Friday, April 11, 2008

My Journey into Frugality

I have been reading a lot of blogs about frugality, how to save money, how to feed your family on $10 a week, how a family of 7 survives on less than $35,000 a year etc etc.

I personally do not think I am very frugal. I've tried, but I don't think I have been very successful. While I was talking to my husband about this on the phone, he reminded me that I am, in fact, quite frugal. These days though, everyone has to be frugal to some point due to rising gas prices, and the fact that incomes are just not following that trend. We can't all be Anthony Cumia here.

If you think about it, back in the 50s, the average yearly income was $3,216.00 per year. For our family, that amount of money is a bad month, a really bad month. I can't imagine now having to survive on that amount in one year! Back in the good old 50s, everything was cheaper. Right now, I am lucky if I can purchase two gallons of milk at Safeway for $5.38. In the 50s, a gallon of milk cost $.82 cents!!! Can you imagine that? My kids go through a gallon every two days, sometimes more!!! And it's no wonder everyone uses e-mail now, the cost of a First Class stamp is $.41 cents. Back then, it was $.3 cents. Granted, I don't mind spending that on a stamp, because I don't send much paper mail anyway. We try to pay our bills over the phone, or online.

Back to the point at hand...my journey into frugality. Like I said before, my husband told me how frugal I really am. For example, I can make 4 meals out of one chicken. I buy name brand clothes for my kids on clearance with coupons. I can feed 6 people for $14 with one large pizza, because I am willing to cook it myself. I can make 3 meals out of a large beef roast. I combine trips when i run errands, to save gas. I try to buy whatever is cheaper...whatever is on sale, I don't care about brands. I buy cheap wal mart bread at $1 a loaf. I kill slugs with cheap beer, instead of expensive slug bait. I donate to goodwill, which allows others to be frugal. I call this "trickle-down frugality" ;o) We also participate in a rewards program with our bank. For every debit card purchase we make, we accrue $.03cents, and at the end of the year, that money is deposited into our account.

Some things I am not frugal with...we do not buy anything buit Heinz ketchup. We buy only French's mustard. I rarely rarely use coupons because none of the stores here double, and I shop for groceries at walmart (yes, I know, I am feeding the corporate monster) which is pretty cheap already, or at Safeway when they have awesome deals (often!!). Besides, I am not saving money using a coupon for a product that i have no use for. Coupons are mostly for stuff you don't buy regularly, in my opinion. Why should I buy a package of "just add cow cheesy stroodle noodle" for $1.30 (save .60 cents with this coupon!!!) when I never buy "just add cow cheesy stroodle noodle"? I would waste .70cents! Now referencing The Simpsons, we are not at the point where we have to be ridiculously frugral, i.e. Lisa Simpson pressing together twenty or so slivers of soap to make a big ball of soap.

I suppose that many would say I am not frugal because I don't buy all my children's clothes at Wal-Mart, or that I rarely clip coupons. I do buy Gymboree clothes for our kids when it is possible. My recent purchase that I am over the moon for, was 9 pieces of Gymboree clothing from the "Tres Chic" line for my youngest daughter. I paid $55 including tax and got 9 pieces; 3 pairs of pants, two shirts, a dress, a hoody, a pair of matching socks and hair clips. All 9 pieces are matching, so she gets about 7 outfits out of that. $55 divided by seven is $7.85 an OUTFIT!!! It avg's less than $4 a piece. For the quality, and "cute-ness", wal-mart can't compete. Even though the prices are comparitive in some ways, you can't often find an outfit for that cheap at wal-mart. Now, that was an exceptional deal at gymboree. That price was obtainable because the clothing was 60% off already, AND I had a 20% off coupon. I usually find good deals there and pay an average of less than $10 a piece, and dress my kids in style. That to me is being frugal!

So to end this...I am frugral, but not as frugal as some. I love to save money, and it gives me pleasure to see the fruits of my labor.

1 comment:

Mama Bear said...

I never buy anything but Heinz ketchup either - and it has to be Miracle Whip...but if I'm making meatloaf or something that calls for a quantity of ketchup, I have a bottle of no name brand ketchup way back in the fridge for that.

Coupons are tempting sometimes, I agree - why use a coupon to buy something you never use just to use the coupon? That sure ain't frugal!!!

Oh to live in the '50's - the clothes, the music, the life.