In our home being frugal is a lifestyle that changes with life.
I had a friend tell me how frugal they are and how little it costs to run their home until I started playing 20 questions with her and then she realized they weren't being frugal at all.
Spending $200 a week for two people at Krogers and doing the survey for another 50 pts so you can get $1. off 35 gals of gas, is not frugal. Keeping the curtains shut ALL the time and then run the furnace because none of the sunlight can heat the house and have to turn on ALL the lights (not just in the room they are in either) isn't being frugal. I did talk them into using LED light bulbs, Not opening windows and doors when it's warm out and there is a breeze and turning the AC to 70° (when they heat the house to 78° during the winter) isn't being frugal. Using the dryer as an iron because they left the clothes in the dryer and they got wrinkled not frugal. Buying the latest and newest of anything and then not using it is not frugal. Buying clothes or anything because they are on sale and you have coupons and then never wear them or use them is not frugal.Carrying 15 store credit cards and just making payments instead of paying them off.I didn't say anything to her that it wasn't being frugal, she realized it with just telling me about it.
Not carrying life ins and not having a will is going to be a huge problem for those you leave behind especially if you don't have your funeral and burial expenses paid which they just found out AFTER he didn't keep the life ins that he could have had when he retired.By time they got the funeral and burial arranged and paid for the two of them it was over $30,000 that came out of their assets instead of the life ins that wasn't costing him more than $39 a month that would have paid those bills.Even if you don't own anything , get a will, otherwise it goes through probate ($$$)when you die in most states. Your family or friends have to file in court to deal with your bills and funeral etc. Get POD(pay on Death) on all checking savings accts make sure you have beneficiaries on everything IRA , 401k life ins ...list two if not 3.
Getting trees trimmed, fence and locks on gates around pools or pets if they bite , repairing sidewalks, cleaning out the rain gutters have them drain AWAY from the foundation (add the hose things if needed), using septic cleaner (ridx most common around here) and cleaning the filters in the septic system.Her husband put a lock on the gate around their pool and their house ins dropped $50 . They just spent thousands repairing their foundation because the downspouts drained there. They had to pay for their son's car to be fixed after their tree that is into the driveway dropped a limb on his brand new car.
Sometimes it's pennies you are saving...and they do add up to dollars. AND sometimes you have to spend the dollars to save the hundreds or thousands.
It can be doing the laundry on short cycle with tap water and homemade soap or cheap that isn't brand name.
Using the clothes dryer on sensor, drying rack, clothesline or combination of all.
Eating from the pantry that I have spent time matching sales and coupons or hours growing, tending, harvesting, processing and then cooking for our meals OR eating out with coupons combined with specials or during bfast or lunch time when it's cheaper. Using senior citizen discounts is another one.
It's listing what we need, what we want and what we are willing to pay and then searching for substitutions that are cheaper and then waiting for the sale (or Menard's 11% rebate).
It's thrift shops , yard sales and networking for things.
It's making do, using it up, wearing it out and sometimes doing without. Like the trimmer that just died and I'm using scissors to trim with the things that took 30 min with the trimmer.
BUT it's also about having beauty in our lives of 2 dogs, hummingbird feeders, birdhouse, flowers table cloths, oil lamps and candles...and my 100 plus herbs and spices that I use on a regular bases (that is sometimes a negative from my cheffing years LOL) I grow most of my herbs, half of my teas and have a source through an Amish store for the spices.
It's about sitting outside and enjoying it and not focusing on the trimming that isn't getting done (our friend is trying to find us a used one that is in our price range), the gardens that are starting to get weeds already or the storms that are gathering west of us AGAIN.
It's not about not buying, as the huge outlay of money we spent just this week will tell you...but the over 1/3rd savings when everything was totalled up shows the frugal. Things we need to run this home, maintain it bought at the lowest price we waited for. The amount I budgeted was 50% higher than what we paid.
It's about talking to our car ins guy about us renting a car when I need to get my dad instead of owning an old gas guzzler with full coverage when we don't need except for when I get Dad, We need a truck, or even two would be a lot better as one vehicle isn't doing well for us,.It's about looking at a secure credit card that is based on our savings to pay for the car rental instead of just a credit card that we can run up another bill. If the car rental took debit cards I wouldn't even bother with that.
Frugal can have some negative also...Using cash only ( 7 yrs of cash only) no credit cards or loans means our credit score is low...that's not a good thing when we will be buying a house, on the other side we will have the cash to pay for a house with in reason Our finance guy is still working out which way is better with our tax guy. Lucky for us, both are FREE. as they are close friends .
It's about needing clothes (Hubby has lost 20 lbs and is continuing to lose and I am not out in the workforce and chef jackets and dress clothes don't do well in gardens) that wear well with the hard manual work we do. Used clothes is fine, under clothes socks and Hubby"s work boots are new. I can usually get shoes off the grandkids as they outgrow my size. That benefit is going to end this year as the youngest is about to pass me and the great grandson isn't even one yet.
It's about turning off fans when you aren't in the room, turning off the lights when you leave the room. opening the curtains for light/warmth closing them when it's hot out to keep the house cooler.
It's about turning the central air on (which I don't like AC to begin with ) because the old dog (around 100 in dog years) throws up when she gets to hot and dehydrates when I can turn on the central air to 76 keep her cool and not run up the vet bill which is twice what I pay for running the Central air if I only run it during the hottest part of the day. We will run it if it is raining and the fan can't keep the house cool enough,
It's about using the outdoor grill instead of the stove and heating up the house when it's hot out. Using the oven when it's cold in the winter
Using leftovers to make more meals, eating more legumes and less meat. It's about doing my own nails even though I LOVE getting a manicure and pedicure.
Being frugal in your choices is good. Being frugal as a lifestyle will reap more rewards.