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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
I loved your post. People who are insecure in their choices feel threatened by those who have made different choices. I think that attitude includes everything under the sun, not just frugal living. Frugal living is different for everyone. It means making the best life with the resources you have and for your particular circumstances. Also, it takes into consideration what you like to do. I will never sew my own clothes. I think it is an admirable thing to do- it just isn't for me. I also don't freeze too many meals because I don't want a freezer that is like my own personal purgatory I have to work my way out of. For me to make something and freeze portions it has to be a dish I totally love. But I might view freezers differently if I lived out in the country with a big family to feed. The freezer might then be my best friend. When I visit frugal sites, I sift through the advice and look for the suggestions that suit me now.
Very interesting post. So now there are frugal snobs! If we all did just as much as we can, considering our circumstances. It would make a big difference in our budgets & probably our greenish "footprint" too. I dabble in all sorts of frugality, from picking up designer handbags for cheap, to hemming my own pants, to doing small repairs and so on, plus some knitting & crafting.
It all adds up to helping my husband & me to have a quite nice lifestyle. We even have a bargain boat in a bargain slip! As my hubby says, we just have to manage to keep it up!
I read the responses, most (as expected) praise. People don't like to be told. Told anything. For any reason. It makes them mad. Madder if they feel guilty. Let's apply the Beverly principle to Frugal Living. When someone gives suggestions about anything, let's not suggest improvements. Their tender psyches might be offended. Let's not even piggyback on ideas, because someone might imagine we're trying to reshape their lives. How simple Frugal Living would be! How free from upset! How empty!
There are many kinds of frugal snobbery, and they can derive from a sense of not being in control of work or home life. The tendency then is to strike out where one can, like the man who lost a key down the block but looks for it under the lamppost because the light's better. So yes, this is one of those snobby critiques- think through what's being said. One size doesn't fit all, but all those folks who, rightly or wrongly, suggest alternatives are freely donating their thoughts and experiences, and I value them even as I say to myself, no, that one doesn't work for me right now.
Sharing is wonderful, and in season.
This can apply to every part of life! You are so right. What is a good way for one person may not be right for the next. Kudos to you for an excellent post!
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.
See how many people agree with you....look at all the posts. I'm one of them. You couldn't have said it any better and I love it. There will always be someone who thinks their idea of frugal is better than anyone elses'. You go girl!
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
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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'.
Living within my means has been ingrained in me my whole life, as is living a green life, meaning being nice to Mother Nature. I find when I share my theories with people, there are two schools of reactions. One is the person looking at me like I have three heads and webbed feet. This is sadly the usual reaction. The other rare reaction is a look of pure relief that there is a kindred soul out there.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.