Being thrifty to save money and being cost effective
Frugal living, what is it ? money saving, being careful, thinking economically or just being a 'tight scavenging git' !!
I think I would sum up my frugalityas 'Using free or less expensive options to obtain the same result'
For me it's a cross of the first and the last, although there is a hypocrisy in it.
I will endeavour to cut where I can and will proudly boast about cycling not driving most places, the daily 'find' from the skip or side of the road; yet I will spend £17 per month on Broadband Internet rather than £11 on 56k, I will occasionally have the Cream Cake down Town rather than waiting to get home and have a sandwich with egg / salad from my garden and watch the odd football match.
So, you have to decide where your 'comfort zone' is amongst all this. Are you being frugal because you have to be or is it that you enjoy getting back to a more self reliant lifestyle.
From my retail experience, I've found that having money doesn't make you any less different about saving a bob or two if you can. It was usually those who had money who were the one's who went for the discount and only used a credit card. Strange, in general the Retailer will see the cash buyer as the one with no money !! Fact is they've saved for it in there own way and I'm sure the enjoyment at point-of-sale exceeds most.
So "I'm careful with my money" and "I'm frugal" are not far apart.
The kick I get out of it isn't so much the actual financial saving, it's knowing I have, to a certain extent, got the gift and 'the front' to do it, albeit it, I couldn't afford not to be.
Getting confused ? I am !
Often frugal living means spending more in initial outlay. For instance, it's cheaper to buy a 5 litre can of Washing Up Liquid and use a used half-litre bottle of Coke with a hole in the top than it is to regulary buy Fairy Liquid down at Tesco's. Plus, if buying tools, furniture etc, the more you buy in one go, the more likely you are at getting a good deal plus you won't have any more outlay for some while. Investment I suppose.
Slightly off subject, but I knew a person who brought Washing-up Liquid from a 'Pound Shop' and poured it into a Fairy Liquid bottle so the people coming round wouldn't think she was tight !!
There is of course, 'false economy'. Simply by buying cheap on some thing's, we
are not getting the quality you would otherwise. Thus having to purchase the same thing again in a lesser period of time.
This could apply to most thing's, especially the more specialist items such as gardening equipment, clothes etc. So, being thrifty is also being frugal. Something the fairer sex are usually better at than us blokes !!
Downshifting, in the sense of earning less, will force a frugal lifestyle upon you. You are getting a better 'spiritual' way of life but you are going to miss some of the thing's you took for granted and in most cases the electricity, gas bills and Council Tax are going to be the same. How far you take it is your own decision but determined by situation.
So, I'm no expert or qualified Instructor on the subject, but I would put a few pointers such as the picture below shows. Firstly, you are saving money in the sense of money you're not spending if that makes sense.
The next stage is to look at ways to cut costs on the essential overheads and the final stage is to go a step lot further which is not only saving, but making money from your frugality as well.
We just have to sit and think of what we spend, look at all the 'freebies' around us and decide where we are going from there. I'd just say hang on to one thing. If you give up everything - you've no chance !
My other pages on the subject are a personal way of frugality. Simply finding bits of wood in a bin isn't being frugal as such, it's simply saving money. The frugal bit comes to the fore when you are using those bits of wood.
The people living up the way from me between the shops and here are quite used now to see me cycling past their house finely balanced with bits of wood or plastic boxes I've found . Maybe it's two shelves and a vegetable basket I've got.
I won't know til I've got home.