This Is What Frugal Looks Like: Spending Zero Dollars

by This Is Frugal · 9 comments

in This is Frugal

This is What Frugal Looks Like is a series that highlights different ways that people can be frugal in their lives- after all, frugality doesn’t have to be drastic or just about clipping coupons. Frugality can be fun and easy. Each respondent answers the same four questions.

Today’s interview is with FruGal of Spending Zero Dollars.

1. What does frugality mean to you?

I have finally realized that frugality is NOT being cheap! To me, frugality is awareness. Being aware of what I can truly afford, not spending more than I earn each month, having the patience to save up for items I really want- that’s what frugality is all about.

2. What is something that you do that is ‘typically’ frugal?

I use coupons when I can and I shop around to get the best price for things. I used to just go to my local grocery for everything, but now I make trips to multiple stores (Target, Trader Joe’s) to save money. For example, I get my cereal, snacks, cleaning products and toiletries at Target because these items are at least fifty cents cheaper apiece at Target than at my grocery store. Shopping around takes more time and effort, but it’s totally worth it!

3. What is something frugal that you do that is unusual?

This is a tough one. I think a lot of frugal tips are so obvious that it’s hard to figure out unusual ways to save money. I guess one unusual way I save is by searching for deals through my employer. I visit my HR website often for free or discounted tickets to concerts, museums, sporting events, movies, etc. My HR department has a lot of special deals for its employees, so I qualify for discounts that most people can’t get.

4. What are some of your long term goals that being frugal will help you to accomplish?

I actually started my website because of the financial goal I have set for myself. My mission is to get out of about $5,000 worth of debt and build my savings account up to $10,000 within a year. So far, I have only focused on tackling my debt, so the next phase is to focus on saving. My goal deadline is next June and my website tracks my progress, so we’ll see if I succeed!


1 Zoe August 13, 2009

I’ve never really understood the whole “shopping around” argument. Sure, you might save money on your purchases, but if you’re driving, you’re just wasting gas getting to all these destinations, so really, the gas you’re burning isn’t saving you anything in the long run.

2 Amy Reads Good Books August 13, 2009

This is a great series. I can’t wait to read more! 🙂
.-= Amy Reads Good Books´s last blog ..Booking Through the Worst =-.

3 Nancy August 13, 2009

Kelly, I’m enjoying this series. I completely agree with FruGal’s comments to question #1 — there IS a difference between being frugal and cheap.
.-= Nancy´s last blog ..An Addition to My Collection =-.

4 Meg from FruWiki August 13, 2009

“I have finally realized that frugality is NOT being cheap! To me, frugality is awareness. Being aware of what I can truly afford, not spending more than I earn each month, having the patience to save up for items I really want- that’s what frugality is all about.”

Amen! I can’t say enough, frugality is NOT the same as being cheap.

5 Monroe on a Budget August 14, 2009

Shopping around works if you make smart choices based on geography. In my city, CVS (drugstore) and Kroger (grocery) are directly across the street from each other. I’ve been known to include both stores on same shopping trip.

One of my friends works as a cleaning lady and she shops at stores around her city as she goes back and forth to her clients’ homes.
.-= Monroe on a Budget´s last blog ..Here’s how I cut my grocery bill =-.

6 Jerry August 14, 2009

Frugality is definitely a state of mind and it is NOT being cheap. Being cheap is distasteful and will not lead to winning friends. However, being frugal is insurance for your life and budget. My only caution is about going to many stores. My wife does the same and when gas prices were outrageous it didn’t make sense. But, we just happen to *need* things from different stores, she insisted. Ah, well. 😉

7 Carol August 14, 2009

Ya know, I sometimes wonder if saying that ‘being frugal is NOT being cheap’ is a cop-out. These are difficult times. I think we’re frequently required to be just plain cheap because we need to keep a conservative idea in mind of what the cash flow will be.

This is not to say we won’t keep working our fingers to the bone–trying to be able to be simply ‘frugal’ and not ‘cheap.’ But it’s a challenge. There’s no question about it!

8 Meg from FruWiki August 14, 2009


I don’t think there isn’t some overlap! But I don’t think being frugal is just a synonym for cheap.

Also, there are different kinds of cheap, just as there are different kinds of being frugal. For me, *being* cheap isn’t just about buying cheap things, it’s about cutting costs at all costs, hurting yourself, others, the environment, etc. when you CAN afford better — or when you should just do without.

Frugal people, on the other hand, think more about the consequences of their actions.

Example: stealing cable is cheap — even if you can’t afford to pay for it. Looking for other forms of LEGAL entertainment is frugal.

9 Imene August 17, 2009

I totally agry with you Meg. Being frugal is about valuing time and relationships and thinking of the consequences of our spending.
.-= Imene´s last blog ..Ikea here I come =-.

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