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Old 01-19-2002, 11:49 AM
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Frustrated With Frugality

I'm having a really hard time with this. I KNOW of zillions of ways to cut costs, and tons of ways to be frugal, but how in the world do you really get started without getting frustrated?

For example, you spend time making a master mix, and then before you know it, you have to stand in the kitchen and make it again! It just seems like all the extra effort that I put forth, with having such a large family, we go through things so quickly it's tiring doing it all the time. I'd rather just buy Bisquick

Just recently, my hubby's shop has slowed down, and combined with the costs of this site and the rotten revenues, we are really in need of cutting back.

I guess what I am trying to say is how do you folks make it such a fun game? I find it to be such a chore.

Help!
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Old 01-19-2002, 04:28 PM
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Hi Amanda,

I feel rather silly giving the owner of the site advise, when I am so new here, this is only my second post.

Oh well, here it goes!

I have been practicing frugality for a little over 3 years now in an attempt to pay down credit card debt. I am happy to report that we have made great progress and will soon have ALL the debt gone. In the 3 years I have had difficult moments as well! I don't think we all do wonderfully all of the time. My stuggle in the beginning was with shopping for entertainment. I was shown very well how to do this as a child and my mother still does it. It took me quite a while and alot of effort to stop doing this.

Sometimes, it doesn't feel worth it to do some of the little things that we know will save money. At first I felt guilty if I didn't do all the things that I knew would help to reduce the debt. I had read everything I could get my hands on about frugality and money management(all from the library!) Eventually, I learned what worked for us as a family and stopped doing the things that I thought to be silly or simply not worth the effort. I have now found a balance.

Frugality to me now is not just another word for deprievation! It is a balance between paying down the debt and still living and having fun! We have not created any new debt and have steadily paid what we owe now.We are doing it at a rate that is a little slower than when we first started. In the beginning we were trying so hard to pay the debt that the joy was taken out of life and we were constantly "cash poor". This caused almost as much anxiety as the debt had!

At the beginning of October, my husband lost his job of 21 years. I believe that we would have gone into a tail spin, if not for our present circumstance and new ability to deal with finances. It has been tough, but we are working through it and hope that he will soon find another job. He sure is trying!

Some of the things that help me feel better are:

1. Take a walk and really notice my blessings!
2. Go over my finances and see how much progress we have made and continue to make.
3. Focus on my new behavior and not on the past failure.
4. Keep a gratitude journal.

Sure hope this helps!
Jenna

Last edited by Jenna; 01-20-2002 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 01-19-2002, 06:08 PM
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Well, lets see. Jenna already offered you alot of good advice. You have too do it one step at a time. I do some frugal things now, I would have said a year ago ,no way! Making bread, making laundry soap and too my surprise I have found I enjoy it, and the satisfaction of saying I did it myself!
For the longest time I didn't use coupons and only shopped at one store. Because I didn't want too be bothered. But now I do coupon and I shop at 2 different stores. And I challenge myself too see how much I can save. It has become a game. Last week at the one store according too my receipt, I saved as much as I spent. When I stopped looking at it as a chore, and looked at it as a challenge, I began too enjoy it.
Also just seeing my finances get back under control. Due too cut backs in dh job, things had just gotten out of hand. I was stressed too the max, I hate feeling out of control. So moving too a more frugal lifestyle, helped me regain the control. And actually start too relax a little bit again.
But as Jenna said you can't do it too the point you stress out over being frugal!;-)
We still allow ourselfs things we want. Ex. cable TV is not a necessity, but we enjoy it, only have broadcast service $15, and I gladly pay it. Internet is another I have AOL, I cringe every month when it comes time too pay it. But my Mac computer is not supported by the cheaper ISP so I pay it.
One good tip regarding things like Master mix- LARGE quantitys!! For my big mixes I bought a large storage bin from Walmart, for under $2 I think, I use a 12 qt. one. Not with food storage containers, but with the actual closet storage bins. I can make up 3 or 4 batches at a time that way, so it last longer and if you have a freezer make up 2 boxes of mix and put opne in the freezer. This worked for me, I also hated using it up as fast as I was making it up.
Well, I hope I haven't bored you too tears! And I hope I made some sense and helped a bit!!
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Old 01-20-2002, 06:37 AM
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I have to agree with aubry and Jenna.

A lot of people misunderstand when you say you are being frugal. I did in the beginning and felt cash poor. Then I realised that's not what it's about. It's not about being cheap or living in poverty. It's about living with in your means and enjoying what you have!

I still struggle with the shopping for entertainment, but I am working on it. It's nice to be able to pay all your bills on time, feed your family well, answer the phone without worrying who's on the other side, and have a little cash in your hand or in the bank to boot! I have a long way to go on this, but i find I learn more every day.

I also have learned that not every idea is for everyone. I work outside the home (by choice) and some of the frugal ideas just aren't practical for me.

I don't make my own laundry detergent, but I do bake bread.

I don't OAMC but I often try to cook up 2-3 days worth of meals on a weekend, to get the kids through any late nights I might have.

In the summer I have a garden and I do a little canning.

I use coupons and a list when I shop and I shop for loss leaders at home and in the neighboring town I work in.

I make a menu for 2 weeks at a time and we stick to it as close as possible (this in it's self saves a ton of $$$). We only eat out now as a treat, not cause I don't know what to cook.

So I think it's the little things that work for me.
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Old 01-22-2002, 04:26 PM
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blushing A frugal lifestyle

Re: how hard it is to maintain the decision to live frugally - give yourself a pat on the back that you have actually made the decision! That's the first step. And build in some 'treats' or you'd go mad. This is a changing lifestyle decision - as with losing weight or keeping fit or whatever - living frugally is something that I needed to look on as an everyday thing - not just for the next few months. That helped me through the first little while of learning to recycle, swap things with friends, buy what I need, not want ... its not easy, but it can be done. I guess it depends on what one's motivation is, reducing debt, keeping one's head above the water, or living lightly on this earth.
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Old 01-24-2002, 01:25 AM
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Post I say Hear Hear!

Yes.... Seeing Being responsible with one's money allotment I can vouch for it being wise choice. Think of yourself as the Government...a real challenge ... and Motivation....Your being paid a wage for what you do. When your at the sink, whether, stringing beans you have grown, or preparing a simple meal... you are receiving a wage, its about working your budget as treasurer, to get things working in every Department, whether : e.g.
1. Primary Industries
2. Manufacturing
3. Transport (Your vehicle)
4. Health (Supplies, preventative)
I'm sure you can think of lots more. But its having a Goal with the motivation. What your objective in life is.

Smiles to you, Deborah
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Old 01-24-2002, 10:54 AM
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Frustrated ....

Hi ~ I just had to add a post to this discussion as you've hit upon one of my favorite topics: THE ART OF BEING FRUGAL. It is an art ~ a craft, if you will. Not everyone is able or willing to try being frugal and yet it is so rewarding and satisfying.

Please understand that my brand of frugality may not fit the purest definition of the word, but it works for me. Frugal, for me, is using what I have or figuring out ways to make what I have work for me ~ and help me accomplish what I want to do. I can spend money with the best of them when I want to, but more and more I am discovering the joys of a simpler lifestyle and how much less stress I have because of that pursuit.

Perhaps I can offer a suggestion or two that might help someone get started:

1. Try to figure out what you want to be frugal for (i.e., more cash in your pocket, the opportunity to stay at home with your kids if you are currently a two-income household, saving longterm for something such as a vacation or house, or just plain saving.)

2. Keep it really simple in the beginning and don't tackle more than one or two things at a time. I found adding one new frugal tip to my repertoire a week was a perfect pace for me.

3. Give yourself due credit for using frugal tips! If you have a bulletin board with some space, place a blank sheet of paper on it. Everytime you doing anything frugally or use a frugal tip you have picked up somewhere, give yourself a star. By the end of the week, you might be surprised at how many stars you have.

4. Enjoy your successes!

5. Know that you will get better and better at being frugal if you stay true to what works for you and what makes you happy. Try a new hint or tip once and if it works FOR YOU, great. If not, forget about it and move on to the next. Frugality is as individual as each of us, and what works for someone else doesn't even begin to cut the mustard for the rest of us.

Sandie
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Old 01-24-2002, 03:59 PM
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I think the biggest motivator I have to being frugal is seeing people around me constantly complaing about being in debt and how this is a problem and that is a problem. I can't stand hearing it. If you didn't go out and spend $45.oo on a new t-shirt then you might be able to save for something that really matters.
I was talking to Dsil yesterday and was telling her about the bee ( see post on frugality bonus find). She said she could never shop in a store like that, then she's never going to find something like I found at the The Gap or anything. She belives in only namebrands and will pay 45 for a tee I went to the thrift store and got the same one still with the store tags on for 5. ( dept. stores and boutiques will donate the 'last seasons' stock to charities then they put them to thier thrift stores, they do this about every 2 months) So I have $ 40 to spend on whatever else.
This is just an example but this stuff piles up.
Yes some times are very stressfull the furnace breaking down yesterday took all our reserve and then some so now I am freaking, but it's not like I will have creditors knocking at my door. I am able to handle things. If I was the type to just throw money around I wouldn't of been able to fix it without going in to debt.
Sorry if this seems to be jumping around but.... it's also a pet peeve
I do have frugal goal right now I want new windows!! So hopefully soon I'll be able to start saving again and get them
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Old 01-24-2002, 06:39 PM
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These are some of the reasons that I need to get more frugal. My DH is really bad about impulse spending. He's got that mindset of "I deserve it, I should have it, I work my butt off all day, I'm buying it".

UGH!

However, I've always loved shopping thrift stores, you can find some of the coolest stuff in there! There are some name brands that I will buy, but most things I but generic or find something cheaper. My kids are so rough on clothes, and they grow out of them so quickly, that I just can't see paying top dollar at Gap Kids.

We just had siding put on our house, and even though we shopped and got a great deal, it's brought us down to almost nothing, so now I have to build back up again. THAT drives me crazy. I can't stand not having a reserve in the bank.
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Old 01-25-2002, 04:44 AM
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Good for you, Amanda! You have identified several "whys" for frugality!! It always helps me to feel good about my frugality if I know the reason why I want to be frugal.

It can be so discouraging when a family member is not "on board" with frugality and you are! Would your husband consider helping you by limiting his unplanned expenditures to a certain amount each week? Perhaps it is an issue with him that he feels he does not have any or enough discretionary power over his earnings. If he had a predetermined amount each week that no one (including the frugal partner) could question or make a comment as to what he spent it on, perhaps he would be more amenable to being frugal in other areas. If he wanted to "blow" $$$ on a large expenditure, then he would have to save his discretionary money for that expenditure. It would also allow you to feel better about what you are trying to accomplish.

As far as the big expenditure of the siding ... While that is a BIG chunk of change, to be sure, if you are able to visualize how you are saving $$$ even in a small way, you will eventually feel better about it because you now have the siding and you are working towards regaining your nest egg. Perhaps something as simple as accumulating change in an empty plastic see-through container (with a lid) will help raise your spirits. Granted, with the thousands of dollars spent on the siding, it isn't much to watch loose change get thrown into a jar, but it will in the long run. When those first few pennies hits the jar, at least you will know that those pennies are now off the end-sum balance you had to spend on the siding.


Sandie
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