Weekly Woot & Grumble: Of Parents & Dry Cleaners
Inspired by other intrepid folk who publish around a weekly theme (such as Mr. 1500’s Thursday Rants, which are an especial favorite of mine), I decided to try out a weekly column myself. It is called Woot and Grumble and I will talk about one (or more) of each, every week…unless I get bored of doing it, run out of woots and/or grumbles, or nobody likes reading them.
So, for this inaugural week I give you….
Mr. Frugalwoods and I have so many wonderful things to celebrate and give thanks for! This week, I am particularly grateful for our families. We had the joy of hosting my parents for a visit this week and I loved spending time with them. Something we reflected on together is how fortunate we are to be set up for financial success by our parents–not because they gave us loads of money, but because they instilled good saving habits in us.
I call my parents the original frugalers. They didn’t retire early, but they’re financially savvy savers and investors, which ensured a comfortable life for my brother, sister, and me. We had a great childhood where material goods were never a focus. We went camping for vacations, shopped at garage sales, played board games and had frozen pizza on fun family nights, and went out to dinner 5 times a year (once for each person’s birthday). While my parents are blissfully retired and not exactly frugal anymore, they instilled these values in me early on and I’m eternally grateful. Mr. Frugalwoods echos these sentiments about his parents. However, he was the oldest of three whereas I’m the youngest of three, so he never had the joy of endless hand-me-down clothes, toys, furniture… I learned the delight of “new to me” as a wee tot.
Baring my fangs this week because I had to dry clean the fancy clothes Mr. Frugalwoods and I wore to our friends’ glorious wedding. I have a 10% discount through my employer and I used a coupon I found online, but it still totaled $51.46 for three lady dresses and one man suit. GRUMBLE. We never dry clean, except in instances where the clothing would degrade if we didn’t. Since we wear our clothes (esp. the fancy ones) for years and years, it makes sense to take care of them. However, I think I’ve now spent more to dry clean those dresses than I paid for them from the thrift store in the first place! ARrrrRGGG! Mr. Frugalwoods only owns the one suit, so it behooves us to care for it well.
I was able to perform needed stitching repairs myself–we’re pretty epic on the dance floor and so incurred a few, ahem, rips–fortunately I’m handy with a needle and thread. While I’m quite frustrated by this expense (clearly enough to write about it), Mr. Frugalwoods reminded me that the last time we dry cleaned something was in September 2013. And it was these same fancy outfits after the last friends’ glorious wedding. What really shocked me about my dry cleaning experience were the number of regular, everyday clothes people were dropping off. I guess some folks dry clean every month? Every week?!? That has got to add up!
I hereby conclude this week’s Woot & Grumble.
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Another great post! Your parents sound fantastic, and it is so true – the best thing parents can do is to instil in their kids a respect for money, the value of frugality, and a real attitude of financial independence. We have been similarly lucky – there were times when we were just out of Uni, and things were tight, where we envied friends who had constant handouts from their parents, but longer term we have benefitted from having to sort it out for ourselves. We see friends now giving their kids “what they never had”, whether or not they can afford it, and think they’re just storing up problems for both themselves and their kids. *sigh*
By the way, we just lurrrve Frugalwoods’ unicorn look. It’s giving our hounds ideas…
Thank you! We feel very fortunate for the frugal start our parents gave us. Interesting that you’re seeing your friends overextend themselves for their kids–it’s got to be a tough balance between wanting the best for one’s kids but also instilling values of financial literacy and independence. I agree that it can equal problems for everyone down the road!
Frugal Hound wasn’t so sure about that unicorn horn–but she didn’t try to shake/paw it off, she just sat there and stared at us, like “humans, help me!” You should email us a photo of your hounds; we’d love to see them!
One time at the dry cleaner’s (maybe the most recent, it’s been years) I watched a young woman drop off two huge laundry bags of clothes, including casual items and children’s clothes and children’s casual clothes (and dress-up tutus). I can’t imagine a situation in life that would make this the best option–allergic to soap? pipes burst and insurance was paying? It was mind-boggling. For all I know it was an annual thing, and maybe the casual-looking items were cashmere bought used for $3, or maybe it was weekly and mostly machine-washable. I have used laundro-mats when we couldn’t have our own washer (and used the tub when we couldn’t afford the ‘mat) and even on vacation: not cheap but cheaper than paying for checked baggage. But I have also met young people earning minimum wage who turned up their noses at laundro-mats, but couldn’t afford a new washer (and turned up their noses at used things, too).