Frugal: To Be or Not to Be

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To be frugal is basically to be cheap with the ultimate goal of financial success (my homemade on the spot definition).  I am frugal.  I remember the first person who called me frugal in high school.  I rushed home and opened a dictionary for the first time in months.  When I read the definition I took the statement as a compliment.  The opposite of a frugal person be a free spender.  (By the way, why do these two opposites so often attract?  In my case, I went for one of my own kind and married a delightfully frugal woman.)

Why be frugal?

Here is an illustration.  If you wanted to fill the tub at your home you have two options.  First, you could either put the plug in, and no matter now fast or slow the water is running it would eventually get full.  Second, you could leave the plug out and hope that your highest water setting would allow you to remain in a full tub even with the water on.

When you want to achieve your financial goals you typically only have two alternatives stop the spending (plug the hole) or increase the income (turn up the tap). For most of us the easiest first step, that we can implement today, is to slow down the spending and allow some financial margin to fill our lives.

We all have something we could cut today that would put us in a better financial situation.  I plan to make lots of suggestions along the way.  Check the Frugal or Money Saving Ideas tabs for more information.

Here are a couple of things I thought about, was tempted to do, or did this week just to save a couple of dollars:


  1. I used my wife’s pink razor and shaving cream on vacation. I figure its all marketing.  Is there really a reason why one razor will shave legs better and another the male face?  So to take my stand I am officially breaking the shackles.  Why should I pay $4.97 for a new razor when my wife has a perfectly good razor here.  So far she is alright with me using her pink razor to deal with my sparse stubble.What do you think?  Does every household need two razors?
  2. I went to the Biodome in Montreal.  Admission was $16 for adults.  Groups of 15 or more were $11.50 per adult.  I thought about asking random people if they wanted to be a group and save $4.50 per adult.  I didn’t do it for two reasons (a) I was in Quebec and figured most people I encountered would be French speakers (b) Couldn’t decide if it was ethical.  Ever done anything like that?  Is it ethical?
  3. At the Biodome I didn’t want to pay $12 to park my car for a couple hours.  I drove around until I found free neighborhood parking.  It was only a couple of blocks away.  A nice brisk walk and an extra $12 in my pocket – you can’t beat that.  Yes, I did drop off my pregnant wife and two children first!

What about you?  What have you done just to save a dollar or two?  Anyone else out there enjoy saving money by making adjustments to your spending?

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  1. says

    Spending less than you earn is the end result of frugality, and the end result of spending less than you earn is wealth, nothing more…nothing less.

    I appreciate and pursue the former solution since the latter requires we rely on something that may never happen (a raise).

    Also, even if someone were to get a raise, they would normally follow it up with increased spending…negating their raise altogether (no added wealth, just more “stuff”).

    Keep working to reduce your living expenses & increase giving and wealth will follow…Lord willing!

    Matt Jabs’s last blog post..Manually Report Utility Meter Readings To Avoid Being Overcharged

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