General chatter - Anyone else Frugal (cheap) like me?

10-04-2007, 11:50 AM
I am so frugal! LOL, not to the point of giving up faves like makeup, perfume, etc. but I always like to keep these things in check. If anyone reads my blog I just posted a rant about my husband "treating" me out to dinner and I couldn't help but calculate the cost and think of all the healthy food I could have bought at the store!

Anyway, I though this was neat. I like to visit the Dollar Stretcher, it gives you some cool tips for saving on different items. I stumbled upon this and thought it was cool. Instead of buying Frebreze to freshen your home you can make your own. Here's the link just go to Homemade Fabric Fresheners. I made the first one that calls for 1.5 - 4 T of Fabric Softner, 25 oz of water, and a spray bottle. I sprayed it in my house and made it smell really nice. I have 2 dogs, 5 cats, 1 five year old, and a hubby so I have to do something to freshen this place up! Anyone else have cool ideas for saving money or things you make yourself like this????

10-04-2007, 12:08 PM
I am also frugal but like you I don't skimp on certain things. If we want or need something I can usually find it on sale somewhere.
Here is one of my favorite frugal things. White vinegar! I use it for everything! It is a great cleaner for the kitchen and bath if you dilute it in a spray bottle with water (once it dries you wont smell it). I also use it instead of fabric softener. Just pour a little in the rinse water and it works great and you wont have a vinegar smell (just don't use with bleach, I heard that it could be dangerous).

10-04-2007, 12:12 PM
I'm frugal too, mostly because I like to keep things simple and minimize consumption.

I do that vinegar-as-fabric-softener trick too, Judy! I love it! I've heard that fabric softeners actually attract dust and lint to clothing.

I don't use paper towels (I use cloth instead), and I use plastic bags from the grocery store as garbage liners in a small garbage container. I have to take the garbage out more frequently, but I've heard that's good to do for indoor air quality, anyway.

10-04-2007, 12:15 PM
Here is a frugal trick that I picked up from another website. When I go food shopping, I plan my grocery list around meals instead of just picking up the things that look good, are on sale or are things that we just ran out of. This way I make sure that I use everything that I buy and that I have everything that I need.

I love bread and refuse to give it up, but healthy bread is so darn expensive. So I spent $10 at my Goodwill and bought a brand new bread machine. I put the ingredients in, turn it on and in about an hour or so, I have fresh, organic bread that tastes better than the store bought stuff. Not to mention that the ingredients are cheaper.

10-04-2007, 12:25 PM
I'm not frugal but I'm broke. Does that count? I have champagne tastes on a beer budget. When grocery shopping, I try to make the most economical choices while still maintaining quality of food. I often shop for clothes at thrift stores, though I usually can't afford to shop anywhere else. I think flea markets rock.

My girlfriend visits her family every so often. We usually wait until she does this to do the laundry, because the washing machines in our complex (and in most laundromats) are ridiculously overpriced. And we're lazy.

However, I refuse to eat frugal favorites like Ramen Noodles, pizza, and Mac 'N Cheese from a box. Eugh. If they were more healthy, I might buy them, but probably not - my food tastes are usually a few notches above that.

If I had more money, I'd be much less frugal. Infact, sometimes I think I should be *more* frugal, considering I always end up with literally about a dime to my name once the bills are paid (ok, fine, less than $20 in the bank). Then, next week's check comes, and I'm alright. I live paycheck to paycheck with nothing to spare, so if I wasn't just a wee bit frugal, I'd have a negative bank balance ;)

Phyra, I like your idea about planning around meals! I think I'll have to keep it in mind.

10-04-2007, 12:34 PM
Ironically, the more money I earn the more frugal I become. When I actually have something to play with, I can see how much I'm wasting on stupid things, which could be a better retirement, a trip to Europe, etc.

I do something similar, Phyra - when I'm meal planning, I look at what I HAVE, not what I think I want. I wanted salmon tomorrow and thought about going to buy some, but I decided that I have plenty of lentils and can make an awesome lentil minestrone instead. I try to only have meat in my meals every other day or so, and eventually (as I figure out what to do with those danged lentils) I would like to lessen that to 1-2 times a week.

10-04-2007, 12:35 PM
Definitely not frugal here. My husband asked me what a gallon of milk cost the other day, and I had no idea. If it's an everyday item that we need, I just buy it and never think about it.

However, I'm not wasteful and I'll spend weeks researching prices on a big ticket item cause I hate to spend money I didn't have to spend. I'll happily spend $1000 on a new washing machine but not before I look around and make sure I can't get it across town for $900.

10-04-2007, 12:50 PM
I am extremely frugal in some areas and a total spendthrift in others.

10-04-2007, 01:00 PM
I strike a balance, too. I make some purchases that seem extravagant to some, yet they don't understand why I worry about prices on other things. I tend to look for good deals on big-ticket items, too.

10-04-2007, 01:01 PM
I would have to say that we're not frugal at all. However, we do live well below our means and are able to put 25% of our income into savings each month and put 25% percent towards debt (not including housing costs). I do research big purchases for months if I am able. (Things like furniture, etc. that I don't need in emergency situations). Being 3 hours away from a metropolitan area, I have to calculate shipping into most of my purchases. We have a decent furniture store, but they're so overpriced that it's cheaper to pay to have it shipped.

When it comes to grocery shopping, I spend what needs to be spent. I don't deny DH and myself grocery money if I can help it. I know that when we start a family, I will need to adjust our lifestyle. I actually have books on living frugally that I plan to employ when the time comes.

One way that I am unintentionally frugal is with my cleaning supplies. I prefer to make my own so that they are safe to use around our dogs (and eventually children), and I really save A LOT of $$ doing that.

10-04-2007, 01:09 PM
Yes, I'm very frugal. I roughly plan meals based on the grocery store sales ads. When something goes on sale I tend to stock up only IF it's something I regularly eat. I try to combine sales with coupons to get an even better price.

I've been caught with a small stock of things that I don't eat just because it's on sale. Fortunately, I take the bus to work and 2x a year they have a food drive and you get to ride for free when you donate a food item. So I gather up all my silly things I've bought over the year-making sure the items are still in date of course and have a week of free rides. so it averages out.

I shop at many ethnic stores for staples, the asian market usually has great produce prices, indian markets have great lentil and bean prices, fortunately all these stores are nearby so I'm not in the car all day driving all over the place to hit the cheaper food prices.

My dh and I very rarely go out to eat because I can cook more food cheaper then what we get at a resteraunt. Only for birthdays and our anniversary. And we always pack a lunch for work and we sight see in the city, I always pack a picnic lunch. I have a cooler backpack that's great.

Sarah in MD

10-04-2007, 01:14 PM
Interesting question.

I'm cheap, even though I don't really have a financial need to be (other than saving for a HOUSE, which is definitely a goal). As I reached what I'm pretty sure will be my goal size, I had to make a very significant mental shift from "throwaway" clothes mentality, not to mention replace all my staple items and work clothes, and it KILLED me because I didn't want to spend that much money. The alternative, of course, was being naked when I have to go into the office, so I spent the money, but it hurt.

That being said, we keep everyday expenses down so we can splurge a little on special occasions. Christmas and birthdays are generally expensive propositions around here (although I do make presents for some partner and I are just extravagant with eachother and usually our parents), but we balance it out with the everyday stuff being as low as possible. Right now, we're putting money away pretty aggressively for a house downpayment so we can buy in 2-3 years, and we permit ourselves the extravagances that don't interfere with that goal.

My favorite frugal things are from-scratch cooking and from-scratch baking. Our food bills go down so dramatically when very little is pre-processed! ETA: Also, bringing lunch from home EVERY DAY (leftovers from the night before) and making coffee at home EVERY MORNING.

10-04-2007, 01:33 PM
I am most definitely frugal, for several reasons: I don't have a large salary and am paying off student loans, to minimize consumption/waste because I think it is the right thing to do for the planet, and also minimize consumption because I think that US society is way too concerned with materialism.

In fact I wait for sales for everything, and when there is a good sale on something that I use often (toiletries, cleaning products, tp, etc.) I will stock up. I also don't buy many new clothes, makeup, or jewelry, but I also try to hit sales and shop at discount stores like Ross (I try not to buy really cheap clothing just because I've found it falls apart so quickly). I use my AC and water conservatively, etc., etc. I always shop around to see if I can find a deal. I even started a compost bin so I can put my own rich compost in my garden, and reduce my trash for the landfill, and recycle everything that I can. Heck I even don't speed in my car, and combine errands, to save gas.

I think the thing I splurge on most is my food. I do try to stock up when things are on sale, eat seasonal vegetables, etc. But I will buy some organic veggies (usually more expensive upfront) b/c I believe they are better for you, sometimes buy protein bars, and occasionally splurge on things like delicious salmon or shrimp.

Phyra and phantastica, I also try to plan out my food and buy what I need to minimize waste. It kills me to throw out food. I didn't realize how good I was about it until my new roommate moved in a few months ago. She buys tons of food (definite war for fridge space there ;)), but what gets me is that about every two weeks she will pull out a bunch of containers of leftovers that have gone bad. And then she complains about being poor. I know she isn't throwing out huge amounts of $'s worth of food but still...(but I don't say anything, not my place, just an observation).

10-04-2007, 01:45 PM
to minimize consumption/waste because I think it is the right thing to do for the planet, and also minimize consumption because I think that US society is way too concerned with materialism.

Well said! This is much of my motivation, as well.

I can't wait to own my own corner of dirt, so I can have a garden.

I prefer to make my own cleaning products, too.

Even though everybody else in my income bracket buys new things, I still scour craigslist and thrift stores for clothes, furniture, just about everything. Some of it is because I decorate my home in a retro 50s manner (Mandalinn, one of your homemade aprons would go *perfectly*), and the other part is to eschew commercialism. Besides, it's fun!

10-04-2007, 01:56 PM
For me, I was totally all about the thrift/garage sale/hand-me-down clothes when I was losing weight, because the clothes weren't going to fit me for very long and it was more frugal and earth-friendly to go with something that had already been used. Now, though, that I am at goal, I find it more environmentally friendly to go slightly higher-end on clothing when I can afford it, if only because the pieces LAST so much longer, meaning I'll ultimately end up buying less and throwing away/selling less clothing. That doesn't mean I'm not frugal, though - I shop high-end outlet stores and clearances 90% of the time. But by buying higher-quality, "investment" (ie usually non-trendy, basic pieces), I get a lot more wear for a lot less waste.

I love my aprons. I started by making one for a friend who was being a 50's housewife for gingham with scalloped edges, a little front pocket, white lace, and pink ribbon ties. Now I pick up fabric remnants or pieces at garage sales and do it mindlessly while watching TV. One year I made baking mix gift baskets for Christmas and sewed everyone an apron, which I tucked into the basket along with bread, scone, muffin, cookie, soup, and brownie mixes and a wooden mixing spoon. So cute!

10-04-2007, 02:18 PM
I have made it a point not to be frugal because of my Mom. She is frugal to the point of insanity (in some cases). Here are a couple stories:

My Mom likes shoes. She only buys shoes on sale, though. Once she bought a lovely pair of shoes on sale for a ridiculously low price. Did I mention she wears a size 9.5 narrow? She bought them in size 8 because they were such a deal. Then she couldn't wear them because they didn't fit. She then tried to pawn them off on me. I wear a size 9 AND they weren't my style! I imagine they are still in her closet (15 years later)

My Mom found a comforter for her bed that was on sale for a very, very low price (something like $15.00). It was really pretty. She bought it and brought it home and put it on the bed. Then she realized that the drapes didn't go with the new comforter. So she went back and bought the drapes and valance to match (they were not on sale). Later she ended up getting new sheets and throw pillows as well as the bed skirt. Even later she ended up painting and re-wallpapering the bedroom. Granted the room needed it, but we still laugh at the real "cost" of that $15 comforter!

I splurge on what I want when I want it. But I also buy in bulk when it will save and I don't have to have everything "name brand." I think I strike a good balance.

10-04-2007, 02:43 PM
I think I have become more frugal, over the years, and it doesn't help living through a Hurricane to help. I had never went into a good will, until I lost everything. I don't buy everything now at goodwill, but found the same juicer and popcorn machine I left behind, that felt good. Clothing I will buy there also if it is in very good condition, and I have gotten my daughter toys there. Shoes I buy at Tjmaxx, and I buy alot of new things there, because they are so well made, that the things last a long time.
I can't sew, so that is out of the question. But I do not eat out , instead I cook when I can( I am still trying to find a cheap food processor at good will) from scratch, I had a great collection of cookbooks, and love to try new things, the only thing I buy out for the kids is pizza( once a month) , and Popeye's chicken( reminds them of Louisiana),,, when I pass a store ( once in 2 yrs).. .I plan menus, clip coupons, and also shop at ethnic stores, farmers markets, if I had my own house I would grow all my veggies, and have a few fruit trees.