Respect Your Money; be a Garbage Disposal

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Respect Your Money; be a Garbage Disposal

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Respect Your Money; be a Garbage Disposal
Most families have a garbage disposal. I'm not talking about that appliance that is installed below your kitchen sink that turns on with a flip of a switch used to grind up food waste before being flushed down the drain with a stream of water.

I'm talking about a human garbage disposal.

I'm talking about the person in the family that eats all the leftovers and uses all the products that everyone else has grown tired of, or has thrown in the trash convinced the container is empty.

In my home, I am that lucky individual.

When everyone else is taking a banana from the just purchased bunch, I'm the one taking the slightly overripe one from last week. If the salad is looking a little wilted, I pick out the leaves with brown on the edges. My salad will be just fine.

My bathroom drawer always contains at least one almost empty tube of toothpaste that had been discarded by another member of the family. Although it's barely recognizable in it's folded up, accordion likes shape which allows me to squeeze every last micro-ounce out of the tube.

The seat in my shower is crowded with upside down bottles of products I found in the trash of the other bathrooms in the home. Shampoo for colored hair, shampoo to reduce frizz (slightly ironic, don't you think?), and body washes of every fragrance imaginable.

Hawaiian plumeria bouquet? Hand it over, my deodorant will mask most of the feminine scent anyway.

While everything does add up, there probably isn't a significant savings in any of these practices. The point is, I cannot stand to waste things. We racked up a mountain of credit card debt by being wasteful.  Maybe I feel like eating an overripe, mushy banana or smelling like a bouquet of prairie flowers is my penance for abusing my finances for so many years. Or maybe this journey out of debt has changed my perspective.

Maybe I have finally learned to respect the value my hard earned money, and the products it allows me to buy. 

I don't see it as being frugal or cheap; I just see it as using everything I paid for.

Related Links:

Me vs. Coupons: Round 1

Would You Lie to Your Wife to Save $1.29?

Frugal Versus Cheap

Travis Pizel, Debt Management Plan Customer with Leading Provider of Debt Relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt and A Straight Talk on Debt blogs. He is also a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family in Minnesota. You can also read more from Travis on the Enemy of Debt blog, where he is a featured blogger. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

Follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles

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  • LOL! Wait... You use shampoo? Around here we live by the "You choose it, You use it rule" but in all honesty, Daryl is the one who eats all the leftovers. I hate them. In my defense - I plan meals and groceries VERY carefully so unless he actually wants leftovers for lunches we rarely have them. Thanks for the chuckle though! Great blog - as always!

  • Haha, yes Kimberly I DO use shampoo.  Although you may not be able to tell from the picture, I do have some hair.  I don't shave my head clean, I use a clippers with no guard.  Although I do use shampoo, bars of soap, and body wash all interchangeably.  It's all just soap!  :)

  • Oh yeah, that's me too, Travis.  Waste not, want not.  I think you're right about the penance thing: there will be no more wasting in this house until the debt is paid in full, and maybe not even then. :-)

  • Your post made me think of my 88 year old Aunt.  She tells me she is a millionaire several times over.  I believe her because I am personally aware of 10 banks that have her money and CD's.  There are more but I still have to learn who and where they are.  She has never been married so, of course, has no children.  Her only living relatives are me and her 84 year old sister.  

    My Aunt has lived a life of almost complete deprivation by her own choice.  She lives for money - she will tell you that she likes her money and loves to see it grow.  She grew up very poor on a farm, moved to the big city after she graduated from high school and has been there ever since "making money".  

    I could tell you lots of stories about how she stretches and stretches and stretches her money and most are unbelievable.  I call her several times a week just to make sure she is okay and during our last conversation she told me something that is again unbelievable.  I was telling her about the super great deal I found on my vacuum cleaner bags.  She told me that she rarely changes the bag in her vacuum - instead, when it is full, she carefully cuts it open, empties it and then sews it back up to be used again.  

    She doesn't think of herself as cheap, just practical.  She has lots to say about the rest of us who squander our money needlessly like throwing away a once used vacuum cleaner bag!


  • I agree, Laurie, I don't see my behavior changing after we get done with our DMP.....I'm changed for good!  :)

  • OMG, tiquie (Kimberly), that is an amazing story!  My grandmother was also extremely frugal, but she couldn't hold a candle to sewing vacuum cleaner bag back together!  I'm not sure if I'll ever get to that level......LOL.

  • I too had an ultra frugal grandmother. We always assumed it was due to living throught the depression of the 1930s and how that must have forever altered her view of money and saving for a rainy day. We used to chuckle sometimes at her choices, but she was happy, and happily helped family members out financially whenever they needed it.  To someone who didn't know her situation, she could easily be mistaken for a senior struggling on a fixed income. Her family knew she was actually a very wealth woman who simply put no value in wearing new clothing or driving a recent model car. At the grocery store she automatically headed straight to the marked down produce  and dented cans. On one visit I saw she had a can in the pantry with ho label on it. I asked what it was and she had no idea but said it was marked down to nearly nothing as a result, and once she opened it she'd figure out something to do with it. She was a remarkable, independent woman who didn't worry a bit what other people thought of her choices. Definitely not a fan of keeping up with the Jones'!

  • I love this! I am not as hard core, BUT I am a stickler for using things until they literally fall apart. When I buy clothes, I will wear the crap out of the clothes I buy. Right now, I have a blue tee-shirt that has huge holes in both armpits but I'm all, "pshh, just wear a hoodie and no one sees!" I suppose I could sew it together, but everything I attempt to sew together tends to fall apart or look hideous.

    And it is funny what you said about bananas - I will not let myself buy new bananas until ALL the bananas are gone - no matter how brown and sad they look.

  • Love the story about the unmarked can, JMK!  Your grandmother sounds like the kind of person that was selfish with her money - that's something I strive for.  Spend your money on the things YOU value, not what other people value.  Thanks for telling us about your ultra frugal grandmother, JMK - great stuff!

  • Your blue tee-shirt just has built in air cooling vents, saracarr.....its the new fashion craze and YOU started it!  I'll buy new bananas if there are a few left and it's grocery shopping day.....because I always want bananas available to eat, and I try to only make one grocery shopping trip per week (could there be a post coming on this soon?  Oh, I dunno...hint hint, foreshadowing).  But I will ALWAYS pick the old bananas first, although noone else in my family operates that way. :)  Great to hear from you again saracarr, it's been awhile!

  • By making sure the products you pay for are used completely, may not seem like much of a savings at the time....but I almost bet it saves a lot per year!!  :-)

  • I probably should have mentioned this in my reply, I do have other shirts, many shirts actually! BUT - during the weekend, when all I am doing is cleaning or homework, I have my weekend uniform - yoga pants and my blue tee-shirts I bought at the beach two summers ago. The shirts are a very soft cotton that is just comfortable to wear around the house so they are in heavy rotation and are washed quite often. And the yoga pants, I have three pairs of the same yoga pants they all just turned 4 haha! Anyway - my point was/is I could buy a whole new weekend uniform since these threads are literally coming apart but in my attempt to buy less and save more, I am keeping them! Armpit-holes and all! :)

    I go grocery shopping about once a week - it is my banana rule. I usually get banana bundles of about 6 or 7 and since I am the only one who regularly eats the bananas, they last me about a week sooo BAM Banana Rule: when I eat the last one I know it is time to hit the store.

  • That could be the case, Monica,  everything adds up, right?  :)

  • LOVE the Banana rule, saracarr - for me I think it would be the "Grapefruit rule."  LOL.

  • Ha ha ha... my husband can totally relate to this post! He routinely cleans out the fridge for me, whatever he doesn't eat himself I try to incorporate into meals. I call them Miscellaneous Meals since you never know what might be in them ;)

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