This Is What Frugal Looks Like: Barbara from FairyMix

by This Is Frugal · 6 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 Barbara from FairyMix.

What does frugality mean to you?

It means thinking before buying something new (Can I mend the old item? Can I live without the item?). It means mending socks and other items of clothing. It means not throwing food away but using the leftovers for a new meal. It means comparing prices when I shop, not only for groceries. Doing all those things means we’re able to live on one income so I could give up my job and be a full-time homemaker, baker, cook, gardener, dog minder and reader. It means I have time during the day to spend with my husband who works mostly evenings.

Frugality to me means having time rather than spending half my life in a stressful job earning money that I’ll only spend on something I don’t really need.

What is something you do that’s typically frugal?

I open the fridge as little as possible, i.e. I think about what I need to take out before I open it, so I don’t have to open it multiple times just to get one item each time. I also never overfill the kettle, i.e. I only boil as much water as I need at the time. I never run the dishwasher half empty but try and stack it as cleverly as possible to get a good cleaning result but still fit in as many items as possible.

I guess my favourite area of being frugal is electricity usage. 🙂

What is something frugal that you do that is unusual?

Gosh, I don’t know. I suppose mending clothes nowadays isn’t that ‘en vogue’ anymore. I learned how to darn socks by watching my mother who in turn learned it from her mother.

I don’t like throwing things away so before I bin something I always try to see if it can be recycled in some way. That way I have used empty and cleaned cat food tins to plant dill and chives in.

What are some of your longterm goals that being frugal will help you to accomplish?

I have never really thought about it that way. Being frugal is not something I have consciously set out to do. I like not having a 9 to 5 job, I like having time with my husband and I like pottering around the house with no fixed schedule. I do some child minding twice a week, it doesn’t bring in much money but it’s fun and the money usually covers a grocery shop (not a big one, though).

I suppose my longterm goal is to keep things as they are without both of us having to work full time to afford the mortgage and two cars (we’re out in the country, no bus service, so the two cars are not really a luxury). If frugality keeps us ticking over this way we’ll have paid off the mortgage in 8 years and that’s going to give us a lot of freedom.

As for information about myself, I’m 37, married with no children (not yet anyway). I originally started out as a social worker. When my husband and I moved from Germany to Ireland 9 years ago I started working in Customer Services (mostly call centres). We live in a small house out in the country in the south of Ireland and have recently become Irish citizens. I gave up my full-time job almost 2 years ago and have not looked back since. As of September I’m starting a diploma course as a massage therapist. Having worked in various jobs in the past I feel I have found my niche here and I hope it’s going to enable me to earn some money while not going back on the ‘treadmill’ of full-time jobs.

I write a blog but don’t post regularly. You’ll find me at


1 jennifer888 @ Negoti September 24, 2009

Isn't is liberating not having to work at a full-time job and instead indulge your passions? I have always wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom and I am now proud to say that I am! Even though we've have to make a few financial sacrifices, being there for my little girl as she grows is pricelesss 🙂
.-= jennifer888 @ Negotiation Board ´s last blog ..Everyday Negotiations: A Three Step Process =-.

2 My Frugal Miser September 24, 2009

Barbara mentions that she tries to avoid throwing things away before evaluating any other uses they might have. This is a great way to avoid having to buy new stuff. Garbage service in my neighborhood costs $17.50 per month. I decided it would be cheaper to handle waste removal myself. Doing so gives me extra motivation to reduce, recycle and reuse!

For example, wine bottles at my house are used as vases for the roses and other flowers we give away to co-workers. Plastic milk jugs hold rain water for future use. And anything that could possibly be reused (just not by me) becomes a tax deduction when I donate it to a local charity.
.-= My Frugal Miser´s last blog ..Take a Sailor Shower ($7.80/month) =-.

3 Monroe on a Budget September 25, 2009

She’s right – a lot of frugal tricks really aren’t “in vogue” until enough people are in a situation where they HAVE to save money.
.-= Monroe on a Budget´s last blog ..My wish list: Save the Michigan Promise Grant =-.

4 Barbara September 25, 2009

My Frugal Miser, we're doing exactly the same in our house. Instead of paying a monthly or quarterly waste removal fee we're using the local 'civic amenity site' (as it's called here in Ireland) and pay by usage/per bag. It has definitely reduced our waste and makes us more aware of wastage in general.
.-= Barbara´s last blog ..Intermission… =-.

5 anne September 25, 2009

Great interview! I am really enjoying this series!
.-= anne´s last blog ..Exercise. Do you get enough? =-.

6 bedrijfspand huren September 28, 2009

Nice interview. I really enjoyed! Thank you..
.-= bedrijfspand huren´s last blog ..SER-compromis: AOW-leeftijd in 2011 verhogen =-.

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