The Gautama Buddha, over 25 centuries ago, commended frugality. As an example, he taught the first monks and nuns to make their robes from "pure cloth" that is cloth that no one wanted.
Through the course of adopting a frugal lifestyle I have discovered that frugality has not only helped me become more flexible, it has shown me that flexibility must reign supreme over routine when saving money is the goal.
Where I grew up life was tough. Even as children, we had long days of working, helping in the garden and in the kitchen. I assumed this was just how it was.
My thoughts run back through the years to Christmas past, when I was small and Grandma was still around. It was always Christmas at her house, a ramshackle farmhouse with mice in the walls that she used to tell me were fairies working for Santa.
My husband is a long haul trucker and more often than not will not get home for Christmas until late Christmas Eve night and will have to leave again early on the 26th.
I still live in the same house I did when my first child was born. That was 37 years ago. What does that have to do with anything? Well, at first it wasn't intentional; staying here I mean.
Once upon a Christmas time in a little college town there lived college couple with a baby son. In between classes and jobs and studying late, they had bought gifts for parents, sisters, brothers and baby too, of course.
"Hey, Bob, look!" I said as we neared a bus stop in my neighborhood. "Now why would anyone want to do that?" he grumbled, outraged at the eyesore we'd just driven past, a gang of abandoned shopping carts.
I have been working since I was 15 years old and I am now 51. Knowing how to stretch a dollar is a lesson I learned early. My older sister was a seamstress and she taught me how to sew.
I have found it helpful, thriftily-speaking, to take a look at all the necessary things in my life and make a list of those that I just can't scrimp on.
The most important economic development in my family was when my husband (after 34 years of marriage) converted from being a spendthrift to a saver.
My father shared the title of his self published book "The Miser's Muniment." In the mid eighties, with freewheeling credit within the reach of practically everyone, hardly anyone was interested in reading about misers.
I make it a habit of being open to food-shopping deals whenever I go anywhere. Today I stopped in at an independent dollar store, where I found a quart of lemon juice at 2/$1.00. That'll last a good long time.
"Hey, Lady! What are you looking for?" asked the driver. "A penny," said I from the pavement next to him. "It's sort of a game I'm playing, and I need to find the penny myself. You know (I lied), for luck."
There are many different mystery shop companies online and the benefits are numerous. Although you certainly won't get rich doing shops, it is a great way to save money.
At the young age of five years at the time, my daughter was a very bright, intelligent, helpful and energetic young "woman", as she would laughingly tell it today at age thirty five.
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, then blossom and put on their colorful array of tasty treasures for us to enjoy is long past.
Hi, I am a Midwest mom of 6, and I currently don't work outside the home. I take surveys, do secret shoppers, and occasionally provide homecare. I never have the extras in life, but I would like to have some nice things.
When growing a garden and preserving your harvest, make sure to use it all. If you have to many green beans make dilly beans or make homemade soup to freeze or can. Make up casseroles and freeze for busy days.
I can't remember a time when I was not frugal. My parents were young during the big depression so I learned "thrift" early on. Now at 63 with my hubby at 67, we find that frugality is what allows us to survive.
In our household, frugal living is easiest in the summer. Since I am an early riser, morning chores are my domain with the assistance of Keira, the cat. Our first task is to unload the dishwasher which dear hubby has run earlier in the morning.
Is there such a thing as being too thrifty? Are we many times penny wise and pound foolish? I ponder this because by nature I am a logical, practical person. I have been told this all my life. So the following situations make no sense to me.
I am a single mom of two awesome boys. I am always looking for ways to be frugal. I hang clothes to dry, make food from scratch, and I never turn down clothes, etc. for my boys and me when someone has them to share.
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.
If you have a computer and printer, you can save quite a bit of money on office supplies. For instance, if you buy blank labels at an office supply or discount department store, you can make your own return address labels.
Grandma was born in 1895 and raised 6 children on her own after her no-good husband ran off. This was long before the days of Social Security. She had lived through some really hard times, and she taught me so much, it still makes me smile.
I was raised in an area that was a long drive to the town, and we went in to town only two times a month - once for paying bills and another for shopping and visiting friends.
The rooster terrorizes the entire family, save myself and my husband. Yesterday, I had to drive home to let Mom and my daughter in the house because Phoenix had jumped down and refused to let them in the house.
I grew up in Europe during World War II, and after the war we coped with rationing until 1952. There were no washing machines or anything electric to ease the annoyance of housework.
In college, we were all short on cash, so here of some of the ways I made it during the hard times. They were some of the best times in my life.
I have found many ways of saving money, while still having a lovely garden to provide fresh food and flowers. I have found that plant sales at churches and garden clubs can be a good source for perennials.
We have an old iron claw bathtub that has been enclosed in a small bathroom instead of being allowed to stand alone. It is wood paneled into the spot where a normal bathtub would have been.
I have been collecting disability since 2000. I was previously living in a Women's Homeless Shelter. I learned while I was homeless how little that I really need.
I have always mentally been a thrifty person. As a child, I was confused by the other kids who would spend all their money on candy, toys, or other little things.
One cannot lose weight by eating a faulty diet. I eat whole grain bread, lots of fruits and vegetables, and keep bad fats like margarine and chemically-extracted oils and sugars, especially white sugar, to almost nonexistent.
Once again today, I scored at the thrift store. Last week, I did very well at Aldi. My family is considered "upper middle class" and yes, we shop at such stores.
This is a letter to my daughter who has been out of work for 2 years.
Mrs. Mural and I both received an invitation for dinner at the Tibbons'. I called and asked Mrs. Tibbons to allow me to make the dessert. Since my "new found life path" seems to have been paved with coffee cake, I had no problem deciding what I would make.
My husband enjoys going on mission trips with our home church, but the cost is expensive for the trip. In order to defray the costs of the trip, I make homemade sourdough bread on a weekly basis and sell it at church for $5.00 a loaf.
We bought a house in KY from my oldest son who had remodeled it and painted all the walls white. That was bugging me, so one day I got this wild urge to paint the living room.
When the worst things occur at the worst times in the worst way, Frugality Rocks!
My husband and I moved here to CO to be close to our kids and grand-kids. We had lived in KY to be close to our oldest son, but we had to move away because of my arthritis, allergies, and asthma. Since we've lived here, we've both had to work and we're on Social Security.
Every day, every shopping trip, in all my endeavors, I try my best to be frugal. Yet, I am not a cheapskate and I consider myself to be a very generous person.
Creativity is important to living frugally. Before you go out and buy something, ask yourself "What can I use that I already have?", "What do I have that needs to be used up?", and "What can I make out of what I have?"
When I was quite young, I had my first daughter. I was only 17, still in high school, and I have to tell you that I was terrified of everything. I found that as soon as I got pregnant, I lost most of my friends. I became an expert at frugal living.
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.
<img src="/images/articles/winner.jpg" width="72" height="77" align="right">Ahh! There is nothing like the soft scent of peach, cinnamon, and vanilla; or maybe you like flowery scents like rose and lilac. For me, I will always be reminded of my mother and the outdoorsy scent of balsam and pine she loved at Christmas.
I couldn't afford long distance phone calls or even a phone, except for the company required that I have one. So, my mom and I communicated with actual letters and calls on holidays.
Almost two years ago, my husband and I bought our first home. We were excited about finally being about to make a place our own: fun wall hangings, even more massive amounts of bookshelves, unique paint colors on all of the walls, and so on.
Being a young woman who is not from the most well off family, I have and hold frugality close to my heart. From the patchwork duct tape tent to the tea pot water jug I've grown up with, the beggars can't be choosers mind set has gotten me through some weeks with only $20 in my pocket!
I grew up with the message that I was fat and worthless. A couple of years ago, I looked at the few pictures that exist of me over the years (I always avoided being photographed). Me at age 4 - not a bit fat, though my teenage sisters had me convinced that I was.
We live on a farm and raise goats. donkeys, shih tzu dogs, and bantams, plus we take care of every other animal that comes around. We are bird lovers, so we always take care of them along with the deer and the squirrels.
If you live in an all electric house it can get very expensive, even with new energy efficient appliances. So think a timer for your water heater. It will save you as much or more than a expensive solar panel on the roof.
I was laid off from a permanent job 6 years ago. My field is in oil and gas. During that time I have worked contract and my ways of savings have really helped my husband and myself.
Groceries, now there's where you can really save if you are one of two types of people. Either you have time and organization to coupon, or if you are like me, and just couldn't get the hang or discipline for coupons.
While people everywhere were preparing for the holidays, my children and I were preparing for a funeral. My husband of thirty years had a heart attack on December 14, 2008, passed away on December 23rd, and was buried on the 31st. It was indeed an indelible holiday.
I have found that listening and learning from others has been one of the best ways of saving money and living within my income. Asking questions, often saves hundreds of dollars that you think is going to be a long term investment.
It seems that so many young people living in this fast paced world are getting in debt way over their heads because they want it right now or just because they feel they have to keep up appearances for their friends.
My 85 year old mother is a child of the depression, so when I was growing up I learned to shop at "discount" stores, but when it came to food it was store bought and brand name.
I have mantras or adages that in the worst of times have always focused my thinking and my will power to look at problems directly at what I can control. Believe me, as a single mother ,with no child support, there are things you can't control.
There is a difference between being thrifty; and being cheap. Being thrifty takes into account time and money, and occasionally payback time. Being cheap only counts the amount of money spent.
Military life is an interesting life. When I married my soldier husband, I quickly learned that we must stretch the money and learn how to live with sales and quality in mind.
So you are young and getting ready to make your own home for the first time, whether an apartment or your first house. Of course, you want to decorate to impress as well as to express your taste.
In the early days of our marriage, Jim and I had six teenagers and a weekly food budget of $35.00. I am grateful that Jim is such a fine gardener, and that he thoughtfully included the children in that hobby.
A recession can certainly create a shift in perception. But when the walls of comfort begin to crumble, the way a person looks at their situation is a personal choice. Initially my reaction was fear.
It is now 2011, and what more can we do to be frugal and save in this New Year? Here in Australia, prices are on the up and up - food, electricity, other utility bills, my rent.
Aside from all the obvious resolutions I have just made for 2011 - to lose weight, eat more healthily, take more exercise etc., there is one other really important money and stress saving thing I have made up my mind to do.
Every year I try to do a few more things to live more frugal and eco-friendly. In 2010, when we moved, we did not get a dryer. We use the lines in the backyard or hang inside. We have not used any paper napkins or paper towels and do not drink soda pop.
When money is tight and you have children to buy presents for it, is very easy to become disheartened and disillusioned about the whole notion of Christmas. But stop and think for a moment and you will soon realise that you can turn this difficulty to your advantage
Being frugal at Christmas is just common sense. This year has really hit us hard with the prices of medications and food always going up. There are two of us that really need medicine everyday.
When the economic crisis hit, my county (Montgomery, bordering DC), the wealthiest in the nation, took a hit. Education, fire/rescue, police; all services have evaporated to bare bones and the trend continues.
As a woman and a wife with two kids (both under the age of 6), I've taught myself to be frugal. I spend only what is needed and reuse what I have. I am the type of women who worked hard. I started from the bottom of the working chain and made it to the top.
My husband and I live in a 29 foot travel trailer. We recently sold almost all of our possessions and decided to live with less stuff and more happiness. Part of the reason that we now live in a travel trailer is for the opportunity to spend more time with our two beautiful granddaughters.
I wanted to let you know how my family shares for Christmas. We now ask what each other wants, because we want to get the gift they want and we don't want to waste money on unwanted gifts.
My frugal life began in about 2006. My mother came to live with us due to having Alzheimer and my finance (hubby now) volunteered to stay home with her. One income meant cutting back.
What do menopause, singleness and caffeine have in common? You guessed it lower heating bills.
I love to be frugal and love to entertain. What I have been doing for several years now, is serve a single food, cookies, and simple beverage and ask for gifts. But, the gifts are not for me, they are for others.
I am blessed to have grown up in a family where my parents had gone through the Great Depression and then WWII. They never made being frugal seem like punishment, but more of a game, where I was taught to look at the bigger picture.
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.
At our house, we are celebrating the cooler weather and watching, photographing, and being awed by the beautiful colors and hues of the trees all around us. This time of year is special, since we get the house and the surrounding area ready for snowy winter months.
Fall is here and I'm so thankful for cooler weather. It has been a long, hot summer and not a good time to pick up a lot of litter.
Making another trip to the store; that makes how many this week? Is it a want or a need? A little planning always is the better way of course, but sometimes things come up and we do run out of something we think we just have to have.
Well here I am again feeling a little rather chipper at the moment. I have purchased my yogurt maker and am quite apt at making and drinking thick and Greek yogurt. Mixing in the different flavors to suit our mood.
Spending the summer running around with no shoes was a normal occurrence. Mom bought boots for the fall and winter and carded and spun wool for socks, mittens, hats, and other winter clothes. Our cows provided milk and butter.
My husband and I live a simple and frugal life in all the ways that we can. We grow our vegetables and fruit, and we keep hens. We jam, pickle, brew, and freeze for the less productive times of the year and always cook from scratch, never wasting anything.
Have you ever reminisced for say 40 years about doing a childhood activity? Did you go out and purchase the means of doing it? Did you do it and find it really was a childhood thing? Thank God it wasn't just me. Whew! Well, do you want to know about it?
It's so amazing to see my lifelong lifestyle-frugality becoming so popular, especially after the mass consumerism of the 90's. At one time early on, I was a single mom with 3 children, but it started even before that.
My adult daughter called me recently to remind me that I'm a great mom. She went on to tell me that when she and her sisters were young I fed them very well. She was remembering how we always had 2 or 3 vegetables or fruits on our table at every meal.
On Sunday mornings, Grandad would sometimes call for my younger brother and sister and I take us for long, exciting walks in the countryside around the small rural town where I spent my childhood.
I buy a box of any kind of plastic Ziploc, store brand, or zipper bags from the dollar store and use the bags for snacks for school for my daughter for school or freezing my meats.