It’s amazing how easy it is to live a simple lifestyle when you’re a cheapskate to begin with.

To use a very old expression, I can squeeze the buffalo until it bellows.  (If you don’t have great-great grandparents around to ask what this means, I’ll explain.  Way back when, nickels used to feature a buffalo on one side of the coin.  Therefore, someone who was really tight with money would be squeezing the nickel with so much force that the otherwise inanimate buffalo would cry out.)

I am happy to report that I can bring my own large travel coffee mug to Bloomingfoods, the local food co-op, where I am charged $1.34 for a refill.  This satisfies not only my penchant to reduce and reuse, but also my frugal nature as the refill price is less than that of a single cup of coffee. Then I can wander up and down the B-Line trail and take in the unusual sights of the colorful characters that populate that path.  This provides hours of amusement, not to mention exercise.

With that much free entertainment practically right outside my door, why would I need a TV?  For one, I try to be particular about what I watch.  Besides, my heart was broken when Northern Exposure got canceled in the mid-1990s so the less said about that the better.

For the record, lest you think me an ascetic, I do watch movies on my laptop that I check out from the library.  So let’s talk about libraries.  They’re amazing.  I can go get stuff for free, read or watch my selections, then bring them back and get more stuff, without having to buy or store everything myself?!

And the Hancock County Public Library is particularly cool because of that stuffed owl.  What, you didn’t know there is an owl at the library?  I don’t even live there and I know about the owl!  It’s in the children’s department.  Go visit it this week.  (The Monroe County library doesn’t have an owl but there’s a restaurant down the street that features a wooden owl sculpture in the outdoor seating area so I still get to pay homage to an owl.)

Moving on.  I’m not sure that I’ve ever actually purchased trash bags.  I use plastic grocery bags because I just don’t generate that much trash, since I’m only one person who also happens to be into recycling.  And now that everyone knows I collect bags, I have way more than I use up with trash.  I’ve discovered how you can cut these bags into strips and make them into plastic yarn (“plarn”) that I can then crochet into other things, like a yoga mat bag.  (As one very left-brained friend astutely put it, “So you’re going to take plastic bags and make them into other plastic bags?”)

As a result of all this, I’ve gotten quite a reputation amongst my circle of friends.  At a recent workday at church, I made a big deal of pointing out that I would not be stuck with some tedious indoor task like polishing the silver.  

It serves me right for opening my big mouth because the subject of the attic came up, and how it could only be tamed by someone who would show no mercy when it came to culling the herd, so to speak.  I was selected as the one with enough fortitude for the job.  I feel I now have this legendary mystique that follows me like a train.

But one thing you can’t get rid of—duct tape.  This is the skinflint fix-all solution. I saw a kid with a flashlight taped to the middle of his bicycle handlebars. (He had used some other kind of tape but it’s a start.)  I felt an affinity for this kid—why spend money on a fancy bike light, that you’d have to wait to buy until your parents take you to the store, when you can solve the problem right then and there, enabling you to extend your evening ride?

I think we thrifty people must by nature be more creative in finding ways to stretch our resources so it seems like we’d be good to have around for our efficiency.  Maybe I could start a consulting business:  Ask A Penny Pincher. And out of respect for all the other chintzy people out there, my advice would be free.