It’s not just a skill, it’s a way of life. I have taken thrifty to a whole new level in the past several years. Reusing ziploc baggies? They return to their home on top of the fridge each day. Returning any and all unused and unsatisfactory items, even if for store credit at Meijer? I’ve got 3 gift cards to prove it. And the home made laundry soap? Well, husband prefers not to talk about that (though I maintain its superiority to the store-bought and just purchased the makings for another round). Fortunately for me I can hide under this current “green” movement, masking my escapades in a venture to live more “sustainably.”

You can look in the obvious places to see that you’re livin’ on low funds – checkbook, wallet, change jar on the dryer – but I realized today that the real proof of tight pursestrings comes when gazing in a few other realms.

1. The closet. I’ve remarked on this before. I may have requested assistance

2. The itunes library.  When every album you pull up triggers a fond college memory, perhaps we’ve hit an expiration date. Especially when you’ve been out of college longer than you were in it. Really, they’re not all “classics.” (*Freebie: this may also fall onto a list called “places to look when confirming that you are indeed OLD.”)

3. The fridge. A flashing red light would be a condiments-only situation. But the more common landmark? Leftovers. Everywhere. And you know it’s intentional when old (not moldy) bread remains for the sake of bread pudding or french toast.

4. Gas gauge. Again with the college-like behaviors, only putting in the minimum to get you where you’re going. And here’s another “green” facade: I was once told your car is actually more efficient running on an emptier tank as it’s not hauling all the weight. I live by this mantra when I refrain from filling up more so out of laziness or foul weather than actual lack of funds (Brent, if you’re reading this and you have actual, tangible proof it’s a lie, I beseech you: keep that info to yourself). But really, with the Kroger Plus discount (now available at the Shell at the end of my road!) and it going on plastic anyway, there’s no excuse. Sidebar: my family regularly keeps ongoing count and tally of the Kroger Plus points as to know what kind of gas discount to look forward to that month. I’ve been doomed to penny-crunching from the time I was in the womb.

5. Amazon wish list. Ah, what to buy if we could remove price from the equation. And one can buy anything on Amazon. Or, perhaps the list serves as a reminder for those people who seem to have a more readily supply of funds when it comes Christmas-time. Shameless admission: amazon wishlisting sits in my top 5 favorite hobbies list. It’s a beautiful addiction, I recommend you try it.

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