I often meet up with a good friend of mine that I’ll call Dave.
You rarely see Dave without his trusty bottle of Powerade at his side. He seems to thrive on the stuff. He’s as thin as a rail and doesn’t seem to eat too much, so I guess he uses it as some kind of special “Dave fuel.”
Anyway, I happened to glance at Dave’s Powerade bottle and I noticed that the label indicated that the flavor was supposed to be “orange,” while the substance inside was a brownish-yellow, as one might expect from a “lemon” flavored iced tea.
“That’s an awfully strange looking orange Powerade there, Dave,” I told him.
“That’s because it’s not Powerade.”
From there, Dave proceeded to give out a lesson on frugality.
It turns out that Dave likes to make his own homemade concoction to drink when he’s out and about.
When I quizzed him on it, he told me that all that was in it was some tea, a pinch of sea salt, a spoonful of powdered vitamin C, some raw sugar, and a bit of lemon juice. It’s a recipe that’s actually (if you’re looking for one with more specific quantities). That’s a recipe that’s far cheaper per quart than Powerade and, frankly, much more appealing, at least to me. So, the recipe is cheap.
He buys the tea, salt, vitamin C, sugar, and lemon juice in bulk. So, the recipe gets even cheaper thanks to bulk buying.
He makes large batches of the stuff at home in a water cooler that stays on the top shelf of his fridge. That way, he can just dispense out a full container of it whenever he wants. So, it’s very convenient once it’s made.
Rather than buying a plastic bottle or something to keep it in, he uses old Powerade bottles until they’re almost beaten into oblivion because he really likes their form factor. So, it’s cheap because he’s reusing things.
In at least this little instance of his life, Dave is a pretty frugal guy. He makes his own “sports drink” at home, makes it in bulk with bulk ingredients, and dispenses it into a bottle that he’s just reusing. Mostly, his “sports drink” is completely unnoticed, but when it actually came up in conversation, it became a positive conversation topic, too.
Dave’s homemade Powerade is a perfect example of successful frugality. Dave was able to take something he liked and recreate it himself, then he was able to break down that process so that it was as cheap as possible.
Because of that process, Dave gets a beverage he seems to absolutely love at a far cheaper price without losing out on any of the tactile or flavor sensations that come with the original product.
Frugality is all about finding the least expensive route to the true solution you want. I can’t think of a much better example of that than Dave’s homemade Powerade.