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Friday, January 8, 2010

We are Blissfully Frugal!

Hubs and I have always been frugal - we enjoy saving where we can so we can spend on the things that really matter to us. The key to being frugal for me is knowing what matters most to me and my husband - what things really make us happy, and what are necessities... In addition, it's important that I keep in mind the value of my time. If I spend hours to save a few dollars on something that I don't enjoy, then I'm going to get burned out. Lastly, even in the areas where we splurge we do so wisely – even though it’s a splurge I don’t want to overpay.

What things do we like to splurge on? I’m glad you asked! ;)
  • traveling, both near and far
  • taking advantage of the great amusement park just 20 minutes from our house
  • belonging to our local YMCA
  • celebrating big and little events in our lives

What things are less important to us?
  • Having a big house - for me that just means more to clean. I do enjoy decorating our home and making improvements, but we do much of the work ourselves and take on projects one at a time as we have the time and money to devote to them.
  • Clothes - I love clothes, but I will never be mistaken for trendy...I try to stick with pieces I really love, that fit well, and that are going to last. I love shopping at consignment shops, and for my girls we are lucky to have an excellent supply of gently worn hand me downs.
  • Having the perfect car - we know what we like, but buying new is something we try and avoid at all costs. Gently broken in is much more affordable, and allows us to get a nicer car than we might have afforded if we bought it new.
How do we make sure we're spending wisely when we splurge? We use talk to friends and search the internet before we buy. I rely heavily on menu planning and stockpiling. I cook from scratch as much as I can without stressing myself out, and freezer cook when our favorites are on sale. I keep a price book for things I use regularly so I know when I’m getting a good deal. I also follow a few sites that are a big help, including Mommy's Wish List, Freebies 4 Mom, Inexpensively, and BabyCheapskate. Even when it comes to necessities we stockpile when a great deal comes up - for me this includes kids clothes, holiday clearance, diapers and wipes, and presents for friends and family, as long as I know I will use them.

What are your secrets to being frugal? I'd love to hear them!

*this post is my entry into Inexpensively's Blissfully Frugal contest* If you're interested in attending Blissdom, you should check it out!

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thebargainjunkie said...

The market goes up, the market goes down. We’re in a boom, we’re in a recession, we’re in a depression. We’re told to “live richly,” we’re told to “spend cautiously.” None of this economic see-saw has ever affected me, because I’ve been a thriftaholic all my life.
I was brought up in a Bronx railroad flat by poor immigrants. My mother would use a tea bag, then squeeze it dry, hang it up, and use it again the next day: I hated her for this. My father was a tailor, and he would make all my clothes: I hated him for this.

I wanted to live like my friends, with spacious homes, trendy outfits, and all the other trappings of middle-class American life. Most of all, I wanted fresh tea bags.
I enjoy those pleasures now, but have learned to respect my parents’ frugality.
I rarely buy anything that hasn’t been pre-worn, pre-used, pre-loved. I’m such a compulsive re-user that when I’m in a restaurant and see the anorexic girl at the next table leaving a pile of food on her plate I have to fight the impulse to say “Excuse me, but if you’re not going to finish that, would you mind passing it this way?”
My thrifty (thrifty, not stingy - stingy is nasty.) lifestyle has allowed me to have a comfy home filled with objects of value (the most valuable object being my Danish husband, Benni, and he was also pre-loved – I would never get a husband retail.) I’ve also managed to educate my child, travel all over the world, and give the occasional dinner party.

What my bargainista philosophy has not allowed me to do is to own a $150,000 Birkin crocodile and diamond bag, or even a measly low-end $9,000 Birkin bag. Somehow, I don’t feel I’ve missed much. I’m perfectly happy with my lightweight, washable, silver Sportsac. I got it on Ebay for twelve bucks.

Michelle said...

I'm with ya on that and so much more. I think you've hit the majority of the bases. I just wish I could explain some of this to my husband. He doesn't quite follow things as closely as I do. The "we can afford it" mantra may be true, but why spend it because you can?