Recently I’ve been writing a lot about frugality. I’ve been posting frugal tips like turning off your water and even showing you how to mass-produce PB&J sandwiches. But while it’s easy to tell people to turn down the heat or wear a hat in the house, we’re not that frugal ourselves. Actually, I should say that we can always be more frugal. For example:
- We keep the heat at 72 when we’re in the house (except when we’re sleeping). In my article “Keeping warm in a cold home“, a number of you have commented how you keep your heat down in the 60s (even as low as 58). Let me tell you, though, that it’s taken 4 years to get Stacie to go from 74 to 72! To go below 70 is unthinkable right now, unless we were to reinsulate our exterior walls.
- Rather than using a single water heater, we pay for peace at home by using both of our hot water tanks.
- We eat out on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (when we feel like it). We restrict ourselves from eating our during the week, though. But I do eat out for lunch 1-2 times per week.
- We don’t budget for clothes; we just buy them when we need them. However, we only every buy what we need and when it’s on sale. Our annual clothing expense is very minimal.
- We dry clean our work clothes. Neither of us likes to iron, so we spend the extra $1.29 (or whatever it is now) to launder our shirts and dry clean our pants/skirts. It’s SOOO worth it in our minds. However, we re-wear shirts and pants at least 3-4 times before cleaning them (except in the summer when it could be 1-2 wears).
- We have 2 vehicles, when I take mass transit to work. However, Stacie’s ride is a fuel-efficient MINI Cooper and I drive a weekend-warrior Honda Ridgeline. I do still get about 10,000 miles on the truck each year, even with riding the metro to work.
But do these non-frugal practices negate any advice I provide to you, my readers? I think not. And here’s why.
Why Listen To Me about Frugality?
While we don’t practice all the tips I write about, I am honest in my articles about whether it applies in our own life, including our successes or failures with each tip. Additionally, I recognize that some people are more able to practice a frugal lifestyle for various reasons and appreciate these tips. While you might not drop the heat down to 60 degrees in the winter, you might try to reduce it by 1 degree each week and see how far you can go. Some of us like experimenting with ways to save money (call it the Frugality Engineer in each of us) and getting someone else’s perspective really helps get past our own struggle to change.
So while I share methods to save money and reduce waste (don’t forget that one!) through frugal living, remember that it’s up to you to try it out and see if it works in your lifestyle. You might not see the reasoning in cutting open the toothpaste container to get the last ounce of paste out, but remember this, the rich don’t get and stay rich by spending money. Even the rich are frugal (if they want to stay rich), just sometimes on a different level than us “commoners”.
Be proud of being frugal, just don’t become “cheap” and don’t hold your frugality over others’ heads. Share how you save money, but don’t bash someone for being needlessly wasteful. Perhaps they never figured out how to make the transition to using or spending less. Perhaps their spouse or roomate doesn’t share the same frugal mindset.
And feel free to let me know your own frugal practices for future articles!