Saturday, October 04, 2014


Bet you didn't know that today is International Frugal Fun Day : first Saturday in October.
From a website titled Holiday Insights

If you dig deeply, you will find resources that describe this day as "International" Frugal Fun Day, and "National" Frugal Fun Day. However, we found no documentation supporting the International or National tags. We did find plenty of reference to the intent of this day.... to have fun "on the cheap".
Frugal Fun Day is a day to enjoy fun activities that are free (or very inexpensive). If you use your imagination, the ideas are endless. Go on a bike or walking hike. The Fall leaves are on display. Have a picnic in the park, or your back yard. Invite some friends or neighbors over for a garage party and dance. Go fly a kite. Pull out the those old board games or puzzles that you have stored in the basement. Play cards with some friends.

Origin of Frugal Fun Day:
This special day was created by Shel Horowitz, author of "The Penny-Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook". We strongly suspect Frugal Fun Day was created, in part, to promote the book. Regardless of the reason for creating this day, we see nothing wrong with having a little inexpensive fun.

Shel Horowitz seems like an interesting character. Born on 24 December 1956 in New York City, he is reflecting his Sun and Mercury sign, Capricorn, well in his career. With Venus conjunct Capricorn's ruler Saturn in Sagittarius, and in semi-sextile to natal Sun, there's a definite feel of reining in excesses going on.

See About Green and Profitable Expert Shel Horowitz
The piece starts like this:
Beginning with a one-toddler action against smokers at his parents’ party at about age three, Shel Horowitz has been involved in environmental and social change movements his whole life.
Some of his ideas at Frugal include hints on economy in different areas of life.
Frugal Fun tips by category are HERE.
Home page HERE.

I haven't decided how to celebrate frugality today. Maybe I'll just sit and think great thoughts - or if I'm being really frugal - small thoughts.


mike said...

Maybe "Frugal Day" will have more significance for the 1%...I'm sure they will have fun with the concept. Many in the USA (and globe) have little remaining to frualize. Maybe instead of a full can of beans, they can have half a can today...LOL.

mike (again) said...

Oh, word: frualize! Should be frugalize.

Twilight said...

mike ~ It's Frugal FUN Day though, not Frugal Day. Still should apply more to the 1% these days. I can just see the Koch bros flying kites or playing snakes and ladders. Not.

Twilight said...

mike ~ God's Tweet today reminds me that it's also Eid al-Adha and Yom Kippur. Hmm then there's Mercury Retrograde and another Lunar eclipse coming early on the 8th - it's all happenin"!

mike (again) said...

It seems that everyday is Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) for the radicalized Muslims, but instead of lambs, it's the beheadings of humans. Will they do something special for Eid al-Adha, which has a four-day duration?

Did you know that Frugal FUN Day conflicts with Sweden's Cinnamon Roll Day or kanelbullens dag? I fear I shan't celebrate either...LOL.

mike (again) said...

In 2013, the Walton family's net worth was $144.7 billion, equivalent to the net worth of 1,782,020 average American families, about the population of the STATE OF LOUISIANA!!!

I bet the Walton family is celebrating Cinnamon Roll Day today rather than Frugal Fun Day.

Anonymous said...

Bill, Bill, Bill on a budget.
Cheap as cheap can be.
Ooooooooooooooooo ...

Watch out for that ... Retro Mercury!


mike (again) said...

And maybe some Americans are celebrating Frugal FUN Day by having their personal assistants shop at Walmart rather than Saks Fifth Avenue or Crate and Barrel.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I thought I would like cinnamon rolls when I was first aware of them, but I've never yet been able to finish one (of the 2 or 3 I've tried). Far too sweet for me, as are most desserts in the US. Will not celebrate with the Swedes.

Walton family wealth is obscene. I don't believe ol' Sam would approve.

Or maybe some Americans will take a shorter sail on their luxury yachts today, rather than heading for some tropical island for a long weekend.
Wouldn't THAT be special!?

Twilight said...

Anon (Kidd) ~ A good lavish non-frugal LOL!

LB said...

Twilight ~ Frugal Fun Day . . . who knew? I walked to and from the grocery store to buy organic apples instead of spending money on the bus. It was hot but I did it.:) And I brought my own reusable bag, so I saved money there as well. Later on, I'll watch a *free* (yay!) movie I rented from the library.

To mike's point, it's true there are people who have no choice but to live frugally each and every day.

Those of us blessed with more options (more money/access to resources) also have greater freedom to choose how we have fun. Saving money (on groceries or other necessary items) can sometimes mean supporting businesses that don't pay fair wages or prices for items sold - that's the whole point of our free trade system, which is all about profits for investors.

Ideally, ethically produced items cost more because workers and producers all along the chain (which is shorter) are treated more humanely and paid a fairer wage, with production leaving a much smaller environmental footprint.

Don't know what to make of Shel Horowitz. He even promotes Walmart on one of his sites! Not saying there aren't folks who have no choice but to shop there or that there aren't benefits to *some* of the other things he supports, but I do think there are BIG problems associated with "green" capitalism, at least at higher levels (corporatism).

Sonny Gianetti said...

I'll celebrate Frugal Day buy not spending any money, thats the Fun par and Cinnamon Day by making my own rolls.

LB said...

Thought I'd add (in case it wasn't obvious) how I mentioned the cost of food because no matter what we do today, we still have to eat.:) Good food is usually part of the fun.

I watched a documentary a while back about a doctor(I think) who returned to her community to collect unsellable (but still edible) organic fruits and vegetables from local farmers to help feed farmworkers. She actually picks the fruit and delivers the fruit herself. If I remember correctly, she also offers free cooking workshops to these same farmworkers, teaching them how to make healthy (whole) food taste delicious.

Now that would be a fun way to spend the day.:)

LB said...

Meant to write: She actually *picks and delivers the fruits and vegetables* herself. Mercury retrograde strikes again.:)

Vanilla Rose said...

St Francis of Assissi's saints' day!

Twilight said...

LB ~ Well done you! :-)
Thanks for those additional pertinent thoughts too. Agreed that "green capitalism" leaves much to be desired.

Re your 2nd comment, on food - this brought to mind a person I began researching the other day, with a view to doing a post about her - a chef, she insists on using all organic, all fresh, simply cooked, local etc etc. Did lots of preaching about the evils of packaged food, supermarket stuff and so on- I was impressed, until I happened across a menu from her restaurant and saw the prices! they were certainly not simple!!!
She obviously lives in a bubble of opulence herself and thinks everyone else does too! Just another of those "Limousine Liberals", in a different context. I've forgotten her name, but even if I hadn't it'd be best not to include it bearing in mind what I've said. I dumped all my links and went on to find another subject.

Your example is a much better one!

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ A very good plan too! :-)

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~ So it is - thanks for the addition and reminder. St Francis and his love for all Earth's creatures deserves a loud mention whenever possible. :-)

LB said...

Twilight ~ We're lucky here in that we have one or two good organic restaurants that aren't exorbitantly priced. The portions aren't huge but what little there is is yummy!

Most of the time, we eat at home. The money we save by not eating out helps us to afford to buy and prepare meals using whole organic foods. Though we spend more now it's possible we'll save more later on, hopefully because we'll spend less on doctor's visits, hospital and prescription drug bills.:)

Since it's too hot here today to do chores or go out again, I spent a little time checking out Shel and his marketing techniques. I do like how he tells ethical(?) businesses "Don't hide your light."

I watched a youtube video of his where he used Marcal's recycled, chlorine bleach-free, dye-free and fragrance-free toilet paper as an example. The company's been around since the 50's and makes the T.P. here in the US, in New Jersey. Unfortunately for a long time, no one knew how great the product was.

One of the biggest issues I have when shopping involves limited labeling that makes it impossible to tell what's going on. If it's organic, recycled, fairly traded, ethically traded, etc., etc. - say so! I can still do additional research myself.

For example, trying to find organic soap and other cleaning products that don't contain **palm oil** (even at our organic market) is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Palm oil goes by a bunch of different names - if a product doesn't contain it (or other problem ingredients), why not let consumers know.

Vanilla Rose ~ Thanks for sharing about St. Francis of Assisi's Feast Day being today.:)

How fitting considering his message of non-materialism, compassion and inclusion. He's also the patron saint of animals and the environment!

This morning I dreamed of talking animals. They were telling me how they felt, wish I could remember what they said.

Twilight said...

LB ~ I scooted around Shel's links quickly - will return again too.

Translating labels on foodstuffs and any stuff is often a bit of a mystery trip/game of chance. We have problems checking for ingredients husband isn't supposed to have, and have found these can often appear under different names and be expressed in different quantity terms, making it difficult to work out proportion to weight and suchlike. I think mfrs hope people will just give up and buy the item anyway.

I like to know WHERE an item is mfd. - which I thought was a required item on a label or ad. but apparently not. "Imported" is often all that's stated. From this I usually take it that it's bad news. If it were "made in Italy" or France or Germany or UK, or made in Europe anywhere, or Canada or USA they'd be proud to say so, and in large font.

LB said...

Twilight ~ Buying processed foods, or those with numerous ingredients, is always a gamble. Another good reason to stick with simple, whole foods if we're able.

Every once in a while we get a craving for frozen pizza we can doctor up ourselves and it's usually a challenge! Items like bottled spaghetti sauce are easier since there are fewer ingredients.

It matters to me where things are made too - and *how* they're made. I quit buying my favorite T-shirt (and anything else) from Lands End when I found out where it was sewn and how, then sent off an email letting the company know why.

Before I started considering the BIG picture, I was one of their most devoted customers. Sure did love that T-Shirt, dang it! Now we *mostly* shop second-hand.

mike (again) said...

"Meat meal [in dog & cat food] can contain the boiled down flesh of animals we would find unacceptable for consumption. This can include zoo animals, road kill, and 4-D (dead, diseased, disabled, dying) livestock. Most shockingly, this also can include dogs and cats."

The fats rendered from the dead animals is used in many cosmetics, primarily lotion and soap. Any time you see a label that has oleic or oleate, palmitic or palmate, stearic or stearate, myristic or myristate, linoleic or linoleate, linolinic or linolinate...question the source of these fats. They can come from vegetable or animal, roadkill or slaughter house. Each of these fats is chemically identical regardless of source and the FDA and USDA have allowed manufacturers to bypass identifying the source by using the chemical name instead.

Fair trade nomenclature has been hotly disputed for some time now. I have read a number of articles that claim fair trade or ethically produced products, such as coffee and chocolate (extends to gold and diamonds, too!), simply allow the manufacturer to charge a much higher price, with a tiny portion going to the actual producer. It costs the farmers to register and they compete against non-fair trade farmers. Often, large companies simply come in and take-over large agricultural areas and provide slightly higher wages to their workers in order to claim the free trade distinction, which allows the manufacturer to make a huge profit compared to the non-fair trade product.

Do a search on "is fair trade really fair"...there are many pros and cons. I definitely agree that in a perfect world fair trade is wonderful. We live in a corrupt, corporate world that allows corporations and governments to make big $ off the back of poor farmers and workers and some of this is being done under the guise of fair trade or ethical designations.

mike (again) said...

The original concept behind fair trade was to eliminate the middle-men that made the big mark-up and controlled the prices. The fair trade groups that now organize the farmers charge a hefty membership fee and are the new middle-men. They can often obtain a 10% premium for the fair trade farmer, but the non-fair trade farmers actually control the price...if they glut the market, the fair trade farmer takes a big hit. The manufacturer pays about 10% more for the product, but charges the consumer a major mark-up. Compare the price between a standard chocolate bar and a fair trade chocolate bar...typically a ten-fold mark-up! I suspect many manufacturers are behind the push for fair trade!

mike (again) said...

OK, one last comment here...LOL!

I make a loaf of 100% whole wheat bread every three or four days. I purchase my generic, store brand whole wheat flour at $3.00 per five pound bag. The organic whole wheat flour is $6.00 per five pound bag. I can purchase the highly refined white flour for $1.50 per five pound bag. There is always big money to be made off the specialty, more health-conscious market.

LB said...

mike ~ Ethically produced isn't only about chocolate. With items made from materials completely sourced and produced in this country (the US), there are other ways to ensure ethical production - without the fairtrade label.

As far as chocolate goes, if most mainstream chocolate manufacturers thought they'd make *more* of a profit off of third party certification, you can be sure they'd have jumped on it by now! Instead, they know consumers don't care enough to stop buying their products, *even if* slavery is involved, which is why they continue to do what they do.

In the Free Trade market, most of the world's cocoa comes from West Africa, where its production is dependent upon cheap labor, child-slavery and/or human trafficking. Farmers are paid very little, which is no excuse for enslaving a child or anyone else.

I agree Fair Trade isn't a guarantee, nor do I support all Fair Trade businesses, which is why as consumers we need to do our own research.

Also, not everything marked Fair Trade actually is. For me, it's only a starting point. Sometimes *direct trade* may represent a better option. The FREE trade paradigm almost never.

There are fair trade products I won't buy out of concern for larger social or environmental issues. I also agree even ethically-produced items, including chocolate, can have problems, especially as it affects the environment, native habitat and indigenous cultures.

As far as chocolate goes, for me organic, fair trade (or direct trade) cocoa sourced from farmer-owned coops in parts of the world where child slavery and human trafficking aren't prevalent represents the most ethical choice. Everyone has to decide for themselves what they can live with.

I don't eat much chocolate now and may eventually decide to do without - for a variety of reasons.

LB said...

Adding, there's no disputing the fact that organic (GMO-free) food products (especially ethically produced ones) generally cost more, sometimes prohibitively so. I'm sorry you and a lot of other folks don't have healthier, more affordable options available, mike.

I wish we lived in a world where everyone had access to affordable organic, whole food and where agribusiness wasn't so pervasive and difficult to compete with, but that's the sad truth of it right now.

Thankfully chocolate is a luxury rather than a necessity, being something we can live without.

mike (again) said...

Fair trade has a number of problems:

LB said...

mike ~ As I said, I don't think fair trade always offers a perfect solution with absolute guarantees, although in certain circumstances it does at least provide some measure of
meaningful protection.:)

Even dedicated people from within the movement agree there are serious problems. Anything can be corrupted, which doesn't mean every fair trade business is ineffective, opportunistic or corrupt.

In my previous comment I also noted the inherent dangers in buying products from certain parts of the world, which is why I try not to.

Here's the link to a short video I found on Equal Exchange's website titled "The Corporatization of Fair Trade"; it seems to support the claims made in the links you provided. They're a worker-owned coop out of Massachusetts that sells various fairtrade products:

I don't think we should throw the baby out with the bathwater.

LB said...

With Halloween and other major holidays almost upon us, I just hope no one reading uses anything they've read as rationalization for buying slave-chocolate.

If people doesn't trust the idea of fair or direct trade, they can always pass on chocolate altogether.

LB said...

If people *don't*, not doesn't - ouch!

LB said...

Since yesterday's conversation got off track by focusing on only *one* of the many ways to be an ethical consumer, I wanted to mention one of my favorite chocolate companies is Taza.

Rather than being Fairtrade certified (which, as I've, said numerous times offers only one option, not always the best), Taza deals *directly* with cocoa farmers in Latin America and the Caribbean, working closely to guarantee them a fair price as well as decent working/living conditions.

As opposed to most of the world's chocolate, which comes from West Africa, Taza's chocolate is organic, which means workers (and child laborers) aren't exposed to dangerous chemical pesticides. They also claim to utilize sustainable farming techniques and chocolate packaging is minimal (paper).

Their yummy chocolate comes in a variety of flavors and carries the **Direct Trade** certification label:

In place of recipes calling for chocolate chips, I've occasionally taken a small hammer to their chocolate and used the pieces. While I don't eat much chocolate, some folks close to me love it.:)