The Frugalist Mom in the World

December 2, 2010

Packages of tinsel icicles

I can’t see silver icicle tinsel without thinking of my mother and the Christmas trees of my childhood.  All nine of us kids would help decorate the tree, fighting over who got to place favorite ornaments, and sharing the job of laying icicle tinsel, strand by single strand, over the needled branches.  I soon grew weary of the tedious task of decking our tree with tinsel.  It was so tempting to apply it in clumps because strand-by-strand was soooo slow!

My mother was so frugal that she saved tinsel from year to year.  That meant that once the holidays were over, we’d have to carefully remove the tinsel, and drape it over our hands so that the strands wouldn’t get tangled. . . another laborious job.

I don’t know why my mother bothered.  Surely a package of icicle tinsel cost less than 50 cents back in those days.  But it is definitely an indication of how I was brought up to “waste not, want not.”  My mother saved bread bags to re-use in lieu of disposable sandwich bags and for freezing butchered chickens.  She saved rubber bands and twisty tabs.  We had a stash of used boxes under the basement stairs.  A roll of paper towels lasted for more than a year.  Heck, we kids even took baths in turn, youngest to oldest, re-using the bath water.  (I used to have fun playing with the scum that floated on the top of the water by the time it was my turn in the tub!!)

I’m a rather frugal person myself.  I guess I am like my mother in this respect.  But I doubt that, if I used icicle tinsel, I would take the time to save it for next year!  I concede that my mother was the Queen of Frugal.

3 Responses to “The Frugalist Mom in the World”

  1. Lynne Says:

    We always saved tinsel – and wrapping paper, rubber bands, twist-ties, etc. – from year to year, too. I think a lot of it, in our family, anyway, was a holdover from the Great Depression. In the current recession – or whatever they’re calling it now – people are looking for more ways to trim their budgets again. It’s a challenge, when you’re already accustomed to being frugal, isn’t it?

  2. sandybessingpas Says:

    I remember those days too and a few years ago decided to decorate my tree with tinsel and save it for the next year-I didn’t have the patience and it went out with the garbage-I am frugal to a fault in other ways though and it still bothers me to see a perfectly good plastic bag thrown into the garbage. I use the back of greeting cards to make my lists for shopping and “to do’s”, and if I do buy bread always save the bags to wrap my chickens. Since I bake bread nearly every week, I am on the lookout after church dinners to save all the bread bags that would otherwise get thrown away.

  3. Shirley Mord Says:

    We all have our frugal ways, I cannot throw away a box and always try to use my bags for groceries such an easy thing and saves so much.
    Keep up with the information, love it.


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