Frugal. The word itself conjures images of people living on ramen noodles and living in a one-room studio apartment. But that isn’t necessarily so. With rising gasoline prices leading to increases in the cost of necessities such as food and clothing, it probably isn’t a bad idea for each of us to watch our expenses a bit.
I am frugal out of necessity. I’m a 42-year-old man living in a one-income household. My wife is disabled and isn’t able to work, so I’m the one who brings home the bacon, and lately that bacon isn’t going as far as it used to. We have two kids and you know it takes money to raise them. We currently have no health insurance and the cost of prescription drugs and doctors is seriously eating away at my take-home pay. A lot of people would probably throw up their hand and say “Screw it. I’ll just live on welfare.” I have two problems with that scenario. One, I believe welfare is for people a lot worse off than my family. Two, I make too much money to qualify for any state assistance whatsoever. We are on our own.
A lot of people are in this situation, so I don’t feel sorry for us. There are times that I don’t know how I’m going to pay basic expenses like rent, or groceries, or prescription medications. But we always do. How? By being savvy about frugality, and stretching our take-home dollars to the limit.
Being frugal isn’t the same as being “cheap”. Those who are cheap are that way because they choose to be. Those who are frugal are usually that way out of necessity.
I have read the Bible of all books on frugal living: The Tightwad Gazette. While it contains many good ideas about saving money around the house and living on one income, it also has suggestions which I think go a little off the deep end. The one that keeps coming to my mind is making a volleyball net out of old plastic six-pack soda can rings. I would prefer to buy an actual volleyball net at a garage sale or flea market for two dollars. There’s frugality, and then there’s savvy frugality.
Forced frugality has led my family to be creative about money…how we make it, how we spend it, and how we save it. These are the ideas that I will be sharing in Savvy Frugality. If you know of a better way of saving money than I chronicle here in this blog, please leave a comment and share your ideas as well. Let’s help one another live a life of Savvy Frugality!
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