This is the first in what I hope will be an long running series: This Is What Frugal Looks Like. I’m launching this new series with the idea in mind of showcasing different ways that people can be frugal in their lives- that frugality doesn’t have to be drastic or just about clipping coupons, that instead frugality can be fun and pleasurable and easy. I’m trying to show a diverse group of people, attitudes and behaviors.
I sent the same four questions to friends, fellow bloggers or commenters on Almost Frugal. Meg from FruWiki has the honor of the inaugural response.
Hi, I’m Meg the founder and head admin of FruWiki! I’m an avid writer and techie who enjoys combining the best of the simple life and cutting-edge technology. I also like to hang out with my husband and our friends, dress up, play with our four kitties, learn new things, eat scrumptious food, sing loud, play jazz, and celebrate life in many other ways.
I believe that thinking frugally is not about self-deprivation, but rather about prioritizing so that we have more resources to pursue those things that we are truly passionate about.
I created FruWiki because I believe that people can live better on less if they want to and know how many choices they really have. Sadly, too many viable choices are often overlooked because they aren’t marketed the way other products are. The knowledge is already out there, but it needs to be shared in a place where it can be easily found and organized. That’s where this site comes in. I hope people from around the world will share their knowledge and learn from each other. Together, we’ll discover choices we didn’t know we had, skills we didn’t know we could learn, and hopefully, live better because of it.
What does frugality mean to you?
Frugality is the opposite of wastefulness, and waste is when I just use my resources willy-nilly instead of focusing on what is important to me. For example, leaving lights on all around the house when I’m not using them seems very unfrugal to me because, even though the cost may not be so great, why should I pay to have those lights on when it really isn’t important to me that my entire house be lit up? But taking the effort to turn them off doesn’t bother me because not only is it easy to do, but I know it’s healthier for me to move more and it’s better for the environment to turn off the lights — and both my health and the environment ARE important to me.
Resources include not just money and things like electricity, but also time, energy, and even things like the good faith of others. What’s important to me might very from day to day to some extent. Some days my time and energy are more important than money, for example, so being frugal doesn’t always mean spending the least amount possible. And I still like things that look nice, that taste good, that are healthy, that are more ethically produced, and so on.
What is something that you do that is ‘typically’ frugally?
I think one of the very typically frugal things that I do is to try to avoid shopping and buying stuff that I don’t need or at least really, really want. It’s gotten easier, but it used to be hard because I was very much a bargainista — and it helped get me deep into debt despite all the “saving” I was doing! But if you’re buying stuff you don’t really need for $1 that you wouldn’t buy at $20, then is it really all that important to you? And if it isn’t important to you, then why are you buying it? Nowadays, I’m more likely to pay more for the few things I really want, but buy — and spend — a lot less overall.
What is something frugal that you do that is unusual?
To those outside of the U.S. this may not seem all that unusual, but it is pretty uncommon here to say the least. And perhaps how I do it is a bit unusual. One of the many frugal things I do is to hang dry my laundry. I hang most of my clothes on some nice friction hangers that don’t stretch out the collars. Then I hang them on those hangers on a pole in our utility room to dry over night. It saves electricity, lowers the cost of our utility bill, means that the clothes won’t wear out as quickly, and it even saves me time since when they clothes are dry I just move them on the hangers to the closet!
Oh yeah, and we have two urban backyard chickens. But that’s completely normal, right?
What are some of your longterm goals that being frugal will help you to accomplish?
Long-term, my husband and I both want to get out of debt, including paying off our mortgage. Then we hope to save up plenty for retirement. It’s not all about the money, though. It’s more about the security and freedom that comes with it. I look forward to when we don’t have to worry so about how much a job pays when we take it, or what would happen if our income dropped significantly — not to mention having the ability to just take off from work for weeks or even months. We both really want to travel some day, but we want to be out of debt and at least well on our way to building up our savings before we do because of the extra expense.