KIRBY: Take time; the money you save, may be your own

Frugality includes all the other virtues.

 

– Cicero

 

I like to think I am a generous friend, father and husband who watches his spending and minds his money.

That’s why I look for bargains, clip coupons and pinch pennies until Abe Lincoln squeals out the Gettysburg Address.

“Never leave money on the table,” I’ll tell my wife, who rolls her eyes as often as I roll my spare change and take it down to the bank.

She plays along, but mildly protests when I go to the grocery store(s) on senior discount Wednesday and return with generic store brands.

She will insist some of these products are of a discernible taste or quality she does not care for, and asks that I get the more well-known products. These are well known, I suspect, because they buy a lot of TV commercials.

A good husband, I comply … sort of.

You see, I have taken to operating a largely expanding, largely clandestine effort that substitutes less expensive options into the containers of more costly originals. Liquid laundry detergent is my latest project. My wife likes me to pick up a specific brand. (Easy to remember because it rhymes with “bride.” ) It is also frequently discounted and regularly featured in money-off coupons.

Yet, despite such enticements, I have saved even more money in recent months by buying a very large container of a similar generic at a big discount store, slipping out to my garage workshop and filling up the name-brand containers with my less expensive product.

So far, so good.

I got the idea because the blue laundry detergent is the same color as her favorite dish detergent. Again, I bought a very large bottle of a generic production, and when the original bottle got low, I took it out to the garage and filled it with thriftier fare.

I have also been very successful lately with liquid coffee creamer. Again, there is a national brand she favors. When I bought a couple of generic cousins, she said it didn’t taste as good and we should go back to the more costly brand.

So, I bought a bottle of the generic liquid creamer and keep it in the old garage refrigerator that handles much of our kitchen fridge overflow.

When that bottle inside gets low, I get the generic and pour little portions of it into the more expensive container. A sort of half and half of half and half.

So good, so far.

Not all my efforts have been successful. Generic dryer sheets seem to collapse into little sweet-gum balls in our dryer. And the generic dishwasher tablets often don’t fully dissolve, leaving a melted soap surprise after use. But still I try, and still I save.

Time may be money, but money is also time.

If you take a little, you can make a little.

 

Reach Bill Kirby at bill.kirby@augustachronicle.com.

 

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