This article is written in response to Be Frugal: Living Well on Less Money by Bailey Landon, which is about being frugal. I am fully supporting this article and hope to provide additional tips on living a less expensive and more productive life.
I have often been told that I am too frugal and refuse to spend money on anything. I have also found that my parents and siblings are the exact same way. That’s right; we are the family that would only go to a restaurant if there is a buffet and a special. We never buy soda in a restaurant, nor do we choose to go to movie theatres for public entertainment. Its just too expensive, besides the movie comes out on video within a year, (yes we are too cheap to buy DVD players) and it will eventually be on network television.
Clipping coupons is the normal expectation, and we never really buy anything that is not on sale. Even if it is on sale, we won’t buy it unless we anticipate getting our money’s worth and using it for at least the next five years (if not longer).
Did I mention garage sales? We love them! I must admit as a child I was rather embarrassed to go garage sailing (especially as a pre-teen), however, now I find the greatest treasures and furniture from them.
Yep, I even remember going grocery shopping on Saturdays around lunch time and getting a free meal from the free samples. Okay, so maybe my family is a little extreme. Perhaps it is a little abnormal to only order the cheapest thing on the menu, and wait for gas to go down before buying it. Maybe it is a little strange to get excited when an item we’ve been waiting to buy finally goes on sale. (As previously mentioned, it would be silly to buy it at wholesale price.)
I’ve been called a cheapskate, and frugal, but what is wrong with avoiding spending money? In this culture, it would be easy to drop a hundred dollars a day without even realizing it. I think the road to frugality began out of necessity with my family and now it is more of a game. I kind of enjoy seeing how little I can spend each month. It makes me feel like somewhat of a “survivor.” Although, I don’t wish to sound smug, I am very thankful that I am able to have enough to eat and a warm place to sleep.
Grocery shopping is another way to cut the cost. Budgets are wise, helpful, and often essential. Plan a certain amount to be spent on food and make it a goal to spend less. Generic food is just as healthy and can end up saving quite a lot in the end.
Also, eating out is hardly necessary. Many of us live busy lifestyles and eating out is a great way to relax. However, count the cost! Eating out can be extremely expensive and should also be budgeted. Save it for special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries.
More importantly, saving can produce great benefits. Many banks and financial institutions promote saving and offer higher interest rates based on the balance in the saving account.
Of course, there are days when spending must occur. When the used vehicle finally reaches its limit on miles, or when the inherited blow dryer finally breathes its last. However, why not save for emergencies instead of spending freely?
Another advantage of frugal living is the ability to support others. There are millions and even billions of people in this world who do not have enough to eat. They spend the entire day acquiring water that is clean enough to drink and wash in. American affluence has somehow blinded our hearts from this reality, but it has been proven that there is more than enough food in this world so that everyone should be able to eat his or her fill.
Why not use the extra thirty or sixty or even ninety dollars a month to support a child or family through Compassion International, or Gospel for Asia-Bridges of Hope, or some other benefit in which hungry mouths are fed.