Here are two clever posts from my friends at WiseBread. The first lays out five signs that indicate if you’ve gone too far and failed at frugality. It’s a good reminder that forcing yourself to be frugal is not a winning solution.
I often wonder if my frugal lifestyle is actually harming my budget and my bank account. For instance, I was a big stockpiler. I had a pantry full of pasta, beans, canned tomatoes, crackers, oil, nuts, jam, peanut butter, rice, cereal, soap, and brown sugar. Actually, I have three pantries. One under our eat-in-kitchen nook (which my awesome husband built) and one in our corner lazy susan cabinet. Plus there’s the daily pantry where we put the stuff we are eating right now.
When I challenged myself to only spend $100 a week on groceries, I had to stop stockpiling. Which is when I discovered that I could easily buy enough food for my family of four (including two little ones) for the week for $100 or less. Stockpiling was giving me an excuse to over spend!
That’s just one example of my frugality gone wrong. Another obvious one is buying super brands, like AIM toothpaste, when I should probably pony up the cash for an all natural brand like Tom’s of Maine. But I can easily find AIM for $1 or less, and Tom’s of Maine is usually $3 or more for a similar sized tube. That stuff is expensive! But it also feels so fresh and clean in my mouth. AIM is definitely not all natural.
Yet another example of failed frugality is my clothes. I haaaate clothes shopping. It’s just so depressing to spend a few hours in a mall and not be able to find anything that flatters you. And don’t get me started on the price tags! I’ve shopped at enough thrift stores and consignment sales to know that paying $45 for a top is NOT a bargain.
But this means I rarely add to my wardrobe, so I wear the same jeans, the same tee shirts, the same sweaters and tops month in month out. It gets boring, and I worry I don’t look so hot. I definitely do NOT take the time to craft trendy outfits that follow the latest trends. I’ve got two kids, who has the time for that?! Well, I’m sure I could find the time. But it’s not a high priority for me. So, I save a lot of money by not buying new clothes every season, but I also look a bit out of date.
The second post that I wanted to highlight lists 5 respectable ways to get a free meal. Who doesn’t love free food?
If you’d like more tips from WiseBread, buy their book, “10,001 ways to live large on a small budget.” I’ve got a copy myself, which I reviewed here.