Simple Ways to Stash Some Cash

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By Erin Sheehan

There are as many reasons to be frugal as there are ways to go about it. Whether you want to help the environment, de-clutter your life, save for retirement, or just cut back out of sheer necessity, it all amounts to the same thing. Henry David Thoreau might have said it best, “Simplify, simplify.”

When I need frugal inspiration I turn to Thoreau. “I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes… If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes,” he tells us. I saw $180 gardening boots promoted in Organic Gardening the other day. $180 buys a lot of seeds.

And canning jars. And gardening magazine subscriptions for that matter.

These old hand-me-down boots better get me through another season or two at that price!

Thoreau also reminds us “That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.” How about library books, a walk in the park, sledding. Even the $1 bin at the record store throws up treasures now and then. You can make your own list of simple pleasures, I’m sure.

We’ve all got to eat, and if you are like me, food makes up a big part of your household budget. Wandering through the food coop I see display after display of pre-made baked goods. Muffins, bread, cookies, even birthday cakes, ready-made and ready for you to take home, for a price of course. Thirty years ago this was almost unheard of. Why has baking gone by the wayside? Homemade baked goods are cheaper, better for you, taste better, and you have a sense of accomplishment when you’re done making them. And what says “I love you” more than a homemade birthday cake?

My challenge to you, reader: bake something this week. Enjoy a cheap or free activity. Pass up that cute new pair of boots. You can do it! And pick up a copy of Thoreau’s Walden. It stands up to many re-readings.

Published on Mar 6, 2014