There has been an explosion of frugal advice in the blogosphere, both individual posts and entire blogs dedicated to the subject. Given the crowded space, tightwads are, unavoidably, forced to read through profligate portions of excruciating cut-and-paste spam, and not of the thrifty, edible kind.We find most suggestions rather impractical ("how to save money by dumpster diving"; "breast-feeding saves me a lot of money"; "brush your dog's teeth" or, more economical yet, "pass on pets" altogether), a few which are nothing new ("use condoms" and, possibly related, "look for inexpensive entertainment options"; and then, in the inauspicious case you skimped over the first piece of advice herein, "switch to cloth diapers" and "make your own baby food"), and several downright ludicrous ("make your own feminine products", "quit smoking", and "reduce alcohol"). We managed to uncover more usable information in Paul Simon's 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.
For those who lived in Romania during the Golden Era, what with the daily Scînteia (The official organ of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party) the toilet paper of necessity more often than not, it is difficult to find real value in North American blogs advocating frugality (oh yeah, "cut down on your visits to the spa"). Granted, this is a tough audience for such a topic, economic crisis or not. A reader of one of these blogs dismissed a long list of penny-wise tips with the comment, "In other words, become an Amish."
In the minimalist spirit of the time, here's a couple more pieces of frugal advice, courtesy of financial tactics. A friend of ours suggested once that rather than getting married, buying a house, etc., you'll be much better off in the long run living in a hotel, eating at restaurants, and frequenting a friendly professional. We won't be so extreme as to propose such a long-range commitment. And unlike the typical tip in the blogs of frugality, there isn't even the need to track down and print coupons, nor generally expend time and effort (quite the contrary, at which we excel). We equally refrain from swinging to the other extreme on the advice scale ("time is money, so blog less"). By the bye, if your printer is still of the dot matrix variety, you may have already given these a try.
- Do not shave. Or, at the least, not as often. (Don't you ever watch House?)
Cut down on blades et al. If you are dedicated enough to go all the way, then once you don a sizeable beard you can, without anyone asking questions or dropping hints, take up painting or, if that's not thrifty enough for you (materials being pricey and all), get into philosophizing. Blogging, which comes free, is optional. A tub, preferably second-hand, is also something to consider.
- Laughter is the best medicine. 'Nough said.
Ditch the health plan. Even signing up for a comedy channel may be cheaper. The best we could find in the above-mentioned blogs was the suggestion to downgrade the current medical insurance plan, which is clearly for the novice. We are aware of one instance where this fails (at the doctor, knife in the back, "Are you in great pain?" "Only when I laugh."), but it's statistically negligible.
References: squawkfox.com/2008/09/02/50-ways-to-save-1000-a-year; thesimpledollar.com/2007/06/24/trimming-the-fat-forty-ways-to-reduce-your-monthly-required-spending; queercents.com/2008/05/26/how-to-save-money-by-dumpster-diving; frugalhacks.com/2008/11/10/cheerful-frugality-nurses-well