Those old-fashioned values of thrift, hard work and avoiding waste spurred our Frugal $ense winner to come up with
her winning tip, "Save on disposable mop supplies."
Joan Miller, of Battle Creek, Mich., is an expert at savings and money management. She works for a credit union and
writes for her employer's Web site, sharing her life lessons of thrift. She created reusable mop sleeves for her disposable mop system
to save money and avoid waste.
Bankrate: How did you come up with this idea?
Joan Miller: I loved the
convenience and quick use of the mop, but the cost of supplies --
the pads and the fluid -- really bothered me, in addition to the
environmental aspect. They're sort of like a baby diaper, with plastic
in them. I have a big kitchen and laundry room area, plus a dog
who is in and out all day long. It would take about five of them
to do a decent job, and then I would toss them out, obviously because
they're disposable. That bothered me, the environmental and wasteful
aspect of it. I got to thinking that a similar-type thing would
work with the mop.
|July's Frugal $ense winner: Joan Miller
Save on disposable mop supplies
Bankrate: Do you have other household tips that save money?
Joan Miller: I line dry
the majority of our laundry. Even in the winter months, I have a
clothesline strung in my basement. I use outdoor clotheslines during
the summer months. I also garden, and I freeze some of the produce.
I haven't gotten to canning, although my mother always did that.
But being a full-time employee at the credit union, canning would
probably require a whole lot more time than I have. But I do garden
and I freeze a lot of produce and share a lot of produce out of
the garden during the summer.
Bankrate: Have you always been frugal?
Joan Miller: A lot of the things I do are things my parents ingrained in me. We don't run a
balance on our credit cards. We do use credit cards, but we pay them off every month. Of course, once in a blue moon we might go a couple
of months, but we rarely run a balance.
My husband and I both contribute to our 401(k)s and I do set aside an amount from each paycheck in different accounts, so
I save for different things like vacations.
Bankrate: You work at a credit union?
Joan Miller: I do our Web site and newsletters, and also offer some education, mainly for
young people for money management issues. Especially here in Michigan. I know it's nationwide, but Michigan has really taken a beating. That
seems to be on everyone's mind these days, how they can manage their money better.
Bankrate: To what do you attribute your money sense?
Joan Miller: Truly one of the biggest things is that it was how I was raised. People need to
know this is a lifelong lesson. My parents had two gardens, and my three sisters and I had jobs of weeding and taking care of the gardens.
My parents also explained why we did what we were doing. As teenagers, we all had jobs to pay for our school clothes and extras.
Bankrate: What do you see as the biggest obstacle to people having success in managing their money?
Joan Miller: Probably discipline. We are in a society where a lot of people feel they have to
have something right now and they can't wait for it. But when they do spend the money or put something on their credit card, they have to
have the discipline to say, "OK, I have to pay this off right away."