Wading into the Frugal Deep End
Lately, I have gone to the frugal extreme when it comes to any discretionary spending. I spent $850 last month on all food, gas and other discretionary spending. What if I cut that to $800/month? $750?! It’s not so much the $100 which would go to debt that gets me excited, it’s the thought that I can minimize my expenses and still be happy. It’s the idea of living more simply and eliminating the things that don’t matter that make saving money fun. Reducing any amount of consumption is also environmentally friendly. I’ve never done anything like this before!
People warn against being too extreme and burning out on frugality, but for me, it’s exactly what I need right now. Heck, I’m enjoying denying myself the little stuff.
I’ve been saying it to my friends a lot: A little sacrifice is good for my character. I don’t want to go through life feeling entitled or having things handed to me. I like working smart and working hard at things that matter. I really loved when Punch Debt in the Face wrote “I never (repeat NEVER) want to think I am too good to clean my own toilet or shower.” He’s right, I want to stay humble and never lose sight of the important things. My sister motivated me yesterday when she said “Life is what you make it man, so make it!” (You see where I get my tendency to refer to everyone as dude, man or bro. We really are California girls.)
So the point of this was to say that I have taken just a few more steps to wade into the frugal deep end and I am happy to have taken them. What exactly do I think is so frugal? Well, I’ve:
- Switched from fancy-schmancy shower gels to Dove bar soap. Shower gels come in plastic bottles, bar soap in recycled cardboard. Two Dove bars cost $1 and last quite a while. Shower gels tend to go quickly because one dollop never looks like enough. I never thought I would be so frugal as to cut out a $6 item and replace it with a $1 item. I don’t care. I’m doing it! Monthly savings: $5
- Switched from hoity-toity liquid detergent to powdered detergent. Although I worried that powder doesn’t clean as well or might fade clothes, there are good powdered detergents out there that clean as well as liquids and are still cheaper and more eco-friendly, since they also come in recycled cardboard versus plastic bottles. The Shift Your Habit blog convinced me. Monthly savings: $10
- Am going to TRY as hard as I can to quit cheese or reduce it to the equivalent of one cigarette per month, since I am a cheese addict. Nick Swardson gave me some inspiration. It’s important for my health and it would cut another twenty bucks from my grocery bill. Monthly savings: $20
Total Monthly Savings: $35
Total Annual Savings: $420
If I can convince my brain that $420 is significant, I can continue to find new ways to save money since my previous habits are so comically riddled with wastefulness.
Have you made any small changes lately (related to money or not) that you’re proud of?