A writer mentioned counting pennies and reminded me of how I keep tabs on my casual spending. I conscientiously keep EVERY invoice even if it is only for a coffee, in fact particularly for such minor purchases (e.g., parking, tolls, and gas) I just drop every bit of paper into the bottom of my handbag. I crunch them up because it is easier to retrieve a wadded paper than a flat one. Every couple of days I clean out my bag and dump all the papers on the table.
It does not take long to add it all up, but I also do a "triage" to determine which is Essential/Unavoidable, Necessary/planned, and Frivolous/Unplanned. The only controllable category is that frivolous or spontaneous spending. It is that area that I attempt to manage. It means I must be more vigilant most of the time.
About once a month I give myself a day off, allowing splurging on a pastry with my coffee, for example. I have been very careful for over a year now Bit by bit, I have ceased to want the ice cream, muffins, or earrings. This is a revelation and a relief, as I am now on a fixed income.
By joanfry from Geneva Switzerland
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I feel the same way! I had fallen into a rut of shopping as entertainment. I told myself that I was shopping at thrift stores and outlets and the grocery store so I was being reasonably frugal. Well, shopping is like calories. If you eat enough of the diet food it still adds up to too much. Too many dollars spent for items I never needed in the first place. Now I have my fun by seeing if I can buy my groceries for the week for less than $30. I am having more fun avoiding unnecessary expenditures than I had shopping.
True, to find out where you $ are going is a must! Then finding out how to better manage the $ is wisdom and what being frugal is all about! Example, instead of going to the $1 store to buy cleaners: make your own, use microfiber, and instead spend the $ on a new skirt at the as is store for $1.00! (New to you!) Win, win situation all the way around! Doesn't mean you have to buy something when you go to thrift stores, or regular stores, or yard sales. In fact, if you make the choice to buy, you must then give something away, through freecycle! Makes it easier not to buy things you will end up not using or wearing!
And we women love to shop! And we love bargains! Being frugal doesn't mean being stingy: it means choosing to make a thermos of coffee, and taking homemade banana bread with you to enjoy in the car or at a picnic spot; rather than spending $5 or $6 for someone elses profit! Then we delight in finding $1 extremely expensive leather purses at a church sale in a garbage bag no one bothered to empty and put out on display! The $6 instead is used on the purses for us and as gifts to others, for the joy of it all! (The purses cost more than my rent does each month!)
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