Earlier this week I read on an Internet website some tips on how to be frugal. The one that resonated with me was to buy a fresh pumpkin and process it rather than buying canned pumpkin.

I’m sorry but I don’t think this is  a particularly frugal thing to do. My local store was selling canned name brand pumpkin for $1.59 for a 16 oz. can when I did my grocery shopping yesterday. Fresh squash was selling at two pounds for a dollar. I don’t know what their price was on pumpkins because I didn’t see any pumpkins.

However, based on the size of the squashes on offer and assuming pumpkins would sell at the same price, you would have had to spend a minimum of $2 to get a reasonable size pumpkin. Add to that the cost of baking it until it was tender and then the labor involved in processing it, to say nothing of the electric to run the blender to smooth it out, the equivalent amount of the pumpkin in the can would probably cost close to $4 or $5. That’s discounting whatever price you would want to put on your labor in processing it.

No, I don’t think that’s very frugal. That’s why I bought two cans of pumpkin.  I was reminded of when my mother decided it wasn’t worth it to can fruit any more. We had to take the public bus to a farmer’s market to buy the fruit. Then she had to buy the sugar needed to process it along with jars, rings and lids. That was only the beginning.

There were the hours of peeling and cutting and then standing over a big boiling pot, cooking the fruit. Blisters were raised when the hot fruit splashed on your fingers as you jarred it up. Meanwhile, the supermarket was selling canned fruit for something like three or four cans for a dollar back in those days.

I’m not scoffing at ways to be frugal. I’m trying to do my best to make my dollars stretch as far as I can. But I think it is necessary to fully examine recommendations for frugal actions and count all the costs before you can decide whether or not this recommendation is frugal for you.

Are you being frugal? What are the ways you use to stretch your dollars?

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1 Response to Frugalness

  1. fillyjonk says:

    There’s also the cost of the gas or electricity to run your stove for the time the pumpkin’s cooking down.

    It would probably be more frugal if you grew your own pumpkins, but still.

    Things I try to do:

    “batching” cooking things in the oven, doing things that require the same temperature together, even if the stuff I put in is something I will be reheating later on (like a casserole). It can cost a lot to run an oven.

    I don’t eat much meat. I never did, I just prefer other foods, but I find that’s a good way for me to save money.

    I turn the thermostat down at night (when the heat is on) I can sleep comfortably at a cooler temperature.

    I rarely eat meals out. That’s a big saving right there, and also you can usually cook more healthfully at home. And I find it’s AS fast for me to run home and make a scrambled egg or a big salad as it would be for me to even go to a fast-food place and order something.

    I also carry my lunch to work. I always have and admit to being a bit amused by the news articles that act like it’s some big new frugal discovery. I do it mainly because it’s easier and because I know I can have what I want to eat for lunch instead of relying on what a restaurant has. And it’s faster.

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