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An Investigation of the Art of Frugal Living

frugal living

dd grad

As I contemplate the effects of my sweet daughter’s tremendous student loans on my future, I find the need to take on the challenge of living more frugally. My first step is this…defining what begin frugal means to me.  What is it and how will it fit in my world?

Do you think frugal mean being cheap, penny wise, thrifty, or simply a scrooge? To me, being frugal means being aware of my consumer and spending habits, and living within not only our means, but using natural resources wisely, too. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t spend money, but rather try to make better choices, and invest in better quality, longer lasting, sustainable products and services. I want to have nice things, but also making the most of what I already have.

The dictionary says frugality is the practice of a) acquiring goods and services in a restrained manner, and b) resourcefully using already owned economic goods and services, to c) achieve a longer term goal.

 

Wikipedia says that “common strategies of frugality include the reduction of waste, curbing costly habits, suppressing instant gratification by means of fiscal self-restraint, seeking efficiency, avoiding traps, defying expensive social norms, embracing cost-free options, using barter, and staying well-informed about local circumstances and both market and product/service realities.” Blah, blah, blah.  I guess I get it.

The level of frugality to which we are prepared to go to is a personal choice. Choosing to be frugal, and having the ability to choose (not be forced into it) is a blessing. I believe if I can gain some sense of control on how I spend and use what I have, and put a positive spin on things when necessary, I probably have what it takes to be frugal. I will try to find a balance between being frugal and eco-friendly, but still maintain an easy, fun, fulfilling life. There will likely be times when I find being frugal a pleasant (hopefully) challenge. It’s really hard for me to pass up a bargain, whether I need it or not. That probably sounds familiar!   I take comfort, though, in knowing that I have the skills and resources to do this, but I’m not so sure about the willpower. Yes, it’s about saving money (not buying things you don’t need,) but it is also about being happy doing those things. Does that make sense?

I’ve found these great tips and places to start:

Five Tips to Become More Frugal

  1. Establish your budgeting system
  2. Change your perspective on needs/ wants
  3. Reduce, Reuse, Repair
  4. When buying, buy quality and make it last
  5. Always ask yourself “How can I do it more frugally?”

Five Tips to a More Frugal Household

  1. Grow your own  and make your own – like our grandparents did!
  2. Reduce energy usage, such as heating, cooling & lighting
  3. Maintain and repair appliances
  4. Clean with basics, like vinegar and bicarb
  5. Try store brands

Five Tips to Eat More Frugally

  1. Eat less meat and have meatless meals several times per week
  2. Get creative with staples in your pantry. Homemade bread anyone?
  3. Buy from local markets and buy what’s in season
  4. Make enough for leftovers
  5. Reduce the use of convenience foods

So here we go! I think I can do some of these things. I would like to learn more about homesteading (maybe not goats and windmills, but certainly more about making my own at home and not completely on the grocery store) and sustainability.  I think I’ll start by making one of my grandmother’s recipes with what I have on hand, rather than buying a bag of cookies or dessert from the bakery.  Here comes the Hummingbird Cake!

Do you strive to live frugally?  What are your favorites tips or hacks?  I’m all ears!