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I just got back from Walmart. I never shop there but hubby does ocassionally for certain things and today he asked me if I would go and get those certain things for him so he could work on the house. I am a loving wife and I obliged.

The place makes my skin crawl. From the layout to the feel of it. It’s chaotic and makes my brain hurt. I wanted to gouge my eyes out the moment I walked in and I swear it had nothing to do with both of my kids in the cart screaming for something or other.

I couldn’t have been happier the moment I walked out the door. And no, not because I saved a bundle of money, which I did, but because it was like stepping back into my own universe.

I’m not sure what it is about MallWart (what Drew has funnily named it) that makes me cringe, but whatever it is, I am going to listen to my brain screaming for me to run far far away next time. No amount of money saved is worth the experience that makes me want to shoot myself in the head.  A girl has her limits.

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I went to Barnes and Noble tonight for a little escape from the house and kids. I picked myself up a magazine to bring home and peruse later tonight while having a glass of wine to relax. I went to the checkout line and there were a bunch of tables lining the checkout area. Some books for Mother’s Day coming up and a table of 50% Kids Easter books. I saw the big red 50% off sign so I thought I’d pick up a couple for the kids. Usually the same books back in the kid section are $3-4 so I figured I could get one for each kid for that since they were half off. I flipped one over and I guess because they were specialized for Easter, they were all originally priced $7-8. So I might as well have just gotten non-Easter books for that price. I passed.

Hidden under a couple of the kid books was a book that someone obviously decided against buying at the last minute and stashed there. It was Frugal Living For Dummies. There were claims on the front of the book that it would teach you to live simply and frugally. Ha. How about start by not paying $17 for a book to teach you to be frugal? I was glad to see that it didn’t actually make it to the checkout counter and get purchased. How silly.

I haven’t thought about Freecycle for a while now since we haven’t had the need to use it but we’re gearing up to use it once again in the next few weeks as we start the renovations on the last 350 sf of our home. As we remodeled the other areas of our house throughout last year, we used Freecycle to get rid of what was salvageable from the old house so that it didn’t have to go into the landfill. The added bonus was that everything that someone else took off of our hands, we saved the gas money 20 miles to the dump and back and the $30 dump fee per load and saved big time when we rented dumpsters by being able to keep a lot of the bigger stuff from going in and adding to our cost. We’ll be doing it again this time, so that things like the siding on the house and the old tub/shower (someone will want an avocado green tub/shower, right?) don’t have to go to the dump when someone else can use them.

Freecycle is great for recycling anything you are thinking of getting rid of, from home materials to freebie samples you get in the mail but won’t use. If you go to The Freecycle Homepage you can find one in your area (hopefully!) and sign up for their mailing list. You’ll receive emails when someone is getting rid of something and it may just be something you need so you won’t have to spend the money on it. It’s a lovely nifty little thing.

Try it out and happy Freecycling!!

Patience is a virtue that I really haven’t had much of in my life. I get this from my father. There are many stories from my childhood that relate to his lack of patience. Some are quite funny and others are not at all.

I know very well about myself that I am lacking in this fabulous trait and I work hard everyday to find more of it within myself. Especially now that I am a mother. I find that if there is one thing a parent needs, it is patience. Kids do things very slowly, as any parent knows. They eat slowly, they pee slowly, they get dressed slowly.

Not only that, but they are little wonderful people that are still enamored and mesmerized by the little stuff in life. So, they’re ready to slow down and check out blades of grass and look at bugs, and show me shapes they see in the clouds. All while I am racing to the car to strap them into their carseats and race off to do errands, too busy to stop and savor some small moments. I find myself blocking out the constant chatter in the car, dismissing little questions about a big world, and not realizing how important those things are to little lives.

I’ve started trying to slow down, take deep breaths, take shorter strides (anyone who’s seen this nearly 6 foot tall lady walk knows I don’t stroll), and look around more. I have started to notice things that I didn’t before. Not only is it helping my parenting, which it is, dramatically, but it is also transferring to other areas of my life.

Being patient on a smaller scale in the everyday little stuff has suddenly turned into being patient with much bigger stuff too. Like the house remodeling progress, saving money, being frugal…all of those things that make up the foundation for our future. I have talked before about how being frugal makes me a better person and it’s true, being frugal makes me exhibit patience. Or is it that now that I am more patient, I find it much easier to be frugal? It may just be the latter. I am able like never before to see the ramifications of my actions today and how they’ll make for a better tomorrow for me and my family. Making sound financial decisions today when we’re already standing on a pretty decent foundation is going to pay off for us, I know. I am in a generation that lacks patience. But I can see the damage it is and is going to continue to do to people and I refuse to be one of them. Just call me defiant and contrary.

I am still very much a person who lives for today. I am impulsive. I live life with my arms wide open and my heart on my sleeve. Maybe it’s motherhood, maybe it’s maturity, it’s probably a combination of many things, but whatever it is…I’ve slowed down a bit. I’ve started finding that balance in living life to the fullest each day but also looking toward tomorrow. For the first time, I have a future that I can see and I have big dreams that need to be filled for myself and my family. A little patience today is going to get us there.

The number one thing that has helped me attain my frugal mindset and simpler way of life has been realizing that just because I have the money for something doesn’t mean I should pay for it. I have gone from the mindset of “I can afford it, so I’ll buy it” to “I can afford it, but is there a way I can do without or is there a way to lower that expense?”

Too often I hear people say that because they can afford to do something a certain way, they’ll do it that way. Without realizing that there are other ways to do those things. My first thought when any expense comes up is if I can do it or get it cheaper some other way. Can I find it used? Save money and recycle! Can I do it or make it myself? Do I *really* need this or have I just convinced myself that with more money comes more stuff to spend that money on?

It is amazing to me when I look around me and see the things that we convince ourselves are necessary in life. And proceed to spend on those things as if our life as we know it is miserable without it. I struggle with this still. There are my weaknesses that I have to talk myself out of a lot. And I allow myself an indulgence occasionally.

But I have come to learn that it’s not that hard to get used to things being more basic and simple. Along with that, once I realized that good enough isn’t just good enough – it’s often better – well, that made it all that much easier to commit to a life of simplicity. Because when you decide that you’re happy with what you have and don’t need more to feel more adequate or fulfilled, your life will be richer in money and happiness.