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Taking Pride in Being Frugal

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There are many personal rewards that result from living a frugal lifestyle. This is a page about taking pride in being frugal.


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My brother sent me a birthday card. The outside of the card showed a man dressed in a gray suit with pants which were about three inches too high which showed his white socks.

The man was holding a chicken. The outside of the card stated "In every family, there are a couple odd characters." On the inside of the card it stated, "Oh look, one of them is having a birthday!"

I deeply love my brother and he feels likewise towards me so I did not take any offense, however I thought that the card was rather odd until I began comparing myself to my family members and I am the odd ball in our family.

I am considered the odd ball in our family as I am frugal. My family cannot believe that I do not take elaborate vacations, that I have not traded in my eight year old car, that I do not buy things from the mall, that I do not buy the latest electronics, that I do not eat at expensive restaurants or buy expensive jewelry.

I am not interested in purchasing an expensive home and then furnishing it with new, expensive furniture. They roll their eyes whenever I tell them of my latest thrift shop find.


They think that my thrift store clothing and shoes are passe' and cannot believe that I could care less about what the latest fashions are as long as I am comfortable.

They were flabbergasted when I gave my television away, but I got sick of looking at all the commercials and allowing the television shows to suck up all of my off work time. I would much rather be reading.

I am content with what I have. I have a comfortable apartment, clean and comfortable clothes and a stable job. I really do not need a lot. I am happy. I am single, without children, but I have Joshua (my miniature Dachshund) who keeps me on my toes and keeps away loneliness.

I am proud of my frugality as it has enabled me to pay off $76,000 in debt in the past two and a half years and I only have two thousand to go until I am debt free! All of my family members are all deeply in debt. So yes I will be the odd ball and I will bear the title proudly!


By Tawnya from Dallas, TX

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When I was in the sixth grade, short white leather boots, called go-go boots, were all the rage. All the cool girls got them immediately. Not-so-cool girls got them in rapid succession. In a short period of time, anybody who was anybody had a pair, except for me.

At the time, my father was out of work, and had been for some time. I could hear my parents talking at the kitchen table, when they thought I was asleep, about how they were on the verge of losing the house. I was afraid to ask for money when the ice cream truck came around, much less ask for money for an expensive pair of boots.

As rapidly as the boots rose to the height of fashion, they descended to the status of hopelessly passe. I never did get go-go boots, and I survived. Those boots shaped my view of spending for the rest of my life.

I learned that I was the same person, no matter what possessions I owned. At 11 years old, I decided to spend my money on things that would last. Anything that I thought would be a fad would have to be cheap.

I tend to buy conservative clothing and furniture in neutral colors. The color of the year would be purchased as a scarf, throw pillow or another accessory. If I had gotten those boots, I am sure that I would have forgotten all about them, as did many of my friends who had them.

I owe a lot to those boots. They kicked my feelings of extravagance to the curb!

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May 9, 2018

Keepsakers in my Chitwood line: Camden County Missouri/Durango, Colorado Chitwoods

As I realize with some surprise that spring is here, I also realize that now is the time for deep spring cleaning. Deep spring cleaning is something I have seldom done. Oh, I rearrange things, clean under the furniture as I realize the dreaded dust bunnies have reproduced, you know, that sort of cleaning. But today as I was deciding which never worn clothing to give away, which clutter should be part of my clutter no more, which school things to finally part with after six years in retirement, which vacation pictures I should sort and keep or toss, which art should find a new home, all of these things, then I realized once again that I have that Chitwood gene, the keepsaker gene.

As I walk through our tiny Chitwood house, the one that was built the year I was born, I am amazed to see that there are common little things that have remained the same since the day we moved in. My childhood nightlight, a simple orange single bulb glow, though used almost every night for 70 years, has never needed to be replaced. The stopper in our bathtub, hard rubber, still keeps water in our cast iron tub. The lock on our back door probably predates the house by fifty years, but it still locks our back door every night. The porcelain kitchen sink still bears the many intertwining hairline crack marks left over from burning letters, an unfortunate circumstance that gave our lives a tumble a couple of lifetimes ago. The metal stoppers in those sinks are still the same ones we have always used. The strong wooden front door with three staggered windows is the same one that appears in 70 years of growing up photos for four generations of children. The kitchen table that was ancient when I was a child, the kitchen table that had massive legs was meant to be transformed into a rocking crib for a new baby, but that magnificent crib never transpired so the tables comforting presence is still part of the kitchen memories in our smallish kitchen and the baby for which the crib would have been fashioned is now a grandpa himself. The cupboards simple, not stylish were made by my mother, Tillie Chitwood's brother after the war and have never been updated. Simply varnished back then, still the same varnish today, no not even repainted. The pie cupboard on the back porch is the same one my father, Bud Chitwood lovingly spent hours repairing for my mother. It holds all kinds of household repair necessities at this stage of its life instead of the homemade pies, jellies, jams and relishes that it once held; pies and relishes made from Grandma Daisy's garden out back, and then followed by Tillie Chitwood's preserves in later years.


A couple of years ago, we decided to replace old mattresses just because we never had purchased new ones. To our surprise and to the utter astonishment of the new mattress crew who removed them, those old mattresses along with their springs in the Chitwood home had tags from 1926. Pretty comfortable all in all for so many years, dust mite people would be aghast but there was no scientific evidence about dust mites or purchasing new beds every six years back then. My father, Bud Chitwood, had placed a piece of plywood under each mattress in 1960 or so, sheets were changed once a week and mattresses were dutifully turned every few months. 1926 would be the year my grandparents moved to town from the ranch up the Animas Valley so it makes sense that they splurged on new beds. The old mantle clock from the Chitwood ranch still keeps perfect time, though the ranch, all 160 acres of it, third homestead up the Animas Valley in 1876, did not last three generations. The telephone landline which has remained the same all my life has not been replaced by a smartphone our phone number is still the same one I have had all my life.

Yes, we are keepsakers, we Durango Chitwoods, keepsaking is as much a part of some of us as the Chitwood name, from bathtub plugs to nightlights to telephone numbers. We still are retaining the old and searching for missing pieces of our past to present to the future. We are the keepsakers, the can't tossers who keep our own research energy alive.

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What makes someone take up frugal habits? Being independent of "keeping up with the Jones'" as the saying puts it! Going along with the crowd or whatever is "in" at the moment seems to be an indication that one has no individuality!

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

April 25, 2011

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

I came from a background that never went to garage sales, thrift shops or places like that, but the past I think about 10 years or so, I have begun to shop like that. A friend taught me, my husband and I are happier, and have less stress, and I only work part time, as I am needed. So that allows me to do a few things for my interest that I wouldn't have ever been able to do, like have coffee with my mother in law when ever she wants to go, and take her to the doctor as needed and work in the museum once a week, things I want to do, and my husband enjoys the fact that I can do these things. Frugality, it is really a blessing, when you are frugal, there isn't as much stress, we can enjoy life more. Have a blessed day everyone. (07/23/2010)

By Pati Mishler

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Amen sister! Keep living like no one else, be weird to Quote Dave Ramsey! (07/23/2010)

By Diana

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

One thing comes to mind when reading this. A rose by any other name, is still a rose. Whether you purchase that Old Navy sweater, Nike shoes, or Armani suit from a high end store or garage sale or ebay, who really knows? Its still a brand name item. I believe in saving money by shopping thrift stores as well. I believe its our attitude and outlook on life that is more important than what we spend. Too bad some family members aren't smart enough to realize that. (07/23/2010)

By Mintwolf

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

This is great, you keep being who and what you are, this is like me. It gives me great joy to recycle and find ways to save money, because then I can buy more things for all my animals. I am voting for this to win! Blessings, robyn (07/23/2010)

By Robyn Fed

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

You can't take the nice things with you when you go. They don't matter. What matters if you are happy. That's all that matters. (07/23/2010)

By Mary

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Congratulations to you! Very inspirational! (07/24/2010)

By Annalee301

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Love it! You go girl! :-) (07/24/2010)

By Deeli

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Good for you! Watch out later in life, when you have a nice little nest egg for your retirement and they don't have one. They will want you to help them out. Keep up the good work. Waste not want not. (07/24/2010)

By Danialle

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Good for you! Stick to your beliefs.They will be wishing they had followed your ways when they get older and can't afford to retire. (07/24/2010)

By Judy

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

You are a very special individual in that you have something that thousands of people wish they had: Contentment. It's not being in a state of contentment that is driving up massive personal debt in this country. As a consequence, all that combined debt is affecting the economy of the entire United States. I congratulate you on being someone who is happy with the way things are. I'm sure you still treat yourself, but in small, reasonable ways. You are not an "oddball," you are special! By the way, I'm single with a "furchild" too. Don't ever let someone make you feel bad just for being who you are, and if they try to, they aren't worth your precious time. Keep up the great work! (07/24/2010)

By Jenlyn

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

The wealthiest people I know are likewise frugal, and the big ticket items they buy are things that last far longer than the less expensive items others buy. (Cook pot for 5x$, lasts 10x as long, etc.) They do not impulse buy, they seldom eat out (but go to quality places when they do). If they somehow lost everything, they would end up wealthy once again, by doing what you are doing now. Well, they also know how to make money, but so do a lot of others who are broke. (07/24/2010)

By Phillep

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Hang in there and follow your heart! (07/24/2010)

By Holly

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

May I be the first to congratulate you, Tawnya, for having your sites set right! I hope your brother gets to see you on TV, when one of those news programs highlights your accomplishments. (07/24/2010)

By Jean

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Dear Tawnya, As stated already by someone here posting as well, you are not an oddball, you are special. I too like to be frugal. I can no longer pay retail prices and find it fun to look for clothing at second-hand stores as well as some small and large appliances. I am constantly being complimented on the way I dress ( all second-hand). Keep up the good work and continue to look after you. Best Wishes MG (07/24/2010)

By Marie

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Don't flip the brother's card to the they all think I'm weird category. Sometimes we just find cards that make you think of someone without going deep and insulting. Maybe his thought of you (even tho he does not acknowledge it) was complementary about not going with the crowd.

Needless to say, in this economy we all need to get on board and be like you are. Again, needless to say, its the the few of us that become the leaders. The famous people who profess to be frugal, green, etc. are poked fun at but also leaders in their own zones (Bill Gates for example).

I garage sale purchase, most of my wardrobe, household items, etc. How many friends have binge bought to wish they had not? I have lots of Tupperware purchased for a buck or two, new clothing with hang tags, winter coats used 1 season. People call me with their 'needs' and I keep an eye out. Same thing, when I have the extras, I let people know. Right now extra garden veggies to trade out or find someone recently in hospital/long term medical issues, who love the garden stuff, gifted. Same thing when my immediate family goes fishing. We don't eat all fish, so they clean them and offer to elderly neighbors (mostly widows) who love it. Frugal! (07/24/2010)

By Grandma J

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Wonderful - wish I could emulate her amazing example to the extent that she has. Each month I become more aware of what I really don't need to buy, to live more and more simply. I'm getting better and better at becoming frugal. (07/24/2010)

By Lois Schmidt

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Hi, Although I am impressed with your paying off your debt, I'm confused that Someone so frugal could get that deep, I mean 78,000 is a lot of money for someone who rents an apartment, and drives an 8 year old car? (07/24/2010)

By susan

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

I too am perplexed with the 78,000 debt, but, I think your bro's card was in very bad taste. Down right something. Sometimes people put other people down to make themselves feel better. They are the ones with a problem. It's cool you have a puppy dog bud. They make the best friends, (and cats), power to ya. (07/24/2010)

By Pamela Rochelle Woodworth

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

It is very easy to find yourself in that much debt. Please do not ask how or you may find out. Life deals us hands that we must play. Mine was dealt to me when my daughter was diagnosed with a lifelong autoimmune disorder/disease. When I left the hospital, at the time, she was three years old, I owed in copays over $8,000.00. Her maintenance meds: copays are over $3000.00 per month. You will do what you have too for your children. (07/24/2010)

By Tammie

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Hi there! This essay really struck a note with me, you're philosophy sounds very much like mine. I go to charity shops, grow my own veg and make my own entertainment. I gave up my TV and got a little portable set just for watching DVDs on, and I DEVOUR books, but only from the library or second hand book shops and charity shops. I'm really happy with being 'different' to others, and I notice my family members starting to take a leaf out of my book.

My sister competes with me to see who can get the best bargain on the reduced shelves in the supermarket, and she knows to go to the veg shop just before closing and she'll get all her stuff really cheap- I taught her that! My Dad has started going into charity shops, and was so chuffed to come home with a beautiful pair of smart shoes, in excellent condition, for less than £3!

On the other hand, my brother and his wife have a very good income, but constantly exceed it and worry about money problems. I think I'll stick to my low income and contented lifestyle! One question - what exactly is a thrift store? It's not a term I'm familiar with here in the UK! (07/25/2010)

By rachelanwen

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

I have been the odd ball for years, but I have a nice home. Everyone tells me that my home is very at ease, they can relax. Feels like a home. A 13 year old jeep that runs great & still looks good, stylish clothing. I enjoy my life. I think I am ahead of the whole game. I buy what I like, to save myself money, but people make remarks like I am a junk collector. They pay top $ amount to copy something I get, or make, or find. Now who is the odd ball? I save, they spend. I win ! (07/25/2010)


RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Hi, good for you! I wonder why people want to know how you got in debt? Paying it off is the point! Also I think the card was funny. Barb (07/25/2010)

By Barb

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Don't think you are an oddball at all. Great read! By the way-you are thinking outside the box! Good to know you! Keep up the awesome work! (07/25/2010)

By sally mazgaj

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

A former friend; I say former because I got so tired of her put-downs for me being frugal. Anyway, she stated that she'd never buy used clothes. She's not wise enough or somehow chooses to forget that those new clothes she's just bought have been tried on my "who knows" and multiple times; maybe sometimes by people who haven't bathed in weeks. In my opinion, that relates to "used". (07/25/2010)

By Betty

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Hi it is Tawnya. I am the author of this post thanks for all the feedback everybody. I am a little overwhelmed as I did not expect all of the feedback. Thank you for all of your support! In answer as to how I got so much in debt I was super stupid with my money as I incurred a lot of student loan debt (attending private, very expensive universities and taking out student loans for the whole deal) and a little credit card debt (less than 10% of the total debt).

As you can tell I have not always been frugal in fact I just started changing my money ways and being responsible and frugal about two years ago. So i am so glad that god led me to this website as you all of you are an inspiration and a blessing to me. I have learned and continue to learn so much from each of you! May God Bless each and every one of you! (07/25/2010)

By Lovejoy

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Jamish, I completely agree with you, my stress level has considerably decreased now that I am living the frugal life and eliminating my debt. God is so good, may you be blessed. Tawnya (07/25/2010)

By Lovejoy

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Skibum: Thanks, lets make weirdness an epidemic. :) Tawnya (07/25/2010)

By Lovejoy

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Mintwolf: Thanks for the philosophy. I completely agree. Tawnya (07/25/2010)

By Lovejoy

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

@tami333 - I'm so sorry to hear that! How I got so far in debt was partly medical problems, and also the massive dental problems I had, which were related to my health issues. I hated to do it, but I finally had to go bankrupt.

I can't earn a lot of money because I'm disabled, but I'm debt-free. When a beloved relative died, and I inherited money from her life insurance policy, the first thing I did was move to a small town and pay cash for a house, to eliminate a monthly rent/mortgage payment. It's just too stressful to be in debt, especially in these economic times. (07/25/2010)

By Melanie Jackson

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

So sad that being frugal and paying your way gets you labeled the oddball. I understand that your brother was not putting you down; and I think people would be shocked to know how many young people are leaving college with degrees that don't guarantee a job, and astronomical debt! The need to buy that McMansion (and furnish and maintain it) tie them into working forever. And heaven forbid that they stay home with their kids! But the mentality is that it is all necessary. They cannot separate the "need" from the "want".

When I suggested to a young friend that one way to cut expenses so that she could stay home would be to give up cable tv, you'd have thought I suggested she remove an arm! When did stuff become more important that family? It is sad, and I worry for the next generation of kids, who are subtly being taught the stuff is more important than they are. (07/27/2010)

By Jill

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Hi! I would like to compliment you on your accomplishments, however there is one area that you may want to re-consider. Renting actually "costs" you money, much more than owning a home or even a condo. Equity, tax breaks, etc. not to mention appreciation of your investment. I have been reading "Automatic Millionaire Homeowner" by David Bach. You may want to give it a look he has written several similar books such as "Start Late, Finish Rich", etc. Just a thought. (07/27/2010)

By Maria Zmijewski

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Thanks for sharing your touching and inspirational story. (07/28/2010)

By Darla

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Riazmi, thanks for your feedback. I have considered purchasing a home but in my area of the country even a reasonable house in a blue collar neighborhood would cost $100K and at 5% interest I would be paying $5,000 per year in interest and with my current tax bracket I would only incur a $1,250 tax benefit. Also I would have the cost of upkeep, taxes, insurance etc. At this point in time I am better off renting. Tawnya (07/29/2010)

By Lovejoy

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Riazmi, thanks for your feedback. I have considered purchasing a home but in my area of the country even a reasonable house in a blue collar neighborhood would cost $100K and at 5% interest I would be paying $5,000 per year in interest and with my current tax bracket I would only incur a $1,250 tax benefit. Also I would have the cost of upkeep, taxes, insurance etc. At this point in time I am better off renting. Tawnya (07/29/2010)

By Lovejoy

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Love this article! I so relate. This is one of the best articles yet! (08/09/2010)

By Cindy Scinto

RE: My Frugal Life: Oddball Of The Family

Renting does not cost a renter money, how could it? My husband and I are in our late 50's, married for 1 1/2 years and we rent our three bedroom, two bath house. The central air/heat went out on us a couple of months ago, so who paid for the repair, the landlord at a cost of $4,000.00, we saved ourselves $4,000.00! We pay no property taxes, no homeowners insurance, (we have renters insurance on our furniture) nothing for any repairs, such as what the landlord had to for minor repairs after a tornado barely missed us. We are not gonna be sued for any injury, etc. that may occur on the property. So, my question is, how is it costing us money to rent? (09/04/2010)

By Sheila

Comment Was this helpful? 1
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