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Monday Q&A | Wasting Non-Food Consumables, Indoor Rugs, and Staying Fit

Every Monday, I answer a few of the questions that my readers send me. If you have a question you’d like me to answer in a future Q&A post, just leave me a comment here or email me (thefrugalgirl [at] gmail [dot] com) and put Q&A in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!

Actually, first I have a question for you! I changed the font here a few days ago, and I’m wondering what you think of it. I made the overall font size larger a few weeks ago, and while I liked the larger size, I felt that that particular font started to look less readable at the larger size. So, I switched it out for a more plain font. I think this is easier to read, but of course, you guys are the ones who read my blog, not me! So, what do you think? Do you care? Do you like this better, or do you prefer the old font?

My question is: how do you teach your kids not to waste, especially young ones? My daughter is not quite 3 and somehow manages to play with various consumables and therefore wastes them. I feel she’s too old to just hide everything from her, and the eyes in the back of my head just aren’t always quick enough to catch her before the damage is done. Or to what extent do you just let it go, figuring 1/4 bottle of shampoo gone isn’t the end of the world when it’s aiding development somehow? 🙂


Since my urge to avoid wasting money has always been very strong, I’ve been pretty consistent about not letting my children waste consumable items like toothpaste or shampoo.

At the age of 3 (and really, before then too), I felt that my children were old enough to understand what I meant when I said, “No playing with the shampoo/toilet paper/toothpaste/aluminum foil/whathaveyou.”

So at that point, it became a matter of them obeying or not obeying, not a matter of their development*, and if they didn’t obey, the appropriate consequences followed (I’m sure you’ve already got a consequence for disobedience, so just apply that consequence.)

*if there is a developmental benefit to dumping out shampoo, I’d still maintain that learning to obey is a more important skill to develop! 😉

Unless a child is unusually strong-willed or has developmental delays, after a certain number of these consequences have been applied, that child will likely stop playing with whatever it is you don’t want them to play with.

I should add that of course, in addition to consequences for disobedience, I’ve also talked to my children about why we don’t waste certain things by playing with them, just like I explain to them why we don’t leave the fridge door open or why we turn lights off. Helping them understand the why behind what I’m saying is helpful, and when that alone is not sufficient, a consequence comes in quite handy.

I tried your whole wheat bread this past weekend (after procrastinating for almost a month I’m ashamed to say!) and it was wonderful! Thanks for sharing such a delightfully yummy whole wheat bread. Most of the whole wheat breads I’ve tried are a bit heavy, but this is so much better I think I even like it better then white homemade bread, especially since it’s more healthy.

I also had a question for your Monday question and answer blog. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always had throw rugs in my kitchen. We’ve been married 4 years this past June and it seems like every year we have to buy new rugs since they just wear out. This year our bathroom rugs are worn out also! I realize that I didn’t buy the best as I shopped at Wal-mart, but I didn’t know any better 4 years ago. I’m not sure about replacing my kitchen rugs (although it does seem to cut down on the dirt in the kitchen a little bit), but I do like rugs in the bathroom. So I was wondering if you use rugs at all and what kinds you invest in and how well they last!

-Elisabeth K.

Oh, it’s so delightful to hear that you’re enjoying my whole wheat bread recipe. It is tasty, isn’t it? A slice fresh from the oven, spread with butter, has to be one of the most decadent simple pleasures life has to offer. So good.

I do have two rugs in my kitchen, one by the sink where I often stand, and one right by the sliding glass door (that one serves to catch dirt/debris that comes in from the deck).

I haven’t bought especially expensive rugs, and I think I bought them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. They’re both black, which maybe helps them to hide wear and tear a little better than other rugs.

I don’t keep rugs in the bathroom, mostly because neither of our bathrooms are very big and because when I have tried to keep rugs in there, they seem to get disgustingly dirty in no time flat. So, I’ve got bare bathroom floors.

I wish I had better advice about where to find durable kitchen and bathroom rugs. I can highly recommend L.L. Bean’s Waterhog mats for your more rugged mat needs, though. They’re a bit pricy, but they’re made from recycle materials, are very durable, and they’re made in the USA! All of those factors make them worth the extra money to me.

Also, L.L. Bean does sell bath/kitchen mats, and their products are backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not happy with the durability of their mats, you can get your money back.

Just wondering…How do you keep in shape? I have 3 young children (the oldest will be five in a few days), and I struggle with this. I was actually a bit overweight when I got married, and I know that losing the weight is harder than maintaining a healthy weight. But I was wondering how you have stayed in such great shape after having 4 children. Thanks.


I totally thought I’d put this into my FAQ, but I just checked and I guess I haven’t! I did answer that question in some detail in a previous Q&A post, though (just scroll down to see my answer).

To add to what I said there, I’d like to say that I don’t at all think that everyone ought to be exactly the same size that I am, and I also think that fit and healthy can come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. What is of prime importance is living in a way that is kind to your body…staying active, eating real food instead of processed/fast food, drinking water, and including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Those kinds of things will likely help you get to a weight that is healthy for your body, but even more importantly, they’ll help you feel well and will give you the energy you need to take care of your kids.

I’d also say that I agree with Julia Child when she said, “Everything in moderation, even moderation.” While I try to eat a lot of produce, nuts, yogurt, and unprocessed foods, I do eat some sugar and white flour, and I regularly have a small piece of dark chocolate after lunch and dinner. And every once in a while, I eat way, way, way too many homemade cookies/bars. I really find that having some treats here and there helps me to keep from wanting to regularly gorge myself on food that’s bad for me.


Readers, what are your thoughts on this week’s questions?


Today’s 365 post: My shopping partner

Joshua’s 365 post: A Monster of a Mile

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Wednesday 5th of October 2011

I just want to let you know that we have a "European Week for Waste Reduction" . From 19-27 November 2011. A website as well ( in French, English, Spanish, Portugese and Dutch.


Tuesday 4th of October 2011

Re: Teaching about older son went through a phase where he'd ask for something to eat (eg a turkey sandwich) and no sooner had I prepared it than he would decide he didn't want it. We would then give him a choice: eat it or pay for it. He was old enough to understand and received an allowance so he had money. We charged him a nominal amount - 25 cents - but felt he needed to understand that there was a cost for food. Sometimes he would pay and sometimes he'd eat.

Virginia Dare

Tuesday 4th of October 2011



Monday 3rd of October 2011

I think I preferred the old font also. It seemed a little warmer and more personal. This one feels very business-like.


Monday 3rd of October 2011

i vote for the old font. it was easier to read because the letterforms are wider. but i love your blog, so you won't lose me as a reader if you keep the new one.


Monday 3rd of October 2011

RE the kids wasting: my little guy loves to festoon the house with toilet paper. I let him. Then we roll/fold it all back up and use it anyway. It may not be pristine but considering the purpose...'nuf said.

We play with pasta and lentils and such but reuse them. I let him float a few islands of foamy soap in the sink while we brush his teeth. Given the amount of bubble liquid we go through in a summer, this doesn't seem too bad! But I think it's important he learn not to dump out the actual food we have stored, or squirt the shampoo; there's an important lesson in not squandering resources there.

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