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Cloth Napkins

Setting the table last night, I placed cloth napkins at every seat and realized it’s been over a decade since we’ve used paper towels.

None of us notice the lack of paper products in the kitchen and dining room anymore. It’s part of our routine.

My nephews get a kick out of it, though. Especially Bubba. When he eats at our house, he asks: Are we using the fancy napkins?

Yes, kid. Fancy napkins are the only kind we have.

It cracks me up that he thinks our napkins are hoity toity. I had the same mindset when I was coming up. I, too, come from a paper towel family.

Brandon did not. His family used cloth napkins – at least on special occasions.

The first time I used a cloth napkin for a home-cooked meal was at Thanksgiving dinner with the Clarks after Brandon and I started dating. Like Bubba, I thought: Oh! Fancy!

But are they? Elegant, yes. Frivolous, no. Spending $20 on a dozen cotton napkins may seem crazy when you can buy a whole roll of paper towels for $2. However, that logic is flawed. Cloth napkins endure for years, whereas paper towels last only a day or two.

I wish I’d grown up in that frame of mind. But it didn’t click for me until we inherited a sizable collection of napkins and gave up paper towels for good. 

We went from buying 8 rolls of paper towels a month to none overnight. By my calculations, we saved around $325 that first year.

Since then, we’ve spent approximately $20 a year replacing our cloth napkins as they wear out. In the last decade, that totals $200. 

Our savings? $3050.

Those fancy napkins of ours have turned out to be extremely practical. And frugal.

In a time when grocery prices seem to rise with every trip to the store, I can feel good about that – and I do.

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