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Being frugal does not mean one should not enjoy life, just that we should examine our way of life to see if what we are doing is bringing us pleasure for the cost associated.
I recently had the problem of deciding to fill in the artificial nails that was given to me as a gift from my husband or taking them off and saving the money spent for upkeep. I do feel like I'm worth $15 every other week, but in the end I think it just comes down to the fact that I have other interests that I would rather put my money.
In deciding to explore just what I could do with $15 bi weekly I realized that just as artificial nails require upkeep, so do many other items in our lives. It just comes down to is the price to keep the item worth the sacrafice somewhere else.
In my instance, the item cost at the bare minimum $15 bi weekly or 26 times or $390 yearly. $15 biweekly does not sound like much but when one takes it a step further and then investigates what could that $15 really buy that would give equal joy to myself, then that is where the significance is really seen.
For me personally, I decided I would get just as much enjoyment for my $30 this month in the following way: I could buy school supplies for a child I do not know or I could buy a lot of pencils and take to the school for use when a child does not have one. The next month, I could find a nursing home in my area and take $30 worth of socks in all different sizes or I could save my money for a couple of months and take some nightgowns and PJs for the ones that do not have family.
My nails were pretty but I found after examining that I can get much more joy for my money. I'm gonna take the same money and buy some polish, calcium and vitamin D (as someone mentioned) and work on my own nails and use the leftover money in a more frugal and neighborly use.
I have now settled myself in a tiny cottage on the edge of Oxford, in the next village to my sister and nephew. I pay a small rent and take writing jobs to keep me going (in my former life I was a journalist); I am writing a book on domestic service and try to give the whole morning to working on it.
It is nearly a year now since I left New York and I can now think my life there must have been a deep slumber without the disciplines of saving money, buying things only because I really need them, enjoying small treats. I used to roam the streets, sipping enormous Starbucks' coffees that I threw away half-finished - nowadays, I cycle through the country lanes enjoying the smell of spring blossoms; the sight of cowslips in a ditch or my laundry billowing on the line in an April breeze gives me more pleasure than I could ever have imagined.
Some days I spend no money at all and never give shopping a thought. I've learned to be disciplined about electricity and gas; I shop online (in bulk) or in the village shop for what I really need and I think carefully about what that is. I don't have a car (occasionally I borrow my mother's in emergencies) but don't miss it - I've worked out how to use the buses.
When friends come to see me they bring a bottle of wine and I cook a stew from cheap cuts from the farm shop in the village. I don't see people much so the pleasure of conversation is more intense. What I have learned I am profoundly grateful for: that I can be alone; that the small experiences of everyday life can be as rewarding as the big events; that there is nothing to match the pleasure that comes from working hard for something; and that sometimes the tragedies of our life can lead to a rebirth.
By Lucy from England
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I've been thinking a lot about the world and the terrible state we are in. One thing I've been thinking is that we would all be a lot better off if we didn't say "someone ought to do something" and said "I'm going to do something" instead.
I think we have to stop leaving it to the government to help other people. Sure, there are a lot of people who could do more to help themselves, but an awful lot of people are trying really hard to just survive. Until I have walked in their shoes, I can't know enough to judge them.
I know one thing. If all of us decided that we were going to do whatever we could to help other people, and an awful lot of problems would be solved. I know that's never going to happen. But what if just 10% of us decided to do something?
I am crocheting warm, attractive winter hats and scarves to donate to the needy. It's a little thing. Most of us can do little things to help. Give time to a charity, visit old folks in a nursing home. Some of us can afford to give financially.
Maybe some people could afford to buy things at the thrift shop when they go. A nice white button down shirts for someone who has a job interview coming up. Good winter coats for needy kids. If one person bought a winter coat once a month, 12 kids will be warm enough to go to school. That's doing something!
Think about what churches could be doing. I live outside of Cleveland, Ohio, a very poor town. I am sure there are at least a few hundred churches around here. Here is my pet project for them; having worked for many years with delinquent, mentally ill teenage girls, I know that the foster care system is badly broken.
If a church would say; we have 3 families, an older couple, and a single man who will foster kids because all of us in this church are committed to helping them. We will babysit for them so they have time off. We will teach their fosters new life skills. We will be mentors. We will have them over to cook outs and dinners to teach them about family life and social skills. We will help out financially. No family will be unduly burdened. That church would help create responsible, capable citizens. Just a few kids, but that church is multiplied by a couple hundred, and suddenly something real is happening!
How is this thrifty? Everything we can do to help is something our government doesn't have to do. Every life we effect positively is one less burden. A few hundred kids helped is a few hundred criminals and thousands of crimes prevented.
If people are helping, maybe you will be getting some of that help. Maybe a kid kept off the streets will contribute something wonderful to the world. This isn't impossible. It could be real, but it has to start with us, with you and me. I think we can do it.
By Copasetic 1 from North Royalton, OH
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I have found myself in reduced circumstances pretty chronically for the past 5 years. I am sure that I share this fate with many people, but, in spite of knowing this, my predicament has seemed like a very private and shameful hell.
I've always been pretty smart with money, but three very special little boys have taught me that simplifying all areas of our lives is one of life's sweetest lessons learned.
Manufacturers are so good at persuading us that we HAVE to have their products that it's difficult not to end up buying all sorts of things that we really don't need.
The recession has taught me the difference between wants and needs, and how grateful I am to have a warm home, loving family and friends. Some things money just can't buy!
My tip is to keep looking on ThriftyFun, as you never know who you will find. In January 2008, I posted about my washable nappies. From that post, I met keeper60. Keeper60 lives in USA (we live UK) and has become a valuable member of my family.
So, alright, I work at Wal-mart and see all kinds of shoppers. Some are good and buy mostly generic. Others use coupons. Then there are people that buy 6 makeup items and spend almost $50! They could have taken five minutes and saved almost $15 in coupons!
I work just a block away from home. I had been walking to work, but pulled my Achilles Tendon and had to start driving to work.
My earliest adult encounter with frugal living was as a twenty-something single woman living on $425 a month in the 70's. I was exasperated with most of the budgeting articles in ladies magazines with titles like "How to Get the Most Out of Your Roast".
In my small community there are many traditions including having enough food for people that visited around a meal time. It was important to feed them, so this was done by taking out a few more things than was needed for our family.
Times are definitely tough for many of us and there is little or no cash for treats and little luxuries. At our house to make belt tightening a bit more fun, we have invented a game; "Good to the Last Drop".
No one wants to struggle, to say no to themselves and their children, to feel as if they're going backwards rather than forwards. But the easiest way to get out of the slump of despair is to think of everything you do have - and most of us still have a lot.
I have been frugal all my life. Thrift shop, giveaways, and garage sales have been as much a part of my life as breathing. In my early years it was out of necessity.
How do I make my money stretch? I buy used as much as I can. Garage sales, thrift shops and www.craigslist.org are my go to places for everything. I purchase most non-food items from thrift shops.
During a stressful time in our lives, my DH and I did not have the money to pay our rent, so we had to search for a more frugal life for the two of us, our daughter and three children who were at the time living with us, plus our son and his two children who also stayed part-time with us.
Every day people throw out product packaging and then turn around and purchase boxes, bins, and caddies to organize their homes. Instead, reuse the things that you're about to throw away, things that will fill landfills otherwise, and use them to save money and organize your home.
Being frugal has always been part of my life. My Mom had a chronic illness and had to stay at home. Our family lived on what my father made at a non-union factory job. We definitely used it up, wore it out or did without.
There seem to be quite a few crafty ladies on this site. Many of you also enjoy thrift shopping. I wanted to share a couple tips that I use to save even more at Goodwill and craft stores.
F: Find alternatives for expensive ingredients or purchases. R: Research online before making your purchases for something you want. Is it a NEED or just a WANT?
I found my true calling. I know how to save a buck or lest try. As soon as I finish this post, I will be going to get my Sunday papers and look through the coupons, sales and ads.
I love saving money. I love shopping. I love living the good life. Sometimes those worlds collide with each other. I wonder if the occasional going out or buying something with a coupon or on sale, makes me a frugal fraud.
As the youngest of 5 sisters, my frugal life began with hand-me-down clothes, even when I didn't quite yet fit in them. As I grew, my mom made sure I was FRUGAL, by not wasting any food on my plate!
Thinking about it, it seems to me that the greatest thrifty tip is employing ingenuity! If you have a household problem, look at the conventional way of tackling it (which probably costs lots of money), and then try to turn it around to a more frugal option.
Growing up, I had two cousins who lived across the street from me. They were sisters. One was bigger and the other was smaller than me. The clothes went from my cousin to me, then back to the younger cousin. This went on for years.
Being low income and depending upon curbside shopping before "city pick up days" arrive, I drive through my neighborhoods, rather than the main road, en route to any place. I keep a sharp eye open for whatever is being tossed that is:
I feel very close to the people in the English Colonies. I may be somewhat different in my circumstances but I have the same heart! I appreciate all that I have and try to make it go as long as it can. I use things in different ways, that I think they might have given me the nod of approval.
In the event you find yourself unprepared for the financial hard times we are facing right now, Don't panic, here are some things you can begin to do to help weather the storm.
I came from a home where everything was bought new. My parents would never buy "someone else's junk". They were frugal, but we did without many things because there wasn't enough money for everything.
I have found that frugal living requires many of the same tactics and disciplines as dieting to lose weight or dieting to improve your health. I found it very helpful to pull ideas from standard dieting plans to assist me with my financial diet.
To me, frugal living isn't about living on-the-cheap or settling on inferior product. It's simply a mindset that evolves into a way of life that allows one to be thrifty and creative. Prudence in all things is the key.
Today people look for items to make life easier. Yet, those items cost money which is earned by working, thus defeating the purpose of making life easier. In the "olden days" things were done more economically than today, and life seemed simpler.
When you are want to buy something extravagant, do this first. Take your yearly gross income, take off 25% for taxes. Take the net you make and divide by 2000 hours, the average a person works per year.
I have joked that for a penny pincher staying in one place is a way to save money! But it's true that moving is a costly business. So think twice before re-locating! For all the fact that we like to travel, my whole family has always liked a settled "home".
I was raised during the depression by my maternal Grandparents. We had to be saving and making do. "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without". I'm 76 now and I still make do a lot of the time. I still do things the "OLD TIMEY" way.
There's not much that would make me happier than seeing a dollar sign followed by the number two at gas stations. I long for the days that I complained about gas prices exceeding $2 per gallon. However, there's little that I can do to find immediate relief, so I'm going to try to make the best of things.
Here are a few mini-tips, which you all may already practice:
Not frugal, it is too uptight a word. The word I like to use is thoughtful. Every time I save money, I smile because I have purchased quality.
This is a guide about living a frugal lifestyle. Frugality in your life may be a choice or a way of life made necessary by financial circumstances.
This year our library fundraiser earned less money than in previous years. The chair of the event mentioned that in comparison to other local events, we still did quite well. Her comment was, "People are just being more careful with how they spend their money."
Oh, yes, ThriftyFun has helped me in many ways showing me ways to improve our lives. I never dreamed there were as many others such as ourselves, trying to live and get along with everyday life as frugally as possible.
When making a budget, be sure to identify Discretionary and Mandatory expenses.