Saturday, June 23, 2012

Frugal is as Frugal Does


There are many, many thoughts that come to mind when you use this word. The common one being that you're poor or live on a tight budget of barely making it. That you're only living frugally because you can't afford anything else. You eat dried beans and never do anything fun. This is the image that has been played in our heads for decades. When did frugal become such a bad thing? 

Merriam-Webster defines frugal as;

: characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources
So really being frugal means your being resourceful. You're making the best with what you have. You're getting by without needing to add to your consumption. In a land of plenty and throw away, I can see how someone not following the "norm" would become an outsider. 

Is there a difference between being frugal and being miserly? 
Yes. Not that I don't love the book Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy and love how she changes the meaning of miserly. But most people still think of misers or miserly in the terms of Scrooge. Pinching pennies so hard that you leave no room for experiences and fun. This is the differences between frugal and miserly. Frugal allows room for fun and experiences, on a budget.

So should being frugal be considered a bad thing? 
I do not believe one who only takes as little as possible and only uses what they need, is a bad thing. I think we need to change the modern ideology that you have to take and take and take. That if you're not up on the latest gadget, kitchen appliance or fashion, that you're suffering. You can survive with the jeans you have and not have to go buy a new pair because they changed where they are suppose to sit on your waist. 

What does frugal NOT mean? 
Put simple. Punishment. You are not going to torture yourself by wearing pants that have a zillion holes in them or shoes that should have been replaced a year ago because there is no sole left on them. It doesn't mean you don't celebrate holidays or traditions. It doesn't mean you don't treat yourself {every once in a while, it's not a treat if you do it daily}. It doesn't mean you do go to the movies or take your children to a theme park. You just learn to do it in an affordable matter. Instead of doing a huge Christmas, you do three gifts or homemade gifts. Grandparents would rather have a homemade gift over store bought ANY day of the week! 

We strive to be frugal everyday. Here's our top 5 frugal tips. 
1. Eat at home. Every single frugal mom {and dad} out there will tell you this is their number 1 tip.
2. Establish needs verse wants. Even with your children.
3. Buy second hand. This being said, there are some thing I'd never buy second hand. Beds, Couches, or underwear. Those are no-go's. Seriously.
4. Look for free and cheap activities in your city. I live in the urban core of Kansas City. We have so many free exhibits and  movies that are simply amazing. Our local zoo is only $5 for residents in the zoological district. My children get in for free and we can take our own lunch and snacks!
5. Remember to treat yourself. If you don't treat yourself along the way, you'll eventually crash and burn. You'll blow your entire savings because you felt deprived. Trust me, {I have personal experience with this one!}  blowing all your money will hurt far worse than being "deprived".

Some of my favorite resources for frugality and resourcefulness.

Please leave me your favorites in the comments!

Keep going green!

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