Thursday, June 12, 2008

On Being Frugal...

1. Being frugal is time consuming

Oh my goodness is it ever! It takes time to cut those coupons, and it takes time to file them. It takes time to go through the coupon clipping sites online and order the coupons that you think you'll need. It takes time to scan three different grocery stores to try to find the best deal that they offer. It also takes time to scan through Walgreens and CVS, to decide what is worth purchasing that week. Then there is the time to make a menu plan, and actually go shopping. The bulk of my time is in the grocery shopping, and coupon clipping. I can see why most people just throw those inserts away. Who has time for that? But as my friend Kris just updated she has saved over $500 since the beginning of the year in just coupons at the grocery store. It is so worth it..... if you're willing to invest the time. For us on one income, it's a must.

2. Being frugal takes sacrifice.

In order to live off of one income it means we give up the ability to buy the latest and greatest. We have to, as we just can't afford it....We don't have the newest, cutest, coolest "stuff". For one thing our cars are old, we just can't afford to go out and buy a new car, or even upgrade. We are saving to buy a car (used) with cash. (Such an interesting idea in today's finance everything market). We also wait several years before getting the latest in technology (until the prices come down). We clean our own house, yes with the kids still here everyday! We also shop consignment for clothing. Some people would turn their noses up at that, but there are some beautiful clothes out there that are a fraction of the price, in great condition. We frequent used book stores and curriculum events to buy our books second hand. Why pay retail for these? I have found books 75% to 85% off that look practically new. It takes time to look through these as well (to go with my time point of #1). I already mentioned we don't go out to eat a lot. For several years we lived with only the most basic cable (12 channels) for $7.00 a month. Now that our whole family is into ESPN, that isn't as much of an option. Though we would go back to basic if needed. To make room for cable another item had to be dropped from the list.

3.Being frugal takes a little bit of creativity.

Some people can be creative using up leftovers to create a new delicious meal for their family. I cannot! But I can be creative by taking ten dollar bed frames (headboard and footboard) and sanding them down, and staining them again to use for my children. I can be creative in frequenting used furniture places and "junking" to find the items that are very inexpensive that would work for my home. My hunt for a bookcase for my boys here is a good example. Coming up with meals that fit my budget and pantry takes a little creativity as well. :-)

4. Being frugal is tough, but worth it.

Living off of one income isn't easy in our two income world. If I were to go back to work, I could probably add several thousand dollars back into our budget and daily living expense. But at what cost? Sure we could eat out way more than we do, and we could afford a nicer house, or to really fix this house up the way that we want. Hey, we could even afford a truck for dh, who continually sacrifices by driving a 13 yr old beat up little car to work daily. But those are all wants...not needs. Our world is all about instant gratification. Seriously, fast food, ATM's, even the new Visa commercials about how fast life moves. When we are being inundated with that type of marketing, it's tough to swim upstream the other way.

But delayed gratification is worth it. It develops discipline in me, that is lacking in so many other areas of my life. It builds a perspective (most of the time) of contentment with what I have. Instead of wanting more and more, and never being satisfied. It ignites in me a certain creativity, to try and make do with what we have, re-inventing things that are old but still usable.

I sometimes think the toughest thing about being frugal is to remember in my moments of discontent, why I do it. Because dh and I feel called to have me at home. To hopefully teach our children to honor God and each other and impact them through life lessons and love on a daily basis. Yes, we sacrifice a second income for this, but we also give up the rat race of life in lieu of a simpler, less hectic one.


Kookaburra said...

Great post and it's all so true.

I love saving money here and there with coupons and shopping sales. I love buying many things second hand from yard sales and flea markets.

And I love that those frugal things allow me to stay home with our two little ones and also allow us to spend our money in other areas.

Mamosa said...

OH, I wish I could explain this to my place of employment! I get a bad attitude from them that I don't want to work more than one day a week. They don't get it. My choice is to work only the time that I have to...but this is exactly the point that they don't get: sacrifice.

jeannie said...

You know I think just because I have not used coupons, shop the best deals that I am not being frugal. But the truth of it we are an VERY frugal family. We live off one income and we sacrifice everyday.

Great Post

list mama said...

It is a lot of work to be frugal. And a lot of willpower!


Tony & Dawn said...

Thanks for the link Jackie! We too are traveling down the same road (one income). The newest vehicle we own is a 2000 Jetta with 245,000 miles (my work car). I had to buy Dawn a "new" vehicle in April - her 1993 Explorer burned to the ground at Thanksgiving. With three new kids on the way, we did not have many options. We are a truck/SUV family so I went to a used car salesman that I knew to be a good Christian. I told him our situation and that I had $7,500 (cash) to buy a used Suburban. He called back two weeks later with a 1999 with only 113,000 miles! We were thrilled!

Coupons, Big Lots and thrift stores can save you a lot of money! locally, we also have a consignment sale twice per year for kids clothes. On the last day, everything is marked down to 50%. This has helped us buy clothes that are nearly new (some still have tags).