Simple Thrift Column – Nashua Telegraph October 27, 2009

Wendy Thomas – Simple Thrift
Published: Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Create inexpensive family traditions columnists653

I recently gave a talk to Merrimack Friends and Family, which is a great service and social club for women and their families in Merrimack. While talking about thrifty ways we have fun in our family, I told them that one way to add fun and memories into our lives is to have inexpensive, but meaningful family traditions that the kids look forward to each year.
For example, in the fall, the Fall Fairy visits our house.

The way you call the Fall Fairy to your house is to catch a falling leaf before it can touch the ground and lose its magic. This is done by taking the kids to the woods on a bright, fall afternoon and setting them lose to run and chase the falling leaves. If you don’t catch a leaf, the Fall Fairy doesn’t visit, so even the teenagers are good heartedly involved in the chase.

Once you have the leaf, you then place it under you pillow before you go to bed that evening.

During the night, the Fall Fairy comes and delivers a new warm pair of socks signaling that summer is over and colder weather is here.

Amazingly, she matches the socks up with the kids’ personalities. The girls get brightly patterned socks, the boys get sports socks and our outdoors-loving guy gets hiking socks.
It’s a tradition we’ve had since the kids were very young. It doesn’t cost much, but it’s something the kids look forward to each year and will pass on when they have their own children.

Pay now, save later
Lynn Clark, of Hollis, wrote to tell me her great story of why sometimes it ends up being thriftier to buy something that is a bit more expensive than the cheaper version. She writes:

“One way to be thrifty is to spend more. I can give you 1,000 examples accrued over a lifetime, but the one that compelled me to write is one that I’m sure many will appreciate. Although I have been cooking daily for the last 40 years, I still don’t measure liquid or dry ingredients by eye – for the most part. I can judge spices, condiments, etc., without a problem, but when measuring out flour, oatmeal, etc., I like to use measuring cups.”

“I have several sets of measuring cups. Only one set is worth its weight in salt, though. Can you guess why? It’s the only one with the measurement engraved on the handle. All the others were painted on, and after a very short time, the paint wore off. A cup, I can recognize. But the third of a cup can fool me from time to time. As it happens, the painted cup sets, pretty and modern, were my purchases. The beat-up tan plastic set with the engraving was a gift from my mom. Not expensive by today’s standards, but well thought out!

“So, when it comes to kitchen implements, whatever they are, take your time in looking them over. Spend more if necessary and go for quality, ease of use, ease of care (washing, etc.), and if there are makings for telling capacity or temperature – be sure they’re permanent and not just attractive – you’ll save yourself grief and the cost of having to replace things more often. There’s great comfort in the longtime relationship we have with our kitchen tools. The older, the better. Treat yourself or gift others with good tools, and they’ll be a fond memory of you or of times gone by, for a lifetime or two. Thanks, Mom!”

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Filed under Simple Thrift Nashua Telegraph column, Simple Thrift Tips

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