Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Frugal Focal Point

What is your frugal focal point?  Put another way, where do you center your frugal habits?  For some it may be transportation, shunning a car and going with public transport and pedal power.  Another may opt to live in sustainable housing, turning to rain barrels, solar power, and other strategies to limit their use of, or entirely get off the grid.  Some people may purchase little to nothing new, frequenting thrift stores on relying on a barter system.

What is our focal point?  It is tempting to write, stretching the dollar of every penny -- our focus being on maximizing the efficiency of a dollar.  From using index funds (with lower fees) to credit cards that pay us cash back....but that just does not feel focused enough.  So much of what we do is focused on efficiency.  Mulling this over a chili simmers on the stove, two loaves of banana bread bake in the oven, and my lunch of leftovers gives me moments to pause between sentences.  Yes, there it is, our focal point -- the kitchen!

Eating out is not unheard of, but it is rare compared to most American families.  Case in point, I cooked up yummy dishes on Mother's Day rather than paying for a fancy brunch out.  All four of us head off to work or school with a lunch bag with food from home and a thermos of water (for the kids) and coffee for the parents.  Even the very chili simmering while I write is an example of our frugal ways, tossed together with leftovers from the counter and freezer.  Making the most of what we have on hand before it goes bad.  No chili is ever really the same here.  Today's version:

  • two onions and a tablespoon of garlic sauteed in olive oil
  • chopped turkey (leftovers that were frozen in the freezer)
  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 package of cherry tomatoes threatening to go bad on the counter
  • remaining spinach from last week's farmers' market
Simmer for 1 hour, add chili powder as well as cumin.  Serve with toasted cheese sandwiches, and you have a healthy and frugal dinner.  Perfect for the cloud covered and chilly night we have here in Madison.  And with a pot this large, there will be plenty of leftovers for work lunches.

What is the focal point of your frugal life?  Leave a comment and start a conversation!

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