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Life is too short for some penny-pinching ideas I’ve heard

PUBLISHED: 11:00 09 April 2017 | UPDATED: 15:11 10 April 2017

Asking visitors to bring their own teabags has nothing to do with the spirit of thriftiness, says Sheena Grant. It's just mean-spirited.

Asking visitors to bring their own teabags has nothing to do with the spirit of thriftiness, says Sheena Grant. It's just mean-spirited.

Archant

In my quest to live life a little less wastefully, I’m always on the lookout for inspiration from others, writes Sheena Grant.

Thriftiness is a way of life that requires imagination, determination and resolve if you’re to succeed in rejecting the pervasive promotion of ever-more consumption.

But whether it’s cutting the cost of energy, eating, shopping or leisure time, I always work on the proviso that self-reliance and a concern for using the planet’s resources wisely and sparingly should enrich your life rather than diminish it.

This might mean going for a walk on a starry night, putting a whelk shell to your ear to listen to the sea as you did in childhood or taking a moment to savour the feel of the sun on your face in spring time rather than spending your weekends in a crowded shopping centre, racking up credit card debt and becoming ever more dissatisfied at all the things you can’t afford.

It could also mean collecting free firewood from the countryside to burn in a stove or open fire instead of using costly central heating, being creative by upcycling charity shop clothes to create something truly unique or just enjoying spending time with loved ones and friends.

But there are also plenty of things that, for me, thriftiness should never mean.

This week, I want to share with you some of the penny-pinching ideas I’ve read from other thrifty souls but rejected on the grounds that life is too short for such discomfort. If I had wanted to live a life of desolate asceticism I would have donned a hair shirt and gone to inhabit a cave on a rocky outcrop north of Shetland.

Here they are, in all their unadulterated misery:

• Discourage visitors - if you wear extra layers rather than putting the heating on they won’t come and that saves money.

• If people do call, get them to bring their own tea bags.

• Only have one light on in the house at any one time. Carry a wind-up torch from room to room and to light your way to the bathroom at night.

• Learn to write in small handwriting to save ink.

• Only brush your teeth with toothpaste once a day. Use just water and a toothbrush at any other times.

• Eat your dinner straight out of the pan to save on washing-up liquid and hot water.

• Give up using shampoo and just wash your hair in water instead.

• Don’t buy toilet paper - keep a water pistol in the bathroom and use it to freshen up after a visit to the loo.

Each to their own in everything, including thriftiness, but to me all of the above are no way to live and have nothing to do with the open, creative and vibrant spirit of thriftiness. Many of them are just mean-spirited.

However, there is one way in which they do serve a very valuable purpose. Reading about them gave me one of life’s most vital and thrifty pleasures - laughter. I hope they make you smile too.

Share your tips via email or Tweet using #ThriftyLiving.

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