Friday, March 27, 2009

Autumn Asks: Are you all about frugal lately?

Frugal, frugal, frugal!

Talk about the newest buzz word.

And its a good buzz word. At least it is if you are actually being frugal...and not just cheap. Cheap is no fun - for you or anybody else.

There have been many good posts lately on living a frugal lifestyle in this economy.

Over at Frugal Babe there is a guest post called 5 Qualities You Need to Be A Frugal Success.
She lists them as: (Pop on over to read the whole thing...not lengthy.)
1. A thick skin - for when you are made fun of
2. Creativity - to reuse what you have
3. Blindness - to what others are spending money on
4. Diligence - extra work to cook from scratch, garden or whatever
5. Cleanliness - maintenance makes things last longer.

Lots of common sense. These things aren't hard or too much for us to take on.

And along those same lines, there is a post at The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur called 7 Reasons Why the Recession Is Good For You....... (a good read)

1. Tough times make you monitor cash flow like a hawk.
2. Focus on personal friendships.
3. Make better choices about spending money.
4. Experience memorable but simple entertainment with family.
5. Forces you to cut the "fat" out of your life and business.
6. Tough economies force you to innovate.
7. Spend more time at home eating home cooked meals.

For the most part we have always been frugal. We don't like to spend $80 on a pair of jeans when we could get a pair for $30 (talking new, not second hand). Could care less about brand names. We shop sales and second hand stores. We buy the lower priced groceries in many cases...although we do have a few brand names we will not compromise on.

But I have learned a few new tricks lately also.

I found out that milk prices in our area tend to be about $1 cheaper at Walgreens and CVS. You have to watch the ads...but this one pays off just about every shopping day. It's the way they get you into the store to buy all that stuff that you can get cheaper at the supermarket. So don't buy the other stuff unless they have good deals going. (And there is a whole subculture of people that save incredible money with these two stores with coupons and rebates). As a side note: I do shop several stores on shopping day, but they are all in a circle that leads right back to home...I'm not going out of my way....this makes it reasonable and doable. If it was spread out I probably wouldn't make as many stops as I do.

I started making my own laundry soap. Weird, huh? Takes about ten minutes of my time and costs pennies per load. And I found a bar soap combination that I love the smell on for this. We really were very skeptical on whether it was really going to work or not....and it does. Not only that, we got rid of so many chemicals that way...and our washer doesn't get that smell anymore after a couple of days (we have NASTY water here that is full of stuff that stinks). Double bonus.
And I can't help but be thrilled that I'm not paying that huge chunk of change for those brand names that just don't last that long in my house. Plus it helps offset the cost of a cart full of fresh fruits and veggies over canned or frozen.

We are making more of our gifts. Now, this isn't always cheaper when you look at just the price of supplies sometimes. Yet, with the savings on the gas spent for searching for that gift, the quality time spent at home working with your hands, and the teaching my daughter is getting (and the youngest is seeing), maybe it actually breaks even. And once I have more of a stash built up, it will be a cheaper than it is at the moment. Nothing is cheap to get established anymore. Skills gained and at home entertainment (because this stuff is fun, not a chore) should be factored in also. I'm loving it anyways.

Increased hospitality at our house is another frugal thing we are doing. Yes, we usually put on a meal along with whatever else we are doing...but its not going out and paying for entertainment, it lasts longer and we are all so much more comfortable laying around the living room or playing games in the back yard or whatever. Plus, the others always bring food or drinks or whatever and chip in. It's all about the company. It's much more fun than going out all the time.

Our new priorities are also teaching our teen about peer pressure. You get it even as an adult. You can say no and survive. You can take ridicule and let it roll off your back (because these are choices, not forced circumstance as so many live in). You can walk away from toxic relationships and not die. You can cultivate deep relationships with others you have things in common with, and live a full and happy life with a SMALL circle of friends instead of being everyone's buddy. You can be happy and content even when the majority around you thinks you are a freak or stupid or weird or the cause of the whole financial collapse of our country (snort!). And mostly, you can have empathy for the materialistic bullies who are falling so far, so fast, and finding themselves the focus of the wolf pack instead of the head of it.

So how about you? What new frugal ways have you developed lately? I don't want to say since the economy became a problem, because we actually started this process before then. But I think the writing was on the wall when the housing markets first started to fail about 3 years ago. That's when we started taking notice that our countries debt was about to stand up and demand a change.

Have any new suggestions for me? I'd love to hear them.


  1. I wouldn't say we are a frugal family, but we definitely live a simple lifestyle. I hate shopping and don't really understand this fascination with "looking" for "things." For the most part, we only buy what we need. Other than our house and one car payment, we don't have debt because of this.

    I loved what you said about making gifts rather than purchasing them and also your thoughts about adult peer pressure.

  2. I've been trying to do all the things that you've mentioned in your post. Could I ask what kind of bar soap you use in your laundry detergent? I've been using Ivory since it's so cheap, but I'd love something that smells better. That's what I miss the most about Tide :(

  3. post the laundry soap recipe! I'm looking for something that smells good. Tide is the hardest thing in the world for me to give up!

  4. Can you please e-mail me your recipe for home-made washing powders or how you do it? I have been thinking of doing it myself but not sure what I will need exactly. I am currently forced to be frugal as I am on unemployment yea me! :{

  5. We've always watched our spending, not eating out very much or going to movies, etc. As things get tighter, though, we've pulled the girls out of gymnastics and we're watching our spending even closer. It helps to make a menu for the week, so I only buy the groceries that I truly need for that week.

  6. I'd be interesting in that soap recipe too. Looks like you'll have to do a post on it.
    We are frugal and always have been. It is in my blood. But we are much more so now.

  7. Looks like I will be doing a laundry soap post soon ladies! Need to get the ingredients so I can show you the soaps I need.