Author Topic: What do you use instead?  (Read 10294 times)

Itchin4Scratch

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What do you use instead?
« on: January 25, 2014, 12:54:58 PM »
My MIL is completely clueless about my desire to not be wasteful.  Wastefulness costs me money and costs the Earth a lot more!

When she notices I don't have something, she pesters me about it.  I think she concludes that my resistance to buying wasteful things means that I must be too poor. 

Example 1:
MIL: "Where are the paper towels?"
Me: "I don't use paper towels.  It's wasteful."
MIL: "Do you need me to buy you more?  I can run and get you some.  I don't mind spending a couple extra bucks."
Me: "I don't use paper towels."
MIL: "Well how in the world can you clean off your table?"
Me: "I use cloth towels."
MIL: (Looking at my dirty rags in disgust) "Let me buy you some paper towels."

Example 2:
MIL: (Going to throw something in trash) "Oh, there's no trash bag.  Where do you keep them?"
Me: "I refuse to spend money on something you throw away.  It's wasteful"
MIL: "How do you expect to throw out your trash then?"
Me: "I throw it in the trash."
MIL: (Putting garbage in a box or bread bag or whatever she found) "Let me run over to my house and get you some bags.  I don't mind"

Example 3:
MIL: (being helpful by trying to clean off baking sheet) "You know if you use aluminum foil, it wouldn't take so long to clean the baking sheet."
Me: "We don't use aluminum foil"
The next day I find aluminum foil as a present on my door step.

Example 4:
I just got a bidet and she peeks into the bathroom
MIL: "I see you ran out of toilet paper." (Notices my room mate's tissue box and starts freaking at me) "You can't use tissues as toilet paper, you'll ruin the septic tank!"
Without asking me, she runs off to the store and buys me a ton of toilet paper.
MIL: "It's only $1 a roll!  Toilet paper is cheaper than pumping out your septic!"
I tried explaining to her about the bidet, but she didn't understand.

Example 5:
MIL wants to help me clean up but she can't find the cleaning supplies.  I hand her vinegar, baking soda, and a spray bottle.  She hands them back to me.
MIL: "Oh no, I was looking for cleaning supplies."
Me: "These ARE cleaning supplies."
MIL stares at me blankly.  She doesn't ask, but she gives up with cleaning.  lol!

The list could go on and on.

It's great that she means well and she's trying to look after me, but it stumps me on how she can't understand that I don't want to be wasteful.  I also think it's a little offending that she thinks I must be too poor.

geekette

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2014, 02:54:12 PM »
They way I see it, she sees you as being judgmental thinking she's wasteful, and you see her as being judgmental thinking you're poor.

Framing it more like "this is what we like to use" rather than "we don't like to be wasteful" may slow the offers of store runs, but then again, everyone thinks their way is the best way and you'd like it if only you'd try...

thepokercab

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2014, 03:29:18 PM »
Quote
Framing it more like "this is what we like to use" rather than "we don't like to be wasteful" may slow the offers of store runs, but then again, everyone thinks their way is the best way and you'd like it if only you'd try...

+ 1

I find this to be very true. While I tend not to really care what people think, i also try not to pass off my frugal decisions as judgement on other people not doing the same thing- so I frame my frugal decisions as a personal preference as opposed to a "rejection" of something else.  For instance, when I was working in an office and lunch time came, and I got the inevitable, "hey come to lunch at X with us" I would respond with "oh, I brought my lunch.  Trying to build my cooking skills!". As opposed to "i don't like to waste my money on going out to lunch"- which is a passive aggressive way of saying I think everyone else is.   

Or, when I bike somewhere, and I get the inevitable "why didn't you drive"?  I say "oh, i'm trying to get more exercise!" as opposed to "driving here would have been a waste of money and an example of clown car behavior". 

windawake

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2014, 04:28:54 PM »
I totally get your frustration. My family is amused at my antics and thankfully doesn't try to buy me things I don't want. But I would also be really frustrated if they tried to interfere. I agree with the posts above in that you might want to come up with other reasons your MiL might understand or relate to better.

Also, I wanted to share my favorite cleaning spray recipe:

1/3 cup cheap vodka
1 cup water
12 drops each tea tree and lavender essential oil
7 drops lemon essential oil

I store it in a glass spray bottle and use it for all purpose cleaning and as an air/laundry freshener.

Itchin4Scratch

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2014, 05:04:05 PM »
Thanks everybody.  I see what you mean about her thinking I'm judgemental.  I'll take your suggestions and try to reword what I'm trying to get across.  I just don't want her to keep buying me things that I'm purposely not buying.

dragoncar

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2014, 05:07:14 PM »
I totally get your frustration. My family is amused at my antics and thankfully doesn't try to buy me things I don't want. But I would also be really frustrated if they tried to interfere. I agree with the posts above in that you might want to come up with other reasons your MiL might understand or relate to better.

Also, I wanted to share my favorite cleaning spray recipe:

1/3 cup cheap vodka
1 cup water
12 drops each tea tree and lavender essential oil
7 drops lemon essential oil

I store it in a glass spray bottle and use it for all purpose cleaning and as an air/laundry freshener.

Is vodka really cheaper than isopropyl?  I always assumed it was more because of taxes

luigi49

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2014, 05:10:46 PM »
cant you use a grocery bag for trash bag?

Ozstache

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2014, 05:29:15 PM »
If someone doesn't get my little hints on something like this, I rapidly switch from subtle to brutal. eg. the conversation would go something along the lines of:

Them: Hey, why don't you have <insert wasty product here>?
Me: Because I prefer the more environmentally and/or frugal <insert mustachian alternative here>.
Them: Nonsense, every body uses <insert wasty product here>. I'm going to go and get you some.
Me: No thanks. I'd appreciate it if you respect my values relating to running my own house.
Them: No, I insist.
Me: Which bit of don't interfere with my values do you not understand? If you get me <insert wasty product here> I will not only be angry that you ignored my wishes, but I give it back to you. If you won't take it, I will donate it to charity. In short, don't do it!
Them: Oh, I didn't know you felt that strongly about it.
Me: <in my head> Duh!

And so the cycle of brutaity is complete.

I don't have to go there often, but when I do it does work, even if awkwardness reigns supreme for the next couple of meeting up with that person. They do get over it, however I really do need to work on my mid-range!


sheepstache

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2014, 05:38:39 PM »
Ha, well, I figured there might be a bit of hyperbole in those conversations to make the point.  Like, if I ask for a paper towel in somebody's home I expect them to know that I'm really just asking for a towel-like item to wipe something with, not trying to dictate how they run their households.  However, given how the cleaning supplies conversation went, it sounds like you will have to move on to Ozstache's technique. 

But what I really wanted to comment on, was, uh, maybe have a couple rolls of toilet paper for guests come over, eh?

iamlindoro

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2014, 06:12:36 PM »
But what I really wanted to comment on, was, uh, maybe have a couple rolls of toilet paper for guests come over, eh?

Hahaha, I was about to post almost the same exact thing-- I think it's important to recognize that we all exist across a range of comfort levels, for a variety of reasons, even amongst mustachians.  I have what I consider a pretty prodigious savings rate, but I would never consider giving up TP, and in our house, there's the occasional paper towel used, too.  That's coming from a guy who definitely has fantasies about building a sustainable home (the earthship thread here was *so cool*!)... I guess we all just need to find where we fall on the scale, and accept that others can still be mustachian in their own way.  In fact, I think we're better ambassadors for minimalism and thoughtful consumption if we're more subversive about it ("Check out how much I saved by doing *insert thing that doesn't compromise happiness, but still makes so much sense*") than militant.

dragoncar

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2014, 12:29:48 PM »
But what I really wanted to comment on, was, uh, maybe have a couple rolls of toilet paper for guests come over, eh?

Hahaha, I was about to post almost the same exact thing-- I think it's important to recognize that we all exist across a range of comfort levels, for a variety of reasons, even amongst mustachians.  I have what I consider a pretty prodigious savings rate, but I would never consider giving up TP, and in our house, there's the occasional paper towel used, too.  That's coming from a guy who definitely has fantasies about building a sustainable home (the earthship thread here was *so cool*!)... I guess we all just need to find where we fall on the scale, and accept that others can still be mustachian in their own way.  In fact, I think we're better ambassadors for minimalism and thoughtful consumption if we're more subversive about it ("Check out how much I saved by doing *insert thing that doesn't compromise happiness, but still makes so much sense*") than militant.

I make my guests measure out their shower usage.  They get 1 liter for soaping, and 1 liter for rinsing.

iamlindoro

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2014, 01:55:47 PM »
But what I really wanted to comment on, was, uh, maybe have a couple rolls of toilet paper for guests come over, eh?

Hahaha, I was about to post almost the same exact thing-- I think it's important to recognize that we all exist across a range of comfort levels, for a variety of reasons, even amongst mustachians.  I have what I consider a pretty prodigious savings rate, but I would never consider giving up TP, and in our house, there's the occasional paper towel used, too.  That's coming from a guy who definitely has fantasies about building a sustainable home (the earthship thread here was *so cool*!)... I guess we all just need to find where we fall on the scale, and accept that others can still be mustachian in their own way.  In fact, I think we're better ambassadors for minimalism and thoughtful consumption if we're more subversive about it ("Check out how much I saved by doing *insert thing that doesn't compromise happiness, but still makes so much sense*") than militant.

I make my guests measure out their shower usage.  They get 1 liter for soaping, and 1 liter for rinsing.

But do you sleep on a straw mat to prove your own convictions?

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Ottawa+cheapest+Abusive+convicted+criminal+harassment+after+depriving+family+heat+water+food/9413581/story.html

windawake

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2014, 02:14:48 PM »
I totally get your frustration. My family is amused at my antics and thankfully doesn't try to buy me things I don't want. But I would also be really frustrated if they tried to interfere. I agree with the posts above in that you might want to come up with other reasons your MiL might understand or relate to better.

Also, I wanted to share my favorite cleaning spray recipe:

1/3 cup cheap vodka
1 cup water
12 drops each tea tree and lavender essential oil
7 drops lemon essential oil

I store it in a glass spray bottle and use it for all purpose cleaning and as an air/laundry freshener.

Is vodka really cheaper than isopropyl?  I always assumed it was more because of taxes

Cheap vodka is pretty cheap. I buy about 1 $7 bottle of vodka per year. I love using this spray because it smells so good, no alcohol or vinegar smell, just essential oil freshness.

judgemebymyusername

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2014, 07:41:35 PM »
Honestly it just sounds like you have a nice MIL who is trying to help you out. There are bigger things in life to worry about than your MIL graciously gifting you some household supplies.

There's a difference between frugal and cheap, and personally I think you are treading the line. Try to enjoy her company and not worry so much about such minor things.

LibraTraci

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2014, 12:15:35 AM »
. . . I would respond with "oh, I brought my lunch.  Trying to build my cooking skills!". As opposed to "i don't like to waste my money on going out to lunch"- which is a passive aggressive way of saying I think everyone else is.   

Or, when I bike somewhere, and I get the inevitable "why didn't you drive"?  I say "oh, i'm trying to get more exercise!" as opposed to "driving here would have been a waste of money and an example of clown car behavior".

I really like your style -- very, very tactful! 

The whole phrase "trying to" is very humble too.  "I'm trying to stay carless for a while" is much more classy than "Gosh, I just can't stand the thought of hauling that big box of metal around when I work right on the busline" (which is closer to the truth).  Most people just want a convenient explanation for your behavior -- nothing beyond that.

As for crazy mother-in-laws (who maybe is looking to interfere, moreso than looking for a 5-second explanation), I don't think it would be inappropriate for the OP to set her straight in no uncertain terms, if she is not getting the hint otherweise. 
 

BPA

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2014, 02:22:40 AM »
Honestly it just sounds like you have a nice MIL who is trying to help you out. There are bigger things in life to worry about than your MIL graciously gifting you some household supplies.

There's a difference between frugal and cheap, and personally I think you are treading the line. Try to enjoy her company and not worry so much about such minor things.

Although I personally wouldn't go for the bidet deal, I think there are few things more important in life that worrying about the impact our choices have on the environment.  Not minor at all, in my opinion.

Wanderer

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2014, 03:56:12 AM »
But what I really wanted to comment on, was, uh, maybe have a couple rolls of toilet paper for guests come over, eh?

Oh definitely.  I had to google how to use a bidet because I was wondering how guests are supposed to dry themselves, and I laughed when I found there are bidets that will air-dry your bottom.  I'm guessing this is not what the OP has, because it seems uneconomical.  If the OP is in the US I think this bathroom situation would make a lot of guests highly uncomfortable--many probably have never seen a bidet before, much less used one, and then if they figure out how to use it, what do they dry themselves with?  Does the OP provide clean washcloths?  That also seems uneconomical because if you have people over you have to launder lots of them (unless you're going to be cruel and demand guests use one cloth--don't mix it up!)  Personally at the OP's house I would use the tissues and possibly clog up the septic tank, not realizing that was a problem (I've never had a septic tank).  Give guests toilet paper. 

And for God's sake I hope you're using real hand soap in the bathroom. . .

dragoncar

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2014, 04:02:19 AM »
But what I really wanted to comment on, was, uh, maybe have a couple rolls of toilet paper for guests come over, eh?

Oh definitely.  I had to google how to use a bidet because I was wondering how guests are supposed to dry themselves, and I laughed when I found there are bidets that will air-dry your bottom.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBI8uCKi2lI

judgemebymyusername

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2014, 08:52:25 AM »

Although I personally wouldn't go for the bidet deal, I think there are few things more important in life that worrying about the impact our choices have on the environment.  Not minor at all, in my opinion.

Using paper towels and toilet paper isn't destroying the environment.

BPA

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2014, 09:11:05 AM »

Although I personally wouldn't go for the bidet deal, I think there are few things more important in life that worrying about the impact our choices have on the environment.  Not minor at all, in my opinion.

Using paper towels and toilet paper isn't destroying the environment.

Uh...yeah it is.  Where do you think the paper comes from?  Trees.  And it's transported using fossil fuels and water is used in the processing.

Besides you were calling her cheap and trying to foist your own values on to her.  Live how you want, but you don't need to lecture others. 
 

judgemebymyusername

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2014, 09:37:36 AM »

Although I personally wouldn't go for the bidet deal, I think there are few things more important in life that worrying about the impact our choices have on the environment.  Not minor at all, in my opinion.

Using paper towels and toilet paper isn't destroying the environment.

Uh...yeah it is.  Where do you think the paper comes from?  Trees.  And it's transported using fossil fuels and water is used in the processing.

Besides you were calling her cheap and trying to foist your own values on to her.  Live how you want, but you don't need to lecture others.

You're right, using paper products from renewable resources like trees are going to cause the end of the world as we know it. Please. Her MIL sounds like a nice lady, but if you want to feel holier than thou for using a bidet then go for it. I'm sure I'll see you elsewhere on the forum.

Hedge_87

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2014, 09:43:28 AM »
But what I really wanted to comment on, was, uh, maybe have a couple rolls of toilet paper for guests come over, eh?

Oh definitely.  I had to google how to use a bidet because I was wondering how guests are supposed to dry themselves, and I laughed when I found there are bidets that will air-dry your bottom.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBI8uCKi2lI

I was just getting ready to fire the search engine up to find this. Or when crocodile Dundee is trying to figure out how to use the bedit. I do have a question though. What does everybody use to soak up grease for instance when making hamburger or bacon? We've gotten away from paper products for everything but this (and tp lol they never once actually explain the sea shell thing)

windawake

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2014, 09:49:43 AM »

What does everybody use to soak up grease for instance when making hamburger or bacon? We've gotten away from paper products for everything but this (and tp lol they never once actually explain the sea shell thing)

I just let my bacon drip off when I lift it out of the pan and put it on a little plate where more of the fat drips off while it hardens/cools. I don't care about getting every last speck of bacon fat off my bacon. Fat is tasty.

simonsez

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2014, 10:14:58 AM »
What does everybody use to soak up grease for instance when making hamburger or bacon? We've gotten away from paper products for everything but this (and tp lol they never once actually explain the sea shell thing)

For a lot of our leftovers, we use those tubs/lids that lunch meat sometimes comes in.  We let the grease cool and then pour it in to a container and put it in the fridge until we fry up something else.  Make sure the grease is cool though!  I had a mess about a year ago when I poured the grease into a container and put it away and didn't realize it was too warm and started melting the plastic and grease was seeping out, luckily I opened the fridge for something else and minimized the cleanup required (by using a couple paper towels and throwing them into our garbage can liner, lol).

Any residual in the pan will come out with warm water and soap.

Hedge_87

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2014, 10:47:42 AM »
I do save grease drippings for cooking and just use an old coffee cup. I just always put a paper towel under my bacon to cool a little while I finish cooking the eggs. Now that I think about it idk why I do it. I guess just because I saw my mom do it lol. Another good one is when we have people over for dinner somebody always asks where do we keep the paper plates (normally trying to be helpful and set the table). I tell them I don't like eating off paper plates cause they are a PITA especially if you have to try and cut anything on them. I don't bother going into the fact that I don't like one time use devices that are bad for the stash and the environment they wouldn't understand

CWAL

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2014, 06:57:44 PM »
For house parties, one or two guests will usually bring Solo cups for drinks, knowing I don't own a lot of cups.

I usually pick them all up after the party and throw them in the dishwasher. :)

NeverWasACornflakeGirl

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2014, 05:02:19 AM »
Honestly it just sounds like you have a nice MIL who is trying to help you out. There are bigger things in life to worry about than your MIL graciously gifting you some household supplies.

There's a difference between frugal and cheap, and personally I think you are treading the line. Try to enjoy her company and not worry so much about such minor things.

It sounds to me like her mother in law is being controlling, and the OP should be able to run her household any way she chooses.

Bbqmustache

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2014, 05:48:41 AM »
Bacon grease soaked paper towels make great firestarters!

Elyse

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Re: What do you use instead?
« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2014, 07:11:14 AM »

Although I personally wouldn't go for the bidet deal, I think there are few things more important in life that worrying about the impact our choices have on the environment.  Not minor at all, in my opinion.

Using paper towels and toilet paper isn't destroying the environment.

Uh...yeah it is.  Where do you think the paper comes from?  Trees.  And it's transported using fossil fuels and water is used in the processing.

Besides you were calling her cheap and trying to foist your own values on to her.  Live how you want, but you don't need to lecture others.

Actually, I work a lot with paper making equipment.  It is one of the cleanest industries.
We don't want to destroy forests for good.  We own a good portion of our land and it is always replanted immediately.  We have very strict guidelines on where this land can be, and we work long hours with government agencies to ensure we don't harm the local ecosystem. 

Most factories have so much waste, but not papermills.  Everything about a tree is used in the paper making process, down to the bark.  We do not have anything come into the mill that does not leave as a product or useful item. 

I have had long conversations with high management within these companies.  They are genuinely concerned if the environment is ever put in jeopardy.  Everyone wants to make the big bad corporations to be the enemies... but some of them are just trying to provide a service and be responsible along the way.

You might think you're away from paper products, but I can promise you that nothing you currently have would be so cheap if it wasn't for a cardboard box somewhere along the process.  Since it is cheap, you were able to get your savings.

No factory is capable of being totally green.  But current day papermills are getting very close.
At least the ones I have worked with are.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 07:12:46 AM by Elyse »