How Much is a Dollar?

This week we would just like to spotlight one of our wonderful Stratford patrons, Yvette Gardner, a mother of a busy 3 year old daughter and regular attendee of our baby/toddler story time on Thursday mornings.

Before our economy ever took a dive, Yvette was practicing frugal ways of living which have only been made more relevant recently. If you’re thinking that you have no idea where to start, Yvette said that when she began, she “kind of just did things that made sense.”
Her advice is to create a routine, one step at a time and certainly don’t try everything all at once. For her, once she started seeing results, the satisfaction would help her do a little more. She tells the story of some family members watching a woman in a Cadillac flying down a road in order to make it to the gas station before running out of gas. Of course, because she was driving so fast, she was burning gas more quickly. So when she ran out, she was subsequently rescued by Yvette’s slower driving family members. In the same way, attempting too many things at once is an invitation to burnout.
Yvette is economical when it comes to just about everything, including electricity, entertainment, eating out, clothing, transportation and of course food. I was quite impressed to hear about the coupon club that she and a friend started where everyone buys just one Sunday paper, and shares the coupons amongst the group.
For her three year old daughter, all of the diligent coupon cutting, sale shopping and buying in season has helped to teach patience when it comes to grocery shopping. She appreciates more the foods that she loves, like strawberries, since she can’t always have them any time she wants. 
Yvette has also noticed that just by example, her daughter is picking up on her money management habits. If she sees something she wants, she’ll ask if there is a coupon for it. Likewise, if she spots a coupon for something she wants, she knows that if she just waits long enough, it will eventually show up on the table.
As far as clothing is concerned, she does well buying high quality hand me downs from a friend, and then selling them to a resale shop when her daughter outgrows them. Once, she purchased a name brand suit for five dollars from a garage sale, only to later find a five dollar bill in the jacket pocket.
She recently checked out the book America’s Cheapest Family, and her only comment to me was that she was “already doing most of it.” You can also check out the following similar books: Cheaper: Insider's Tips for Saving on Everything, Shop Smart, Save More, Complete Guide to Reducing Energy Costs, Mrs. Fixit: Pantry Power, The Shopping Bags: Tips, Tricks & Inside Information to Make You a Savvy Shopper, and Go Green, Live Rich
“All the little bits and pieces add up,” she says. So if you’re intimidated, start small, even if it’s only driving 10 mph slower on the highway, and you’ll begin to see a difference. Eventually you may become just as thorough, and even if you don’t, you’ll certainly still be saving money along the way.
Some more of Yvette’s Tips:
-Stockpile when there are great sales (we’re not talking Y2K here, but you know what we mean)
-Be aware that Kroger will double or triple coupons at times (and you can load coupons onto your Kroger card as well)
-For veggie & fruit snacking, buy only what is in season
-Make a rough menu for the week to avoid last minute stress and trips to the store
-frequent resale and thrift stores
-find friends whose children are just older or just younger
-buy off season (purchase summer clothing in fall or winter)
-Run dishwasher on air dry setting
-Slant blinds in the summer to avoid too much sunshine overheating the house, a perfect time to grill outside!
-Also in the summer, run fans and A/C at night, less during day


Dear Jennifer, Thank you for

Dear Jennifer, Thank you for writing this article demonstrating the valuable merits of sensible consumption and the true value of a dollar. I think it’s refreshing to find someone celebrating the benefits of frugality, standing in stark contrast to the inappropriate association that many people hold of simply being “cheap.” Yvette has outlined some incredibly useful tips for reducing waste and facilitating a more sustainable means of societal living while still providing abundantly for her family. The media seems to focus on consumer spending as the single available catalyst for economic stimulation, but this overlooks vital and growing elements such as commercial investment and goods exportation. Yvette should be applauded for her devotion to her family, community, and environment. Hopefully, our current “great recession” will produce greater numbers of like-minded citizens.

Julio, Thank you so much for


Thank you so much for your insightful comment.  Yes, these are definitely excellent and sustainable habits for anyone, in any time. I'm so glad you appreciated the article. Keep reading!


Great article!! This is my

Great article!! This is my dear frugal friend Yvette. She knows how to save. She has taught me alot!! So glad you featured her tips so others can start practicing them. Heidi

So glad you enjoyed the

So glad you enjoyed the article! And yes, I learned a lot from Yvette just in the interview (and then went and checked on my Kroger card online registration :) !