Those who know me, or at least know me more than the casual “hi, how are you”, know that I am frugal. I don’t hide it either. It’s part of my makeup. From a very young age, I have always enjoyed paying the least amount for the most that I can get. I would also prefer to have a lot of money in the bank over material possessions. That last part comes down to security – knowing that no matter what happens financially, we’re covered. For the record, we are not what is considered “wealthy”. The Lord has always provided for our every need and many of our wants, however, so I am not complaining in the least. We could live without many of our current luxuries (cable tv, two vehicles, we eat out more frequently than we would need to, etc..) so there’s always something in the budget that could give. If I mention “money”, “budget”, or “finances” to my husband, he just sighs and waits patiently (OK, sometimes not patiently and there could be a deserved eye roll because I tend to stress about money frequently, although I’m better than I used to be!) for me to finish my spiel. He knows if he gives it a few days, I’ll be over it (for that time period ;)). He also knows to draw a line. Like I am not allowed to buy electronics, such as TV’s, stoves, or refrigerators, without him. Why? Because I just look at the price tag. I don’t know much about them and I don’t research them like he does. He will look at reviews and make sure the one we buy is the most bang for the buck, even if it’s a few dollars more than the cheapest one. Me? I’d buy the cheapest one. I’ll buy used. I’ll buy the cheapest, used AND even dented/scratched one. I will ask for a discount as well. I just care about the bottom line. “What will it cost me?” Hence, why my husband is the one who goes along on major purchases. Who knows what I’d come home with – a stove from 1980 that doesn’t work, but hey, it was $10! “You can’t fix it, babe? Come on, you’re handy. It was only $10. I’m sure you can fix whatever is wrong with this.” That’s not a true story, but it could be, if I purchased a stove. 🙂
When it comes to clothes/shoes, for myself and our son, I rarely visit the mall or a department store. You will find me 100% of the time at a second-hand store for my son’s clothes. I refuse to pay full-price, or even a small discounted price, for his clothes when he wears them for such a short amount of time and ends up staining half of them. Hence, consignment stores, The Salvation Army, Goodwill, or hand-me-downs. Same goes for me unless something is super cheap at a department store or the mall. Like I-can’t-pass-it-up cheap. Otherwise, it’s all consignment or second-hand. That doesn’t mean I settle on quality though. I definitely don’t buy a shirt that’s stained, just because it’s cheap (I know, I know – why would I buy a dented stove, but not a stained shirt? A stove is stationary and sits in my house. It’s to be cooked on and in, and that is its function. A shirt is worn and people see it. If I’m dirty and stained looking, people assume my house is dirty, stained and I can’t take care of my home…. We can’t have that! Oh, have I mentioned I have an active imagination?), so I’m picky about what I buy. It has to fit well, flatter and look like it’s quality made.
My husband is really good about shopping for himself and finding bargains so I don’t hassle him about this. He shops so rarely for himself and when he does, it’s outlets and sales. He works hard and he loves to dress well and feel good about how he looks. Me? I like to look and feel good too, but I stay at home, and my wardrobe consists of yoga pants all day, sooo…. Weekends I’ll get dressed, maybe… If we’re headed somewhere that someone could see me… Hey, being honest here! 🙂 Ha! Honestly, I love comfort, so I dress for that 90% of the time. Even when we leave the house. Summer is great because I can wear dresses and skirts (see? Amish side! Lol). What I’m trying to say is – our clothes are all in great condition, but are never full – price.
I shop at Wal-Mart and Trader Joe’s for miscellaneous grocery items and Sam’s Club for our bulk items. We have a local grocery store we use for our odds and ends throughout the week as well.
My husband will joke with me because I don’t want him to spend $1.50 on an energy drink… Or because we’ll go to the store and I’ll put items in the cart, but if we walk around too long, I’ll remove some items because now I’ve thought about it and deemed them “unnecessary”.
I take pride in the fact that I fill up my car’s gas tank MAYBE once a month (the grocery stores are all super close, like within miles, and we use my husband’s truck on the weekends and evenings, so it’s not like we REALLY save all that much…when you think about it)… Hence why it’s really a waste of a payment… Even though having two cars is nice, in case of emergency, and because it enables me to run errands during the week so they don’t have to be done on the weekends or during the evening.
I make our own laundry detergent, floor cleaner and all-purpose cleaner (I’ll cover those later).
I have a monthly menu I make so we don’t waste money on groceries (I can also cover this in a later post).
What else? I’m sure my family and friends could add to this list, but I’m drawing a blank. I feel like this list is missing quite a bit and as soon as I end the post, I’ll think of all the ones I missed!
In the end, if it were up to me, we’d live on rice and beans and probably be a bit miserable and crabby with each other from the lack of “give” in the budget. All for money in the bank. But this is where the whole “opposites attract” comes into play and my husband reminds me that working hard all the time and not enjoying the fruit of our labor isn’t what God wants either. We can be good stewards of our money and still enjoy ourselves a little here and there. Not be wasteful, but not be miserly either.