Those of us who call ourselves frugal have different ways of trying to reach our goal of not spending money foolishly. We have different ideas of what that means and different reasons for choosing to save vs spend money.
The definition of frugal according to Merriam Webster Dictionary is: “careful about spending money or using things when you do not need to : using money or supplies in a very careful way”. For me, being frugal means I don’t spend money foolishly. I plan my large expenditures carefully and save money in advance to pay for them in cash. If I do use credit, I always pay my bills in full each month. I hate to spend money on interest and late fees; it makes me feel squeamish to say the least.
You know that feeling when you buy something that you have coveted for a really long time? There can be immense satisfaction in owning something shiny and new. In 2010 I purchased a Mini Cooper Clubman with 10,000 miles on it and I was in love. It was a deep brown color and it caught my eye the minute I saw it.
I nicknamed that car “Hot Chocolate” and it looked amazing with my little blue kayak perched on its roof. I loved that car from the moment I laid eyes on it until this week when I gently patted its hood and said good-bye. “Hot Chocolate hit 112,000 miles last month, was burning oil, sounded rough and was started to look her age!
I love to cook. I usually have a main ingredient in mind and then start perusing the fridge and the cabinets to see what else is on hand that I can toss in the pot. I think about what protein I want, what fresh vegetables I have and the spices that will bring it all alive.
Preparing dinner is my down time at the end of the work day. I usually drink a glass of wine or an ice cold IPA while cooking and sing along to my favorite tunes. I start a meal while still thinking about what else to add to it and the final product is often nothing like what I had in mind when I started. I will stop what I am doing to run out to the garden to pick some fresh basil, parsley and tomatoes or at the last minute prepare some type of sauce or salsa to top it all off.
You see, I am not a perfectionist when I cook in the kitchen. I am more of a creator or a sculptor.
Laughing out Loud!!! Ok, Ok. That is a stretch. No one has ever accused me of being an Artist in any way, shape or form.
Where do you stand in regards to technology? Do you love owning the latest and greatest? Do you rush out to buy the newest fads as soon as they are released? Do you use the newest, hippest apps to pay bills, get a ride, order a pizza, and track your steps? Or are you still using a flip phone, cashing your paycheck at the bank and using an instant camera?
I enjoy taking advantage of shiny new toys that make life easier but I don’t need the latest and greatest technological gadgets. As long as my stuff works, I don’t generally feel the need to upgrade.
I have an iPhone 4 that I bought refurbished 3 years ago for $100 bucks. I figure if I get another year out of it I will have spent $25 year to own a phone. I wonder how much an old rotary phone cost back in the day? I am certain it was less than $100 and it lasted forever.
I have read a lot of finance books and one of the exercises I completed was to write down the worst money decision I ever made. For me, this was an easy assignment as buying a house was the worst money mistake I have ever made. I lived in Eastern Massachusetts where houses are expensive. I bought an old (1790) house that was cute as a button and only 17 miles from work. 17 miles from the South Shore of Boston thru the big dig construction to Somerville which is just north of Boston. My daily commute was awful!
I didn’t have a 20% down payment and I didn’t do my research in terms of interest rates, closing costs, property taxes… I didn’t love the town the house was located in, I only knew 1 person who lived nearby. I knew my mortgage payment was going to be a huge chunk of change but I was dead set on owning a single family house with a fenced in yard.
Boy did I loved that house! It had 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, 2 fireplaces and a beehive oven. It had a huge yard and a garage. Did I mention 2 fireplaces – one in my bedroom!
I adopted my dog Fenway 8 years ago when she was just 4 months old. She has been with me through good times and bad and I love her like crazy. If she was in jeopardy, I would risk my life to save her.
Right now my Fenway is pretty ticked off at me. If she could tell you about it she would say I traumatized her this morning. I pulled her hair, dumped water on her, and about tackled her in my arms.
This morning my Fenway got a good brushing and a bath. She hates them both with a passion. Every time she hears the shower turn on she runs into her crate and curls up in a ball. When I try to entice her out she pulls away from me. I have had to learn to get everything set up when she isn’t paying attention, call her into the kitchen for a treat and then scoop her up in my arms and carry her to the tub. Did I mention she hates to be carried?
The thought popped into my head that sometimes doing the right thing hurts. But it still needs to be done.