Does Frugality Stick With You After You Move Past Lean Times?

by Katy on January 30, 2018 · 47 comments

The following is a reprint of a Non-Consumer Advocate blog post written in 2011, when Americans were beginning to pull themselves out of a recession mindset.

I awoke yesterday to the headline Frugal frenzy may be all spent: Recession-born shopping lessons are likely to be quickly forgotten by Laura Gunderson in my Oregonian newspaper. Of course I had to read the entire story. The gist of the article was that although consumers say that the recession has made lifelong changes in their spending, current studies say otherwise.

One paragraph from the article really stuck in my mind, which was:

“Consumers who lost jobs or had pay cut likely will stick with the money-saving tactics longer, Perner said. Those who simply felt the recession emotionally, are more likely to default on budget-cutting plans and be back at Starbucks sooner.”

Actually losing your job affects you more than watching others lose theirs.

I for one, felt and feel (Oregon unemployment is still over 10%) the recession more than I was actually affected by it. I’ve been in the same well paying job as an RN for almost 16 years. I have never at any point felt that my job was in jeopardy. Although my husband was laid off from his dream job in January of 2009, (they technically had him quit in order to later rehire him, which meant that he didn’t qualify for unemployment) he was able to find work again within a few months. (Don’t ask, it was complicated.)

I would like to think that the frugal living lessons brought about over the past few years are tools to be utilized through our entire lives. The difference between wants and needs; and the ability to use our creativity and community to weather financial difficulties.

Yes, American Express is reporting record spending, but I use mine for Costco purchases such as cat food, coffee, olive oil and my son’s prescription glasses. I am not using it for restaurant meals, Hawaiian vacations or designer handbags. I like that it has to be paid fully every month, and yes, I like that I get a yearly annual Costco voucher in the amount of at least a hundred bucks. (We already have our eye on a chest freezer that would allow us to stock up on great food deals and cook in bulk.)

I concede that many employ frugal tactics solely due to situations out of their control, and are happy to shed their latte-free lifestyles, but many others recognize the empowerment that comes with knowing how to control your finances. To lose the anxiety of living paycheck to paycheck. To learn how to not have life’s pleasures be tied to a fat wallet.

Researchers may disagree with my conclusions, but I truly feel that frugality once learned is a powerful tool. It may get set aside here and there, but it’s still available in a pinch.

Are you moving away from frugality in your life? Are you anxious to start up your formerly spend-happy life? 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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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda Gertig January 30, 2018 at 12:35 pm

One thing frugality bought for my family was me being able to stay home with my kids after the end of my enlistment in the Air Force. I am here to tell you that life in the military is sometimes very tough and it is even tougher when both parents are active duty.


WilliamB January 30, 2018 at 12:55 pm

Speaking for myself – the lessons endure. I was in no risk of losing my job (because of the Great Recession or any other reason). Nonetheless, I continue many of the frugal habits I used before, and the ones I dropped, I dropped deliberately and consciously. (I’m looking at you, hated on-line coupon clipping.)


yvette from down under January 30, 2018 at 1:04 pm

I think frugality can become ingrained to the point where it’s a life-game. I really get a buzz out of challenging myself to find the bargain and save as much as possible. I make many sacrifices to my own life only buying what I absolutely need, yet where my children and grandchildren are concerned , have given them money if I see they have a need . (I used to give for their ‘wants’ also but am wiser now, as I know this teaches them nothing) . I have managed to build an emergency fund so I have less anxiety about the ‘what ifs’, I have learnt to make gift giving more about experiences than giving stuff, but occasionally I do go out for a meal if it’s a special occasion. I can’t see myself changing to a big-spender anytime soon. I am into recycling, upcycling, down sizing and right sizing. I use it up, wear it out, make it do or go without. I have learnt that ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ and ‘waste not,want not’. I love reading posts and articles on living a frugal life to help the planet. As well as not doing my bit to ‘grow the economy’ , I am into trading, bartering, loaning and lending. Even in a recent heatwave I learnt a new frugal skill of how to make doggy ice blocks by freezing ice cubes of chicken stock and left over veges, which was woofed down by my canine companion. Last night I loaded my car with timber off cuts from a construction site ( with permission) to stockpile for winter firewood, these random opportunities set me up for gains by just keeping my eyes open and using some grunt and time to collect free stuff that was headed for landfill. There are many ways to help the planet and save a dollar, I pick up windfall fruit to process so that it’s not left to encourage pests but also to feed others through jam, stewed fruit etc .Organic wastes are composted for the garden. So it seems uppermost in my mind to continue the frugal life and learn new frugal ways as I age. !!!!


Denise February 1, 2018 at 12:11 am


Great post. I’m still at “baby steps” stage with so much of frugality, and your post has made me realise how little effort I’ve been putting in to keeping my eye out for non-housebound or non-financial opportunities, like you asking if you could take the wood offcuts away.

I lived in Australia for a year, shared a flat with two construction workers. Haven’t heard “grunt” in a long while – made me smile, so thank you for that too!


Jenelle February 1, 2018 at 7:42 am

Oh my goodness, you reminded me of the Saturday mornings that my father would make us go to the local construction/lumber site to pick up the timber cut offs and pile them in the back of our car (huge old Lincoln Town Car) to take home for wood. We couldn’t afford coal for our furnace, so we burned wood instead.


Tracy January 30, 2018 at 1:16 pm

I am not a naturally frugal person although perversely I have always been attracted to frugality (read all of Amy Dacyzn’s books back in the day, and Your Money or Your Life). Was also always attracted to my grandmother’s thrifty ways (she grew up poor and married and started a family during the depression). But I was a bit of a spend thrift my first 45 years. Then I got divorced and realized I needed to make up for lost time saving for retirement. Since then (about 10-12 years) I’ve saved up a good retirement nest egg and become much more frugal, but not as frugal as many on here. Now I’m 3-4 years out from retiring and really want to kick it up a notch both to up savings and down lifestyle creep. I know that the things that matter most to me aren’t material. What I most want to spend money on in retirement is experiences. So, I need to keep whittling away at the expense side and I really appreciate the support of the NCA community.


Madeline Kasian January 30, 2018 at 2:12 pm

Both my husband and I grew up in frugal families. When we were married young and had a baby and also Ken was in school at night and we were having to take student loans and squeak by, we were actually pretty happy, living in a frugal apartment.I used the laundrymat.We shared one old car.I did not ever “shop” as a hobby!!!!!!

We chose jobs that had a good outlook:Ken is a chiropractor/acupuncturist and I am a nurse (I am retired, he still sees pt.s 2 days a week in a home office.)

When we got good jobs we got a little spendy, we enjoyed some vacations and bought some furniture.. but never ever as much as our peers. We were approved for a mortgage that was THREE TIMES what WE were comfortable purchasing, in 1988.

We ALWAYS saved for retirement (more so, after we paid down student loans.)

Over time we kept to our thrifty ways and got ever more frugal once again as the years passed and we wanted to pay off our mortgage and be debt free for retirement.

We were able to retire at age 59. We are debt free.We do not shop as a hobby.I replace,repair, and Ken fixes EVERYTHING around the house and yard. We drive older cars,although my 15 yr. old car finally needed replacement last year.

I have mostly found that getting the most bang for my buck is fun, and not that hard.It does mean NOT following the herd mentality.I search out free concerts rather than pay $60+ ticket.We will go out to lunch with coupons,but rarely dinner at a fancy restaurant. I often MAKE a home made dinner with wine and music and laughter, here at my house, as a birthday gift for a friend..instead of pricey nights out on the town.

As time passed,we learned that what makes us MOST happy is not things at all.. it’s TIME OFF, freedom,time together, time by ourselves pursuing personal hobbies, time kayaking on the lake, sunsets, picnics, and meditating daily.I love watercolor and play in my craft room for hours on end.Ken practices guitar (bought second hand from our son) for an hour each day.

I cook a lot because I ENJOY IT and it is a MOST frugal hobby! We play free Pandora music (Frankie and Dean on Italian food night) and generally just savor Life Itself.

We did not lose $$ or jobs in 2008 but our savings rate has taken a hit since then, as we are not much for risky investments . But we’re ok.. more than ok.. we have a bit less in retirement than we had planned but due to our frugal ways and ability to enjoy the simple things of life,we’re great.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND learning to save early, to become debt free, and to cultivate happiness in activities and relationships vs. “stuff.” IT DOES PAY OFF!!


June January 30, 2018 at 5:40 pm

You sound you two have crafted a lovely life together that fits your desires and skills perfectly!


Linda January 30, 2018 at 3:54 pm

Due to a wonderfully generous inheritance I haven’t got a financial care in the world. But I’ve lived frugally for SO long that I’m finding it hard to loosen the purse strings. I literally have to tell myself it’s OK go ahead and buy such and such. I know my dilemma is one many people would be happy to have but it is taking some time to adjust my barebones living mentality. I will never be a spend-thrift my frugal bones won’t let me.


Debbie from Delaware January 30, 2018 at 10:55 pm

I have recently found myself in similar circumstances. Have almost always been frugal, and, for many years it was out of necessity. No big plans to change my thrifty ways! Also, trying hard to make sure that our college-aged daughter doesn’t miss out on having to “struggle” a bit to make her way in the world. I know that having to work hard and sacrifice have made me appreciate the life we have more than if it had just been handed over to me. As her mom, I need to know that she has the resourcefulness to make do on her own.


nancy from mass January 31, 2018 at 8:21 am

same here. It took me about 2 months to finally buy a yarn winder (helpful when purchasing yarn hanks) even though i’ve wanted one for years and they are less than $25. Now that i have it, i can’t believe i didn’t buy it sooner! i really need some new Levis (with real denim not that spandex crap that i hate wearing) but instead of buying them new, i’ll still hit up GW, SVdP and Savers to find exactly what i want, even though i could stop at the Levi outlet and buy them. i still search for deals on eggs, milk, etc and still hit up the bread thrift store. i have given up some frugal ways (turned the thermostat up to 65 instead of 62) but will have a hard time giving up others.


Angela from ID January 31, 2018 at 10:09 am

I’m frugal by nature and also by circumstances. We were hit very hard by the recession. As an avid knitter I’ve always hand wound yarn (a nightmare) and when I was given an Amazon gift card a few years ago bought a swift and winder. Money ever so well spent!!!


FrannyandDanny January 30, 2018 at 4:35 pm

I couldn’t live any other way now. I have no consumer debt and never ever want to go back to the ‘dark days’.


karen January 30, 2018 at 5:06 pm

I was raised in a very frugal home. Both my parents were frugal. My Mom never worked outside the home and my Dad sent all 4 of his children through college.
This was his top priority along with good food and medical care.

Since this is all I ever knew this was the way I lived. When I graduated college and got a well paying job I continued to live frugal and met a frugal man and we married. I have often thought that I could never date or marry a person who spent money willy nilly.

Lately I have been thinking about my whole life and how I have never been anything but frugal and never will be anything but frugal. I wonder if I have missed opportunities, I am sure I have but mostly I have been content with who I am.

I do want to say we give to charities. And we did put our children through undergraduate school. Graduate school was on them.


susanna d January 31, 2018 at 3:43 pm

Karen, I’m the same way as what you describe in your last paragraph. We’ve always given to charities, and we always will – it’s a priority. And while we paid for our son’s undergrad degree, we were clear that if he chose to go for another degree it was his responsibility to find a way to pay for it. He worked for 5 years, saved up his money, and did law school on his own dime. We’re happy with our decision, and proud of him – and he’s grateful for our gift of his undergrad education. But several of our family members thought we were beyond cheap for doing this. Since they weren’t offering to pay his law school tuition, I don’t see why they thought it was their concern anyway.


MommaL January 30, 2018 at 5:21 pm

My mom stayed frugal even after we grew up and my dad had a good income. I’m grateful for that now, because she saved up a large savings account and is able to live in a very nice residential facility, and has an emergency savings account for when she truly declines.


Kathy Hairston January 30, 2018 at 5:43 pm

My frugal path started when I made a dramatic career change 18 years ago from the for profit healthcare sales and marketing to non profit program manager. I’ve since ratchet it up over the past 8 years being unemployed or underemployed (PT). My last part time job ended in June and unemployment benefits in November. It’s an ongoing adventure


Jenny Young January 30, 2018 at 6:01 pm

I’m new to your blog but not to frugality.

I grew up in poverty in the Appalachian mountains & started my adult life with some very strict budgeting habits. I’ve never had a desire to spend more than I earn or to borrow/charge money I had not yet earned for anything beyond a house & a car. So I probably am not typical.

I think I was born a tightwad & will die a tightwad! But I will admit, now that we’re in the empty nest & have been living a debt-free lifestyle for almost 20 years (we paid our mortgage off when I was in my early 30’s & became totally debt free a few yrs later) I am a little freer with my spending than I was even 5 yrs ago. I never spend beyond what is budgeted & I actually never even come close to spending what I actually budget in any certain area except groceries. Being able to buy whatever I want at the grocery store is a luxury that I do indulge in after working so hard to be debt-free.


Denise February 1, 2018 at 12:22 am

Hello Jenny and welcome to NCA.

I am very humbled by your post – I have never faced the struggles that you grew up with and, even though I don’t know you, I had a “hurrah” moment when I read about your ability to luxuriate in the pleasure of good groceries!

What have been your core frugal tactics over your lifetime?

Welcome again.


Reply January 30, 2018 at 6:32 pm

My recent FFT

1) restored the finish on an old wooden dresser by rubbing with a mixture of veg oil and vinegar (2 oil: 1 vinegar). Looks almost new. Reminded me of my mom applying linseed oil to her teak dining table several times a year.

2) did the same to an antique rocker that was given to me a few mos ago. Looks fantastic!

3) price matched sale items from another grocery store, at my regular grocery store so I wouldn’t have to trek all over town chasing down sales.

4) made a crock pot full of black beans and froze in amounts equal to a can. Will use the cooking liquid as a starter for black bean soup.

5) re-caulked around my kitchen counter

6) sold a few items via facebook marketplace. Think I priced them too low because they sold within a few minutes of posting. I will get better at this….


Marilyn January 30, 2018 at 7:59 pm

I think this question (whether people return to free-spending ways after a recession) is fascinating. From what I have observed (strictly my observation, not a scientific study), many people did NOT suddenly become big spenders after going through a recession. Yes, they spend a little more, but they got used to bargain shopping, driving older vehicles, valuing experiences more than things and they have not really changed their behavior. People are more proud of being frugal now, even bragging about it. And that’s a good thing.


Elizabeth January 31, 2018 at 4:20 am

I think for me I will never be a big spender again. It all started with listening to a Dave Ramsey episode that talked about being totally debt free, which led to us paying off all debts including our mortgage in just 3 years. There is a balance that has come into my life by remaining frugal when I could be spending way more than I do. When I start to spend more money, I actually start to feel out of control. By keeping my spending in check, I am being more mindful and less wasteful. There is a natural high that I get when I find a great deal at a yard sale/thrift store that can not be replicated by paying full price for something. This is also something I am trying to teach to my kids. My 13 yr old daughter is especially mindful of debt and wasteful spending and pledges that she will try to pay cash for everything in her life. My six year old….well he still wants every new toy he sees on YouTube….so we are a work in progress:)


Cindy in the South I February 1, 2018 at 10:06 am

Hey Elizabeth: I am originally from Moulton…..


Sandra January 31, 2018 at 4:30 am

I agree with most of the other commenters that it is easy to continue a frugal lifestyle when you live it long enough. We worked to put my husband through college and that set us on the path to carefully considering how we spend our resources. I believe that we have thoroughly enjoyed our accomplishments while still saving and living a conservative life. It is indeed true that watching the pennies adds up and the small frugalities that we routinely practice are now a part of who we are and we make no apologies.


Carla January 31, 2018 at 4:47 am

I think that whether people stick to frugal habits if whether they see it as frugal or ‘cheap’ (as in being a cheapskate, bad bad bad). If people come to see the benefits of aligning their priorities with their budget, they are happy to be frugal. But if people see it as punishment, deprivation and not fair!, then will be happy they do not have to be cheap anymore and go back to spending more. I would also say that it would have to do with how deep was their personal impact.

I guess I say this because I grew with a terrible financial management example in my parents and I decided I did not want to suffer the same. But I still went spendy sometimes. Then when we were a younger family we struggle to adjust to 1 salary, and we tightened that belt and now that thigns are easier, we have loosened up a little but we keep our principles of aligning our priorities to our spending.


K D January 31, 2018 at 5:57 am

We stuck to frugal habits during the last economic downturn (despite being fortunate in not suffering) and have continued to stick to them as our financial situation has improved over the years. The other day we were talking about watching TV shows and our daughter commented that we can afford to pay for CBS All Access (to watch the new Star Trek). My husband replied that that’s because we haven’t done such things. Touche.


janine January 31, 2018 at 6:18 am

I suspect that many people are spending a bit more because they put off expenditures such as the replacement of an old car, repair of a leaking dishwasher etc. during the recession. Also , according to the web site My Budget 360, costs that are not always reflected in government inflation measurements are going up faster than stagnant wages. Soaring credit card debt may be the result as families struggle to maintain their standard of living. Personally, my husband and I did not suffer any job or wage loss during the recession, but have maintained our frugal goals. It is sometimes a struggle, but peace of mind is a precious commodity.


Deb January 31, 2018 at 6:28 am

Here we are seven years after the original post and the U.S. Personal savings rate is the lowest it has been since 2007. I guess that tells us something about whether frugality sticks or not!


Mary Beth Danielson January 31, 2018 at 12:12 pm

I am the daughter, sister, and wife of entrepreneurs. (And I have been known to invent income on my own, from time to time…) Credit debt accompanied most of this, because uneven paychecks mean you wing it. These days we have no debt, for which I am so grateful … But, I learned early to never buy what you can wing because you want the lowest amount to pay back later. I wrote about this here: It’s about the year my brother was drafted and shipped to Vietnam, and I learned frugal skills I still use.


susanna d January 31, 2018 at 12:40 pm

While circumstances change and levels of frugality change, I think we’ll always live a relatively frugal lifestyle.

Years ago I read something by a frugality writer on the topic of what happens when your finances change and you no longer need to be as frugal. The writer gave an example that one possibility for her would be to spend some additional money buying more expensive locally produced products to support the local economy. That hit home with me, and it’s pretty much what we did.

College tuition ended 15 years ago, when our son graduated. Neither my husband nor I suffered a job loss due to economic downturns, and we both retired at age 55. We were fortunate enough to have defined benefit pension plans, and we’d saved money to put toward retirement for most of our working years. So yes, we could loosen the purse strings a bit. And as I said, we chose to do it by supporting local businesses whenever possible. I buy things like eggs and some meats from local farmers. Maple syrup from neighbors (we seem to be among the few up here who don’t tap our trees). Honey from a local bee keeper. When we added hardwood floors in our home – and when we rebuilt the falling-down deck – the wood came from a local wood products store, not a big box store. These things are important to us, and I know we’re lucky to be able to do them.

Although some things may have changed, we still live a pretty frugal life. I think we always will. Frugality helped us achieve some of our goals, and I’m sure it will continue to help in the future. Frugality isn’t one-size-fits-all, and frugality can be fluid and change with our circumstances. But it’ll always be there for us.


A. Marie January 31, 2018 at 1:24 pm

DH and I have had our ups and downs over the years. (I’m a genetic tightwad; he’s made some impulse purchases over the years, but once he retired, he came around.)

We continue to live frugally and with an eye to buying locally and being kind to the environment. We are free of debt and have modest nest eggs tucked away (not all in one basket). However, as DH sinks deeper into cognitive impairment, I at least realize fully that a lot of the eggs are probably going to go into his care. (I am getting, or will be getting in the near future, all the appropriate financial advice. But in the public interest, please keep in mind that this could happen to anybody, and plan accordingly.)


Bee January 31, 2018 at 2:22 pm

My heart goes out to you. Having had a loved one that suffers from age-related cognitive impairment , I realized how costly this care can be both financially and emotionally. Thank you for reminding others that it is never too early to get your ducks in a row. Planning ahead will ease the burden on those you love most. Hang in there A. Marie. Your love story is an inspiration.


Marcia January 31, 2018 at 9:01 pm

I have the same problem and for the last few years have been spending more time at home and less being out and about in the world. Very happy that we traveled a lot after retiring early, as getting older makes travel more arduous, plus the onset of early dementia symptoms means more nervous driving behavior, which certainly makes me want to stay at home more.


Bee January 31, 2018 at 1:39 pm

I read the Tightwad Gazette many years ago when my children were young. Like many young families, we struggled from time to time. However, I started keeping a price book, using the library, buying secondhand and cooking from scratch. These activities are so deeply ingrained in my behavior that I still do things today.
During the Great Recession, many people became frugal out of necessity, and many of my friends suddenly embraced a more frugal mindset. However, now that Florida is booming again, and some are once again enjoying $15 martinis after work. Thank goodness for NCA. It is wonderful to have support for a frugal and more environmentally conscious life.


Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life January 31, 2018 at 1:41 pm

I really REALLY want a Hawaiian vacation but it’ll have to be paid for with points and miles!

My frugality took a lot of work to develop as an effective tool over the years but it started when I was a teenager and served me in good stead when the recession hit us hard. We’ve expanded our spending a bit, on food mostly, we get the healthier (unfortunately more expensive, usually) options and cut out fast food entirely. Like Susanna, we’re looking to actively support local and independent businesses as well since we have decent means while we’re working hard at saving for our retirements and for JB’s education. It’s good to know that we can practice frugality to help us support others and still live perfectly well within our means.


Kim January 31, 2018 at 3:35 pm

Personally, I am not changing my frugal ways at all. I cannot afford to. Here in Washington State, I am being tax’d to death. The cost of everything is going up especially housing. We are being tax’d for everything and soon that will literally include the air we breathe. That might be slightly ok if I got something in exchange for all those taxes but our parks, roads, schools are in very bad shape. I do not ever see retirement as an option unless I move to where the cost of living is lower.
I see many, many new vacant buildings every day where stores used to be. I know this is because most people shop on line now but it sure makes for a sad looking city- all I see are vacant buildings and beggars on every street corner so I am not sure that anything has improved where I live-we also have a huge drug issue and tent city issues.
Hopefully things are far better elsewhere and I am just living in a particularly bad area.


Ruby January 31, 2018 at 4:12 pm

The Mister and I did not lose our jobs during the Great Recession, but we both stopped receiving raises and ultimately took pay cuts. We have always been frugal and ratcheted it up to black belt level to get through those years. A lot of those renewed habits have remained with us, and I generally think that is true of many people.


Lee January 31, 2018 at 8:07 pm

One thing I enjoyed about the recession was that it was cool to be frugal. Now, not so much. I’ve always been thrifty, as has my husband, probably because we were both raised by thrifty parents. I hope it passes down to our kids as well! I was able to retire at 50, but I’m thinking about going back to work because I’m lonely. We’ve recently moved to a part of the US where it’s incredibly difficult to connect with people. 🙁


Marcia January 31, 2018 at 9:26 pm

My parents grew up during the first great depression, in the 30’s, and were always frugal. My husband and I grew up with a frugal mindset and have never lost it. I stayed at home until our younger daughter was 10, which means my husband worked a second job whenever we needed more money than one job gave him. When I started working full time, things got easier, although we did eventually have to buy a second car. We always managed to take a vacation with the kids, but we camped until they were grown. Now we allow our aging selves the luxury of motels. Not much has changed since the kids grew up–we paid off our mortgage 9 years early so we could put more into our retirement savings. If I had it to do over again, I would have worked on that mortgage earlier. We have never been big spenders but we’ve managed to have the things we wanted most. We loved road trips and I have been in every state except Hawaii. (My husband was there but only for a few hours on a stopover to southeast Asia when he was in the service.) We lived in England for 3 years, thanks to the Air Force. So we have seen our country and parts of the rest of the world. These days, we’re 75 years old, and perfectly happy to stay home most of the time and play with our toys. We each have a computer and we have 2 TV’s and 2 cars to drive (and one to show). We have friends that we see from time to time and enjoy eating out when it’s not freezing cold. There is not anything we can say we wanted to do and didn’t. We could buy anything we wanted to have but we have so much already we barely can think of things to buy each other for gift giving occasions. We’re still frugal by habit.


Denise February 1, 2018 at 12:34 am

Hello from England, Marcia!

I hope that our weather (and obsession with talking about it all the time – sadly, a completely warranted stereotype of English people!) didn’t put you off us. Where did you live when you were here?


Laur February 1, 2018 at 1:26 am

I love your hair in that pic Katy!


Mariana February 1, 2018 at 5:44 am

Frugality is like riding a bike, once you learn it, it is hard to un-learn it.
Of course one may go through some adjustment times, splurge here and there a bit more on some things that matter but the mentality stays.
I know that after I learnt to shop at cvs with coupons, % off emails and extra bucks, paying a fraction of the price (going as high as 95% off on my purchases) , I would never pay a full price for most of the items found on cvs shelves.


MeganL February 1, 2018 at 8:03 am

Thank you for posting this. I am a longtime reader of your blog and have referred many people to check it out. I have gotten asked about how practical what you do is and is it a ‘fad’? My responce is, ‘I don’t feel like it’s a fad. When has saving money and not being a slave to you debt ever been trendy?’ Where I live (Maine) we can’t always do everything you do, but you are just proving that doing the little things add up to the big things. Frugality is here and you’re putting a lot of different ideas into action. Thank you and keep up the good work!


ouvickie February 1, 2018 at 9:07 am

I’ve would never abandon frugality just because my spending ability went up. It’s a lifetime thing for me. My parents were frugal, hard-working people, who both survived the Depression as children. It’s a life-learned experience for me.
My Mom could dress like the best, by putting together thrifted clothes and accessories. I’ve been able to do the same. I don’t need or want a purse, shoes or work out clothes just because they are a popular, expensive name brand. I’m not into social branding.
Sure, there are a few things I may prefer to buy new, but I don’t view luxury items as necessities. For me, it’s about functionality. I ask myself questions before a purchase.
How long will it last? Is it a functional item I need or something I just want that I can do without?
If it’s a major purchase, I do my homework before I ever buy it – especially appliances. I expect them to last at least 15 years or more. Same with cars – used with low mileage is a better option than new – less on insurance and still functions well as a good transportation item. And I admit to liking specific models of appliances and cars, because some last longer and the parts are less expensive.
I would still pick-up change, because well, money is money and I like seeing it go into my piggy bank!


Stephanie February 1, 2018 at 5:51 pm

I wasn’t that frugal. I saved, took a smaller mortgage than we were offered, paid extra on my mortgage, but my hubbie loves gadgets and bought them new. We spent a lot on both visiting and gifts for family every year that would clean out our short term savings. But we were youngish and not worried, because we were doing pretty well. Then I was diagnosed with a rare cancer that cost a million dollars in a year to treat. My insurance covered quite a bit, but not all of it. Also, I couldn’t work because I was so sick. And I couldn’t look for bargains etc… When I got better, I went back to work but needed not one but two new work wardrobes in a year due to continued loss of weight. I didn’t have enough energy to bargain shop and work full-time. So, even though the recession didn’t hurt us, one illness that was unexpected killed us. I am happy to be alive and that we had the resources to pay for everything that wasn’t covered, but I now wish had been more frugal in my twenties and early thirties.


Diane C February 1, 2018 at 10:34 pm

Okay, I’ll play and tell a current story. I do hospitality for a large ladies’ group that meets 6x/year. Today’s theme was Valentine’s, naturally. Yesterday afternoon, I realized I had “nothing” to wear. My pink mock turtleneck is worn out, as is my red turtleneck. Literally, worn through around the neck and cuffs. I tried my favorite neighborhood thrift store, but found nothing there, boo-hoo. Given the available time, I decided to swing through our small, locally owned department store. They’re known for having a good selection of holiday-themed items. I don’t normally buy that kind of stuff, but yesterday, I really had a hankering. I was hoping to find a scarf with hearts on it that I could wear with basic black and white and at other times during the year.
They had nothing. I looked and looked. There were some red sweaters on clearance, but nothing fit. I spied a Brighton heart necklace, but it was $88.00! Then I saw Brighton small heart earrings, on sale for $26.99. Nope and nope. I headed for the other exit, and there was a table of marked-down, solid color scarves. Right on top was one in the perfect shade of pink, priced at $14.99. I bought it and dashed for home.
From my my closet, I pulled an old white turtleneck (no holes yet, lol), a “brand-new” Anne Klein black wool blazer with satin trim (my sister had thrifted it and given it to me for Christmas), and a pair of ten-year-old pinstriped black trousers.
This morning, I pulled on my old duds, finished it off with my new pink scarf and felt like a million bucks. I got loads of compliments, and I know I’ll wear this combination again.
Here’s the gotcha: we’re millionaires. I’ve been FIRE for five years. Sure, I could have bought the $88.00 necklace in a heartbeat. I could also have done without the scarf. But my inner frugal self is a lot more comfortable with creating a whole new outfit around a $15 scarf.
This leopard hasn’t lost her spots.


Vickey February 2, 2018 at 7:48 am

Came to frugality out of economic necessity, stayed for the environmental impact, and expect to continue our thrifty, lower-resourced ways for as long as we live. We, too, spend on local and high quality foodstuffs – i.e., organic. But otherwise it’s pinch that penny, mend that sweater, patch those jeans. Etc.

So grateful for the like-minded folks here.


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