I find that most people love saving money. However, how consistent are they with trying to squeeze Lincoln, or save a penny sometimes comes and goes. I look at people like Warren Buffet who have more than enough money to not have to worry about money ever again in his life. He lives in a different reality than I do. Yet he lives in a very modest home he’s lived in for 40+ years. He drives a modest older car because it still works. Sam Walton was also frugal and wanted to pass that along in his business model.
I, for one, make my own laundry detergent. It started from having severe allergic reactions to fragrances. They gave me massive migraines. At the time I couldn’t purchase anything in the store that didn’t have tons of fragrance. There are those options now but this was 30 yrs ago. I also know that when I make my own laundry detergent, I only spend $0.01 per load vs $0.25 if you buy it on sale or $0.37/load if you don’t look for sales or coupons. I have expanded that to include other household cleaners as well. One reason is I feel they are better for the environment but also they are cheaper.
I even got involved in extreme couponing at one time. I did it for about a year and averaged saving 97% on all of my purchases which included health and beauty, some grocery staples and occasional meat purchases. I did get a stockpile of sorts but nothing like you see on television. I would never convert my garage into a mini warehouse. That’s fine for some but I just didn’t see the need for my family. However, I will say that it served me well. After my son passed away I didn’t feel like doing any couponing or shopping for that matter. I used razors and other health and beauty items for up to 5 yrs later. Some would argue that it wasn’t really frugal to buy up that much stuff but yet when I’m only paying pennies on each item it made money sense to me if it was something that wouldn’t go bad and would eventually be used. For items that had expiration dates, such as cereal, soup, etc, I would keep tabs on the dates and donate them in the Christmas food drives etc. I knew they would be utilized by someone that needed it.
However, I also will spend money on travel. I still look for a deal but I use my savings from other frugal habits to afford me the ability to do other things that I want in my lifestyle. Perhaps that fails to meet the definition of frugal, I still feel that we want to have a quality of life even while being frugal.
What do you do that meets the definition of frugal? Do you clip coupons? Do you do without? Do you recycle, re-purpose, reuse? Do you grow your own garden because it’s healthier or because you wish to keep your grocery budget in check. Heaven knows that a small packet of seeds can be as little a $1.49 and yields far more than that in value of produce. It’s so expensive at the store now days. Again when looking at gardening, some things are more cost effective or cost saving than others. Herbs is a big one. They are so expensive in the store for a small packet that runs over $3.00. Fresh greens and tomatoes and cucumbers etc are good to grow because they are just better and have such large yields. However, some would argue that corn takes up so much garden room and doesn’t yield as much produce as you put into it that it isn’t your best expenditure. Potatoes and onions are really cheap. So do you grow these things to save money or because it just tastes better? Sometimes I would grow something just for the challenge of growing it even though I knew I could buy it at the store for not much at all.
Frugality runs through our entire lives, and impacts many of our decisions. It can enter our decisions about where we live or what car we purchase. But do we want cut rate heart surgery? NO.. Do we want the cheapest plastic surgeon? NO.. When it comes to eyecare, cheaper or faster isn’t necessarily going to give you the result you are after. As my mother used to tell me, if it’s too good to be true, it usually is.. She also told me you get what you pay for. Don’t cut corners where it really counts.