The Sweat Equity of a Frugal Lifestyle

by Katy on July 30, 2013 · 52 comments

People think that living a frugal lifestyle is a lot of work, and frankly it is. It means doing stuff yourself that others hire out. Cooking, cleaning, hair coloring and probably some other tasks that I don’t even realize can be hired out. (Shoe organization?)

It would be sooo much easier to buy goods and services that I end up having to make/toil for myself, but those decisions come at a price. Choosing the convenience route simply costs more. Eating in restaurants and hiring out household jobs is fantastic, and makes sense for some families, but not for mine.

Take this morning as an example. My 17-year-old son has a weekly hour-and-a-half long 7 A.M. lifeguard meeting at the swimming pool. The drive takes twenty minutes, so it’s not worth going home during the actual meeting. Sometimes I sit in the car and read, other times I’ll go for a walk and then occasionally, I’ll sit in a coffee shop and sip coffee.

Today was a coffee shop day.

I slowly nursed my small non-fat latté, people watching and reading my library copy of Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior. I was also facing the pastry case. With three house guests, I knew it would be nice to bring home some yummy breakfast treats, but then I did the math and changed my mind. ($2 apiece X 7 people = too rich for my blood.) I even considered stopping at Safeway for less expensive options, but then I remembered that I possessed a bag of frozen blueberries scavenged from one of my mother’s guest cottages.

So I mixed up a double batch of oatmeal blueberry muffins, which not only sweetened my household’s air quality, but also allowed everyone to gorge on delicious treats.

Was it more work to make muffins from scratch instead of buying them from the bakery? Of course it was. But to buy two dozen fresh muffins would have cost $24, and to make them at home set me back maybe a dollar or so. (I grease the muffin tin instead if using paper cups) Yes, I have to clean the pans and spend maybe 15 minutes on prep time, but that can be done as part of my daily life.

Almost every day I put in the extra work that a truly frugal lifestyle requires. I cook from scratch, hang my laundry, fix up curbside finds, cut my husband’s hair, maintain my house and prepare my own hot caffeinated beverages. Would I enjoy hiring out these tasks? Yes, but also no. None of it is a ton of work, and the alternative income burden makes it worth every measure of sweat equity.

Sweat equity that invests in my frugal lifestyle.

Do you feel the extra work of frugality is worth your while? 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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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Starr July 30, 2013 at 10:40 am

Our vacuum has broken three times. And three times, we’ve repaired it. We’ve fixed the washer a few times as well as the dryer. Our kitchen needs an overhaul, so we’re doing it ourselves (simple and low cost: paint on nearly everything). Car maintenance? Yeah, that’s us for most things.

I could go on and on. It feels good to do it ourselves!


Jane in Seattle July 30, 2013 at 10:48 am

Sweat equity….we built our own 1/2 of the house. My husband used to fix everything and everyone in the family’s everything until he is old and burned out.m I now depend on my son to help me fix what my husband or I can’t. e doesn’t cut my hair anymore, but we do the yard work and fix the toilet etc little things in the house. I still run 2 small businesses, work 2 days a week, help my daughter with the baby, belong to a women’s service organization and write a blog. Not too bad for being sick and old!


Susan July 30, 2013 at 10:50 am

It really scares me when I see posts like that…I mean in terms of the cost of convenience in the States!!! Everything seems to have gotten crazy expensive in the States…I would be extremely frugal if I had to pay those prices, Katy!!!
I’m super tight financially anyway and I do a lot of the things you do because if I have any money spare, I want to do something fun with the family. We did our redecorating ourselves, Kevin crochets blankets, throws and cushion covers for our house. I cook from scratch nearly every night…we get a take out once in a rare blue moon (birthdays, special occasions, etc.)…Kevin bakes delicious nutty flapjacks for snacks…we pack lunches every day when at work and at school. I’m in the process of making a dress for myself…I finished a smock top earlier this week. Yes, doing well on this side of the pond!


Madeline July 30, 2013 at 10:54 am

When we both worked full time I hired out a lot of stuff, but I actually PREFER to do my own cooking and some maintenance chores (alas, I don’t relish the housework anymore.. ..) But now that I am retired and he is ALMOST retired, we are having to revert to our earlier married days as FRUGALISTAS to preserve our cash. I NEVER go to Starbucks, I cook,clean, color my own hair,and am learning how to cut HIS hair.There is a certain satisfaction in self sufficiency.

I would never object to ANYONE offering to mop my floors and clean the toilets, however!!

Personal freedom and increased sanity are turning out to be worth more than the extra money we could have made by continuing to work hard jobs with long hours.. so a few unpleasant weekly chores are no real sacrifice.

Your oatmeal blueberry muffins were MUCH BETTER that store bought no doubt!!!!


Sadye July 30, 2013 at 11:06 am

Most of my frugal sweat equity comes from cooking and packing my own lunch (which, man, I cannot overemphasize how rare that seems to be in workplaces … and I eat PBJ, an apple and carrots most days). I totally agree that the benefits far outweigh the cost. There’s a feeling of satisfaction in taking care of myself, plus of course it’s healthier and cheaper. And ditto what Madeline said — homemade baked goods, even if it had just been a box mix, drive people crazy in a good way 🙂


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary July 30, 2013 at 11:57 am

You know, I love PB& J. I think I’m going to start bringing that for lunch at work, and stop worrying about trying to make “interesting” meals. I would be delighted with PB&J, carrots and a fruit. I feel rediculous for not thinking of that sooner.


Daisy July 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm

The nice thing with such a regular simple lunch is that if you have room in a drawer at work you can just keep a jar of each and a loaf of bread, a couple apples and a container of prepared carrot sticks. Bring once a week, eat all week.


Mr. Everyday Dollar July 30, 2013 at 1:03 pm

That’s too funny! I eat organic peanut butter topped with honey on sprouted grain bread every day for lunch. That’s been going on for years and I’m still not sick of it. I also bring a big ol’ tub of greek yogurt that I eat throughout the week along with a jar full of almonds.


Karen July 30, 2013 at 11:18 am

My personal motto has become “Prudent frugality, tempered with common sense.”

For health reasons, I do not line-dry the laundry; live in a drought area plus it is ragweed season right now. If I did line-dry, the savings would be offset by increased medical bills to treat the allergen effects.

I do bake for gifts and cook meals from scratch most days. I do clean house, although I wear goggles and gloves when I do so.


Rachel July 30, 2013 at 11:28 am

I have started to learn the benefit of sweat equity over the last year or two. Before I often ate out or purchased convenient foods. What really switched it around for me was when I started paying attention to what was in my convenient foods.

I found that even items I had thought were healthy had things in them that I no longer wished to eat. One thought that really sticks with me when considering eating at a restaurant is a friend who told me that in culinary school the chef told the class, “You’re not cooking at home here folks, salt and butter are your friend, the more the better.”

That really made me think how true it is. The restaurant’s goal is oooey-gooey, hook them on the taste, yumminess. My goal at home is to have a great tasting meal without clogging any arteries. If I wouldn’t put a full stick of butter on my food at home, why should I go to a restaurant and pay for them to do it for me, albeit behind the scenes thereby allowing me to pretend I don’t know it happened.

I have also found that I get a certain amount of pride from being a bit more self efficient. “Why yes, I did make that perfectly awesome hand soap!” and “Yes, I did whip up this meal from scratch.” So the sweat equity was really the cost of learning, and it has been so worth it. I love how I feel every time I learn how to do something new.


Rubymay1029 July 30, 2013 at 11:40 am

Absolutely the extra work is worth it! I don’t live frugally for the savings so much as I do it for the planet. I read Barbara Kingsolver’s book, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” several yaers ago and it started me on this journey. I am not much of a consumer anymore, and when I do consume, it is a thought out, conscious decision. Like you, I have fun with the lifestyle and enjoy the small “wins” each day, like fresh, homemade muffins instead of store bought garbage. Yay!


patti July 30, 2013 at 11:51 am

Well, after spending the day cleaning, I am apt to say I would LOVE to pay someone to do it for me… but I remember when I worked and paid an outrageous price to get 2 hours of no so good cleaning every week. At least when I am doing it, it is getting done deep so there is clear satisfaction in that.


Elaine in Ark July 31, 2013 at 7:21 am

Yes, those of us who have high standards most often do “it” ourselves. Especially if we paid someone else to do it.

I want it the way I want it!


Mamie July 30, 2013 at 11:58 am

YES! We cook from scratch (including making our own bread), can/preserve produce when we have access to large quantities, try to fix or repair items, do all our own yard maintenance, own one car that is 10 years old and another that is almost 20, etc. We mostly live on my income (I am a full-time elementary teacher) which relieves my husband from the burden of having to pull a full-time salary (he has some medical issues). By being frugal REGULARLY we can can have great experiences often and occasional indulgences once in a while. And, I can spend money one my classroom, mostly guilt-free. It’s worth it!


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary July 30, 2013 at 12:00 pm

I made blueberry muffins this weekend, and banana-chocolate chip muffins yesterday. I do always have second thoughts about turning on the oven in this heat…


stephanie July 30, 2013 at 1:07 pm

We do what we can when we can- I am quite ill, my husband works full time and our oldest is a preschooler. We have been doing less scratch cooking since I can’t use the stove (oxygen and gas are a bad mix), an electric burner is slower and I get tired. My husband does everything I can’t do so hanging laundry is out due to lack of time and we no longer go to more than one grocery store, again due to lack of time. He will try to run errands/hit sales during my appointments but we end up throwing money at problems much of the time. We are looking at this as a temporary state of affairs, the kids will get older, hopefully I will get better and we can get back to our more time consuming frugal ways


Katy July 30, 2013 at 6:37 pm


I am so sorry to hear about your health problems. Of course, doing everything yourself is not a priority at this time in your life.

Take care.



Trish July 30, 2013 at 1:52 pm

I love doing ‘the extra work of frugality’ to save money, and the environment. Unfortunately we aren’t very handy – we are getting ready to hire someone to put siding and new windows on the house, along with bathroom remodels. I wish we could do these things ourselves, but honestly, our neighbors are huge do it yourselfers, and I feel like things they do often don’t turn out looking as good as if a professional did them. We have chosen to put cork floors in our upstairs because we figure it is something that we CAN do ourselves.

But I do love hanging the laundry to dry, and gardening and preserving. We both adore pickles and I have an incredible pickle recipe. I’ve made 120 quart jars of pickles from my garden cukes this year. Altho I did have to spend money on the canning supplies I figure these pickles if purchased would be about $5/jar, so that’s a big savings (ok, maybe I am overestimating a $600 dollar savings on pickles, sheesh). anyway, it is so satisfying to grow and preserve my own food!

I have given these pickles to friends as gifts, and people are always asking for more. When I think about how much work goes into making them – from gardening to preserving – it’s a little frustrating to give them away. So this year I finally wised up and gave out the recipe. If you give a person a jar of pickles, you make them happy for a while, but if you give them the recipe…well you can stop feeling guilty for not sharing more pickles with them.


Kim July 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Ooooh, I would love your recipe if you wouldn’t mind sharing!


Laurel July 31, 2013 at 6:15 am

I would love your recipe, too! My pickling cukes are coming in fast and furious and I would like to try a new, proven recipe this year. Thanks!


Trish July 31, 2013 at 1:31 pm

The recipe consists of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water (as in 1 gallon vinegar, one gallon water), and salt. The salt part is a bit tricky for me- I used the calculations on the recipe as it was given to me, and didn’t bother to check, so I have been overdoing the salt a bit. For every 3 cups of vinegar, add 6tbsp of salt.(the part I didnt check was that the recipe said 6tbsp of salt is 2/3 cup- it isn’t, it is 3/8 of a cup). I believe this works out to 2 cups salt per gallon of vinegar – I was using 3.2 cups per gallon of vinegar.

To each quart jar add 1 or 2 cloves garlic, dried peppers, 1 tbsp dill seed, and 1/4 tsp alum. (for the dried peppers I use japones and arbols, about 3 of each, for a nice amount of heat). add cucumbers on top of this.

Bring vinegar/water/salt to a boil and add to each jar, following general canning procedures (as far as head space and wiping rim of jar before putting cap on).

This recipe does not call for processing the jars after the cukes and liquid are added. I have never had a problem with doing this altho I don’t think the food police would approve. If the liquid is hot, the jars are warm and the lids are warm, I typically get a seal on the jars. I have been doing this for about 10 years and have never had a problem. The first year I did process the jars for 10 min in a boiling water bath, and the pickles were mushy.


Trish July 31, 2013 at 1:33 pm

this is basically a recipe for Polish dills, with dried hot peppers thrown in. The peppers give the pickles a slightly smoky heat.


Tracy July 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Mostly we stay away from Starbucks. The coffee doesn’t taste that good anyway…in our opinion. We do go there when traveling and can’t make our own at home.

Would you like to post your oatmeal blueberry muffins recipe for the rest of us?


Mauren July 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm

My husband and I have been married for 31 years and “doing it ourselves” have taken it’s toll on us. We get a long much better if we hire out for some things. But we have to save in order to do that. We’ve learned from the past that to borrow to have someone do the work isn’t the way to go, so now we will save and make do until then.


Karen July 31, 2013 at 3:24 am

We have been married 38 years. We had the house built that we now own 23 years ago, and this year we have hired out three large jobs. These are replacement-type things. Had been saving for them for quite some time, but the cost was still substantial.

It is not non-frugal to hire out jobs that are too much for the two of you.


Court August 7, 2013 at 8:39 pm

We do the majority of any house repairs ourselves as well, but we do NOT attempt things that are dangerous, like electrical-anything work (had a friend who installed their own dryer, and the cord caught fire on the first use! He had the wiring backwards!) We do save by steering our business to local contractors and personal friends.


SarahN July 30, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Oh I’m guilty as charged! Just yesterday (for the second time in 18 month) I paid a cleaner to do my bathroom (for my open house inspection/new tenants) and clean my oven. Definitely a convenience, but with a new job this week, and moving last weekend and next weekend (stuff into mine from the bf’s and then out to our new place), I just couldn’t work out the time to clean it, in addition to all the other time demands.

I will almost always bake though, over buying stuff out – you never know what’s in it, and it’s likely bad for you (more so than real ingredients), and with cooking, you can tinker to your preferences 😀


Betty Winslow July 30, 2013 at 5:30 pm

I was blessed with a husband who can fix/make/do about anything and is very frugal. We managed to raise four kids and put them all through private school on mainly my husband’s factory worker income, plus occasional income-producing jobs on my part (we made the decision for me to stay home when the kids were little and only work a few hours a week during the school year while they were in school). Over the years, I’ve learned a lot of frugal skills: bake, cook from scratch, sew, crochet, make jewelry (which I now sell in several venues plus online), can/freeze, shop sales, go to garage sales and thrift shops, and make do a lot.

We lived in less of a house than we could afford and drove used cars, seldom went out to eat or to the movies, only vacationed where we could stay with family or friends, and repaired washers, dryers, cars, furnaces, plumbing, electrical wiring, and other items. I’ve never had a perm or dyed my hair, although we did use hair salons for haircuts (I can’t cut a straight line when it comes to hair). I don’t wear make-up (saving time and money) and we don’t buy new clothes very often (and mostly from Walmart et all when we do). All of these measures allowed us to raise our kids the way we wanted to (they’re all grown now) and it’s been so worth it.


Sandy July 30, 2013 at 5:31 pm

I like doing things myself when I can. I feel good in not paying for services.


Marie July 30, 2013 at 6:38 pm

I have been paying for weekly housekeeping since April of this year and I have to say that it is wonderful and I don’t feel guilty about it at all. I have three sons and a husband (who is in a wheelchair) and I am tired of being crabby about cleaning. Living with someone in a wheelchair (esp. with someone like my hubby who is a very active disabled person) is like having someone riding a bicycle through your house all day, every day – imagine the dirt! He works (he’s a professor) and I work 30 hours a week as well, so we can well afford the $30 a week it costs. Of course, our house payment (taxes and insurance included) is only $260/month. Gotta love the low cost of living around here!


Diane July 31, 2013 at 4:24 am

A very wise idea! Ultra frugality has to be measured against family needs and happiness.


Michelle H. July 31, 2013 at 10:17 am

Good for you! To me frugality is saving money where it doesn’t matter to pay for things that do, and in your case it sounds like the housekeeping matters a great deal. : )


Kristin @ Meals Outside The Box July 30, 2013 at 7:08 pm

I’m okay with spending extra time to save money. Over the past two and a half weeks, I’ve feed a family of three adults and two children out of our pantry with a few fresh items thrown in. I’ve spent $25 on groceries in that time (for fresh veggies). Does it take more time than making frozen pizza? yup. Are there nights I wish we just got take out? yup. But I really love having that extra money in my bank account and knowing that we aren’t wasting food and materials.


megyn July 30, 2013 at 7:36 pm

I tend more towards the DIY. We (and by we, I mainly mean my hubby and FIL) did all of the renovations on our house except replacing our roof–which included flooring, tub surrounds, doors, baseboards, and completely new kitchen. It saved us thousands upon thousands, and we hope it will pay off when we sell our house next year (assuming the market has recovered enough). There are times when I’ve HAD to give up frugality for the sake of sanity, and that is with food. For us, it’s easier to get some simpler prepared or frozen foods since it takes a lot of stress off of me. In our family of 4, we have 3 different diets. Trying to meal plan for that is overwhelming. And when I put too much pressure on myself to make everything, I end up not buying food for myself and end up eating crackers or PBJ all week. So now I just buy some simpler things that I can eat and are a lot healthier than carboloading. I hope to one day get to a point where we can eat a simple family meal (and we do rarely for things like spaghetti or Mexican…but you can only repeat that so often) without making a million different things.


cathy July 30, 2013 at 8:34 pm

megyn, it sounds like we have similar situations with food. Four of us and 4 different diets due to allergies and other intolerances. I would LOVE IT if I could make just one thing for dinner that everyone could eat! The best compromise is to make a base (like GF pasta or pizza crust or tortillas) and then finish it based on what each person is able to eat. What this means is that we cook at home every day (though some “normal” ingredients end of being specialty for us, so a bit more $). I’m trying to get the kids more involved in cooking so I don’t feel like I’m spending hours doing it every. single. day.
We’re frugal with a log of other things, and I love it: home improvements/repairs and decorating, gardening/putting up food, packing lunches, cooking/baking/making coffee (hot and iced) at home, repairing worn clothing (and buying it mainly from the thrift store to begin with), housecleaning. Occasionally there’s something we don’t have the expertise to do, but generally we can do it. Very satisfying!


JD July 31, 2013 at 4:59 am

We do many things ourselves — our own yard and garden work, housework, most household and tool repairs, cook from scratch at home 95% of the time, and hang dry the laundry. I trim my own hair, stretching the need for professional haircuts to 4 months or so, and sometimes trim up my husband’s hair, but I’m not too good at the clippers, for some reason. Since I work full-time, time is a factor, and sometimes I wish I could just sit down and read and relax a bit more. Still, knowing I didn’t blow money on something I could do myself is rewarding, and with the husband unemployed, it has become necessary as well.


Amanda July 31, 2013 at 6:20 am

I think about this balance between saving money and convenience often because I tend to do everything myself until I am not enjoying life. I’ve learned that I like cooking from scratch, book keeping for our business, planning our trips, DIYing our financial advising, and keeping our two year old out of trouble. I can even tolerate cleaning, cutting the grass and painting the house. But I will get a job before I put myself through the agony of home improvement (other than painting) or any kind of repair.


Barb July 31, 2013 at 6:20 am

Most of the time I do it myself. I am nto a handy person so there are some home repairs that get farmed out. I should probably say I’m a non handy person with a bad knee and know climbing or bending low abilities so the “you could learn” doesn’t work well for me. I lived in Europe and had a housekeeper for seven years. There are occasions when I would kill for that again-at least every other week.


Barb July 31, 2013 at 6:21 am

Most of the time I do it myself. I am not a handy person so there are some home repairs that get farmed out. I should probably say I’m a non handy person with a bad knee and know climbing or bending low abilities so the “you could learn” doesn’t work well for me. I lived in Europe and had a housekeeper for seven years. There are occasions when I would kill for that again-at least every other week.


Carole July 31, 2013 at 7:02 am

Your muffins probably tasted better than anything you could buy. Bakery items often look really yummy, but are usually a disappointment.


Jenny July 31, 2013 at 8:47 am

Totally agree. And they are usually full of junk, too.


Taylor-Made Ranch July 31, 2013 at 7:24 am

Sweat equity is definitely worth it to me – for both the savings it offers as well as the pride in providing for myself and my family. It can be overwhelming at first if you try to tackle too much too soon but as more & more of these things become part of a regular day for me, it’s a simple rhythm to my days. Very enjoyable, very fulfilling!

~Taylor-Made Ranch~
Wolfe City, Texas


PoppyEcho July 31, 2013 at 7:38 am

I’m trying to become like this, I really really want to, but it’s a slow process. I’ve always hated cooking, and am allergic/physically over-sensitive to everything (paint, sawdust, etc.)as well as having no talent (strong desire but a seemingly dyslexic-like ability) for handiman type tasks. Cooking is made more complicated by my food intolerances (minor, but numerous) and my job as a dogwalker, which really requires me to have eaten well before and tempts me to buy more fuel along the way. And if I get too low blood sugary, it seems to trigger asthma. Also, no car, and tiny kitchen mean a physical effort to get stuff, and hard to stock up during sales. So, there are many temptations for me to do the more expensive thing, but I’m fighting the good fight.

A great discovery is dried beans. I never thought I could digest beans, but maybe they weren’t cooked enough, or I didn’t eat as much fiber before or something. Thanks to you, Katy, I’ve added them to my diet and man are they filling! Fabulous.


L August 2, 2013 at 9:40 am

I share a few of your concerns, including construction issues. I will add that Low VOC paint is a wonderful thing because of the lack of fumes, and that I would highly recommend it, whether you pay someone else do paint or not. It is the only home repair DIY that I might try.

Food issues motivate me to cook rather than the other way around. Taking time to find recipes ahead of time might reduce your aggravation, along with learning any possible substitutions. At least separate the disappointment/frustration of recipes that don’t work from the work of cooking. It is important to eat well enough to function, that I agree with. Could you learn to bake something to bring along on your job?


Madeline July 31, 2013 at 7:51 am

Poppy– you might also try LENTILS.. they are my go to meal in addition to beans I cook in the crock pot.Lentil soup,stew,lentils over rice, lentils by themselves with a hunk of corn bread or other whole grain bread. Yumm.. so economical too.. And almost no one is allergic to lentils..

Agree with everyone who does hire out SOME maintenance work..we can’t really do it ALL ourselves! There are limits! But learning new things is always fun.. and we can all learn to cook ,pack a lunch,walk more and drive less, and hang out the laundry!


K D July 31, 2013 at 9:24 am

I think the extra work of frugality is worth it in regards to food. It not only saves a ton of money but is generally so much healthier. I need to figure out how to impart on my teenager the huge cost difference between pantry cooking and eating out. On the occasional meal out I am often disappointed with my meal and considering the price premium and health compromise (not only do most restaurants not worry about the amount of fat and sodium in your food but they also disregard the sugar content (why would you put honey or powdered sugar on sweet potato fries?)).


Kootenayannie July 31, 2013 at 10:09 am

I too do some things to help with expenses. I wash and cut the dogs hair at home. The savings after the first 2 cuts that paid for my clippers and shampoo. $58.00 every 6 weeks! Worth it to me for an hour or two’s work. Plus as she needs it I often give her a little trim up here and there.
I to make treats, and pick free fruit ( mostly berries) that are around out place and the raspberries, and gooseberries, and red and black currents that are all plants that were given me by neighbours! I am waiting for my first blackberries from a new plant that was given to us, and I am working on getting it to spread on a trellis to keep it a little contained. All this makes for great jams, muffins and other easy deserts and many can’t even be bought at our local stores or garden markets.
Mending, laundry, and re making some items also extends our cash. I often make slacks I find at the thrift shop into long shorts, or pedal pushers ( can’t remember what they are called now a days). This means I can use pants that fit , but are too short for me to use other ways. I know a lot of people do this with jeans, but I like lighter weight pants in the summer. Plus I am no longer a jeans only wearer! LOl
Also I cook a lot from scraps, and love to have a soup for dinner. to me soup is a frugal, frugal food, that uses up what needs using, but gives a lot of good feelings and puts the whole house in a good mood. The smells from the cooking are great! Add some buns or fresh bread and you have a meal. Or soup and a salad, the list goes on.


Claudia August 1, 2013 at 4:16 am

I wouldn’t trade my weekly DIY mani-pedi on my own couch, drinking my own delicious tea just the way I like it, in front of guilty-pleasure TV shows for anything! I find it so much more relaxing to be in my own home, not to have to talk to anyone, not to have to worry about transportation, and, best of all, not to have to worry about tipping!

I also cover my own grays with henna. It’s a pain in the neck–I’m not gonna lie–but where else can I get all-natural, chemical-free, gorgeous hair color for $10 a pop?

Brewing my own coffee for pennies per cup and pouring it into my beloved, insulated, stainless steel travel mug not only makes financial sense and prevents waste, but since I drink decaf, I know mine isn’t the chemically-processed stuff, and that the half and half I add to it is organic.

I make my own salads for lunch most days and don’t skimp on the fun toppings, unlike the deli guys, thank you very much.

I guess what I’m saying is that I really enjoy the pampering, self-treating aspects of DIY frugality.


Ann Yawornitsky August 1, 2013 at 7:31 am

I am so with you on this….it amazes me the money that people spend on stuff you can do for yourself. I have been cutting my husband’s hair since before our first date 38 years ago, and he jokes that is why he married me ! If I could cut my own hair, I would….I color it, and use half the bottle each time because my hair is short. I cook from scratch, pack our lunches ( this amazes people at work, I don’t get it), clean our house, cut the grass, have a trac cell phone, and in general…clip coupons, pinch pennies, shop sales. I do spend….but I call it SPAVING ( spending and saving) because I won’t buy something without a discount or a coupon. Do my own mani/pedi and make my own coffee….and NOT with a Keurig. I cannot believe the price of those cups. I have a little one cup drip brewer that fits over my mug or travel mug, makes a great cup of coffee…..but in the summer when I am home from school my husband will bring home the leftover coffee from his workplace and I heat it up and drink it the next day….it is fine. Some people make fun of us, think we are nuts….but we are close to retirement and ready for it….because we don’t waste money. Thanks for your great blog….love reading it.


Penny August 1, 2013 at 9:17 am

I grew up in a household where my father did all the repairs, so I never realized there was an option! My husband and I find ways to do it ourselves, or trade services with friends. As we’re getting older and have more physical problems we’re having to rely on other people more and more but we still do for ourselves anything that we can. Right now my daughter her husband and their 2 small children live with us, they help out in many ways but I also help them with child care, and do most of the cooking for everyone. I’m finding myself using more prepackaged goods, after working all day, then coming home to keep a 7 month old and 3 year old so their mom can go to work and his dad can do housework/yardwork, I don’t want to cook everything from scratch. But I see this as temporary, as the baby gets older I know I’ll go back to my from-scratch ways. Even so, I still cook from scratch more than most people I know!


LazyretirementgirlJackie August 1, 2013 at 11:42 am

Thanks, Katy. This post was just what I needed. Sometimes I get discouraged with all the extra work I do to save money, and was feeling that way the day you posted this. It gave me that happy you-are-not-alone feeling, and energized me to carry on.


Tna August 4, 2013 at 4:48 pm

I’ve used cheap natural cleaners like baking soda, vinegar, and soap for years and finally got tired of how my tub/shower looked. I went back to my old stand by ScrubbinBubbles and love how clean and shiny it now is with all the guy grunge GONE. I will probably never be frugal and earth friendly in this regard again. : )


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