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Laziness and Frugality: How?

April 26th, 2006 at 07:26 pm

I wrote a little piece on how being lazy and frugal can go together. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that people in my life think that my thriftiness takes a lot of effort.

Lots of frugal things might take more time; hanging laundry, or being crafty, or baking bread from scratch. When I have some energy, I do the active stuff, and prepare for those times when I wonít be up to it.

I admit I have a lazy streak. Some people arenít lazy, but the complexity of their daily lives might lead them to think they donít have the time to be frugal. It was a critical turning point for me when I realized some frugal activities are low effort, and could frankly be easier than costlier solutions. Here are ways in which laziness has worked for me.

Meals at home
When I do cook, I cook simply, and I cook a lot. Cooking one night can cover many meals. For most of the time when I donít feel like cooking, Iím prepared. If I make pasta and sauce with some vegetables, I put a couple big tubs in the freezer and some smaller ones for lunches. I just have the regular freezer in the fridge, but I can sure get a lot of loaves of bread and tubs of food in there. Crockpot meals can be as simple as three ingredients. Bulghur, broth, canned tomatoes. Whole chicken, can of coconut milk, piece of lemongrass (from Asian foods store) makes Thai chicken. It may not be as good as a restaurant meal, but it is low effort and frugal and Iím not picky.

If I make muffins, itís as much time to make a triple batch as a single batch. I can make muffins once every two weeks, taking advantage of an energetic moment. Thatís breakfast and snack food for pennies.

Take out
To fight the urge for takeout when I canít deal with cooking, I try to keep a couple low (no) effort but tasty things at home. I have a nice frozen pasta & cheese concoction in the freezer I made a while ago. In a normal mood, Iíll just use the lentils and stew and plain stuff. But when I need comfort food, and have the takeout urge, I can bring out that sorta special dish, which was the result of a simple recipe tripled. Even when bone tired I can press the microwave button. Weíve also used canned soup as Take Out-not much effort to microwave or heart on stove. Even when we splurge on a fancy $1.75 canned soup for these moments, weíre still saving big bucks. Itís less time for me to open a can of soup than to go to a place for take out.

Morning Routine
Iím not grumpy in the morning, but I donít like to get up and do too much stuff. So I prepare the coffee the night before. Iíve even put cereal in a bowl on the counter the night before, which My Guy found funny, but I do what it takes. If I was even lazier, I swear Iíd stick instant coffee in a cup with water in the microwave the night before. Having my coffee made for me, at a Java Store, would take much more effort. If I make oatmeal, three or four tubs go in the microwave. When energetic, the night before Iíll stick some fruit, yogurt and milk in the blender and stick the blender in the fridge. I have no excuse to not eat breakfast. Even if Iím running really late, I can grab the ever-present muffins, or a tub of oatmeal to microwave at work. I get out of bed at 6:45 and Iím at work at 7:30. Yes, thatís forty-five minutes including commute.

Housecleaning
I like simple and plain. My house lacks clutter. Itís very simple to clean, because not too much is in it. Living room is a couch, a book case, a TV, and a coffee table. Thatís it. Cleaning means folding the blanket on the couch and taking coffee cups from the table to the kitchen. The less I take time to buy, the less I need to clean. A Laziness Bingo.

Lunch
I always have my tubs (see above) and my muffins. Sometimes Iíll hard-boil a few eggs, and stash those. Itís hard not to find time to grab some combination of these, plus maybe a vegetable or piece of fruit. If I still manage to not grab a lunch, I have an emergency stash in a drawer at work. On a more energetic day, I brought in a bag of nuts, canned sardines, canned veggies. If I didnít have a desk drawer I could stash it in my car.

Grocery shopping
I donít like grocery shopping. So I donít do it very often. Our ideal is one run to the main store with good deals and bulk foods, then one trip to the outlet/seconds store, in a month. Sometimes we might go twice, but never even close to weekly. We stock up a lot on non-perishables. Some fresh foods are pretty hardy: eggs, carrots, apples, cabbage. If we run out mid month, oh well. Itís easier to get up the oomph to shop once a month than once a week. Yeah, I might miss a loss leader special -maybe I'll make that special trip, but if not, I can live with that.

People just starting out being frugal, peeking out from behind their credit cards at the promised land of No Debt and Growing Savings, should know that there is a form of frugality that fits everyone. Thrift is a mighty big tent. Those of us who arenít on the go-go-go all the time are welcome in it.

7 Responses to “Laziness and Frugality: How?”

  1. boomeyers Says:

    Wow! Sounds like you have it down pat! Great ideas!

  2. Somerlyn Says:

    Lazy and frugal or smart and efficient?

  3. contrary1 Says:

    Great post. Some nights I do a quick breakfast prep in the kitchen too......I know ahead of time I'm going to be pooped or rushed & it really helps my attitude to have simple things done. Tea kettle filled already to turn on, toaster out, kids' dishes set out..... Nothing big, takes less than a minute, but at 5 something...........any little thing looks good to me when I get in the kitchen!!!

  4. markio26 Says:

    planning for anything is a great stragedy... i wear the clothes i pick out the nite before, i know what the menu is for the next day and prepare some things toward making it the day before.. you have some great ideas about less furnishings... i think garage sales are an easy effort if they are well advertised and priced accordingly.. we use one large table, for items over $5, then 4 other tables for stuff $1, $2, $3, $4.. then we just lay the items on each table and wish for the best... no more sticker pricing.. if an item is over $5, we sell it on ebay in a group... hth.. thanks for the info.. very interesting, i do alot of the same..

  5. scottish girl Says:

    I like all of your ideas, especially making muffins.

  6. PrincessPerky Says:

    I am lazy so I love hearing other ways to be err succesfully lazy Smile

  7. Cathy Says:

    If you have a coffeemaker with a timer, set it up the night before. I know we'd hit Starbucks more often if it were not for this one piece in our equiptment- my husband has to BE at work by 6:30 AM. Precious coffee...

    We got our coffeemaker at Goodwill for five dollars. Best purchace ever.

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