My Frugal Life: Being Mentally Thrifty

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My Frugal LifeI 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. I might buy one thing, whereas my sister or friends would buy two, three, or more! I used my money to buy cooler clothes than my mom would pick out or a few books (although now I live for a good book from the library).

My favorite ways to save today, is to prioritize what I want to spend my money on and what areas I feel are wasteful. I don't like to waste money on heating bills, so we have a thermostat installed to regulate the temperature all year long. I have a pay as you go cell phone shared between my husband and I. While he's at work, I have it, and when he's home, we share it (since were together most of the time anyways). We figure we spend no more than $20 a month on cell time. We use Skype (internet calling) to avoid long distance calling as well.

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I've organized my grocery shopping into categories - produce/meat and bulk shopping. Our produce/meat store is only a five minutes drive (which I sometimes walk with my daughter who's 2 years old), but our bulk grocery store (where we buy all of our canned goods and typically more expensive elsewhere products) is a 20 minute drive away. So I organize the bulk shopping trip only once a month, whereas I shop produce/meat once a week. The bulk goods generally don't go bad right away, so this works well for me. I figure I save at least $5 in gas money a trip, by not regularly driving 20 minutes away for our weekly grocery needs.

We bag/pack our meals or eat them home. If we do plan to eat out, we try and share a meal, appetizer, or dessert and drink only water to avoid paying excess for a social occasion. I have been known to eat a small meal at home early, to avoid going out with an empty tummy. This way its easier to share a meal, etc.

I have a budget that is set, not to limit our spending, but to show exactly what we DO spend our money on. This is meant for a reality check, and that way if we don't like how our money is being spent, we can plan to change it!

I coupon of course, but here in Canada it's hard work, with very little reward. Since I always shop primarily the outer perimeter of the store, there are few coupons, but I try and usually save $5 a trip.

One thing I have yet to venture into is washable diapers. I know, I know! This is the ultimate money saver, but I know my weaknesses and laundry is one of them! So I save money by buying the superstore brand diapers or coupon the other brands.

I have caught myself spending a fair bit of money on travel, reference books (gardening, cooking, etc.), and higher end products for the household. But I prioritize these items and only spend what we can afford.

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Besides, money comes and goes.

By Sonja from Nanaimo, BC, Canada

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Comments

May 25, 20110 found this helpful

If it's any consolation, I have a friend whose husband is an engineer. When they had their last baby, he insisted on buying only disposable diapers. He had figured up the cost of both disposable and cloth, factoring in the cost of soap, water, and electricity, and told her that disposables were cheaper.

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