Tuesday, January 21, 2014

From the archives: Tightwad Gazette and a notebook of blessings

Slightly edited from a January 2011 post.

In the Tightwad Gazette Volume 3, or the Complete Tightwad Gazette, there is a note from a newsletter subscriber, who said that she had begun keeping a "journal of frugal triumphs." She found that documenting and then reviewing small successes and "scores" was an encouragement on the days that didn't go so well. 

I remember reading this at the time (around 1996) and keeping a similar list...I don't have it now, but I remember such things as finding not one but two dressy dresses in my size at a yard sale, right before a cousin's wedding; a neighbour passing on some extra milk to us (she didn't know we had just finished up the last of it); and Mr. Fixit bringing home free milk and juice that he got at the gas station for filling up his work van (it was okay to do that--the company he worked for didn't want the milk and juice).

I never counted those things as triumphs, though; I thought of them more as blessings than boastings. I read a quote--I think it was in the Os Guinness book I just finished--about atheists being in a pickle when they're feeling thankful and have nobody to thank. 

And though I don't always keep a list on paper, I do remember many of the small and large blessings, of the frugal and financial sort, that we have seen over the years. Things like finding something useful at the back of the cupboard; finding a recipe that just matches what's on hand; having something offered to us that we needed; finding a good sale at the supermarket or a treasure at the thrift store. Here are a few of the most recent:

A black skirt for Mama Squirrel from the thrift shop, part wool, suitable for church. Price: $1. 

An extra week's wages for Mr. Fixit; he didn't take enough sick days over the past while, so it was made up in pay. That is a blessing in more ways than one.

Marked-down chicken and other meat at the supermarket--it wasn't even about to expire. Marked-down chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies. Marked-down Italian bread at the more-expensive-supermarket on a day that was too stormy to go to our usual discount store.

Ponytails got 25 Mabel's Labels free with a coupon on the laundry detergent. And a free pair of cupcake earrings on a blog giveaway.

The Apprentice won a free t-shirt and a price card good for store discounts.
Finally: do you remember the story of Crayons' Crissy doll, how when we bought her she smelled so badly of cigarettes and how her original green plaid dress didn't survive the cleaning? Crayons found the same dress on E-bay last week (Mama Squirrel was helping her look at Crissy clothes) and she got it for less than a dollar--nobody else bid on it. When Mr. Fixit mentioned to the seller that the dress was for his little girl's doll, she cancelled the shipping charge. There are some very, very nice people out there.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I like your idea of blessings, not boastings. A few weeks ago, I followed a link to a frugal blog where the post was explaining how frugal Christmas had been for this family and then asked the readers to list how frugal they had been this Christmas. I read about a dozen or more of the comments and couldn't stomach anymore. I prefer to see it as God's work bringing things to our family that bring us joy because we trust Him for all things even though we are diligent as He has commanded. There is much rejoicing when we see how generous and kind He is with us. I love that you found a new dress for the doll at so little cost and the seller knows that there is a young girl thrilled to use it for her doll. That does bring rejoicing over God's care for your family.

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