A Lifetime of Daily Frugality

by Katy on October 15, 2014 · 64 comments

Frugality is like any other discipline, It only works if you make it a part of your daily routine. It doesn’t matter if you got a free pair of boots from a friend if you then celebrate by taking everyone out for drinks. If you’re in a position where you really need to be frugal, it requires that you unapologetically put it front and center.

I’m frugal every single day. I have no breaks, and that’s okay. Choosing a frugal life does not mean a life of deprivation. I still eat delicious meals, get together with friends and want for nothing whatsoever. I cook 95% from scratch, socialize without spending money and would rather mend something that replace it with something new (or even used) any day of the week.

That chicken soup with dumplings that I made from the drumstick bones? It became my lunch yesterday and then my breakfast for today. It also created an extra quart of chicken broth, which I used as the base for last night’s Rosemary White Bean soup. And when I walked over to Fred Meyer yesterday to pick up a few things, my plan had been to buy two half-gallons of milk instead of a full gallon. Why? Because when Fred Meyer has their half-gallon on sale for $1.25, it becomes cheaper to buy it this way. However, this milk won my purchasing loyalty:

Clearance milk

Every day, and every purchasing decision revolves around my frugality.

At this point you may be thinking that my life sounds like an enormous bummer. A life without joy.

You are wrong.

Being frugal is freedom, not a limitation.

I’m able to not panic over the potential news that my husband may be about to go on strike. I’m able to send my sons on amazing exchanges to Japan, which are not cheap. Our bills get paid on time, our cars are paid off and our student loan payments are a thing of the past. (My husband went back to school in 2001-2005.)

We eat bean based soups at least a couple of nights per week and we wear our clothes to death!

And every day we putter along with our unassuming frugal ways.

Do you see your own frugality as a noose to be banished the moment money loosens up, or is it more of a longterm lifestyle? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

surviving and thriving on pennies October 15, 2014 at 9:48 am

Can I get a AMEN?? LOVE THIS!!! I agree completely with what you say. Every single time I talk to someone who I’ve not seen in a while they always ask “How you guys been? How are the kids?” and am happy to say “We are happy as always.” No drama, no stress, no nothing. Just happy! I can thank our stress free life to saving $$ and enjoying what this earth has to give.


Katy October 15, 2014 at 9:53 am

Thank you. You and I both know that you really can be happy while still having a emphasis on creative frugality.


Theresa October 15, 2014 at 9:55 am

I’m so used to being frugal at this point I get really antsy and uncomfortable when I’m not..or even if we’re in a situation where it’s just not feasible. I can honestly say that if I won a million dollars, I’d still be frugal. My life is much less dramatic and feels a lot more under control when I am controlling how much I spend on what. Money can only buy you happiness, when you don’t spend it stupidly.


Jenna Krabacher October 15, 2014 at 10:04 am

I want to thank you for taking the time to write this blog every day.
I have been reading it for a while and trying to put some of your practices into habit myself. But it’s hard. It’s real hard for someone like me who loves the thrill of shopping and getting a good deal. (Getting a good deal is great, but I’m usually getting a good deal on things I don’t need which is not great.)

But I’m planning on starting nursing school next fall and that is a full time gig I will not be able to hold down a full time job with. So I’m going to be even more faithful about reading your blog because it’s a source of self-help for me and helps me put things into perspective. I refuse to get any more student loans – I have a master’s degree already – and I refuse to borrow more money for a second bachelors degree. So that means my spending habits are going to have to take a back seat so that my tuition is paid with cash and not credit. That’s a two year commitment and it’s going to be hard. But your blog truly makes it easier and fun 🙂

Frugal things I am doing well:

The nursing prerequisites I did not get in my first degree are paid for as I work for the state and I’m taking my classes at a state school. That ends when I have to quit my job, but it’s going to pay for thousands of dollars worth of classes.

I have wanted a Nespresso machine for a while now, but $300 for a coffee machine is even a bit for me. Today I figured out how to get one FREE with coupons and cash back rewards.

I have the ability, but it’s hard to put it in practice and keep it there so I THANK YOU for your support, wisdom and openness regarding your frugality.


Katy October 15, 2014 at 10:06 am

Thank you so much for the kind words. Good luck in nursing school, it’s no fun but worth the effort!


Donna Barnett October 15, 2014 at 10:11 am

Being frugal has brought contentment and gratitude into my life and I’m a much better person as a result.


K D October 16, 2014 at 4:36 am

I couldn’t have said it better myself.


Kathie October 16, 2014 at 11:04 am

I agree. Contentment is one of the best things to have!


Susan Marsh October 15, 2014 at 10:13 am

I really enjoy reading your blog. I totally get your excitement in being mindful of your resources. I havn’t always been careful of my spending but have discovered the comfort of being frugal. I’m currently challenged with trying to get my husband on board with some of my frugal ideas. Have you always been frugal Katy?


Cattis October 15, 2014 at 10:26 am

For me, I want to always be frugal. My husband -not so much. I’m hoping to change job soon and if that happens my salary would become much higher- my husband sees more stuff, I on the other hand only want to make payments on our mortgage. So we’ll wait and see…


J. Pario October 16, 2014 at 9:49 am

It’s so hard to be frugal with a non-frugal spouse! My husband has come around over time, though. Why? Frugality will eventually mean 1. freedom to take a job he loves rather than one he needs and 2. freedom to retire early 3. the possibility of more beach time. Paying off the mortgage early is a big part of meeting those goals, for us anyway.

Is there anything your husband wants more than he wants stuff?

Good luck with the job switching – I hope it works out great for you!


Cattis October 17, 2014 at 3:33 am

These last 3 years we´ve done “my way” according to financial issues, and saved up a lot of money for house repairs: a roof on the house is a need, not a want, right? 🙂 And he agrees that this is the way to go, but I want to get rid of our mortgage and i he doesn´t really want that, I suppose I could try and make him see my side again. I always try to tempt him with car-parts. If we pay of our mortgage he could use the money for something else 🙂 like build another car or travel or whatever he/we want. I just want the safety and freedom of not owing any money.

Thank you, I´m expecting an answer about work in a week.


Mel October 17, 2014 at 8:22 pm

Here is one idea that worked for us in a similar situation. Our income changed and we did have the wiggle room to go after our mortgage but my husband wanted to have fun with the extra money while I wanted the mortgage gone. I looked at our budget and our income and decided what my dream amount to pay each month would be. Then we took our actual mortgage payment and figured out what was halfway between the payment and my “dream payment” and paid that. Ultimately, it did end up allowing us to finish the mortgage off years sooner than we otherwise would have but it also left some extra fun money and kept my husband on-board.


Cattis October 19, 2014 at 9:57 am

Thank you Mel, that´s a great idea.

ella October 15, 2014 at 10:27 am

I think the key, as you’ve said before, is to think of it as a positive instead of a negative. It’s not JUST about saving money, and it’s not about what you can’t do. By being frugal, you’re choosing what comes into your homes and lives and how they get there. Your kids’ experiences in Japan are far more valuable than “stuff” you don’t really need anyhow. Life is beautiful when it’s simple and when you only have stuff around that you need and makes you happy. Using that extra money to make memories (like trips to Japan) is much better than surrounding yourself with unnecessary stuff!


Pat October 15, 2014 at 10:31 am

We retired early, to do so we need to be frugal. But so far we have had 12 years of enjoyment, doing things we love to do in an area we love ( and used to only go to for a holiday!).
One of my frugal gifts is my friends and neighbour. We help each other , share extra veggies and fruits out of our garden. and in general enjoy each other’s company. None of which cost money. Plus saves trips to town ( I carpool once a week to town for groceries with another friend). With a round trip costing us upwards of $10/ trip in a small vehicle, that’s a major savings for both of us.
Plus we make any dental, Dr. or Phsio appointments for that day too. This way you always have someone who is safe to drive you home, a big item as you get older. Plus it’s more fun and the time passes faster when you have company.
I don’t find being frugal that hard anymore . In fact my normal everyday life seems normal, till I meet someone who isn’t frugal at all!


PoppyEcho October 15, 2014 at 8:52 pm

I find this to be a lovely and ideal model of community.
A lot of people would be a lot happier if they had such pleasant and useful bonds with other people beyond their families. This would benefit single people so much.


Laura October 15, 2014 at 10:38 am

Love this post! We weren’t always as frugal as we are now, but I was surprised by how many frugal things we had always done and were already doing; it made it easier to incorporate new frugal ideas, and adapt our thinking.

Living frugally has meant both my husband and I could retire from working earlier than we thought, and move to one of the most expensive places to live – Hawai’i – and continue to live quite comfortably on less than the median income. We could pick up part-time work if we want, but we don’t have to. We are still able to save, to travel (I am taking two of our daughters with me to Japan next spring to see family there), and we eat well (we always buy the marked down milk here too!). We are living a far, far simpler life than we did on the mainland, and loving it.

Your blog continues to be an inspiration!


Monique October 15, 2014 at 10:46 am

I have not always been frugal, but I feel confident in saying that I always will be from now on. The lessons I’ve learned from Katy and others have been invaluable in changing my lifestyle completely. Friends I’ve had for decades barely recognize the person I am today. Money is not short in our household, but our debts are large and there is no way we could have sustained the same lifestyle for much longer. Now, we have a plan to be mortgage-free in 5-7 years, which will give us the freedom to work less, travel more, and really wring all the richness out of life.


AnnDenee October 15, 2014 at 10:54 am

I’ve been frugal all my life, in that, I’ve never earned much more than minimum wage in the jobs I’ve had. To me, it’s not a life of deprivation at all, but I think that’s because I don’t want anything I can’t afford. I don’t dream about expensive toys, mcmansions, or extravagant lifestyles. I do dream about travelling, and I know that will come when the debts are paid off.

My husband on the other hand sees it totally as deprivation. He’ll browse the internet for hours lusting over motorcycles and boats. He has said on multiple occasions that he’s “not interested in going Amish”.

He’s not happy. I am.

It’s all in your head.


Vickie October 15, 2014 at 12:47 pm

My FIL was a lot like your husband, however my MIL controls the purse strings and apparently over a period of 50+ years of marriage, he’s finally gotten that frugality is their way of life. He still complains, but doesn’t make big purchases w/o her agreeing to them and that’s not very often.
My Hubby, on the other hand, has made several big purchases and even though he had the cash to pay for them, they were not good investments in the long run. We could have been out of debt completely by now and mortgage free, if he’d put that money towards bills. Over the past few years we’ve been able to pay a lot of bills off and now he’s actually excited about paying off everything, including the mortgage. That’s because he realizes if we don’t owe anything we will be free to travel more when we retire.

So hang in there, stay happy and hopefully he’ll come around to your way of thinking.


AnnDenee October 15, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Thanks for sharing, Vickie. 🙂 And your support.


Reese October 15, 2014 at 10:57 am

I am partially frugal. Which I believe to be better than none! I do enjoy shopping, but I prefer used. And all the shops I go to will buy your gently worn, still-in-style clothes. I use the money from that to purchase other clothes I need. It solves the shopping bug a previous commenter mentioned, and no money exchanges hands.

Where I am concerned right now (and my partial frugality will turn to full…), is that I am going to start a new job. I’ll be paid through until my current job ends (the 24th). That will be half a paycheck. And then I won’t get paid again until November 30. The next time after that? December 30.


What this means for me is that I need to use the money I have on hand now, for November bills (gym, netflix, electric, internet=~$180), food, gas, and animal supplies. The check I get on November 30 needs to be put toward December. So I’m always paying for the next month. Not the previous. Turns out I have about $650 to get me through the next 6 weeks. This will be the ultimate test!


Robin October 15, 2014 at 10:58 am

Absolutely inspirational. Being frugal allows us freedom. Freedom from worry, freedom to do what we want and how we want. It’s also, in my opinion, a better way to live. Less wear and tear on the world. And what I really like it that is exercises my creative side. I really appreciate that.


Sadye October 15, 2014 at 3:44 pm

I really like how you phrased this — “freedom to do what we want and how we want.” I was feeling guilty about dining out rather frequently these past few weeks, but that’s why I pack my work lunch EVERY SINGLE DAY, don’t pay for things I won’t use like cable, don’t color my hair, etc. — I’d rather have that money for a few dinners out than fast food 20 times a month, etc.

I know these are very minor sacrifices, especially in the crowd that reads this blog, but I’m surprised at how many co-workers indulge in all of them with abandon.


Jeana October 15, 2014 at 11:05 am

I am a very frugal person and I see frugality as a fun way to challenge myself. Anyone can make their home look spectacular with an unlimited budget. I like to see how little I can spend to make my home look good. I bought a roll of fabric at a thrift store (10 yards for $10) and used it to make all of the drapes in my house. I made cafe curtains because I don’t need full drapes and I like to wake with the sun. My inexpensive drapes make me happy every time I look at them. There is no way I would get as much pleasure from expensive drapes. We are renovating a 180 year old farmhouse and all of my light fixtures came from yard sales, ReStore, etc. They’re super inexpensive and much more interesting than anything I could find in a big box store.


Katy October 15, 2014 at 11:30 am

Now I want to see pictures!


Tina October 15, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Love this post. I try to keep in mind the littler things do add up!


Ali October 15, 2014 at 1:45 pm

I’ve always been frugal. Since becoming a sahm 23 yrs ago I’ve been even more frugal. By being frugal I was able to send my kids to camp for a week every summer. We were able to take some nice vacations, usually historical. The kids were able to do activities.

Dh has very little wants and we are happy with what we have. Dh and I are set for retirement. The one thing that being frugal gives me is the most important: peace of mind and freedom. I have a house, I have a dependable car. The other most important peace of mind is that we have enough money to fix a vehicle if it needs it. That really makes me happy too!

I’ve seen my siblings living a life of high spending and no savings and I knew I didn’t want to be like them will bill collectors calling all the time.

Thanks for the blog Katy. I like knowing that there are other people out there who are just like me.


Katy October 15, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Everyone is being so nice and appreciative in the comments today!

I am a very lucky blogger.


Sandy October 15, 2014 at 2:46 pm

I think frugality is freedom. Total Freedom. I am (gently) teased by my friends for not having a smart phone, killing my cable, etc. However, I want for nothing. My house is paid off, my car is paid off, and I eat and dress very well. I think it’s a mindset. A peaceful night sleep with my head on the pillow knowing I owe nothing to anybody is a great feeling. I save in my 401k and I limit my purchases until I have cash for them. I don’t understand why anyone would want to max out their credit cards and be neck deep in debt. How does that make you happy? I don’t think being debt free makes me better than anyone else, but I don’t understand why people wouldn’t strive to be that way.


Sharon H. October 15, 2014 at 4:26 pm

I’m writing checks right and left for my high school senior’s sports and equipment. I don’t feel very frugal right now.

But I do love to use my creativity to find beauty and simplicity in ways other than just buying it.


samijo October 15, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Time is waaaaaaaaay more important in our family than greater income, so frugality is a must but since it is our choice it isnt oppressive. Last winter my hubby worked almost 80 hours a week and it was insane. We are now living much much cheaper in an effort to live financially beneath our means but moment wealthy


Linda October 15, 2014 at 7:28 pm

I never did well in school, as a result I didn’t pursue a college education. I’ve worked food service and retail sales for the past 40 years. When my “income” doubled because of an inheritance little changed, frugality is woven into the fiber of my being. I’m satisfied, indeed happy with my lifestyle. I do what I want to do and don’t do what I don’t want to do with no regard to what others think. I’m secure in my identity and my lifestyle.


Katy October 15, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Wonderful, thank you for sharing!


PoppyEcho October 15, 2014 at 9:59 pm

I do not feel secure in my identity and lifestyle, (not exactly because of frugality but just overall) unlike Linda above. I really liked the sentence in bold, Katy, as well as the whole post. It made me feel more secure about a decision I’ve been wavering on. I also flip flop in the frugal area. Some things are second nature and I wouldn’t go back even if I had more money. Others I would spend more on if I had more, because they are hard work I don’t really enjoy. (but I’d still try). And then others I don’t seem able to control. At the time they always feel like necessities. But looking at it objectively they are luxuries I need and want to cut out.


Kim from Philadelphia October 15, 2014 at 10:12 pm

I was raised by a mom who made the most with what she had. She learned this from her Mom who raised her family ( including caring for several extended family and needy neighbors) during the Depression.
My parents owned a small business and often there wasn’t enough money made that week for my Dad to justify bringing home a paycheck. Because she was careful with what we had we never felt deprived. Sure, I wasn’t spoiled however that had molded me into the person I am today.

Initially I was frugal out of need, now I’m still frugal out of habit. Hard work and good fortune gave put us in a secure financial position, however our lifestyle hasn’t changed much. We still drive older, practical cars, pack lunches, minimize unnecessary purchases. Our biggest treat is travel. I can give generously to those who need help. That’s as much of a blessing to me as it is to others.
I’m a very content, anti- status person, so spending money and buying expensive stuff holds no magic over me. I desire a simple, happy life and frugality fits right into my mindset.


Loretta October 16, 2014 at 1:06 am

Because of the fact that we’ve always lived waaaay below our means, my husband could afford to quit his job and have a couple of months off, before starting his own business this week. Who knows how much money will come in over the next few months until he gets it going, (and I am a SAHM with 2 teenagers) but our house and cars are paid off and we have a nice sum of money in a term deposit and enough money to pay all our bills. No holiday in the sun (like almost everyone we know) this year, maybe a couple of days at a beach at a campsite, but I feel like (almost) every day is a holiday for me anyway:-) I bake my own bread almost daily, cook from scratch, we never eat out as a family (ridiculously expensive in Australia), but I do like the occasional coffee and lunch with my friends (when the money is available) and mainly shop 2nd hand. We need less and less stuff as we are getting older, and every purchase is very carefully considered.

Plus, it’s thanks to Katy, and a few other frugal bloggers that I’ve been able to keep on this path and not feel like a freak amongst my friends and family!


Jan October 16, 2014 at 4:25 am

I’ve been working 2 jobs for 2 years (about 60 hrs/wk) to pay off debts, and living as frugally as possible. I think once my debt is paid off I’ll cut back some hours on the 2nd job, but I’ll still be thrifty and not spend a lot on myself. Where I have to watch is presents for others, and charity – both tempt me more than buying lots of stuff for myself!


Diane October 16, 2014 at 4:44 am

Life circumstances have put me in heavy debt and I sometimes do see frugality as a noose. I am into my 70s now and my lifetime goal is to pay off my debt. I will have one loan paid off by March of 2015 and the other by September of 2015. Then I will attack my credit card debt. I spend only on basic needs, rent and bills. None of my friends or family members are in the same fix and it’s hard explaining why I cannot travel, go out to eat, movies, plays etc.

However, I am eternally grateful that I inherited some of my mother’s creative talents and I can find happiness making things as well as living outdoors almost every day.


K D October 16, 2014 at 4:52 am

Being frugal is freedom, not a limitation.

I agree 100% and once I grasped that many years ago it became a motto to live by. We have lived below our means for many years and have not up-sized our lives as our finances have improved. The only thing we spend more money on is giving to others (family, friends, charitable causes).

I like that we do not live paycheck-to-paycheck so if my husband decides he doesn’t want to stay in his present job he can quit and then take his time finding something he’d rather be doing (and some day will be able to retire).


Katie October 16, 2014 at 6:29 am

I couldn’t agree more. When I quit my well-paying job to stay home with our daughter, I knew sacrifice would be involved. What I didn’t know was that the trade off would make me nearly forget the manicures, new clothes, etc. I gave up to be home with her. After an adjustment period, I actually started to realize I enjoyed the challenge of saving money wherever I can. Some of my favorite memories are Friday picnics with my daughter at a local state park which replaced my Friday lunches out when I worked in an office.

In the end, it really just boils down to priorities. We live in a modest home. I drive a paid-for car with no intention of upgrading anytime soon. We dine out very infrequently. I shop consignment/clearance for our kids’ clothing and we gratefully accept hand-me-downs. Gifts aren’t over-the-top. To some on the outside, those might seem like bummers.

However, those choices allow us to provide what’s most important for our family. Our mortgage is our only debt and we’ll be able to pay it off early. We have memberships for the zoo and children’s museum. We save for memorable family vacations. There’s money left over each month to put back for our kids’ education and our retirement. My daughter takes gymnastics lessons. We give to those who are less fortunate.


K D October 18, 2014 at 11:51 am

“I actually started to realize I enjoyed the challenge of saving money wherever I can”. What a great quote, I can totally relate.


Cyndi October 16, 2014 at 6:54 am

I agree with all who find freedom in frugality, or cheapness, as we like to say around here 😉

But what caught my eye in this post was the line about your husband possibly going on strike. I’m surprised to hear that EMTs are unionized and are able to strike.


Katy October 16, 2014 at 7:48 am

My husband is a paramedic and a Teamster. So yes, they can strike.


Helen October 16, 2014 at 7:15 am

I am partially frugal i.e. in most areas except food. I do like to spend money on organic food. I couldn’t help but notice that the milk you bought is skim. Just wanted to say that in the name of frugality whole milk is a better buy because you get more calories for your money. In this day and age since the fat scare has been proven wrong, it turns out that dairy fat is good for you. Whole milk is a better value just like full fat yoghurt and cheese etc.
Thanks for keeping up the great writing!


Katy October 16, 2014 at 7:48 am

Thanks for the nice words, and let me assure you that my family does not lack for calories. We do buy whole milk in half-gallon sizes for coffee, and my younger son likes to use that milk for his cereal.


Barbara H. October 16, 2014 at 9:58 am

Being frugal can be a lifestyle choice, even if it is not a necessity. To me, it is the right thing to do – to live as simply as possible, making the best possible use of all the resources you have. It’s a matter of attitude toward “stuff” – do we need “stuff” to feel happy or to not feel impoverished? If we truly embrace the principles behind being frugal, it never feels limiting.

I read your blog frequently, and here’s a quote from a previous post: “So let’s talk about money, let’s banish the shame of not being wealthy.” How about…”let’s banish the shame of being wealthy,” as well? What matters is not how much money we have to spend, but how we choose to live.


erin @ dfmi designs October 16, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Initially when I was younger, I was frugal out of necessity. Now that I’m a bit older, with a family, it’s more of a game, if that makes sense? I try to see how much I can save at the grocery by getting coupons or meat or other items on clearence. If we want to dine out, I try to find a coupon first. I sew/design/make/bake so many more items than I used to. And it doesn’t make me feel bad, it makes me feel empowered.


cathy October 16, 2014 at 9:11 pm

I’ll echo what erin@dfmi designs said. For me, living a frugal life, is a fun challenge to see how well, and how comfortably, we can live and not break the bank. Hand-me-downs and second-hand? Yes, please. Everything from clothes to furniture, pots & pans to houseplants, books, musical instruments, art, and cars. We’ll buy new when the situation warrants, but most often it doesn’t. Our frugal vacations are no less enjoyable just because the price tag is lower. And though our budget is as tight now as it was years ago (due to a loss of income), there continue to be ways to save precisely because we’ve always lived this way. It’s definitely empowerment, not deprivation.


cathy October 16, 2014 at 9:17 pm

I guess I should add that my previous comment is mostly about acquiring things frugally. But frugality extends to other aspects of life like turning daily activities into exercise (no gym needed), driving less, taking public transit more (husband gets a free pass from work), kids going to neighborhood public schools, batching errands. It’s also getting food, and then to cooking from scratch, growing a garden, sharing produce with friends, and of course, not eating out much. So many ways to live frugally.


Lisa October 17, 2014 at 2:51 am

Frugality is a way of life I enjoy and am proud of. I started tracking money in college, which was easy because there was not much to track, and have never stopped. The thrill of thrift shop and finding a bargain never wanes for me. Even my picky nine year old son is thrilled when he finds an unopened model airplane kit for a few dollars at Goodwill. Frugality allows our spending for charity to be higher than any other spending category in our budget and that just feels awesome!


JD October 17, 2014 at 7:45 am

I’ve always tended to be frugal, having been raised by very frugal parents, but now I am by necessity, not choice — unemployment, poor health, etc. At times I get very frustrated, but I still love, love the challenge of being creative. I love making things as gifts, and I have trained my now-grown kids to enjoy good used things as well as new. This post was just the right boost for me.


Nesha October 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm

I think we’ve always been pretty frugal, and it really has given us a lot of freedom. my husband was able to pursue work he loved. We were able to have 3 kids – which is a HUGE family for academics. We’ve paid for 3 sets of braces and 3 college educations… And now we’re on the other side of that.
The house is paid for. We don’t owe anything.nwe’re making home improvements as we have the cash to do it. It’s kind of weird – if we want it we can actually afford to buy it… There’s just not very much that we want.


Betty Winslow October 17, 2014 at 6:31 pm

I was raised by a mother who was frugal and a dad who was a spendthrift, then married a man who was raised by a single mom on a waitress’s salary. I had to learn to be frugal, but now it’s a game to see how much we can save on the things we buy – groceries, gifts for kids, clothes, etc. I do use a credit card, but I pay it off every month and used the racked up points for gift cards that I use for Xmas gifts. We put four kids through private school on a factory worker’s salary and did it by renting an old farm house rather than buying, driving our used cars into the ground, vacationing in FL where my family lives, so we could stay with them, shopping at thrift shops, garage sales, and on FB garage sale sites, and seldom buying new clothes. In fact, while looking at old family photos last year, I realized that the top I was wearing in one photo in which I was holding my baby son was a top I still owned. Mike is 36…. and my husband told me to toss the top. LOL


Elizabeth Vega October 18, 2014 at 9:17 am

Frugality– or perhaps more accurately “Thrift”– is definitely a lifelong practice for me. The world is constantly changing, as is my life and my perspective, so I don’t imagine that my process of trying to conserve both our personal and the planet’s resources will ever be complete.

Interestinly, living beneath our means has made me feel much “richer” than overspending ever did. There is so much peace of mind in having a financial buffer between us and abject poverty… no amount of “bling” could ever compensate for the loss of that security!

It’s also lovely that what’s good for us personally seems to be what’s best for society, as well: my attempts to be less wasteful in general feel like the very least I can to to slow the consumption of the earth’s resources and allow others to share in what belongs to all of us.


Kathleen October 18, 2014 at 2:03 pm

I was widowed before I was forty and being frugal enabled me to raise my three children on a teacher’s salary. All three were able to graduate college and now that they are all grown and homeowners, they appreciate some of Mom’s frugal ways. We laugh about how my son had to learn to sew two thrift store pairs of jeans together in order to wear the huge skate boarder pants he coveted. My daughter learned to ask the clerk for a discount if a piece of clothing had a flaw or minor stain she knew could be washed out. Now that I am retired, I enjoy hunting yard sale bargains for my grandchildren. I also enjoy being able to live comfortably on my pension and Social Security since being frugal allowed me to pay off all my debts and my mortgage before I retired. I have friends and family members who think it is important to have the most up to date materials in their homes and be dressed in the latest fashion. I enjoy my Formica counters and the perfectly worn in jeans I get at my local thrift store. I am content with what I have and this translates into a peace of mind that money can’t buy.


Katy October 19, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I kind of wish I could see your son’s skateboarding double-jeans!


Kathleen October 20, 2014 at 4:54 pm

The funny thing is that he got so good at making them other kids wanted them and he had his own little business for a while. Now, of course, he wouldn’t be caught in anything but skinny jeans. Times change!


Ree October 19, 2014 at 12:17 am

I found your blog not too long ago and have loved it ever since. I try to be frugal (and I do have the benefit of being young and not paying much in rent as I still live at home due to lack of available apartments, and growing up we didn’t have a lot of money so I actually enjoy saving money on food and clothing – plus I’m a vegetarian, so no expensive meats!) but my biggest problem stems from a lack of a proper plan (I do want to buy an apartment, but I don’t have a set X amount goal so I “just save”) and from the fact that if I do need some big-ticket items (like new glasses, which I could not find second hand, or a new computer, which I refuse to get second hand) I know that I have the money for it and I will buy it.

I also love to travel and “indulge” as often as I’m able to, although I am very good about not spending a boatload of money while I’m away, even if I shop. I go when it’s cheap, I use couchsurfing as much as possible and either skip out on expensive places or go when it’s free/cheaper. Now that I have a job (but it’s only until the summer, after which I’m going back to University and won’t have any money at all) the “plan” to get a place of my own has shifted somewhat to saving enough money that I won’t have to get a loan to survive while I’m studying. (I live in Sweden, so we don’t pay for University, but the student aid we get is not enough to cover even the basic necessities.) I am planning on working part-time again, but I won’t earn as much as I am currently, so won’t be able to save much.

My goal every month is to always save a certain amount of money, but due to the previously mentioned habit of buying what I do need (and apparently needing both new glasses, a new computer and fix my phone all at the same time) some of the savings disappear again. And I do like to be social, so often overspend on my allowed “outing” budget, but always justify it by having the money for it and wanting to spend more time with people I otherwise might not meet. I am trying to get better at it though, meeting at home etc, to save money on food.

But I just had a brilliant idea, so once I’ve submitted this comment, I’m going to log into my bank and create separate e-savings account – one for “apartment money” and another for “university money”. Maybe that will help me!


Randi October 22, 2014 at 8:41 am

Its kinda ironic that you wont buy anything new( except your few things) and yet you have tons of advertising on your blog for Pottery Barn, West Elm, etc. all with discount codes.


Katy October 22, 2014 at 8:48 am

I have ads from the BlogHer network and have minimal input as to what the ads are. These ads support my blogging expenses and I accept zero sponsored posts and unlike almost all other blogs do not do Amazon affiliate links. Please feel free to ignore any ads that do not fit in with how you spend your money. It’s what I do.

Also, the websites that you visit put cookies on your computer so those ads then start showing up on sites you visit. The ads you’re seeing are often because you clicked on those particular websites.


Susan Marsh October 22, 2014 at 9:26 am

I really appreciate the work that you put into your blog! It is obvious given all of the positive comments on this post alone, that you are helping to inspire all of us. I hope one person’s criticism doesn’t get in the way of the helpful work you do for your readers!


Eva October 24, 2014 at 7:12 am

I grew up in a modest income home. My grandparents on both sides were also not wealthy. One set where immigrants fleeing persecution in Syria and came here literally with nothing but the clothes they had on. So frugality has always been a way of life for me. When I was a kid I used to be resentful of not having the newest fashion or latest thing (although I did learn to sew and sewed all my own clothes in high school). I now know that my parents and grandparents gave me the greatest gift possible … self confidence through the ability to see that one can always survive by working hard, thrift and resourcefulness.

In part it was a religious thing with the older generation … waste, we were told, was sinful, especially food waste. To this day I do not take more food on my plate than I can finish and never leave a morsel. ( I once had a friend who told me this was low class, that you always leave some food on your plate. ) If I get too much food at a restaurant I always take the rest home and make another meal of it, which I suppose is also considered low class in some circles.

As it happened I ended up fairly well off later but I still continue my frugal (non wasteful) ways. To me it more of a personal ethos perhaps ingrained in me. (Food waste bothers me a great deal when I see it.)

I also know that if I ever had to start over again with nothing but the clothes I have on as my grandparents did, I would manage somehow. It would be unpleasant but it is not scary. You cannot buy this kind of peace of mind and self confidence at any price.

In my mind Katy is doing us all a service as not everyone had the benefit of having frugal parents and grandparents as role models. She is giving her two sons a priceless gift and they will cherish one day (if they don’t already).

Thanks Katy!


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