What is boils down to is this: the things we actually do to save money, conserve resources and frugally increase quality of life for our families are active tightwaddery. The things we don't do that save money, preserve resources or protect the quality of life for our families are passive tightwaddery.
Let me give you a couple of examples. My son loves those frozen bean and cheese burritos. I don't get it but they are one of his favorite go to foods when he gets hungry and needs something now. But the cheapest I have ever been able to find them are $.89 ea for the small ones or $1.00 for the larger ones. He will eat two at a time, sometimes several times a day! So I have developed a homemade substitute (I have included the recipe below) that he swears are waaayyyy better then the frozen kind and alot less expensive. I can buy burritos for $.89 ea or make them for $.49 ea. I make them. This is ACTIVE tightwaddery, something I am actually doing.
Other times when he gets out of classes and we are heading home he is also starving and will say something like "there is Carl's Jr, lets grab a burger, I'll buy". I will look at him and say "By the time you add fries and a drink, for the two of us it's $15.00. I can get you a lift ticket to Hoodoo for $15.00, is it worth it?". My son is an avid snowboarder and his favorite place to ride is Hoodoo resort. I have found a place online where I can get lift tickets on certain days for $15.99, instead of the normal $44.99. My son will think about it for maybe 1/2 of a second, shake his head and we whiz by the Carl's Jr to home. I probably have something ready to make quickly for dinner already waiting. This is PASSIVE tightwaddery, something we are not doing (not stopping to eat out).
There are probably a lot more passive things we do that save a small amount on any given day then active things that save a large amount. But it's really more about the attitude and mindset for me. Each little thing I do, each decision I make is bringing me closer, or further away to the goals I have set. I am training myself to make the right choices, both active and passive automatically. The bonus in the last scenario is my son is also learning about choices and how they will effect his own quality of life.
One Frugal Thing: I made homemade burritos of course!
Homemade Frozen Bean/Cheese Burrito Recipe (quick food for teenagers)I take a can of refried beans (bought on sale for $.89, the cost of one small burrito), put it in a pan with a splash of salsa, a couple of drips of hot sauce and some garlic/onion seasoning powder, stir and heat. Then I take a package of tortillas (package of 8 cost $1.00 at the Dollar Tree) and put them on a plate with a damp paper towel or napkin over them and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. I take out my block of cheese (I have recently been able to find it regularly on special for $5.99 for 2lb) and use the fine shredder side of my grater to grate some up. I place an oblong shape blob of beans in the center of a tortilla, then place some shredded cheese along the top of the blob of beans (I make sure it is evenly distributed so there is cheese in every bite). Fold both of the sides of the tortilla in (this will be the sides (left and right) of the ends of the bean/cheese blob), fold the bottom edge of the tortilla up over the blob and folded-in tortilla sides and tuck down around top edge of beans. What you have now have should look like a fat tortilla envelope. I take the spoon I am using for beans and swipe a smear on the top of the burrito where I am going to fold the "flap" over the top to use as "glue". Fold the top flap of the tortilla over the bean smear and press closed. I can just fit 2 burritos in a regular sized zipper baggie (a box of 30 at Dollar Tree for (you guessed it!) a $1.00, and I wash these and reuse if they are not yucky and I haven't used them for meat). This recipe will make 7 burritos. I usually put one package of 2 in the fridge and 2 packages in the freezer. The last one he always eats as soon as I am done making them.
Here is the dollar breakdown:
1.00 (tortillas) Store bought 7 small burritos @ $.89 ea $ 6.23
1.50 (cheese, approx) Minus amount to home make 3.39
$3.39 Savings $2.84
This is alot of savings as far as I am concerned, plus I know there is no "junk" in these burritos. He just throws them on a plate and heats in micro.