Friday, March 30, 2012

Welcoming frugality - living a frugal lifestyle

A spend thrift by nature, I have always been accustomed to purchasing things whenever the need or want arises. Through out most of my adult life, I have some how managed to have nicer things, and several luxuries. However, over the last year, I have realized more and more that the life of a spend thrift is a rather stressful one, and have since decided to fully embrace a more frugal lifestyle.

Of course, as it seems every topic in my life seems to raise questions, the topic of frugality was no different, so I went out seeking answers, and knowledge.

The dictionary defines frugality as  the quality of being frugal, sparing, thrifty, prudent or economical in the use of consumable resources such as food, time or money, and avoiding waste, lavishness or extravagance.

So what exactly does it mean to avoid waste, lavishness, or extravagance? I have learned that this statement means different things to just about every person asked. Embracing frugality meant, I must myself figure out what I considered waste, lavishness, and extravagance, and learn to avoid those things at all cost.

I must admit that adapting to a more frugal life, after years of being a spend thrift has not always been easy, but we are working towards a larger goal of being debt free, and owning our home. I firmly believe that all the saving and penny pinching will be worth it. Just got to stay focused on the bigger picture and learn to be happy with what we have instead of focusing on material desires.

In order to help get the ball rolling a little faster, and to help myself stay a bit more motivated, I posted on my facebook requesting suggestions, tips, tricks, ideas, etc. for ways other people save money and stay frugal. I got a lot of really great responses and it caused me to think about the ways my family already saves money, and some things I would like to start doing.

I have now decided to post that list here in an attempt to help others see how easy being frugal and/or living a frugal lifestyle can actually be. There are a lot of ways to save money without feeling deprived. I am sure that some people may feel as though some of the things may family does are a bit extreme, but not everything is right for every family. There are of course things other families do to save money that would never work for mine, but I hope that maybe my list will serve as sort of a starting point for some and help to spark your imagination and creativity. Maybe just maybe we can teach each other a few things.

‎1) The lights out policy - when leaving a room turn the light off, also by 10pm (kids bedtime) all lights are out, it never hurt anyone to sit in the dark, especially since I am usually the only one up anyway.

2) We coupon, I haven't yet gotten back the skill I used to have when I was an extreme couponer a few years ago. I am doing my best and working back up to the time when I am able to be paid to walk out of the store with my groceries.
3) Buy used and save the difference - I won't say that we never buy new things because that would be a huge lie, however I have recently started trying even harder to find the things we want or need used (or on clearance) before ever buying something new.
4) Take advantage of free activities - going to the park, etc -  we like to participate in as many of these type activities as possible rather than going to the movies or other things which cost an arm and a leg especially for a family of five
5) Eat cheap - there are 3 adults and 3 children living in our home, so meals could get pretty expensive but we try to eat as cheaply as possible. During the warmer months we eat a lot of sandwiches when we are in a hurry, and we are soon going to try experimenting with two meatless meals a week (an idea from the tightwad gazzette)
6) We do without luxuries - we only have one car which can be very difficult at times but is manageable, we do not have cable, we have only a simple cell phone plan.
 7) We are soon going to start drying our clothes on a clothes line and we always wash everything in cold water as this saves on the energy bill.
 8) We do not buy plastic bags, small trash bags, etc. We use walmart bags or plastic containers for everything
9) We do not purchase convience foods or bottled water.
10) We purchase cheap paper products (when purchased) for example we purchase 6 rolls of toilet paper at walmart for .97 its not as rough as people may think and it is safer on your plumbing or in our case the spetic tank
10) I use the cost per unit method. For example, when buying a pack of diapers, trash bags, etc. I figure out the cost per item and buy the product with the cheaper cost per item a lot of times you will find it is more cost effective to buy several smaller packages of something than one large one because the cost per items is realitively smaller 
11) We use the borrow/trade method a lot of times there are things or services we either want or need but simply can not afford so we will try to either borrow the item, or trade services for example we borrow a mower to mow our yard, and I like to trade babysitting services.
 ‎12) we try to recycle and/or reuse - Of course there are some things that are just plain trash no way around it, and it would be disgusting to try to find new uses for them, or to even try to recycle them. We do recycle cans, and I try to find uses for other things, old torn clothes can become cleaning rags, or dog toys, food scrapes can compost (or go to the dogs), some trash like toilet paper rolls, etc can be used to make really neat crafts, and some times even gifts, or treats.

For now, that is all I have, I am sure as I continue to embrace a more frugal lifestyle this list will continue to grow and evolve, but for now these are 12 pretty simple things my family does. If you have any other ideas, please free to to share them, and if you would like please feel free to borrow a few of mine, or use my list as an inspiration to embrace your own frugal lifestyle

1 comment:

  1. Good luck to you Kimbra. Find fun in making things frugal. I like to make meals for less than $5 per person. I used to post them to my blog but stopped a few years back. I may have to start that up again...