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 Kristen, from The Frugal Girl.
What Does Frugality Mean To You?
I think of frugality as making the most of what I have so that I can accomplish my goals and live my life in a way that reflects my priorities. For example, being frugal allows me to only work part-time, which means that I can stay home with my children and homeschool them.
Frugality also frees us from the burden of financial stress. Thankfully, we are completely debt-free aside from our mortgage, we don’t live paycheck to paycheck, and so we have money in the bank for things like emergencies, Christmas, auto repairs, and next year’s vacation. It’s wonderful to not have to wonder whether we will be able to pay the mortgage each month or if we will have enough money to cover Christmas gifts. It’s also very freeing to know that even if my husband were to lose his job, we’d be ok for a while because we have an emergency savings account.
In short, frugality is really a tool that I use, sort of a means to an end, if you will. So, even when I don’t really feel like cooking, or hanging my laundry, or resisting an impulse buy, keeping those “ends” in mind (like staying home with my kids) helps me soldier on in my money-saving efforts.
What is something you do that is typically frugal?
The first thing that comes to mind is that I re-use my ziploc bags! But I also do other typical things like cooking at home, watching sales, buying used instead of new when possible, and line-drying my laundry. I don’t use a large amount of coupons, though, and I don’t spend a lot of time running around chasing down the coupon/rebate deals at drug-stores like so many other frugal moms do (I’m too busy for that!).
What is something frugal you do that is unusual?
Probably the most unusual things I do are kitchen-related. I bake almost all of the bread that we eat, including buns, rolls, sandwich breads, and dinner breads. I also make our yogurt from scratch, which is fairly uncommon (but oh, so cheap!).
What are some of your long-term goals that being frugal will help you to accomplish?
Long-term, my husband and I would like to pay off our house, save up plenty of money for retirement, and save up money to buy our next vehicles with cash. In addition to that, it is our goal to be able to give more to other people who are in need. We do that to some extent now, but when our finances are in even better shape, we will be able to give more than we do now.
Kristen has been married to her husband for 12 years and is a stay-at-home, work-at-home homeschooling mom to four kids, ages 10, 8, 5, and 3. On her blog, The Frugal Girl, she writes, in words and pictures (lots of pictures!), about how she lives cheerfully on less. Her blog covers baking, painting, freecycling, cooking, avoiding food waste, and shopping at Goodwill, among other things. Kristen is an avid photographer, baker, pianist, and blogger, but her first loves are God and her family.