Friday, November 5, 2010

Frugal Lifestyle, It's a Choice

I am often asked what frugal means. My reply is longer than some people are looking for. To me being frugal has lots of benefits. Originally it may be used to get out of debt. Once out of debt you may not feel it is the lifestyle you want to live. It's a choice.

True frugalistas live frugally as a lifestyle. They know that if they watch the pennies, the dollars add up. It's a slow process, but once it reaches it's peak, you wonder where all the money you have comes from. It's a choice.

Being frugal is good for the environment. Our grandparents knew this at a time that there was no such word as recycle. It's a choice.

Being frugal is also considered being a good steward of your resources. Doing the most with what you have. Not looking at what you don't have, but being creative with what is yours. It's a choice.

All of the small ways resources can be save add up to form a good way of life. Then you have cash to spend on what is important to you.

Most everyone has heard of the Latte Factor by now. It's the simplest way to describe how to make your money work for you. It works like this:

You have 100.00 for the month to spend anyway you want. (discretionary cash) You can buy 20 lattes or save the 100.00 for 2 months and buy the wii you've been wanting, but didn't think you could afford.

When this principle is used for everything you spend, the outcome is a good life with no debt and a good night's rest every night.

One small thing I do is I buy only 2 rolls of foil a year. I use an old cookie sheet to cover things while cooking in the oven. A roll of foil is now at 7.00 a roll. If I used it for everything I did in the oven, my expense would be at least doubled, most like quadrupled. So with just one saving tactic I save 14.00 to 28.00 a year. This is my money I can use to enhance my life.

Some other things I do:
1. Cut dryer sheets in half and only buy them on sale and with a coupon
2. Use sales and coupons together to buy t paper and tissues
3. Do not use paper towel. I bought cheap wash cloths and divided them so some are used only on dishes and the others are for cleaning I do have a roll of paper towels on hand in case the power goes out. It's more sanitary to use them than have dirty cloths
4. Use vinegar, baking soda and bleach to clean the house
5. Make my own room sprays with herbs grown in my garden
6. Use organic matter from the kitchen to amend my garden soil
7. Reuse envelopes that mail comes in to make my shopping list and hold coupons.
8. Use coupons and rewards programs at chosen stores
9. Use glass or plastic containers with lids to store food in the refrigerator or cupboard to save on plastic wrap.

At this point in my frugal journey the list is endless. (I've been doing this for years) I didn't practice every saving at once. I got used to one or two things at a time, then moved on to the next one that sounded as if it may work for me. Some things didn't. Like hanging clothes. I don't like doing this with the exception of sheets and blankets. So it was my choice not to hang clothes. I do dry shirts for a short time in the dryer then put them on hangers.

Frugal is about choices. It's about what works for you and your family. It's also about a good and simple lifestyle.

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