Whether you need to be frugal out of necessity or in order to reach a financial goal, it is important that you do not look at frugality as a deprivation.
I think of my husband who works so hard without complaint to provide for our family. I have made it my job to keep as much of his hard-earned pay as I can.
I do everything in my power to save money and reduce our debt each month. Some of the ways I do this are:
I keep my hair natural. I don't color it in the salon or at home. I trim my bangs myself and only go in for a hair cut when absolutely necessary.
I am not into fashion. I like comfy and casual. You will find me in jeans and a cute blouse or sweater. That's my "uniform".
I avoid paying retail prices whenever possible. I am not ashamed to shop at second-hand thrift stores, use coupons, or ask for military discounts.
With a few exceptions, I buy mostly generic products at the grocery store.
I use the least amount of products I can without affecting quality, such as toothpaste, laundry detergent, dish soap, shampoo and conditioner, etc. The less you use, the less often you must buy.
I keep all lights and electronic devices off and unplugged when not in use.
My hobbies are things that are free or mostly free. I like to read, listen to music, watch movies, decorate my house, work in my yard, draw, cross-stitch, garden, and write.
The only magazine I buy is AllYou for the coupons and nifty advice.
I live my life for myself and my family. I could care less what others are doing and buying or what their opinions are.
I read blogs and articles that inspire me in my quest to become debt-free and live simply.
I skimp on the unimportant things. Who cares what brand toothpaste or peanut butter you use?
I use home remedies to treat illnesses first instead of running to the doctor for every little pain or cough.
I keep the heat set a little lower in Winter and the air a little higher in Summer. We run ceiling fans to help circulate the air and dress accordingly.
I read vintage cookbooks for ideas on how to stretch the food budget.
We do our yard work, most home improvements, car maintenance and repairs not covered by warranty.
I do my best to pay all of our bills on time to avoid late fees.
I don't believe you need a gym or fancy equipment to get in shape. Walking is free. You can use soup cans for hand weights and do body weight exercises. You can look up workout videos on YouTube. Vigorous housework, gardening and raking counts as exercise, too!
I believe in buying quality where it counts - shoes, sheets, mattresses, etc.
I prepare simple home-cooked meals. I look for ways to make our favorite processed foods myself.
Occasionally we have a take away meal, but I'd much rather wait for a special occasion and go to a nice restaurant to eat and enjoy the atmosphere instead of being rushed like herded cattle.
I don't do the whole mani/pedi thing. I paint my own toes at home and leave my fingernails bare.
There are so many ways one can economize. I am always learning new things to try since I am always researching this topic as it's one I am passionate about. Now that I am home again, I do not intend to reenter the work force only to be miserable! No amount of money is worth that!
I would rather put my efforts into making my husband's paycheck stretch as far as I can and making our home a place where he can find rest and refuge.