This is What Frugal Looks Like: Barbara Bryn Klare

by This Is Frugal · 8 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 Bryn Klare who writes about personal finance for the San Francisco She also owns CafeFAQ Communications.

What does frugality mean to you?

To me, being frugal comes in two flavors:

–how you spend

–what you do with what’s leftover

As a writer, my income over the years has been comfortable but not high, so I’ve had to watch how I spend. I’ve also concentrated a lot on making the most of what I do have, like setting up low-cost DRIP (Dividend Reinvestment) accounts and such.

I started out a compulsive saver. When I was in my twenties, I lived on half my income because I was dead-set on buying a house in the Bay Area (no small feat). Eventually I learned I had to loosen up; it was too much. I was unhappy always checking prices and worrying. You have to have fun once in a while when you are saving long-term. But it set me up for some good habits later on, like going to thrift stores and things like that.

What is something you do that is typically frugal?

I still roll coins and take them to the bank. I feel like a little kid when I do that but I still do it anyway. At least I don’t still have that pink plastic coin sorting machine I got for Christmas when I was eight.

What is something you do that is unusual?

I think the strangest thing my husband and I did to save money was to groom the dogs. They looked like they had been mowed. I think most people can relate to a frugal idea gone bad. I still get comments about it on my blog.

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

My mother made an interesting observation about me. She said, “You don’t make much money, but you always seem to be able to go to the ballet.” She’s right; I’m willing to skimp here if it means I can spend on something that I truly enjoy or that has meaning or really lasts. That’s the definition of a “rich” life to me. I want to be able to keep doing that the rest of my life: making small concessions for bigger choices and eventually I would like to be able to give away my little riches altogether.


1 Michael Crosby March 4, 2010

Thank you Barbara. I always like to read other perspectives on being frugal.

Like you, I can spend money on what’s important to me, but be miserly in other ways. I buy pants at Nordstrom’s while at the same time I don’t use kleenex. I always have a hanky in my pocket. I reuse dental floss too. Haven’t had to buy toothpicks in years.

There’s other things I do that are frugal, it’s just not for public consumption.

2 Simple in France March 4, 2010

“You don’t earn much money, but you always seem to be able to go to the ballet.” I love that. I think that spending money on what you really want to is a great thing.
.-= Simple in France´s last blog ..6 ways to keep a job you hate from ruining your life! =-.

3 Roshawn @ Watson Inc March 4, 2010

Spending money on something that has value to you (i.e. ballet) is a part of frugality. Frugality is not cheapness.
.-= Roshawn @ Watson Inc´s last blog ..Uncommon Money News (Vol. 87) =-.

4 Random Thoughts of a March 4, 2010

I enjoyed reading the interview!

I wouldn't buy an expensive purse but would spend on Broadway tickets once in a while. It all depends on not wasting money on things you don't care about.
.-= Random Thoughts of a Jersey Mom´s last blog ..The Block of Wood Won the Race =-.

5 Tina March 5, 2010

We all have our priorities and this is a great reminder to not judge where others spend their money. I'm sure it is difficult for my neighbor to understand why we drive old cars but have a big screen television, just as it is difficult for me to comprehend why they go out to expensive dinners but have no decorations in their home. A great byproduct of being frugal is being able to fund personal priorities!
.-= Tina´s last blog ..Paper Towel Alternative =-.

6 Shaun McGowan March 6, 2010

If you’ve made a personal balance sheet then you know what you own and what you owe. And if you’re saving up the money, figure out where to put it.

7 Lamb March 7, 2010

I enjoyed this interview. I roll coins to take to the bank too. My husband told me he was just going to take his loose change to the CoinStar machine and I just about fell over!
Why does he have all that loose change anyway? :p

Lamb’s Most Recent Post: Who Are These People?!
.-= Lamb´s last blog ..Jack Russells Are The Best Dogs =-.

8 Emily March 7, 2010

Awesome! I love that she rolls her own coins! My sister, who is “struggling financially”, is always running for the CoinStar machine…while I stand by, rolling my eyes. 🙂
.-= Emily´s last blog ..Recipe of the Week – Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Whole Wheat Bread =-.

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