Being Thrifty: A Way of Life

Being thrifty was a way of life for me. I grew up poor in New York City on Food Stamps and we had to make our Stamps stretch. Sometimes we added water to our Kool-Aid to make it stretch for a few days longer. We’d use dishwashing liquid when we didn’t have laundry detergent to wash our clothes. Back in the 90’s the PA allowance was $68.50 every two weeks (for a single person) and that had to last for two weeks. When I was searching for work at Goodwill, I received an extra $89 a month for a 30-day MetroCard which was a lifesaver because I would’ve never been able to afford to travel every day on $68.50 every two weeks.

Fels Naptha

Hispano Shredded Soap

White Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

Washing Soda


Essential Oils

These are just a few of the ingredients you can use to make laundry detergent and fabric softener. Did you know? The reason why fabric softener has fragrance is to mask the chemical smell? I prefer to use natural softeners (like White Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar) because regular fabric softeners have chemicals in them that are not eco-friendly. Google the term “fabric softener mask chemical smell” and you’ll see what I mean. I’m moving away from using chemical detergents and using homemade ones.

I’ve made DIY laundry detergents with Hispano shredded soap and baking soda. Sometimes I’ve used Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap with baking soda and my clothes came out really clean (and great smelling!). You can make liquid laundry detergent with Hispano or Fels Naptha and Castile Soap. Google “homemade laundry detergent” for dozens of recipes.

Grocery Shopping

As for food shopping, I shop at my local Compare Supermarket and Dollar Tree because their prices are reasonable. If I can’t find what I need at those stores, then I go to Trader Joe’s (which is owned by Aldi Nord). Both Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s have reasonably priced items and even though it’s been 2 years since I’ve been to an Aldi’s supermarket, I still hear their prices are still reasonable. I only shop for food at drug stores (like Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid) if I’m in a pinch and need something to fix for the next day or 2 before I get my check.

Buying Clothes

I suggest buying your clothes from the clearance race from either Walmart or Target…or do most of your clothes shopping at either store. Most of my clothing comes from either Walmart, Target, thrift stores or clothing banks. Since I’ve had bariatric surgery, I go through clothes quickly, so if you’re losing weight, buy your clothes from a thrift store or off the clearance rack and not buy them new because you won’t be wearing that size for too long. I even buy my shoes from Walmart, Target, Family Dollar or even thrift shops (I clean them before I wear them).

I’ve always been a bargain shopper and I’ve always found great deals anywhere I shop, even online catalogs. There’s no such thing as not being able to find a deal anywhere…because out there somewhere there’s always a deal waiting for you to take advantage of it.

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About the Author: The Bohemian Erudite

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