Skip to comments.Frugal living isn't being cheap
Posted on 02/11/2010 10:06:15 AM PST by hennie pennie
Frugality. That's been the buzzword of the Great Recession.
Sliding home values, stumbling stock portfolios and a shaky job market brought with them a consciousness about spending that many of us misplaced during years of consumer overindulgence. Americans responded to the crisis by buying less, clipping coupons more and increasing savings to 4.8 percent of disposable income in December, up from near zero before the recession.
In the past year, blogs about frugality went viral. Everyone from Oprah to President Obama joined the frugality parade.
Now a new term is marching through the blogosphere: Frugality fatigue. But I'd argue that if frugality is done right, there should be no such thing.
Being frugal doesn't mean being stingy, miserly or downright cheap. The true spirit of frugality is to be mindful of how you use your limited resources. To be prudent with your money. To buy the best of what you need but no more. To avoid waste.
That's why the new frugality aligns so well with the growing.....
(Excerpt) Read more at m.startribune.com ...
There are hundreds of dozens of blogs & forums about frugality, but I'm not interested here in the "philosophy" of frugality in general, or any links to the "same ol', same ol'" -- but rather in your own firsthand personal responses to cutting spending and watching your pennies.
Conservatives should not have to be frugal, liberals should be “sharing their wealth” since that’s what they claim to believe in.
I buckled down and learned how to replace brakes (both pads and rotors) on my truck just yesterday after work. This is no big deal to those who have done it before but I just saved labor costs and now have a new skill, abeit very limited.
I mix white wine with tonic water. It makes like a spritzer, makes the wine last longer, and I don’t get so tipsy.
I inherited the frugal gene from my father and his father in spades. I’d say one of the big things I have done is getting married a couple of weeks ago and renting a different home with my wife from where we were living separately. Total rent per month saved = $450. In order to have enough shelf space for all our books, I decided to stop by the local auction house the other night. Found an old desk with two shelves for books above. Paid $15 for it. Still need a washing machine, a splitting maul, some splittng wedges, and a chainsaw, though. The chainsaw and splitting tools is for my new camp firewood business that this home located outside of city limits will allow me to start.
wash and set your own hair - and learn the simple method of cutting your families hair - and do your own nails.
that can save HUNDREDS of dollars a year. (I’ve done this for decades. If I had put the money saved, in a ‘can’, all these years, I’d be sitting pretty.)
Don’t play the ‘buy a new car every 3 years’ game.
My trusty Buick will be 20 years old next year - and then will qualify to register as antique. She still looks good and the motor purrs. The insurance is just over $400 a year - including road service - and registration under $100.
Don’t trade up to a new and bigger house just because you can. Keep yourself in a smaller house with smaller insurance/taxes. And forget ‘cathedral’ ceilings. That’s a lot of square footage to heat - and heat rises, making the warmest place in the house the ‘empty’ space. the ideal house is a story and a half, with the slanted ceilings in the upstairs bedrooms cutting down on heated square feet and enough heat rising up from downstairs to heat the bedrooms enough for sleeping - mega heating money saved.
I could go on - but I won’t ;o)
I think you should...
I hear you. I cut my own hair. I don't cut hubby's hair, but I do trim his beard for him. Also, my MIL is in an assisted living facility. We pick her laundry up every week and do it with ours, instead of having the facility do it. Saves her a couple hundred bucks a month in laundry fees. No big deal to us to do two extra loads on laundry day.
< grump> Every tip on frugal living is pretty much something I’m already doing, except for some things I can’t afford to do (like installing a wood-burning stove, which I’d love to do but don’t have the money for).
I make out like a bandit at the local Goodwill. I buy brand-new, tags-on Ralph Lauren clothes there and people think I spend a fortune on all the lovely silk, wool, and linen designer clothes I wear. I try never to spend more than $4 on an article of clothing, plus the cost of getting them cleaned before I take them home, even though they’ve never been worn. I have also bought some couture designer samples that may have been worn once in a fashion show—these constitute my ballgowns. The only downside of this is that everyone at my office thinks I’m rich! I’m thinking about buying some of this stuff at Goodwill and at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and reselling them on Ebay.
Apart from that, I go out into the woods and find firewood, which I drag home, cut, and split for the fireplace. All my lights are on dimmers. I grow my own vegetables, make my own bread, and trim my horse’s feet myself when possible.
“All my lights are on dimmers.”
You better buy your bulbs soon before Uncle Sugars’ mandate takes hold.
My husband bought a Pellet Stove from Lowe’s. It was a floor model and he got $400.00 bucks off. Just an idea to look for the floor models on some things. Anyway this stove is so good that for the last few weeks I thought I was having hot flashes! We walk around in T shirts now.
I just started making my own laundry soap. It’s easy and very cheap. I used to pay over $10 for Tide Free, now I make 10 gallons at a time for pennies.
So what’s the recipe? :)
Share your recipe ??
Yes, please share! :)
This is mine: 1 bar Fels-Naptha, grated, 2 cups washing soda, 2 cups Borax. Pulse together in a food processor. 1 tbsp. small loads, 2 tbsp. large loads.
Programable thermostat is set to 46 when no one is home, which is most of the time. I’ve used maybe 150 gallons of propane this season. Woodstove is my primary source in the evenings.
However, I don't use it when washing NICE newer clothing, then I go with the Tide/Downey combo; however, it's been months since I started using the DAWN, and I'm still working on the same bottle, and haven't purchased any laundry detergent since last summer.
Bump for later
Also a good dishwasher soap recipe is: 1 tbsp. Borax and 1 tbsp. baking soda. The soda stops the sudsing. I tried and didn’t like it, but my mom loves it. It is all she uses now. She has well water and we have city water, which may have something to do with it.
I make my own iced mochas at home. Just chocolate milk mix, a little coffee or instant coffee granules, and maybe a few drops of almond or hazelnut extract, mix it all into a tall glass of milk and add ice. Yummy!
Yesterday I canned up some cheese. We don’t eat it often, but we do eat it sometimes, and even with the smallest brick of cheese that usually means more than half of it just sits there growing mold. So this time I diced it into very small jelly jars and canned it, following Jackie Clay’s directions. I also canned up some leftover beef stew. When leftovers are allowed to go bad, it means money is being thrown away, so a canner can quickly pay for itself IF it gets used.
1 bar fels naptha, grated
4 cups water
Place grated soap into sauce pan with water, heat until soap is melted.
1 cup washing soda
1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup borax
Fill 5 gallon bucket 1/2 full with water, THEN add sodas, borax and melted soap. Stir. Finish filling the 5 gallon bucket with water. Let sit overnight. Stir again the next day. To use, fill gallon jug or old detergent container 1/2 full with mixture, then fill rest of the container with water. You may add about 10 drops of essential oil to jug or container for fragrance (I don’t.) Makes 10 gallons. Use 1/2 cup for front loaders, 1 cup for top loaders.
I plan on going to Encore in New York sometime. Then on Ebay they have gemstones for cheap so I can make my own jewelry with low pay.
I sincerely believe that a huge part of blowing money on designer gear/jewelry is bragging about having that much money to spend. Not the quality or whether or not the stuff is even good, but bragging rights.
Turns out that the wife of the book's hero had already foreseen this eventuality - a full decade earlier, she had gathered several dozen phone books from the city of Chicago - to be prepared.
We are NOT saving phonebooks, nor hoarding toilet paper, but that scene from the survivalist novel really makes one realize what a THROW-AWAY pampered lot we all are, and how we rely on so many things that could easily disappear if TSHTF. . . . just think of how few plastic bags you'd ever toss away IF you had absolutely nowhere to get another one ever again. . . . .
ONE SECOND AFTER is about the aftermath of an EMP and raises similar issues.
Buy bulk when it comes to food. A Sam’s Club/Costco card will get you enough food per month to live like an emperor. Buy a used car and have it fully paid off in one throw. Download music and burn cds. Download what movies you can and rent the rest. Figure out how to rip dvds onto your hard drive and return the disks.
I write a “frugal” blog, covering everything from dates to grocery shopping, to buying clothes. Today I have posted frugal Valentines food and crafts and yesterday I wrote about our Valentines Day tradition.
hmmm... looks very close to a concentrated version of the recipe i use!
” Im thinking about buying some of this stuff at Goodwill and at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and reselling them on Ebay.”
I have met someone with a like mind! I plan on getting some damask fabric and having a seamstress make a bathrobe out of it (yes, I am pretentious) and buying linen for tablecloths and learning how to hem.
Also, another plan is to make my own jewelry using real gems I can buy off of Ebay.
I think Frugality is nearly innate. You either have it or you don’t.
My wife and I both do.
Yeah, we forgo some stuff. But I doubt either one of us could actually enjoy the baubles even if we could force ourselves to buy them.
I tried that one and didn’t like it as much. It takes up too much space and I don’t think it cleaned as well as the powdered version.
It really makes one pause... what does one do when there is NO marketplace, there is NO inexhaustible supply of "stuff," not anywhere.
“Also a good dishwasher soap recipe is: 1 tbsp. Borax and 1 tbsp....”
Yeah, apparently Borax is quite the old time miracle ingredient. Did you know you can spread a little in a band around your house and it will carpenter ants? Seems to work pretty good. And it doesn’t hurt the bees, etc.
I think the ants try to eat it or something.
It cleans drains pretty good too.
Plus, hey, they sponsored “Death Valley Days” when I was a kid. :)
I cut my own hair and have for the last year and a half. I finally got what I wanted, too. It is not that hard.
Phones: Ported and forwarded my home phones to leave a message my laptop, with a message that I can be reached on my cell. Phone cost per month: $5
Cellular: Cut texting. Phone me at work or email me.
TV: Cut the cable down to the bare minimum so as to still get the ‘bundle’ discount on internet. Total monthly bill: $35.60. Call them back every year to demand the best offer they have.
Movies: Netlfix 8.99/month. They have everything, including TV shows
Clothes: Buy Black, navy, plain pants and sweaters at Goodwill, consignment, & on Ebay; make scarves from fabric
Dental: Teeth cleaning (around $10) at the local vocational/junior college
Food: Make my own cereal, patties, mixes, and avoid premade or precooked anything. It doesn’t take much time to do it yourself - even bread.
Exercise: Cleaning the house and the yard: No gym fees
Frugality ideas needed here.
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If you would like to be added to the Live like no one else, so that you can LIVE like no one else list, feel free to Freepmail me.
Personally, I found that by unplugging all appliances (excl. the fridge) and other electric devices when not in use reduced my electric bill by 25%. The only items that are always plugged in at my house is my fridge, main tv items and my alarm clock. I do unplug the alarm clock for the weekends.
In addition, I only brew coffee when I am out of the pot. Every other time I just warm it up in the microwave (after plugging it in of course.) I now only brew 2 pots a week compared with the 5 or 6 pots a week. That has also reduced my coffee expense by 80%.
The Family Dollar store is a great resource if you aren’t to brand loyal for certain items.
The biggest thing we’ve cleaned-up lately is the eating out budget. I looked over bank statements for October, November and December — and realized we were spending $850-$950 PER MONTH eating out.
Starting in January, we put ourselves on a hard-budget of $250/mo. for eating out. We came in at $200 for January — and its really made the finances flow more smoothly.
You are the perfect woman!
Have a home energy audit. A lot of power/gas companies offer this as a free service. Your home could always be more "frugal" with your money and a do-it-yourselfer, could make a lot of the suggested remedies for low cost.
It can be learned. Trust me, it can. It just took some of us a little longer. :o)
I’m bookmarking this one for reference. Thanks.
Were would I find the Fels-Naptha?
ping for later
“...but rather in your own firsthand personal responses to cutting spending and watching your pennies.”
Well, it’s nothing NEW, because I’ve lived like this for the past decade once I sobered up from my stupid spendthrift ways, but here are simple things I do, which are now second nature and continue to save me money.
*Food shop only once a week or once every two weeks. Plan your meals based on loss-leaders on sale that week. If you’re out of something, make do with something else.
*Drink water. Buy (or ask for as a gift) a good water bottle and keep cold water in your fridge at all times. I found a NEW Britta filter jug for pennies on the dollar; we’ve used it for years. I don’t change the filter very often; our water is straight from the well and tastes just fine.
*Save your change. It really adds up. I have a big jug on top of the fridge. All loose change gets thrown in there. At they end of the year, we usually have $200 or so in there. If we’re flush, it goes to charity. If we’re broke, it goes to pay a bill, or into savings.
*See how long you can make something last. I just bought a big jug of laundry soap. Paid about $5 for it. When I need to use it, I write the start date on the jug, then see how long I can make it last. You really don’t need as much soap as the package tells you to use. 1/2 a capful is plenty for a full load; just leave the lid up and let the clothes soak overnight if they’re really dirty, or do the same for whites with a little bleach in there, too. Always use cold water. Hang as much to dry as you can, especially heavy stuff like jeans and sweatshirts; a few minutes in the dryer to fluff things up is plenty if you just can’t stand it, LOL!
*Learn a new skill. Learn to sew. I make all of our curtains, lots of gifts, dish towels, bath towels, etc. If you can sew a straight line, that’s all you need to know for a lot of basic stuff and mending. Learn to change the oil in your car; you can save at least $100 a year if you’re normally changing it every 3 months.
*Never turn down anything FREE that anyone wants to give you. You can always re-sell it or re-gift it, or just GIVE it to someone else that needs it to keep the Good Karma rolling. My in-laws give us a lot of fresh food during the year; apples, squash, grapes, etc. I never say no! Wine, pies, squash soup, etc. for nothing but a little of my time.
*Look over your budget from time to time to find the money leaks. I’ve been at this for-EVER and I still find a leak here and there from time to time.
*Barter when you can. We are blessed to have a cirlce of friends with wide-ranging talents. In just the past few years we’re gotten oil changes, free venison, new windows installed, a new furnace installed at cost, free wood for the woodpile, our driveway plowed, a free .22 pistol and cash in exchange for storing stuff in our barn, computers fixed, freshly baked bread, clothing repaired, fresh garden veggies traded, veggie seedlings grown, use of our pick-up truck, a resume updated and printed for free...skills Husband and I have to barter with.
Truly, we lack for nothing. We have a great life, eat well, have nice clothes to wear, take trips, have paid off, old but driveable vehicles, etc. If you met me, you’d never guess how cheap I am, LOL!
As a single person with a mediocre salary - I have been doing this for about 5 years now. I shop at the local thrift shops (Goodwill, St. Vincent’s) for my clothes. I always look for (and find) clothing with tags (never been worn). About a month ago, I found a pants suit (jacket marked $250, pants $100 and matching top $40) and I paid.... wait for it....................$23.00 for all three. Check out shopgoodwill.com (a collaboration of goodwill stores throughout the U.S.)
I clean out my purse and pockets of change on weekends. Can accumulate $30-$40 in about three weeks time.
Here’s a resource for great food bargains.
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