Despite the fact that I write for a blog all about frugal living, I have a confession: Being frugal doesn’t always come easily for me. My husband re-uses plastic bags, turns down thermostats, drinks water, calculates gas mileage, delays purchases, takes quick showers, and wears his shoes until they are literally falling apart. Pinching pennies is second nature to him. Me? Not so much. Sure, I like to dig in the dirt and bake my own bread and paint my own walls. But I also like good Americanos and REI catalogs and hot showers.
Because I love my husband and hate debt, I made the decision to embrace the frugal lifestyle over 10 years ago. I’m like a home economics major who had to take an accounting class. Unlike some of you (Katy over at The Non-Consumer Advocate comes to mind), though, it doesn’t come naturally. I have to really focus on being thrifty. Is it hard? At times. Is it worth it? Without a doubt.
To help me stay on track, these are three things I remember on a regular basis:
1. By being frugal in one area, I can afford to splurge in another. If you look up the word “frugal” in the dictionary, it will list synonyms such as sparing, skimpy, meager, and miserly. Ugh, no thanks. I prefer this list: careful, thrifty, wise, and economical. I work hard to creatively save money on groceries, home decor, or clothing. The bonus is that my savings roll into other things like our travel fund. Or something really exciting, like… new tires for the van.
2. Saving money is worth more than replacing that income. As you well know, one of the biggest arguments people use against couponing is some version of “25¢ off isn’t worth my time.” However, a penny saved is actually worth more than a penny earned. Those dimes and dollars do add up and make a difference. As a stay-at-home-mom, this is huge for me. I miss depositing a paycheck into our bank account. However, I am realizing more every year that finding good deals, saving money, and being a good homemaker are huge contributions to my family’s finances, not to mention quality of life. Talk about empowering! Check out these short, clear articles for more information on this topic:
- Save More vs. Earn More by My Money Blog – The “spend $1 less or earn $2 more” is a simple phrase to keep in mind the next time Starbucks is calling your name.
- A Penny Saved is Worth More Than a Penny Earned by cashmoneylife – I love comment #20 on this post; it’s a great perspective shift.
3. Spending less is a choice. It is so easy to drop $2.99 here and $14.99 there on unnecessary purchases or great deals. It could be in the Target clearance sections or New Seasons deli or online offer (free shipping!). I catch myself tossing these things into the cart all the time, only to put them back on the shelf or return them to the store later.
Remember? I’m totally into instant gratification and often have to talk myself down from making purchases that are not in the best interest of my family’s budget. It’s 60% off! It’s cute! It would be perfect for _______! In the grand scheme of life, though, today’s impulse buy or great deal is not worth sacrificing tomorrow’s financial peace.
Leave a comment! Is frugality second nature or a learned lifestyle for you?
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