Sunday, September 23, 2012

Being Frugal: How to Think Frugally #frugal

I was raised by a frugal family.  However, after getting out into the "real world" and paying my way through college, I discovered I had to be frugal.  Even after college, when I really was in the real world, I never had high paying jobs.  Often, I worked two or three jobs at a time from college till kids. But adding all those jobs up, I still only earned a fraction of what my friends were earning.  (What can I say?  I wanted to help others and worked in low paying social service jobs.)  That being said, I also had more saved in investments and retirement than any of my friends did.

How does that happen?

I learned how to think frugally.  Which is a very different way of thinking than most people, I have discovered.  Here are some differences I have noted of how frugal people think verses non-frugal people.

  • Frugal people believe that a penny saved is a penny earned.  I get in this argument with my husband all the time.  He doesn't seem to get that saving money here and there is like someone placing money in your pocket.  Technically, it isn't "earning" but it is money that would otherwise be gone.
  • Frugal people realize that pennies add up to dollars, and dollars add up to hundreds of dollars, and hundreds of dollars add up to thousands of dollars.  Non-frugal people think, oh, it is just a savings of $2.00. No big deal.
  • Frugal people see things such as lights burning and TVs on when no one is in the room as money being thrown out the window.  Frugal people learn to conserve energy where they can.  Frugal people think that they would rather spend their money on something other than utilities and turn off lights whenever they can, turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater, etc.
  • Frugal people know things like using paper towels is like wadding up money and throwing it away.  We use rags instead when we can.
  • Frugal people are great navigators.  We figure out how to do all our shopping in one trip and even map out the most logical route to conserve gas.  Non-frugal people make multiple trips to various stores without a thought.
  • Frugal people know the difference between necessities and luxuries.  Pedicures and expensive salon cuts are not necessities, no matter how important you think they are.
  • Frugal people decide what luxuries they are going to indulge in.  They don't indulge in everything they want.
  • Frugal people realize that eating out costs a lot of money.  Frugal people limit their dining out, use coupons and avoid appetizers, soft drinks, alcohol and desserts, which put a big punch to the pocketbook.
  • Frugal people know how to budget their money.  They read about it or ask others for help if they need it.
  • Frugal people take advantage of any company retirement contributions that they can.
  • Frugal people shop around for any major purchases, including insurance.  They also shop around for smaller purchases.
  • Frugal people try to purchase everything on sale.  After all, just about everything goes on sale at some point.
  • Frugal people know how to stock up on a bargain.  Note, I am not saying "hoard" up on items that they don't use or need because they got a deal.  I mean buying 3 bottles of your favorite lotion because they were on sale and you had a coupon for them. 
  • Frugal people search the internet for coupons before going shopping or shopping online.  The trick is to use the words "coupon" or "code" with your favorite store or item.
  • Frugal people aren't afraid to ask if they can get a better price.  I have a contract offer right now on a window.  I have emailed the contractor back and asked him if that is the best price he can offer.  I am hoping to do better than the quote.
  • Frugal people know that being frugal doesn't have to take a tremendous amount of time or completely consume their lives.  They realize there is a balance to all.  
How does one become frugal?

That is for my next post in this series, Being Frugal.


Hobbies on a Budget said...

Great ideas! Frugal isn't new but it's so important! Love the navigator tip!

Donna George said...

People need to realize that being frugal does not mean that you must live a boring life. But rather, you are making CHOICES, just as they are. It's just that you realize what Dave Ramsey calls the opportunity cost.

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