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 Emily, from Remodeling This Life.
What does frugality mean to you?
Since becoming more frugal in my life, frugality has taken on different meanings. First, it was out of necessity and it felt hard to even spend less without feeling like we didn’t have enough to be comfortable. It got easier and now frugality really means to me an entire lifestyle of being conscious of what I do, whether it’s spending, creating, reusing, consuming, eating, growing. Just like a food diet, at first cutting back felt really hard. But once you get over that and make your diet choices a lifestyle instead of a crash diet, everything changes. You start exercising more, drinking more water, going to bed earlier.
And what was once a goal to lose 5 pounds has turned into an entire healthy lifestyle. For me, frugality is like that. It’s not just about spending less money. It’s about thinking about each and every little thing, being conscious of resources, and not just spending less money at the grocery store, but saving money at the bank. It’s also about making choices, deciding what priorities are and sticking to those to reach goals. There are things that are important to me not to skimp on. I think frugality should mean getting quality for what you pay for. It’s not just about dollar signs but how good it is for you, how long it will last, and how much it will add to your life.
What is something that you do that is ‘typically’ frugally?
There are some things that I won’t do to be more frugal. I don’t like coupons. I don’t make my own clothes. We drive older cars, we don’t upgrade everything, we don’t have lots of stuff, etc…but more importantly, we are healthy. I don’t truly think a person can be frugal and not be. We hardly ever eat out, we cook from scratch most of the time, we grow some of our own food but not a whole lot. Hubby changes the oil in our cars, I give him haircuts at home, we spend a lot of time outside instead of paying to do things when we go out as a family. It’s hard for me to come up with the frugal things I do because it’s our entire lifestyle.
What is something frugal that you do that is unusual?
In the blog world, frugal habits can seem really common. So this is tough. I think the most unusual thing we do is that when we bought our house we put a lot down on it. We bought an older, smaller home instead of something bigger and more expensive in every single way. This made what our home costs us each month so low that we’ve been freed up to do a lot of things that are much more important to us than money. Instead of having to be slaves to jobs and a mortgage, I can stay home with our kids, my hubby doesn’t have to work as much and we can all spend these years while our kids are young together doing valuable things together during a time we can’t ever get back. So, it may not be typically frugal to drop a chunk of change on a home, but it’s allowed us to have so much less to pay for each month that we can save for other things that matter later on and have time together now.
What are some of your long term goals that being frugal will help you to accomplish?
I have big dreams. I want to spend the time that my kids are little right here at home in a comfortable place, giving them what they need and offering a nurturing place for them to grow. I think family is so important and I want to be able to help them become the people they want to be. I don’t want them to have to take care of me financially later. I want to be able to travel when we retire. Family and experiences are at the top of my list when I think about saving for tomorrow.
Emily is a 30 year old stay at home to two kids, 5 and 2 years old. She loves blogging, running, writing, photography, her friends and her family. Her blog, Remodeling This Life, documents her family’s adventures in remodeling their 60s ranch, living by the ocean, and her search for a simpler life.