Thursday, July 29, 2010

How Frugal Are You?

Frugal. It's the new "in" thing to be, according to a news clip I saw on MSNBC a couple of weeks ago. There are books being written, advice being given, as people are changing their lifestyles to adjust to the present sad state of our economy. There is a whole community of frugal bloggers out there, sharing how they make their pennies stretch, or should I say "pinch"?

What does it mean to be frugal?
1.economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful: a frugal manager.
2.entailing little expense; requiring few resources; meager; scanty: a frugal meal.

I always considered myself frugal, even in my teen years. I babysat up to 7 kids at a time the summer I was 12 (probably illegal without some kind of license) and opened my first checking account. My older brother, who had a steady job, would borrow money from me. But then I met my husband, King Tight. As in bark on a tree. As in, "his shoes squeak when he walks". Tight.

John and I met and married during our sophomore years of college. We weren't just poor college students. We were poor, married college students with rent and utilities. We rented a mobile home from John's sister and both worked part-time. Our first year of marriage, we made a combined $15,000.00. The entire year. No kidding. Insert twangy country tune.."Livin' On Love"...

That's when I was brought to a higher level of frugality. We bought ONE burger at Sonic and cut it in half. We didn't buy ketchup or mustard or mayo. We stuffed our pockets full of the little packets from the university food court. I'm cracking up over here, y'all. That's really sad.

My husband's extremely frugal nature is mainly due to the way he was raised. His grandparents raised him and ingrained tightness into his being. Even they have said that maybe they did a little bit too good of a job. Yes, they created a monster of frugality!

Let me state here that I am so very grateful that my husband takes good care of us financially. I never have to worry about our bills being paid or our savings account running out. My man has got it all under control. But I wonder, does one's personality make one more prone to being frugal? Or is it all in how they were raised?

I consider our family to be pretty frugal. Here are somethings we do to keep within a budget:

1. Make a menu plan (weekly, bi-weekly) and shop for specific meals. Stick to the list. Makes a HUGE difference in our grocery bill.
2. Dry clothes on the line. Yea, our towels are rough. But it makes for good exfoliation :).
3. Shop 2nd hand, thrift stores, and yard sales for clothes. (It's FUN, too!)
4. Grow a garden.
5. Stay at home. Save gas and unnecessary spending.
6. Eat at home.

Check out these two blogs my husband and I recently discovered, for lots of great frugal tips:


So, how frugal are you? Not at all? Wish you were? Don't really care to be? Are you frugal because you think it's a valuable characteristic or because you don't have a choice? The video I mentioned in the first paragraph was about a book that's out named "The Ultimate Cheapskate" by Jeff Yeager. Check it out and see how you compare.

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Anonymous said...

I am probably a more frugal in some areas than other areas. If that makes since. I am a frugal shopper for food, clothes, and decor. But I will waste money on eating out on occassion. I am serious only occassionally. But it still feels like a waste.

Ashlee said...

Well, I would consider myself halfway frugal. LOL. I'm a single parent raising two kids with no outside help. I MUST be frugal. But I do like shopping and it's the one thing I can do that's fun so I allow special shopping trips with money I've saved up. In all areas other than shopping, I'm very frugal.

But I must admit that if I had more money I wouldn't be as frugal as I am now. I would actually go buy a dependable car. LOL!