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Living a Frugal Lifestyle

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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.
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By 92 found this helpful
November 21, 2010

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.
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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!

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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

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Comment Was this helpful? 92
September 23, 20141 found this helpful
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I really enjoyed this article. When I first became frugal, I was so proud and shared ideas with everyone. I soon learned that a lot of people don't want to hear the ideas of others. I was told several times that the person did it a different way and they thought theirs was so much better. I now know that if someone wants to know something, I just love to talk about frugality but if they are one that knows it all (even if they don't), I just smile and nod my head. Each person does have a right to have their own ideas. I listen to everyone though and keep an open mind and have learned so many new things.

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June 1, 2017

Most people I know have someone else to clean their homes and wash their cars. They bring in food a lot and go out to eat often. They tell me that since I work full-time, I am wasting my precious free time. They also think I'm cheap.

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Aside from the obvious financial savings, there are a lot of benefits to doing these tasks yourself.

  1. You don't need special skills to do these tasks. They also take less time than you think. In the case of cooking, you can often cook a tastier, healthier meal in less time than it would take you to drive to a place, order and eat it.

  2. Many times you will do a better job. For the brief time I had a cleaning person, I had to deal with less-than-stellar cleaning, missed appointments, and broken items. The last straw was when a downstairs window was left wide open. It was closed and locked when we left for work in the morning.

  3. You will get exercise. These same people who tell me I'm wasting time, go to a gym to work off excess weight. I find my cleaning sessions to be part of my exercise regimen. I am slimmer than most of my contemporaries. It is important as one ages to keep moving and maintain functional fitness.

  4. You get to know your house and car. You can spot if something is broken, leaking, or loose. One person I work with had a flooded basement due to a leaking pipe. She said she never went down there and the leak had been going on for some time. I vacuum my basement weekly, and go down often to do laundry. When I go down, I always check for leaks, smells, and noises that are unusual.

  5. The satisfaction of a job well done. I have a garden, too. I love growing my own organic produce and sharing it with family and friends.

As long as I am physically able to perform these tasks, I will continue to do so. I will save my money for jobs that are beyond my expertise.

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June 7, 20170 found this helpful

Totally agree with you!

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August 5, 2015

An old fashioned black and white photo of a woman in glasses.

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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'.

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By 75 found this helpful
August 6, 2010

My Frugal Wife!

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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 as thankfully low-maintenance, for we were young and broke and she could stretch a dollar a country mile with no complaints.

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August 25, 2015

container garden

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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.

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December 26, 2013

Being Thrifty or Frugal: The Big Picture

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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.

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August 27, 2010

A 70s family

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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.

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By 15 found this helpful
June 10, 2011

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.

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By 23 found this helpful
February 23, 2011

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.

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By 23 found this helpful
November 4, 2011

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.

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By 18 found this helpful
October 8, 2010

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.

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By 15 found this helpful
July 27, 2010

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.

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By 12 found this helpful
November 14, 2013

flowers made from yarn

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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.

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June 16, 2011

"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.

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By 4 found this helpful
February 23, 2016

Loaves of bread

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A friend of mine, for as long as I can remember, would say, "A loaf of bread costs what it costs, and you can eat only so much bread. Why would you buy more bread then you could ever use?". In my younger years I would chuckle to myself.

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May 12, 2010

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.

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By 13 found this helpful
May 25, 2010

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.

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By 15 found this helpful
February 2, 2011

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.

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By 23 found this helpful
December 2, 2010

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.

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November 1, 2010

I pass the buck on expensive laundry detergent, and use my favorite dish washing liquid that I do hand washing in anyway. I use the extra money from not buying the laundry detergent and pass the buck over to fabric softener.

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August 24, 20065 found this helpful

Comment Was this helpful? 5

This is my story about frugal and tightwad living! To start, I live alone right now. I have been frugal my whole 38 years. I am also a tightwad. My family laughs about to what lengths I will go to live the way I do.

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By 3 found this helpful
May 23, 2006

I started reading about frugal living about 9 years ago. My main reason was to save us money for my husband and I who were living on our own for the first time. Now we just bought our first house so I'm trying to learn even more about frugal living.

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By 23 found this helpful
June 4, 2010

I grew up in a very frugal home. Although both of my parents worked, they were both very frugal and cost cutting. We kids didn't get what we wanted all the time, and we knew not to bug our parents at the store to buy a toy or candy. That is just the way it was.

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By 10 found this helpful
April 14, 2015

Two shirts on sale.

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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 4 found this helpful
April 20, 2015

Bottles of dish soap on sale.

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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.

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By 8 found this helpful
December 21, 2010

pile of firewood rounds

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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.

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By 5 found this helpful
April 15, 2010

Living a frugal life is a true reality in these economical times. No one has money to spend. Here are some things my husband and I have done and continue to do to help out our budget.

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By 3 found this helpful
April 24, 2007

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.

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July 7, 2011

My new kick is couponing. I have been watching Extreme Couponing along with the rest of America. I admire some of the people who use these coupons to the fullest.

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By 4 found this helpful
January 23, 2013

Watering The Garden

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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.

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October 26, 2011

A space ship shooting potatoes with a laser beam.

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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.

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September 16, 2011

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.

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By 9 found this helpful
March 28, 2011

I have considered myself a thrifty or frugal person my whole life. As a child, I would collect cans for extra money and visit neighborhood garage sales for toys I wanted.

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By 1 found this helpful
August 14, 2006

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.

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By 1 found this helpful
April 9, 2010

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."

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By 3 found this helpful
September 26, 2011

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.

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By 6 found this helpful
April 12, 2011

When the worst things occur at the worst times in the worst way, Frugality Rocks!

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By 1 found this helpful
June 22, 2008

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.

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May 25, 20063 found this helpful

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.

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