Frugality in your life may be a choice or a way of life made necessary by financial circumstances. This is a guide about living a frugal lifestyle.
I have been a frugal woman all my life. And it seems I am always researching or joining a group in an attempt to find ways to be even more frugal. And in my quest for information I have found this; one size doesn't always fit all.
So many times I will read a post on a subject and many others will comment after it that this is the wrong way and their way is right. For instance, I have seen people post how to save money on gasoline in their car by combining errands, tune up, etc. And others will post nasty comments below it telling them they should not OWN a car, they should use public transportation, ride a bike, or walk. Oh, really? I live approximately 70 miles from the nearest town that has public transportation. Due to arthritis, bike riding is out. Since the closest town is about a 5 mile round trip walk, that is out, too.
And if I posted that, I am sure many commenters would start typing I should move. I have a beautiful home in a small town with over half an acre of land. Before we moved to this home, I did some research. Twenty miles up the road in a town with more shopping areas than mine, a home similar to mine, with a postage stamp yard, is over twice what I paid for this one. Sprinkle in a higher crime rate, more traffic, the noise, and the higher taxes and, to me, it is a better deal to be here.
Some people, when they read a post on stockpiling a pantry, will post messages telling them it is wrong, they are hoarders, and telling them how THEY do it, and that their way is the right way. This one size for all doesn't fit me, either. I live in a rural area where shopping is limited. And since there is little competition here the prices are sky high. So I don't shop often. When I do, I spend a day shopping, separating, and storing my food/non-food items properly. I rotate my stock. I save a fortune by doing it this way, not only on my items but the gas I save from not having to run to the store to buy an item I am out of. Last year a freak storm came through and power was out in our area for over a week. Those who did not plan ahead had to drive 20 miles up the road to eat several times a day. And then while they were gone they had visitors called looters. Since I had a fully stocked pantry (and a generator) I stayed put, and so did my belongings. I don't judge those that feel they don't need extra food on the shelf, but it is the right size for me!
Another subject I see arguments posted on so many times is vegetarian vs meat eaters. I recall seeing a post on how to stretch hamburger. And below the post the comments started on how if the poster would eat they way THEY ate, they would not eat meat, be a vegetarian. And of course the comment rambled on and on. Now I am not dissing vegetarians, to each their own. But please, I am a meat eater, let me be! I like beef steak well done, with steak sauce. Tofu just isn't the same thing!
Everybody does different things as we walk through life. I recall one group having this thread that you only need 100 items in your home, nothing else. WHAT? And take away my cook book collection I love reading? My music boxes that I wind up and listen too when I am in the mood? No, sorry, this may be for you, but not for me. That one size doesn't fit me, either.
Now I am not a big TV watcher. But in the winter when getting out is hard to do, I love to watch classic movies. (Can we say "Arsenic and Old Lace"?) And since this is what I REALLY enjoy, we have TIVO. I can hear people gasping now and typing furiously "YOU DON'T NEED TIVO! GO TO THE LIBRARY AND GET FREE DOCUMENTARIES FOR FREE TO WATCH!" No, I don't think so.
I believe I will pop my microwave popcorn I purchased last month at Sams, kick back in my comfy chair I purchased at a Salvation Army for only $4.50, drink my tea made from mega sized tea bags and kept cold in the fridge sitting in a gallon glass jar that is a recycled pickle jar, and hit the play button on the remote and enjoy a classic movie. I am saving a fortune by not jumping in my car, driving 25 miles to a theater, paying to get in, and then paying $20 for popcorn and soda. I like my way, it fits me, and it makes me happy. (And yes, I drink lots of water, but I like a soda. Maybe some don't but I do.)
No, one size just doesn't fit all!
Have a wonderful Frugal life, but do it your way. Because, one size doesn't fit all. :-0
My wife is one of the most fascinatingly frugal people I have ever had the honor to know. I regarded her desire to live a thrifty, uncomplicated life when I met her 27 years ago as thankfully low-maintenance, for we were young and broke and she could stretch a dollar a country mile with no complaints.
As we grew together, the perspective began to change as I watched her raise our four children to, among so many other things, learn to live within a set budget, make soap and detergent, firestarters for the wood stove, garden and can, to cherish nature and renew it and always never let anything go to waste. What they call green today was not so highly regarded then and many thought she was a hippie, a thought that made her laugh and one she never discouraged. It only served to encourage her more.
It has always been fun to see what she will get into next and as I matured, I stopped seeing her as low-maintenance and someone who could pinch pennies and save me a dollar and instead as a unique woman who embraced the concept of frugality as a complete lifestyle. It is who she is and I am so blessed to have spent the past quarter century in her world.
At mid-life, we still do not have much money, but are enriched much more than that. Our children/young adults are all determined and independent like their mother, embracing the basic things in life and enjoying time with mom to see what will spring into her mind.
Recently recovering from knee and shoulder surgery, she had an opportunity to read even more articles regarding self-sufficiency and has come to the conclusion that the price of honey is too high and we need to have our own hive. My guess is that by next summer, we will. For me, I am not particularly fond of bees but am fond of my wife. The next 27 years of frugal living looks to indeed be promising.
By Marc from Richmond, VA
Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here: http://www.thriftyfun.com/post_myfrugallife.ldml
The definition of frugal is "Prudence in Avoiding Waste". We all should be wise and thrifty, and reuse or recycle where possible, but here are some indicators when you just might be going too far to be frugal and are simply being cheap or possibly hoarding:
Does anyone here at ThriftyFun have any other ideas to share of what might be going too far to be frugal?
I was born and raised in the city. When grade school was out for the summer, all my friends stayed close to home, taking occasional trips to a beach or theme park. None of them would have agreed to spend their summers the way I spent mine. I chose to spend them in the country with my cousins and uncle, and my aunt, 'Bertie Jane'.
They lived on a four hundred, twenty-five acre farm. They raised beef cattle, hogs and chickens. They also had two or three milch cows. Most of the land was either pasture for the cattle, or planted in the large wheat crop they grew each year.
Spending the summers at 'Aunt Bert's' was my own decision. I knew in advance how hard I would be expected to work in the hot fields all day. I also knew there would be no distinction made between my cousins and me. Without thinking, I even called my aunt 'Mama' a few times. The mistake embarrassed me, but not her. She just said 'What'?
Do you think an eleven or twelve year old would agree to such, today? Almost three months without wired entertainment. No television. No Play Station 2. No computer games. No forever texting friends. No burgers and fries.
My aunt was frugal out of necessity and passed it along to her children. My cousins and I never went to a store. We never had money, except for an occasional 50 cents we made picking a gallon of blackberries for someone. My uncle had a friend who came by occasionally. He always brought each of the children a stick of gum. We were thrilled. Imagine that happening today.
Bertie Jane was the mother of thirteen children. You would think all her time was spent rearing those children. She did a fine job of rearing them all, but her work did not stop there. Every day except Sunday, she was up before sunrise, putting a pan of biscuits in the oven, cooking grits and making gravy, frying eggs and side meat and brewing coffee.
After breakfast, she washed dishes and cleaned the kitchen. Time for a break? She never took one. After finishing up in the kitchen, she donned a wide brimmed straw hat, a pair of 'over alls', and a pair of plowing boots. Then she went to the fields where she worked as hard as any man until it was time to come back to the house to cook the noontime meal.
Oh, and what a meal! Corn that had been picked just that morning from her own garden, stewed in a cast iron frying pan with fat back grease. Sliced tomatoes, onions and cucumbers, fresh from the field. Green beans from one of the four to five hundred, quart and half gallon jars of vegetables she 'put up' each year. A big pan of biscuits made from the very wheat she bagged while riding on a dusty combine for hours each day in the hot sun. And just like the coal miner's wife Loretta Lynn sings about, she never complained. There was no need.
Dresses made from feed sacks? My aunt wore 'a many' of them. The sacks were also sewn into pillow slips and other useful articles. No perms, no make up or lip stick, no perfume or cologne; just a slight hint of Ivory soap. Her countenance alone spoke the truth; a faithful wife, a good mother and one of the hardest working women you would ever see.
The house sat a mile from the nearest road. Sometimes, two weeks or more would go by without seeing anyone except ourselves. I don't know how my aunt did it, but she raised contented children. When school was out, they were pretty much isolated from everything except hard work. They didn't seem to mind. They all got along well with each other.
There was time for play, and play they did, just as hard as they worked. They were an ingenious lot, making most of their own toys. I loved the time I spent with them. We raced through the pastures, climbed trees, skinny dipped and played ball, always with an ear tuned for Aunt Bert's warm and familiar voice, 'Y'all young 'uns come wash up. Supper's on the table'. To my knowledge, my aunt never spanked any of her children, and yet, they all grew up without drugs, tobacco, alcohol or confrontations with the law.
How should such a good wife and mother leave this Earth? A peaceful and painless death? A heart attack in the middle of the night while sleeping? I say 'That would be my wish'. And she left, just that way.
It's been sixty years...and I still miss you, Aunt Bert.
Those were the days.
(Photo restored by Doug, using Gimp)
For as long as I can remember, my mother would have to scrimp to make ends meet. She divorced my father when I was in first grade, so was now home with 3 children, aged 6 and under. We had lots of hand me down and thrift store clothes and toys, but rarely anything new. I know we had food stamps and medical coupons when I was in grade school, free school lunches too. There was never extra money for anything beyond the basics. Even going out for fast food was a treat.
Mom worked hard, sometimes nights and weekends. She always seemed to be jumping from one job to another, trying to make money and still take care of 3 (later 4) young children. She tried her hand at many types of jobs: key punch operator, tax accountant, secretary, etc. She was a talented musician but never got more than a few gigs. She was a wonderful artist and craftsperson, selling her work at juried craft shows all over the Pacific NW. She never made much more than the entrance fees and labor. She was forever trying to find a way that she could work for herself, not "the man".
As a kid, it didn't seem too bad. We would regularly go to the library; first to check out books, then to check out the video player and watch VHS movies in the AV room. I don't think my mom got a VCR until 1990 or so. Of course, we also would watch TV, but it was different from today. We got up on Saturdays to watch Saturday morning cartoons, because they simply weren't on any other time. You had a couple of hours of kid programming and if you missed it, you missed it.
My stepsister would come over on the weekends so we would have even numbers of boy vs girl. We would all play together: tag, hide and seek and other more exotic variants of other outdoor games. My siblings and I would ride our bikes around the neighborhood or walk to the nearest mall. Mom would take us to visit friends and relatives often and they would visit us. Every visit meant new kids to play with or new stories to hear.
Often we would have long term visitors; for a week, or a month or a season. Sometimes they were family or close friends, but sometimes they were just chance met acquaintances who needed a place to stay while they got back on their feet or went on their next adventure. Mom was always generous with whatever she had; money, time, a hug or a kind word. Everyone loved her and many returned the generosity.
Still, it gets harder and harder to be poor as you get older in school, especially for a girl in the fashion conscious 80's. I wanted to have the salon perm and the International News sweatshirt and the Guess jeans. I remember that my brothers had paper routes for spending money. I started babysitting as soon as I was old enough. My baby sister is 13 years younger than me so I had lots of practice. As soon as I turned 16, I got a job at McDonalds, where I also learned how NOT to eat. I was working 30 or so hours a week, plus high school. I spent everything I made on clothes.
After I graduated and moved out, I steadily grew used to regular paychecks and grown up life. Being young and single, I made unwise money choices; buying what I wanted when I wanted it. As I went to college, I started using credit cards. I would shower my mom and siblings with birthday and Christmas presents, money I didn't necessarily have. Later, I started learning about the joys of compound interest, bank overdraft fees and late charges. It was a rude awakening for my husband and I. Poor man, he inherited some of my bills when we married.
After the birth of my first son, money troubles began to ramp up. What worked for a young couple didn't work at all for a family. With my mom as a model, I started to practice those frugal techniques that kept us afloat in my childhood. We stopped using credit cards for frivolous purchases. I stopped bouncing checks every month by keeping a buffer in savings. I set up auto payments so I wouldn't forget to mail the bills. I watched for sales, bought in bulk and generally made do with what I had. We still spent too much eating out and on new toys for ourselves or the baby, but we were more aware of it.
When I became pregnant with my second child, we were able to buy our first house. This, in my opinion, was the best decision to date. Our mortgage payment is comparable to what rent on a 3 bedroom apartment in our area would be, we can write off all the interest from the mortgage on our taxes, and we can even get loans on the equity and write off that interest too! It isn't without risk, we have replaced windows, flooring and done substantial drainage work. But, for us, it has been well worth it.
I would love to say that I have no debt today, that I always pay everything in cash and reuse everything possible. But I don't. I love to buy pretty things for my home, I have a slight bookstore addiction and I still love to give gifts. Sometimes, I reach for that credit card when I really know better. I throw away baggies and tinfoil after they are used! But I try. Every day, I do a little better keeping the balance of saving money and being frugal with the fun of exuberant spending and self gratification. Being a part of ThriftyFun keeps me frugal, even when I feel a little more flush. It is harder to justify that morning latte when I know I can just make a pot of coffee at a fraction of the cost. And it reminds me of an appreciation that I learned from my mother at an early age, the ability to see beauty and potential everywhere.
Thanks to all for being a part of ThriftyFun. It is a wonderful community and I'm honored to be involved with it. As my mother has passed away and can no longer give me advice on varied subjects, I can always turn to ThriftyFun for the advice I wish I could still ask her. Sometimes I even see a post by her and it is like she is talking right to me :)
Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here: http://www.thriftyfun.com/post_myfrugallife.ldml
By Sandie 39
When I was in my early 50s, I began to question the lifestyle my husband and I were living. I longed for a simpler lifestyle: I knew I wanted less stress, I knew I was tired of working for someone else, and I felt there had to be a way to achieve my goal of quitting the corporate world for good. Quitting was going to be easy, but the more difficult task was finding the ways I could maintain my goal once I did quit.
The question of "What are you willing to change in your life to achieve your goal?" kept filtering through my mind, and I realized the answer was not using the words "give up" interchangeably with the word "change" in that phrase until I was able to understand the difference.
The most reasonable and surest way to achieve my goal was to just quit, and then deal with the aftermath in a very pro-active way. Yes, it was a "guts" move that many people wouldn't be able to handle, but with my husband's support and the knowledge that I would be the one handling "the aftermath," I quit, and then never looked back with regret. That doesn't mean it was easy, but my goal of making this work for both of us was tantamount to everything else.
After taking the first two weeks to just rest, recuperate and think, I began listing all the changes on paper that needed to be made, which included carefully guarding the resources that my husband continued to bring into our lives as well as finding new venues of producing income or additional resources based on what we already had.
Some decisions were just plain easy, such as canceling a standing weekly appointment at the beauty salon for hair and a manicure or eating out numerous nights a week because there was no time to fix meals, but even then, I knew this was only the tip of the iceberg.
The first major decision was to sell our home, which was way too big and costly for the two of us. Two people who want a simpler lifestyle don't need or want an executive home with four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a three-and-a-half car garage, etc. (You know your house is too big for you when two of the bathrooms are regularly dusted rather than cleaned because of non-use!)
The 3,000+ sq. ft. house sold relatively quickly, and then came the task of finding a smaller house. When I found that much smaller house still within convenient driving distance of my husband's employment, then began the monumental task of downsizing our possessions to fit our new abode, which was slightly more than 1,200 sq. ft. That was perhaps the most sizeable job of all, and required several garage and consignment sales. (You know you have too many clothes when your yearly wardrobe requires two full-sized walk-in closets!)
After we moved came the adjustment period of being content and happy in a smaller home, and that did take some getting used to. My husband could care less what type of house we lived in, but I had initial difficulty because nothing "fit" properly according to my former lifestyle. This was a mental change I needed to make, and through home improvement projects and fixing what didn't work for me such as non-functioning closets and antiquated storage cupboards, within the first year, I grew to love that much smaller and unpretentious home. As I worked through the process of making each room or space as functional and comfortable as possible for the least amount of expended money, I found I still had too many possessions. (A smaller home means fewer possessions, which means less to clean and take care of! I established the rule that I had to be able to see all three walls of any cupboard or closet to avoid clutter or unnecessary stuff.)
Simultaneously, I began to tackle the financial problems of not having a significant savings program, but having an ample amount of credit card debt. This portion of downsizing our lives required constant attention, but I discovered some wonderful surprises that seemed so obvious in hindsight.
For example, the more time I spent in the kitchen making our meals without the aid of convenience foods, the more we skipped eating out and the less I was spending on groceries. The more time I spent in formulating grocery lists according to what was on sale, and establishing and then using a price book, the more funds were available out of the grocery budget for using on eliminating credit card debt.
The biggest and most important life lesson I learned was that I could waste our resources by not being careful how I used them. I found that if I minded the pennies, the dollars would take care of themselves. I cut out all the extraneous spending I could because I wanted to make sure I didn't have to re-enter the job market again.
I established a small kitchen garden to supplement our fresh vegetable, fruit and herb needs, and loved the small brick patio and bench area we built together for free under a shade tree near the garden. (Nothing beat enjoying an early morning cup of coffee while sitting on that bench just looking at a beautiful growing garden!)
I realized I only needed two pair of jeans - one for everyday and a good pair. I needed only a couple pair of shoes, one casual jacket and one dressier coat, etc. (You find you don't need two or three dressy evening outfits if your daily lifestyle dictates jeans and tennies!)
I realized I didn't need magazine subscriptions or daily newspapers because with the internet and a television, I could meet my needs without unnecessary costs. (You will love how little you then have to recycle, too!)
I realized that I didn't need to buy coffee or soda when I was out shopping but could reward myself quite nicely with a cup of coffee at home once I was done.
I realized that if I saved daily change instead of carrying it in my purse and then spending it, I could control the amount of money dribbling out of my hands. Each month, I would then roll the change and bank it in our savings account. (This later translated to saving all change plus $1 bills for both of us and if you don't think that doesn't amount to some sizeable savings, then just try saving it for one week to see what is getting away from you!)
I realized that if you pay yourself first into a savings account or better yet, do so through a payroll deduction direct deposit into your savings account, within six months, you will have a sizeable balance. (You can then maximize this account to also serve as your emergency funds account, but roll over into a longer-term, more productive interest bearing account when it gets beyond what you need for an emergency fund so that your money will work for you!)
I realized that we didn't need two vehicles if I planned my errands and "need to do" trips to coincide with weekends or times that my husband's vehicle was available to me. (Eliminating one vehicle also eliminates payments, fuel, licensing, taxes, etc.!)
I realized that we were more than content to provide our own entertainment at a much less expensive cost if we availed ourselves of what was offered at a much reduced rate or even free within our own community. (The symphony orchestra didn't fold because we were no longer dues-paying members!)
I realized we didn't need more than one credit card, and that no credit cards should ever be carrying a balance. I realized that paying cash for everyday expenses such as gasoline are way more frugal and cost effective than having to write out checks, expend postage, etc., to get a credit card bill paid.
I realized that if I could contain the outflow of money on credit cards as well as daily living expenses, I could much better control how much of that money stayed in my pocket, thereby lessening expenses each month. (Credit cards breed carelessness in me when it comes to handling money and yet cold, hard cash in my hand is likely to stay in my hand!)
I realized we didn't need to be spending up to one thousand dollars on gifts and holiday functions each year for friends and family members, but with careful planning and an attentive eye towards sales throughout the year, we could meet those needs just as nicely at a fraction of the cost.
I realized that every bit of information I needed to acquire on a simpler, more frugal lifestyle could probably be found on the internet. (You will be amazed at the wealth of information to be found on the internet, and how much you can learn to make a simpler, more frugal lifestyle a reality for your family. I am not talking about an austere lifestyle - just one that is more satisfying, more fulfilling, and not necessarily based on how much money you can spend to achieve your goals.)
Through downsizing our lifestyle, we were also able for the first time to meet and then exceed the ten percent tithe. And by reading and researching ways to get the credit card debt under control, we have finally realized that dream. (There are numerous sites on the web for strategic debt reduction and if you haven't availed yourself of these incredibly useful and free sites, I strongly recommend it. When you understand how important this step is and how easily it can be accomplished with today's internet sites that formulate your "plan of attack" on debt, you will have half the battle won! It is very possible for middle-income families to strategically reduce their debt load by thousands of dollars every year.)
Today, our lifestyle is very simple, very frugal but not stingy towards us or the things we want to do. Our expectations of what we "need" in this life are separated out from our "wants", and we know the difference. We are now devoid of undue stress and compromises in our life, and we are happier than we have ever been. We have a financial plan we can live within comfortably while meeting our expectations and know our future is as secure as we can make it. We look forward to each new day as a gift from God to be enjoyed and counted as a blessing.
And I personally would do it all over again in a heartbeat for the benefits we have received from this adventure!
Ronsan from Southwest Missouri
Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here: http://www.thriftyfun.com/post_myfrugallife.ldml
My entire life I have lived with not having an over-abundance of anything. My mother was a single mom of 3 during the 70's when the state did not bother going after deadbeat dads who did not pay child support.
I used to be proud of being spontaneous, of living on a whim. Now that I can no longer afford to have anything I want at the moment that I want it, I have come to savor the far deeper pleasure of expectation, of waiting for something and looking forward to it.
I have been a single parent now for 9 1/2 years. My kids are now teenagers, and we have been living the 'frugal lifestyle'. When we first began our journey, we have had lots and lots of criticism and were branded as, 'the poor folk', especially from my family and from the whole community. My ex-husband left me with a ton of debt, and it was really sink or swim. He really cleaned me out, so to speak, and we were completely left with nothing.
I have been making my own washing liquid, cleaners. We shop at op shops. The other day, I saw that they were selling cup cakes for $3.00 each. I said to my daughter, 'we must go home and make those'.
In the last 10 years, the frugal lifestyle that we now lead, has paid off two mortgages, a new car, paid off $10,000 off the bankcard debt, painted and renovated the house. We now own 3 horses, and my teenagers go to a private school, and I am a single parent!
The irony about this story is, that some of those people who have criticised me, surprisingly, now live the frugal lifestyle.
By Michele from Mullumbimby, Australia
I have been at my new job for 4 months now and I have had my days reduced to 3 days a week from 5. I am not a happy bunny but as the job is pants, its forcing me to look for something else, which is good.
My husband is on SS disability and I earn a modest income with a local hospital. A motivator for us is to make a word or phrase into an acronym that parallels our goals and keeps us on track.
When I was a child, my family and I lived in the city. Being a nature lover, I would often take long walks in the country. At that time, the county did not have a garbage collection service. People would put their garbage in a vacant area on their property.
As of August, I am debt free and I am very thankful for this. I just want to say a big thank-you to all of you, because I have really benefited from your frugal wisdom which you have freely shared in your posts.
I've been on my own now for four years, a single parent turned "empty nester", and living on a disability pension. Here are my tips.
Frugal? I have been "wealthy" yet savvy enough to ALWAYS save 10% of my salary. I had a big city condo downtown, never wanted for anything. And yes, I got hit by the stock market drop just like everyone else.
I have been honing my frugal skills every since I left college, years ago. My first frugal research started with an old book entitled "How to Save on Everything", written in the late 40s. It had all sorts of interesting ways to reuse, remake, and recycle.
My wife and I were meandering down a well-worn packed dirt trail in the Lake Louise Area of our Canadian Rocky Mountains, when I noticed all was not forest green and wonderful in our leafy paradise.
When my husband recently had shoulder surgery and found out he would be off work most of the year, we were forced to cut back and live frugal.
One of the difficult things about being frugal is when you see others doing what you would like to do. At the mall where I shop, there are a lot of cafes and eateries. Delicious smells in the air. People sitting, talking and eating and I realize I am HUNGRY.
At various times of my life, I have had to live frugally. I've had times of plenty and times of hardship. Over my many years, I have become a bit of an expert.
Inspired by Lucy's lovely essay on her move to England and coming in touch with frugality (not to mention her talk of wasting Starbuck's coffee), I was inspired to submit a piece I wrote a few months ago.
By: Jackie Tithof Steere
As appeared on ChicagoNow
You know who I'm talking about, don't you? You have to have seen this.
A man (or woman, let's be fair) goes to all the effort of stopping off at Starbucks, waits in an enormous line, and digs deep into his pockets to pay for (let's face it) that very pricey cup of coffee, only to walk over to the condiment area and purposely spill about an eighth of it into the garbage. All to make room for cream.
When I see it, it's all I can do to stop from cupping a hand or opening my mouth beneath their cup to catch that liquid gold. Steaming hot or not, I'd risk singeing my taste buds for the stuff, and not because I like it so much. That's a good quarter of two's worth of fancy java.
Am I insane, or is wasting coffee (any coffee) one of the most illogical things you've seen another human being do?
First of all, don't Starbucks employees usually ask customers if they'd like room for cream? Even if they don't, can't you ask them for the space? Even if you forget to ask, can't you make some yourself by sipping it down? I actually know what I'm talking about here. It's happened to me before. I don't have quite enough room for all the half and half or milk I want, so I fill it up as far as I can, take a few gulps (it's cooler now), and fill 'er up again. There's no shame in that (I think, anyway).
And, second of all, there are people parched for coffee in India (or in some part of the world, surely). Did their parents neglect to tell them? Haven't they heard the same dinner time stories I heard growing up? My parents told us "eat your vegetables, there are children starving in the world (blah, blah, blah)", and "I walked five miles uphill to school everyday with holes in my shoes."
If that didn't encourage us to clean our plates, they'd charge us for the meal. I think skipping out on my mom's stuffed shrimp one night set me back about five bucks, thirty years ago!
Last time I checked, food and drink cost money, and even more dough for gourmet. Is it a sign of one's status or wealth to waste such luxurious things? Clearly, I haven't arrived.
Or is it a matter of copycatting; someone sees someone else dump, they figure it's all the rage, and so they hop aboard the wasting train?
Now, I've certainly heard of topping off a drink; I've never before heard of tipping off one. But, then again, I'm no expert.
Please, please, please can someone help me understand? Have you seen this? Are you a coffee waster who'd like to come clean? Tell us all about it!
By Jackie Tithof Steere from Chicago, IL
By Staci 1
Cut those expenses in half, redirect your disposable income, decrease your stress, change your spending habits, live a thrifty fun life well below your means and budget now to be financially free later.
"Wake up and smell the roses, you really can't go home again". That's what I thought anyway. But with childhood memories dancing in my head and trepidation in my heart, I gave it a try.
I am frugal and learning every day. I budget every cent I have on pen and paper. When I spend it, I keep my receipt and log in down. I pay a little more on each bill as often as possible.
By Gracie 3
Once you learn how to bathe yourself sparkly clean AND wash and rinse your hair clean by using one small galvanized bucket of hot water, I think a lifetime of frugality is required.
I went out into the world and started supporting myself at age 15. At age 22, after a disastrous teenage marriage, I became a single mom and learned frugality out of necessity.
I'm surviving the current economic times by using coupons on everything I can. One grocery store puts out a $10 coupon off a $50 gas card if you purchase $25 in groceries in their store. That is not difficult and you can use coupons on the $25 order.
Yes, I am an old school Star Trek fan. "These are the voyages of the . . ." Oh ok, I will come back down to Earth for a moment and talk about how I am feeding my family.
Living frugal can be a very simple, yet rewarding change in your lifestyle. I used to think that meant eating rabbit food and living in bamboo huts. Me, in a loincloth? Never! But it's actually very easy to do and you don't have to give up the things you love.
I think anyone living on this earth should be at least somewhat frugal, but not be too extreme.The bottom line is that, Yes: we should live frugally, but No: we should not become slaves to a frugal lifestyle to the point where life becomes "I have to."
After graduation, most people go out to a big fancy dinner, spend lots of money on graduation gifts and have a big job all lined up. Nope. Not us. For dinner, we enjoyed Hamburger Helper from the $1 section at the grocery store (with free meat from my parents' farm).
I am a natural born thrifter. I have been poorer than a church mouse as well as on top of the mountain. That has never stopped my bargain hunting. I learned about thrifty living early in life since my mom was raising 3 kids on just her salary.
I will stock up and buy three of anything to keep me from running out too fast. Tonight, they had soap on sale for 99 cents, so I bought 8 bottles. There can never be too much dish soap.
My first career was as a musician. Despite some good breaks and a substantial amount of business success, music was basically a hand-to-mouth existence. So I learned to manage on the little money that I had.
"Nels, I know I am".
It all began with that one episode of "Little House on the Prairie".
Newly married and sucked into the culture of the 21st century, I was exhausted and getting sick. Every evening it was another activity, another errand to run, and another credit card charge. I had no time to even think about what I was spending, how I was eating, or how I was living. I had lost myself amidst the noise. I was taking Tylenol and Advil to numb the back pain I was experiencing due to my life pace. I didn't pay attention to how many and what it might do to my body.
As I watched Charles Ingalls and his family pull together to get out of debt, it lit a spark within me that would not die. I saw a way of living that was different than my hectic life, and I wanted it. I began to research ways to get out of debt and to spend less. All along, I was getting sicker still. I eventually had to quit my job. Thankfully, we had our credit cards paid off by this time. But I'd have to say we were as poor as the poor Ingalls'. With God's help, and after an operation to remove my destroyed gallbladder (due to abuse of pain-killers), I began to steadily improve. My husband and I learned the most valuable lesson of our lives during this rocky time. We learned how to do WITHOUT, (even a refrigerator, at one point) and to trust God like the Ingalls'. Now we are debt free at the age of 31, except for a small 15 year mortgage, and a small car loan on a used car. But - we are not only debt free, but we are free indeed.
AmySue from Pittsburgh, PA
My Frugal Journey started when I became a lone parent, my son was 3 years old and I had to find us somewhere to live. I was lucky that I was offered a ...
Oh, but it's getting ugly around here. I am speaking of my garden of course. For one thing, about this time I lose interest in it. The magic of watching the plants grow and the tasty garden treasures for is long past.
Pack a lunch. Hop the bus to work. Drive a modest car. Walk when you don't have to drive. Hang your clothes on the line. Perhaps not, someone might think you're poor.
I think some people get discouraged with frugal living because they don't realize that not all tips are right for them. Frugal for a stay-at-home mother of four will be different than frugal for a childless career woman, for example. You have to sift and choose what works best with your lifestyle and circumstances.
I am in a pickle here. I already do so much to be frugal, water down the dish soap, reuse the jars and plastic tubs, wash in cold, turn of he lights all kinds of stuff. But due to an unforeseen situation making a lot less money than I planned and there are 2 of us and children on the weekend. Any frugal tips would be appreciated. Thanks.
Kathleen from Export, PA
October 17, 2008
Mix powdered milk with fresh. you don't even know the difference. When I was 10 til 12, we had to go on welfare. My mom mixed 1/2 quart milk and equivalent of 1/2 quart mixed powdered milk. With prices of milk these days I started doing it again. Adjust for flavor.
Growing up, I was always taught not to hoard. Donate or throw away what you don't use. On the other hand, I learned to buy good once, reuse and be creative, and you never do without.
We should try to make thrifty not just doing with less, or spending less, but also thinking how to be globally responsible. You know, rags rather than paper towels, cloth napkins not paper, using a drying rack or clothes line instead of our very wasteful dryers.
Love what you are doing, being frugal, is such fun! Stay focused on living frugally. Don't give up, saving money in today's world takes time, but I feel my time is well invested.
I call this "the 10% rule". Whatever you are using, try using 10% less. Chances are, you won't even notice that 10% is missing.
We live in an area where there are lots of trees and woodland critters. A large rat had taken up residence in my neighbor's yard had been killed. My son, who has a mischievous streak a mile wide, asked me if I needed pics for ThriftyFun.
I started getting serious about being frugal when my husband lost his job. I checked out all the money saving books I could find at the library and by far the most helpful was "The Tightwad Gazette. It was written in the 1990's but is still very helpful.