Frugal Habits: Why You Do What You Do

by Kelly · 6 comments

in Living Frugally

I’m frugal for a lot of reasons.

  1. We don’t have a lot of money, so we have to pay attention to our budget.
  2. My mother is frugal, and I grew up watching her behavior.
  3. I feel that we don’t have to spend a lot of money or have a lot of things to be happy in life.
  4. I want my children to learn the value of money.
  5. I think that being frugal is better for the environment, as over-consumption leads to over-production.

People’s attitudes towards money can be influenced by a great number of things. Each of mine stem from a different issue.

  1. Personal finances.
  2. Familial behavior.
  3. Personal beliefs.
  4. Family values.
  5. Environmental values.

And with each of these values comes baggage. Nancy left a comment on my post I’m Not Always Frugal saying:

I’ll spend money on my family members w/out a 2nd thought but when it comes to me, it’s just hard. Could it be because I saw this same habit in my mother? A learned behavior?

I know that I learned a lot of frugal behavior from my mother (for example, I no longer use credit cards), but I also have my father’s belief that money, for which you should work hard and honestly, can’t be taken with you. These two ways of dealing with and thinking about money, which at times are contradictory, have both influenced my frugal behavior today.

Another example would be my values attached to frugality and the environment. I used to belong to a group that emphasized the importance of buying locally, from regional producers, reusing as much as possible, and living off the land. The problem was that regional products cost more money, and it was difficult to maintain that level of commitment over time. So although I continue to believe that buying less, and locally, is good for my pocketbook and the earth, I’m more influenced by the frugal aspect, rather than the green approach.

Why do you do what you do? What stops you from becoming more frugal? What influences have contributed to (or hurt) your forming frugal habits?


1 Nancy June 1, 2009

I haven’t always been frugal. I grew up in a frugal home and I swore that when I was on my own I’d buy what I wanted when I wanted. I did and it cost me dearly. A young college girl, little income and credit card do not a good combo make.
Late 20’s….newly married. Want to do, do, do. We did, did, did. On credit. Bad.
30’s…..good jobs, affordable home, reduced debt.
40’s….job change, reduced income, 2 teenagers. Living frugally. Happy. Saving for college. Saving for retirement. Saving for emergencies. Unfortunately, we carry a bit of debt but we are in the process of eliminating. The expense we are most nervous about? College tuition in 2 years.
We live like we do in order to be good stewards of our resources. Our financial knowledge comes from the examples we learned from our parents and reading, reading, reading.

Nancy\\\´s last blog post..Simple Pleasures

2 Kristin June 2, 2009

I haven't always been frugal – my parents have always paid their bills on time but are "in debt up to their eyeballs." My dh is from a completely different background. We've taught each other many things, but I think the most beneficial thing for me has been to give up instant gratification. I struggle sometimes with my life's purpose but right now I'm very into going green – and thus saving money. There's also huge satisfaction with crafting and diy projects, which we save money on too.

<abbr>Kristin´s last blog post..An Inexpensive Option for a Flat Tire</abbr>

3 Emma @ June 2, 2009

When I grew up, we didn't have a lot of money and I am used to frugal living, it's under my skin, it affects everything I buy – for myself , anyway. I agree with Nancy, your commenter, it is really difficult and takes much self-convincing for me to feel ok about spending on myself.

<abbr>Emma @´s last blog post..Potty training, step 1 – choosing a potty</abbr>

4 Jennifer June 2, 2009

I didn't grow up living frugal, so it has been a change for me. I don't think I'll ever go back to my spendthrift ways though. No matter how much money you have, it will always go farther if you are frugal. Now that we have paid off all our debts except for our home mortgage, I feel such relief. Next I want to feel the security of having a big fat emergency fund. I strive for Financial Peace.

<abbr>Jennifer´s last blog post..MAY 2009 Extra Earnings</abbr>

5 Kristy @ Master Your June 3, 2009

I have definitely not always been a frugal individual. I used to spend money like it grew on trees and I genuinely thought if I had checks left over, then I must still have money. It wasn't pretty. I do what I do now because i don't want to have to go to my parents for help…yup, good ol' pride! I don't like admitting defeat and I don't want to depend on other people. I want to be financially independent. I don't believe being financially independent is a matter of pride (let me clarify that), I just know that aside from my desire to be such, I am lead by pride. That may not be the best thing, but there it is. It keeps me on track though, so I can't complain.

<abbr>Kristy @ Master Your Card´s last blog post..Banking 101: The Difference in Account Styling’s</abbr>

6 FruGal June 15, 2009

My mom (and her parents) is very frugal, which used to drive me crazy as a child. I hated the coupon wallet that she always carried with her to the grocery, and I resented the fact that the wallet never seemed to contain a coupon for the things I just had to have. I’m just now learning to be frugal after realizing (don’t tell her) that my mom was right all along.
.-= FruGal´s last blog ..New shopping habits =-.

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