a problem for us frugalists. Penniless Parenting reminds us that if our current friends just don’t get it, we need to find new ones. But where? “Try finding new friends in places that are geared towards the thrifty; perhaps hanging out in bargain shops or striking up conversations with people at garage sales….” You meet the best people at thrift stores. Just be sure and bring up golf.

Budgets are $exy asked Wanna Know the Cheapest Way to Travel The World? Oh, do I! Turns out, the answer is to work for an airline. That was a little disappointing, especially since the post also bemoaned the poor cash compensation involved. But there are apparently other perks. “You meet a lot of hot girls! (or guys, if you’re into that).” And “Everyone sleeps around – especially the pilots. They get more ass than anyone at the airlines! Seriously, it’s insane. And sadly [?] I’ve never seen so much debauchery or cheating going on while working there too.”

I’ll never be able to look a flight attendant in the eye again.

You might think that sex would be one of your more frugal activities. Apparently not. Surviving and Thriving had a post in July listing Things You Shouldn’t Pay For. It ended by soliciting reader input for more items that should be free but cautioned “Please don’t answer “sex.” I’ve already thought of that one. Besides, in the long run it can sometimes be cheaper just to buy it.”

The (female) author of the post did not elaborate, but a few weeks previously she had shared a list of insanely cheap ways to have summer fun. #1 was to wash your car. And at the end of the post was a request for reader input that again warned “Please don’t answer “sex” because it is rarely, if ever, truly cheap in the strictest sense of the word.” At least she concedes that it is fun.

Perhaps what she had in mind was the cost of air conditioning. AC is obviously unfrugal. Realm of Prosperity shared 9 Tips on Staying Cool Without an Air Conditioner, and although #1 was to wear little or no clothing, #7 warned that “in these temperatures, a sneeze or funny Youtube video is enough for you to break a sweat.” So naked or not, no indoor sports.

On a more philosophical note, Bucksome Boomer wrote an essay pointing out that The Old Days Weren’t Frugal by Choice. By Old Days, she means the Great Depression, and she illustrates the post with Dorothea Lange’s iconic photo of a woman wondering why it is taking her husband so long to get the radiator fixed.

Her point is that during the GD people spent very little merely because they had very little. That’s not the same thing as being frugal today. It was easier. “Being frugal today takes much more effort and thought because it is by choice for most.” Put another way, frugal by necessity is not truly frugal at all.

On the more practical side of frugalism, July brought us a recipe for making your own ketchup. Lazy Man and Money told us how he saves money on razor blades. He pre-shaves with an electric razor, which means that the blades do not wear down as fast. Also, he grew a goatee.

PTMoney listed places to get free WiFi: Borders, Barnes and Noble, Starbucks, McDonalds, Panera Bread, and Hooters. I am sure that I could concentrate on my work in all but one of those places.

Budgets are $exy carried a guest post early in July that waded into the ever popular question of rent vs. buy. Of course, renting is usually the right answer. The key is finding out what is rentable. A new one on me was coffins. “Rent a casket for the service at a few hundred bucks and later transfer the departed into something more economical for burial.”

And finally, we all know that what you can’t rent you should buy used. Which is why my heart skipped a beat when I spotted the blog headline Recycle Used Soaps for the Less Fortunate.

Used soap? Who knew? I always thought that soap was a one-use consumable, like food and cigarettes, and that once it cleansed you it was washed down the drain never to be seen again.

Alas, it turns out that what they are talking about is not used soap at all, but in fact unused soap, that is, partially used and unwanted bars of soap. Apparently, there is a charity that takes donations of partially used bars, sterilizes them, and ships them to impoverished nations. That makes sense.

Obviously, no frugal person would ever have a partially used bar of soap to give away. we use ours right down to the last little sliver. But the existence of this charity suggests that the non-frugals amongst us use their bars only a few times before foolishly casting them aside. So why not buy soap used? Sadly, neither eBay nor Craigslist had anything today. I’ll try again tomorrow.

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