Hello everyone! I am on my last leg of my journey in Germany. We have visited family, toured the Rhine River and seen some great castles. I look forward to being home and getting back to blogging. I have missed all of you, but I hope you have enjoyed the guest posts. Speaking of guests, let me introduce Stacy. Stacy can be found at Stacy Makes Cents, a blog about life, raising kids and good food on a budget. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google + Welcome Stacy!
Frugal…It’s the New Cheap
My mom says I’m tighter than Dick’s hatband (an old country saying, if you didn’t know). It’s true. I’m tight with my money – choosing to spend it on things that matter most to us instead of letting it burn a hole in my pocket. I’ve been that way since I was little – having been raised by smart, frugal parents who shunned debt and paid off their home early.
I was very fortunate and blessed to marry a man who also has a good relationship with Dick’s hatband. Because of this, our household has always run smoothly (yeah, right) and we’ve been able to start instilling frugal traits in our 4 year old. We believe if we teach her good money habits now, they’ll stick with her for life.
BUT, you need to know we are teaching her to be FRUGAL and not to be CHEAP. Being cheap gets a bad rep…but being frugal and being cheap are not the same thing. Being frugal is being smart with the resources you have, and using them to the best of your ability. Being cheap is always buying the cheapest thing, even at the risk of quality and morals – so that your granddaughter always remembers you bought the yucky “Cheerios” instead of the good stuff (wait…is that just me?).
It’s not really good to be labeled as “cheap” by others…but being “frugal” is now the “in” thing. First time I’ve ever done the “in” thing in my life…and I’m sure I’ll still be doing it when it’s no longer popular. You want to be labeled as frugal. It’s a good habit and a good trait; something that will always take you far in life…did you know most millionaires are frugal?
Start instilling frugal traits in your life, if you’re not already doing it. And if you are, how about picking up a few new ideas here and there to implement as well? It’s never too late to save a buck! Because there is no such thing as being born frugal…it’s something you are TAUGHT and you have to work toward it. I’m going to give you some examples of frugal traits so that you can take the general idea and start implementing it into your life.
Frugal Trait #1: Use what you have.
See that butter paper up there? Yeah – the butter is gone…but the paper is not. Want to know why? Because there is still butter on there! I keep those papers in my fridge and use them to grease pans and dishes. Being frugal is using something to its fullest before you pitch it. I’m pretty sure that wasting butter is sinful – Stacy 1:1. The Being Cheap version of this story would be buying the cheapest stick “butter” option available and then tossing the paper…if you didn’t even lick it, shame on you.
What can we learn? Use it up before you throw it out…that’s just being wise with your resources. If something can have another use before you get rid of it, try it. Like bubble wrap – HELLO! TOY FOR A BORED 4 YEAR OLD!
Frugal Trait #2: Take advantage of “free” things
It’s pretty smart to use things that are free instead of running out to buy new things. Example – when my husband travels, he brings home the shower cap from the hotel room and I use them to cover bowls with no lids. Genius. They actually sell these marketed as BOWL BONNETS. Someone is smart in the marketing department.
Did we pay for those bonnets? Well yeah – we paid to stay at the hotel…so, using what is offered is only smart. Otherwise, you’re just saying “Well yes, I would love to pay you to stay here and not use anything you offer and throw my money down the toilet. Sure! Great idea!”
How can you take advantage of free things and embrace frugality? Become a member of Freecycle; be a trash-picker (definition – someone who sees trash to be hauled out front at someone’s home and instead makes use of it…we have several NICE things in our home because someone just wanted to pitch them instead of fix them: rocking chairs, storage systems, dog kennel, etc.); look at the “free” option on Craigslist; bum things from your mama (that’s not just me, right?)
Frugal Trait #3: Use up what you have
I know this is similar to #1, but stick with me. I try to use everything I have, down to every last drop. This means I do a lot of container licking…and draining. I do no lick soap, for the record…but yeah, I ain’t too proud to admit that I will lick a yogurt container (I like yogurt, a LOT). I drain my dish soap into a cup; I cut the bottom off lotion containers to get all the lotion out; I reuse envelopes that came in the mail to make notes on; I save cereal bag liners to use for kitchen work.
Using what you have instead of tossing things and going out to buy something new is one of my top frugal tips for you – before you throw it out, think “can I use this for something else before I get rid of it?” If the answer is no, go ahead and throw it out. If the answer is “yes, but I already have 4.5 million of these in the basement and my husband might lose his mind if I keep another one,” then you probably shouldn’t keep it either – otherwise, reuse that baby!
Those ideas are just the tip of the iceberg – something to get you thinking about how you view life and money. Imagine how much you could save if you just started thinking differently. Being frugal isn’t being cheap – it’s being SMART. And just like you can teach yourself to read and cook something without setting off the fire alarm (still working on that), you can also teach yourself to be frugal…it’s the new cheap. Embrace it. Booya.
Wow Stacy – I am so inspired by this post and I am sure everyone else is too! Thank you so much for sharing this.