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Old 08-31-2012, 07:53 AM
 
Location: 125 Years Too Late...
10,293 posts, read 9,970,295 times
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Reading through some of the threads on this forum, I get the idea that many folks think living frugally means freeloading (or essentially being a bum). Living a simple life of minimized expenses (and possibly minimized income to match those minimized expenses) is not mandatorily the same as being a freeloader or some kind of dumpster diver. These terms are not universally synonymous. Why do some of us think they are?
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Old 08-31-2012, 08:18 AM
 
Location: DFW
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Frugality = my safety net.

Unlike Europe, we don't have much of a safety net in the US if we lose our jobs. Fair enough; I'll go out and create my own safety net instead (and probably do a better job at it than if the government did it for us.)

When you have 2+ years of living expenses saved up, you sleep soundly knowing that if you lost your job, you have more than a reasonable amount of savings to cushion you while you look for your next one.
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Old 08-31-2012, 08:20 AM
 
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Yeah, I don't know why some people think that about being frugal. I use my work place as a group to consider... frugal or just plain old cheap. There is a difference there. I think for some people they really might not know the difference between being frugal or being cheap. I can spot a cheap person a mile away, I even think they smell different.

I know when to be frugal and when to be generous and am aware that I never want to be considered cheap, never. There will always be free loaders who will tell you they are being frugal.
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Old 08-31-2012, 08:23 AM
 
10,148 posts, read 13,833,845 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
Reading through some of the threads on this forum, I get the idea that many folks think living frugally means freeloading (or essentially being a bum). Living a simple life of minimized expenses (and possibly minimized income to match those minimized expenses) is not mandatorily the same as being a freeloader or some kind of dumpster diver. These terms are not universally synonymous. Why do some of us think they are?
I don't freeload.

I save Coke reward points, so when my store has a B1G1 free sale on Coke 12 packs, I can use a Coke Reward free 12 pack coupon to get both 12 packs for free.

I used to go to the post office every day for my mail. Now, I go 2 times a week. It saves me fuel cost.

I have an Uncle who will sharpen my lawn mower blade, no need to pay someone.

I buy my Docker dress pants on Ebay.

I use coupons for food all the time.

I buy my printer ink cartridges on Ebay. The retail prices on HP ink is very high.

Many more examples.
I'm not being a cheap skate or dumpster diver.

There are however, people too proud to be seen in a store with a coupon, due to their ego and their high incomes.

I recall a visit to Walmart a few years ago. Their Dannon drinks were on sale for 99 cents.
I had a coupon for $1.00 off one drink. I had 20 coupons.
The cashier got somewhat offended in some way, seeing me getting all 20 free.
There was lady in line behind me with 2 kids, so I gave each child a couple bottles.

I'm not embarrassed to use coupons, or do things in a frugile manner. Nothing wrong with economizing.
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Old 08-31-2012, 08:32 AM
 
Location: DFW
6,717 posts, read 11,162,972 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by howard555 View Post

There are however, people too proud to be seen in a store with a coupon, due to their ego and their high incomes.

I recall a visit to Walmart a few years ago. Their Dannon drinks were on sale for 99 cents.
I had a coupon for $1.00 off one drink. I had 20 coupons.
The cashier got somewhat offended in some way, seeing me getting all 20 free.
There was lady in line behind me with 2 kids, so I gave each child a couple bottles.

I'm not embarrassed to use coupons, or do things in a frugile manner. Nothing wrong with economizing.
I generally don't use coupons, not because of pride, but because of laziness.

If I found a flyer with a coupon to my favorite restaurant or store on my car windshield or in my email inbox, I'll definitely use it. But I generally don't spend hours scouring for coupons, and the things I usually buy and stores I usually frequent (i.e. Trader Joe) don't have anything eligible for coupon savings anyways.
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Old 08-31-2012, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Pennsylvania / Dull Germany
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For me its not about spending less money and minimizing expenses but getting as much as possible with my disposable income.
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Ayrsley
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For me its about living within (and in some instances, a bit below) my means so that I can put money in the bank / investments for the future, and so I can have more disposable income to be able to do things that I enjoy.
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,841 posts, read 51,286,023 times
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I served the faq for the old MCFL usenet group. The charter:

CHARTER: misc.consumers.frugal-living

Misc.consumers.frugal-living is for the discussion of anything directly
related to establishing and maintaining a frugal lifestyle.

A frugal lifestyle focuses heavily on minimizing consumption and money
expenditure in ways that you can be happy with and not feel deprived.

Topics could include things such as minimizing your food bill, buying
used items, salvaging discarded items, reusing items, buying in bulk,
doing/making things for a fraction of their normal cost, and restoring
old/abused items. Other topics could be frugal banking/investment
strategies, low-cost entertainment, saving on health insurance, car
buying/maintenance strategies, frugal ethics, inexpensive gifts, and
energy usage.


Some of the faq:

1. What is frugal living?

Frugal living is living within your means, conserving resources (including money and time) to the extent that you feel comfortable. Many frugalistas are frugal for economic reasons, but some just feel good about the fact that they are working to minimize negative impacts on the environment. Some have quite a bit of money, and like holding on to it! Some people are willing to make more drastic changes in their lives than others. Both types are welcome here..just please remember that everyone's point of view is equally valid. Oh, and don't forget to pack a sense of humor! To quote one of MCFL's resident experts, "though we all have frugalistism in common, we have some very strong differences on which we cannot expect to change each others minds." Wise, wise words.
2. Doesn't being frugal mean being a packrat?

It can, but it doesn't have to. Yes, it's a great feeling to have a problem that requires something you happen to have stashed. However, it's ALSO a great feeling to have a problem and come up with a unique solution to it. Frugality includes use of space and time as much as it does money-so if you are spending hours and hours of time to save .10, you have to decide for yourself if it's really worth it. By the same token, many "time savers" are really money traps (ex. Purchased TV dinners).


...


6. I'm new to being frugal, so where should I start?

This particular question is what got the authors to compile an FAQ in the first place! Such a broad question is likely to get NO response. However, someone writing a question like this is probably most in need of some "newbie clues". Below are some general comments, and then a few specialized instances.
General

Keep an eye on lowest-possible prices. Some people keep a price book for this reason, others just keep it in their head. Always shop at the lowest-possible price!
Don't buy retail if you don't have to. Making your own clothes, growing your own food, frequenting yard sales, etc. are all good ways to get the things you really NEED.
Evaluate what you REALLY NEED. If you get a great deal of pleasure from an expensive pasttime, figure out what it is that you like about it. For example, if you are really into going to the movies, is it the going out you enjoy? Or the watching of the movie? When you see what it is that makes it enjoyable, you can work to reduce the cost of the part you enjoy. In the same example, if it really is the going out that you enjoy, you may buy some of the reduced-price tickets or go to matinees. If it is the movies you like, you might start staying in with the VCR.
Consider hobbies that have a "net worth." To use an example from a Don Aslett book, if you enjoy working with words, you can do millions of crosswords, OR you can sit there and write letters, articles, stories, etc. In the end, you'll have something real, instead of a bunch of marked-up, useless crosswords.
Stock up on nonperishable items whenever there is a price you can't normally beat. Of course, if you won't USE what's stocked up, it makes no sense to do it.
Question your assumptions. Think about whether or not you really NEED something to be fulfilled. For example, some people won't consider buying a used car, much less not owning a car at all. However, many people manage just fine without one. Frugality is all about awareness and self-empowerment. Then again, if you truly feel you are getting good value from an expensive purchase, that's fine, too. Just make sure that it is in line with what you TRULY want for yourself.
Don't think of yourself as being deprived. A positive attitude makes all the difference. Instead of thinking, "Oh, I can't buy that brand new outfit" think in terms of "Wow, what a bargain I got on this outfit. By the time I've worn it twice, it's free." Things like that. It's all about your mind set.

Food

Try using store brands instead of name brands.
If you MUST use name brands, check out bent and dent shops and use coupons or purchase loss leaders.
Avoid convenience foods for the most part. It is usually cheaper and healthier to prepare food from scratch.
Reduce the amount of meat in your meals, even occasionally preparing a vegetarian meal. Take the emphasis off of the expensive part of the meal, and think of the vegetables and grains as the primary, the meat as the garnish.
Grow your own, if you can.
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:34 AM
 
11,426 posts, read 19,433,663 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
Reading through some of the threads on this forum, I get the idea that many folks think living frugally means freeloading (or essentially being a bum). Living a simple life of minimized expenses (and possibly minimized income to match those minimized expenses) is not mandatorily the same as being a freeloader or some kind of dumpster diver. These terms are not universally synonymous. Why do some of us think they are?
If by "us" you mean the rest of the world, it's because a lot of people find frugality ...well... distasteful.

But in reality, everybody has a frugal "button". Even the most wealthy of people have a little trick that makes them feel better about "getting away with" not spending $$$ on X by spending $ on Y.

I remember when a weathly woman I know discovered Target (before it was advertising every where with designer stuff) -- it was like she had hit the mother lode. And my mom and the store Tuesday Morning -- my mom loved that place because she found high end things there cheap.

Everybody likes a deal -- but frugality is distasteful. Frugality brings up bad memories of being poor, or Cheap Uncle Walt who steals tons of condiment packages and napkins and the toilet paper from public restrooms, or even living a lifestyle with no luxuries or frankly, even basic stuff, because you won't buy anything, you have to find it on the roadside.

And not everyone lucks out to find a huge clown head on the roadside.

We did once. We had to get off the exit of the freeway, go back around to get back on, get off the next exit and retrace our path to snag the big clown head. It was pretty cool -- and it had a plastic Ho-Ho in it's mouth. Hubby turned it into an art project -- it did look vaguely sinister -- and he found a screaming baby doll at a dollar store, and stuffed the foot of it in the clown's mouth, so it looked like the clown was eating the baby and then used the t-shirt he found at a thrift store to cover the back of the chair it sat on. The t- shirt had the words printed over and over -- Can't sleep... clowns will eat me.

Anyhow...

One of our income streams is from dumpster diving. It's shocking what people throw out. I have a nice lamp that -- for the person that tossed it -- wouldn't turn on anymore. A broken switch is an easy fix. Hubs found a boatload of magazines -- and sold them on ebay. Anyone remember that 900 dollar water heater I just had put in? Well -- it was at the same time hubby got a roll with these mags and covered most of the water heater.

And here's the other little secret about dumpster diving. In a lot of places, if the person tossing the stuff thinks someone else might want it, it's put beside the dumpster. No diving required.

Recently we took in a ton of books, and what we can't sell on Ebay, we'll take to Half Price, and they take everything. They might not pay you anything, but it's off our hands and they will handle it appropriately.

And then we turn around and buy something at half price books we want.

And I don't live with nothing. I've got a 4K sewing machine for making quilts, I spend what I want on fabric, and yesterday I found a gorgeous ring at a jewelry store and I might just go spend 1300 bucks on it.

With no guilt.
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Bangor Maine
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Those that are paying $100 a month and beyond for their tech toys are not frugal. The biggest money wasters are the top of the line cell phones. I just use mine to make calls, all the other features are money wasters.
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