Frugal Bob

Stories of how I stretch the dollar.

Rotate Clean And Unfresh Clothes And Your Showers For Maximum Money and Time Savings
There is a trick to wearing underwear twice before washing them. No need to wash underwear after every wear – they are worn under your clothes so who will know? Besides, who really enjoys washing clothes and are daily showers really necessary? And don't let me get started on the cost of detergent. I have a system of rotating clean and dirty underwear and showers to preserve the appearance of body-freshness.

The crux of my system is to alternate shower days and clean/unfresh underwear days. Change out your underwear on non-shower days. Clean underwear will cover up any body odor and conversely showers will cover up any odor on yesterday's underwear. Additionally, the first wearing of your shirt will also mask any odors on your yesterday's underwear.

Here's my rotation, you may wish to modify it to your preferences or to maximize your savings.

Shower – Yes
Underwear A (second wear, (Sunday's))
Shirt A (first wear)

Shower – No
Underwear B (first wear)
Shirt B (second wear)

Shower – Yes
Underwear B (second wear, (Tuesday's))
Shirt C (first wear)

Shower – No
Underwear C (clean)
Shirt D (second wear)

And so on.


“When I remove a shirt from the closet, how do I know if I'm wearing a shirt for the first or second time?”
That is easy. The first time you wear it, the shirt will be on the hanger with only the top button done to hold it onto the hanger. The second time you wear it all the buttons will already be done because after the first time you wore it, you took the shirt off without undoing the buttons.

“I'm worried I will wear the same shirt twice in a week.”
Not to worry, just re-hang your shirt at the back of the line. Pull today's shirts from the front of the line.

“And pants, how do I know when to wash them?”
You know when they need to be washed when they are fitting very loosely. After you wash them, they will fit tight again (I call it “temporary laundry shrinkage”.)

“I really dislike washing clothes, are there other ways to preserve their freshness?”
You can keep your clothes with a fresh scent by either spraying them with a generic febreeze (I add water to it to make it last longer) or by attaching dryer sheets to your clothes hangers, they hold their fragrance for a long time and pass their scent to your clothes.

“Your tips are so wise and have saved me tens of dollars. May I pay you for your help?”
In fact I encourage you to demonstrate your appreciation by sending a donation to my retirement fund, payable directly to me, Bob Skin-Flynt. And thank you for asking (however, offering to pay for advice kinda defeats the whole purpose, doesn't it?.)

Flushing Money Down The Toilet
If you are like me, you absolutely hate wasting money. Well, water costs money. Toilets send water into the sewer. Ergo, flushing the toilet is flushing money down the toilet. Go out and find yourself a water barrel and pipe. Route your rain water to the barrel for the toilet and stop giving your money to the city sewer rats.

- Bob

The Cab Driver
The Cab Driver

I just got out of a cab I took from the airport to an insurance conference and boy am I steamed, so steamed I had to post this right away. The trip took fifteen minutes to get to my destination and you know what? The cab driver's meter showed a fare of $16.25. $16.25 for fifteen minutes of work? Give me a break! I don't care they charge by the mile, if it takes only fifteen minutes they should adjust a fare to compensate for the time they saved you. I tried to talk him down to $10.00, that's $40.00 an hour, much more than he deserves. What did he do, really? Take a few minutes out of his day to drive someone around for a few minutes. I mean, really, why pay the cabbie the full fare if he gets you to your destination faster than you expected him to take. Well, the crook took me for $16.25 (he threatened to beat me with the bat he keeps in the front seat.) Next time either I'm going to share a cab or agree to a fare before I even sit in the cab! Jeez, what a shady racket the cab business is. Next they will start expecting us to leave them with tips like the Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru cashier tries to do!

Darn Them Socks!

I have kids and if they aren't outgrowing their shoes (more on that at a later date) they are wearing out their socks. After watching my wife buy more socks almost every few months, I had to put a stop to that needless spending. Now I can boast that we buy socks maybe once a year now. Impressive, isn't it? Well, I'm happy to pass along the knowledge I've gained. Pay attention and don't be shy to print out this page.


First I'll highlight the basics all of which any thrifty person already knows.

In the summer go barefoot or wear sandals 100% of the time.

Socks made of synthetic material last longer than natural fibers so do away with cotton.

Small holes can be sewn up.

Wrap socks with scrap paper before putting on shoes.



Eventually you will come across a sock that just can't be mended, so before you throw out those old socks:


If the footie is worn out but the elastic is OK:

Trim the elastic for sweatbands. Save any long strings for darning holes.


If the elastic is worn out but the footie is OK:

I call these “Sock Savers”. Cut off the elastic to use the footie as a protective slipper, doubling up your socks with the good sock worn inside, the protective footie outside. This will help prevent the good sock from getting worn. Don't worry about mismatching colors, all you can see is the top part of a sock when your shoes are on.


You can use rubber bands to hold up socks, but that doesn't work very well.


Two good footies and two good elastics:

Sew them together to create a matching pair of socks.


What to do with all those unusable footies and elastics:

Tie them to a stick – now they are a mop! If you are like me, I have no carpet in my home – all linoleum! When your kids aren't running and slipping around the house (doing your dusting for you) you have a mop, no electricity required to clean the floors (no need to own a vacuum cleaner.)



There's no limit to what you can do to save your money on socks, here are more lessons I've learned through the years:


Carpeted floors wear out socks faster so if your floors are carpeted, allow your kids to either be barefoot or wear shoes or slippers in the house, no exceptions.


If your white socks are still in good repair but you can't get them white anymore you can dye them a color (wash with dark colors, don't actually go out and buy dye). Now you have colored socks for business or church attire.


Wash socks only if they look dirty. If they smell bad you can skip subjecting them to the harmful beatings of the washing machine by airing them out on the clothesline. You can speed up the process by killing the germs with the microwave oven first – it's the germs that make them smell bad, not dirt.



Go now and stop wasting money on socks.


Happy to be at your service.

Top Ten Free Lunches At Work
Top Ten Free Lunches At Work

Greetings, fellow saving opportunists. Today, through the kindness of my soft heart, I am bringing to you my secret to finding those free lunches (and dinners) at work. All of these ideas are centered around my experiences working in large offices so some of which may not apply to you, but I hope at least one does.

1. The conference. Does your employer host conferences or assemblies for your sales reps, etc? Is it fair that these guys, many of whom may not work for your company, get free lunch while you and your coworkers don't? Time to get back. Know what time the meeting starts and be there about ten minutes early when the line into the room is long. Get in line. Follow the line to the sign-in table. Tell the host an assumed name and complete a name tag sticker. When the host says you are not on the list, simply tell him your (pretend) employer sent you as a late addition. The host's whole job is customer service so they aren't going to prevent you from attending, (sometimes you can circumvent the host table altogether.) After that it's quite simple – grab a plate, fill it up, then return to your desk with your free lunch.

2. Day-old bagels. Often people will bring in bagels and cream cheese for their office team and there are always leftovers. However, no one ever eats the day-old bagels but everyone will not like it if you take the left-over bagels home with you the same day they were brought in. So just take them home with you on the second day – after you grab the cream cheese from the refrigerator. Your kids won't know they are one- or two- day old bagels after you toast them.

3. Potlucks and Birthdays. Job transfers plays a big role to score free food. In a big office people will move around a lot. Those people with whom you formerly worked are excellent contacts to learn of potlucks, birthday celebrations, etc. across all departments. Potlucks always have leftovers and people are happy to go home with empty tupperware. As long as you know a person on that team you have a standing invitation to indulge.

4. Snack Days. Are you on a rotating schedule to bring in snacks? Always sign up for a day you know you will be off.

5. Separation From The Company. Do you know you are about to leave the company (2-weeks notice, temporary assignment is over, etc.) but no one with whom you work knows it? On your last day borrow money for lunch or something with the promise to pay back after the weekend. You're off, scott free. If you see that person sometime down the road, act none the wiser and say, “Yeah, that was a surprise, they (management) just let me go at the last minute and wouldn't allow me to return to my desk or, in your case, see you one last time to pay you back. Unfortunately I don't have any cash on me right now...”

6. Charity Food Purchases. From time to time someone will ask you to buy Girl Scout cookies or butterbraids for their brats' club or school, it's inevitable. Cookies get eaten up fast so don't even bother with those. In the case of frozen foods, such as butterbraids or cookie dough, people will store them in the break-room refrigerator, some of whom will forget they ever put them in there. After a couple of weeks, (I was willing to wait three Fridays,) they are as good as forgotten. Often a person's name will be written on the item. When you start sneaking home the treats, start off with people whom you like the least or don't know at all. Every few days bring another one home, working your way through all the treats. Meanwhile, find a “spontaneous” opportunity to remind someone that they have a treat in the freezer, that way you have someone who will later vouch for you that you are the type of person who reminds others of their forgotten treasures, and the the thief.

7. Scheduled Refrigerator/Freezer Clean-ups. Your office may have a cleaning crew who will clean the refrigerators in addition to the office, but they don't clean the refrigerators every day. Let's say, for example, your refrigerators are cleaned out every pay-day Friday and the freezers cleaned the last Friday of every month. Offer to come in late, work late, or just work overtime (or off the clock you go-getter) on those days. With most of the work staff left for home and the cleaning crew about to arrive, everything in the refrigerators is about to be thrown away, but not everything because you brought to work your thermo-grocery bag. It will be a potluck-style dinner at the Skin-Flynts tonight! (ps. If some food is in tupperware, have your wife wash it, then bring it back to work over the weekend or early Monday morning.)

8. Management Buys Lunch – Your Team or Department. This one is a no-brainer. After everyone has had their turn, grab a large second helping, cover it and put your name on it, save it for lunch tomorrow.

9. Management Buys Lunch – Another Team or Department. After a couple hours the lunch left-overs will be consolidated at put into the refrigerator. Once it's in here, it's open season. Go after this food without worry because people will often tell their friends, “Hey, we had plenty of left-overs from our lunch, come on down and grab some for yourself.” No one can prove you weren't invited by the team's staff or management.

10. Classes. Some companies have training classes. Find out which ones, or which teachers, bring in lunch for the classes. Sign up for those classes, you go-getter!

Getting Back My Free Cable TV
I'm was so upset about my television reception as it has been non-existent lately. I spent hours checking our wires and connections. I did everything short of calling the cable company. I took a step outside to see if there was something wrong on the outside of the house. Wouldn't you know it? Peterson went and got satellite tv! That dirty #%#@! I was getting my cable from him for five years until now. What a jerk! Now both my neighbors on either side of me have satellite tv service and from what I read I can't just tap into their lines -- the tv providers make you buy a receiver to get their signals because they need a receiver serial number or something like that to activate it. Instead of removing my now useless hidden cables I'll leave my “tap-ins” to the land cables as they are (I left the cables to the Millers house when they converted to satellite and I subsequently moved my hook-up to the Petersons). I had a plan.

When it got dark I grabbed Junior out from bed. We stealthily entered the Peterson's backyard and their back porch. I showed Junior how I wanted him to come out twice a week, late at night, and turn the Peterson's dish out from it's alignment. We then went to the Millers and I watched him do as I showed him at the Petersons. He had a little more trouble with theirs because it's mounted to the side of the house so he had to use their pool skimmer to reach the dish. Smart kid.

Meanwhile I'll write to the providers as “Peterson” or “Miller” and request the service be turned off, change the billing addresses, and so on. At least twice a week my neighbors will be complaining to their provider about their poor reception and service and, hopefully, soon I will have my cable tv back.

Bath Day
Well, today was bath day at the Skin-Flynt household. I don't think the kids will ever get used to the cold water from the hose, though I have to admit I think it's funny when they try to run away from Mary when she sprays them with it! Also I was happy the dead patch of grass was getting some water and I wouldn't have to water it myself later.

I know that some readers will ask, "Why do you get to take showers indoors, Bob?" That's a simple question to answer. Not only am I the man of the household,but being the established insurance salesman that I am, i have a reputation to maintain. I need to look and smell professional for a good impression on my customers. That's why I get the hot showers, Paul Mitchel shampoo and the professional haircuts at Walmart.

Back to today.
Again I had to chase off the neighbor kids who insist on watching Mary and the kids bathe in the front yard. Haven't they anything better to do? And how about some privacy? You won't find us peeking in your bathroom windows when you are bathing.

As I returned home I had one of those self-proud moments when I saw the shampoo bottle. You see Mary spends way too much on those little discretionaries for the home. For example, she insists on buying store brand shampoo - something that just ends up down the drain! As if the bar of soap isn't enough. So when she was away I found the old, empty shampoo bottle and filled it half way with the new one then added water to both and shook them up. I effectively bought our shampoo as a two-for-one! You won't even find a coupon that gives you that good a deal!

Showertime was getting very close to the ten-minute time limit so I made sure they saw me walk towards the spigot to turn it off. They were still lathered up but they know the rules. They begged me for one more minute of water and I let them have their precious minute -- it's better than to hear them fuss about it later.


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