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 Jessie from PfFirewall.
What does frugality mean to you?
I think some people misinterpret the term frugality to mean stingy or miserly. To me, the term means not buying everything just because things are there. It means spending smart and buying things when you must but not when you don’t. It means making due with what you have. Frugality will make you a stronger person and more prepared for the future and any trials in your life, because there may come a time in life when you won’t be able to buy things and have to make due with what you have.
What is something that you do that is ‘typically’ frugally?
I’m a pretty homegrown guy and never had many of the fancy things that many kids take for granted nowadays 🙂 so I try and reuse everything and make everything myself if I can. I have started cooking at home and have gotten pretty good at it. I reuse the leftovers in new dishes, take lunches to work, and even make some of the really simple and seemingly cheap things like taco seasoning and yogurt myself. The markup on that stuff is outrageous and if the products cost more than they does, people would surely notice it more.
What is something frugal that you do that is unusual?
Like I said, I make everything I can. My special skill is in the IT field so I make things that aren’t exactly typical, and are probably high up on the geeky scale. When digital picture frames first came out, I wanted one but there was no way I was going to pay $300 for a 7″ frame with enough space to store 8 pictures! Instead, I made my own digital picture frame. I used an old, beat up and practically useless laptop with a 15″ screen, wireless card and reasonably sized hard drive, stripped it down to bare parts and put it inside a nice big frame. I won’t get too geeky on ya, but after a little time customizing and tweaking the frame, it can sync wirelessly with my other computer that my wife edits pictures on, can hold closer to 30 thousand pictures, can play videos, can play music, and has been running rock solid for about three years. I loved it so much, I made two more for my mom and a friend. These frames cost me around $30 each in hardware, plus a little time. Projects like this are frequent in thePFFirewall household 🙂
What are some of your longterm goals that being frugal will help you to accomplish?
I made the decision to retire at 40, back when I was 18. Frugality will help me get there. It allows me to focus my income on the things that are really important like paying off debt and saving for future goals such as retirement and traveling the world. With frugality sitting in the back of my mind all the time, I always ask myself, is this purchase really necessary? What am I sacrificing later to have this toy or trinket today? That money is then put to better use.
My name is Jesse Michelsen. I am somewhat of a beginner in the personal finance niche but I certainly have a passion for it. My life, like most others, is powered by money, but doesn’t revolve around it so I try to push myself to use money as a tool, not worship it. I started my own Personal Finance blog called Personal Finance Firewall in early 2009 where I discuss how to save more efficiently and spend your money in the areas that will add the most value to your life.
I am in my early 20’s, happily married and have two beautiful little girls who I spend as much time as possible with. I am working towards a Bacheolor degree in Software Engineering and I am a network administrator by trade. I also do freelance web development on the side. I love to cook, write, and just about everything techy. When I’m not playing with my girls, I spend time on the computer doing research about new technology and new recipes.