Frugal in Virginia's husband, Ryan, has another smashing piece up here which you'll want to go read. I found myself nodding along in agreement until I came to the sentence which said they don't reuse their Ziploc bags.
I had to stop and catch my breath for a second.
They don't reuse Ziploc bags?? Doesn't that break rule number 10454 in The Frugal Zealot's Handbook? Doesn't everyone know that you must get at least 543 uses out of a Ziploc bag before throwing it out? That's just what we frugal folks do. Anything else would be… well, it would just be unthinkable.
Jesting aside, the point of the piece was excellent: true frugality considers the ROI (return on investment of time) as the bottom line. There are thousands of ways to save a buck. But each family needs to carefully weigh how much time it is going to take to save that buck. Time is money, too.
So figure out which money-saving efforts are worth your time and stick with those. Don't feel guilted over the fact that you might not be doing all the frugal things some other family is doing. You can't do it all, so pick and choose what works for your family in the season of life you're in.
For me, it's not a big deal at all to reuse Ziploc bags. I do a lot of baking so when a freezer bag of baked goods is empty, I just dump the crumbs into the trash and stick the empty bag back into the freezer door to be at-the-ready for my next Baking Day spree. It probably takes me all of ten seconds and it means that I only buy a box of freezer bags twice a year–at the most.
But there are a lot of things I don't do. For instance, I don't use a clothesline, don't cloth diaper, and we do go out to eat once a week. Just like it seems weird to me that someone who considers themselves frugal would not also reuse their Ziploc bags, it probably seems strange to some of you that I don't hang my clothes out, use cloth diapers, or make every meal from scratch.
I've done each of those things before and might do them again in the future, but I've found they just don't work well for our family right now. And I'm okay with that. What works for one family, won't necessarily work for another family.
I love how Ryan ends his post:
Check up on yourself. Evaluate your frugal techniques. Which ones are really
worth it? If you wouldn’t accept $2 per hour as payment for your labor
from another, don’t accept it from yourself under the guise of
frugality. Valuing your time is the subtle and important difference
between being cheap and being frugal.
The frugal experience is about living better on less. If you miss the living better part, you’ve missed it entirely.
Just for fun: do you reuse your Ziploc bags? What common frugal techniques do you find to not work or be worth it to your family? Tell us about it in the comments.