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 Gabrielle from The Green Gal.
What does frugality mean to you?
I think the word frugal has connotations of a mean, harsh way of living with no fun! I don’t think I would automatically think I’m frugal but if I think about it, aspects of my life are definitely frugal. To me, it means thinking a bit more about how you spend your money and get the most for your money. I like the challenge of how to make money stretch further, it can make you quite creative and inventive. I’ve tried new experiences and learnt new skills since thinking frugally too.
Being frugal is something of a necessity to live the life I want to. I recently changed my working hours to part-time so that I can spend more time working on crafts and writing on green issues. So a reduced income requires me to be a bit more thoughtful about how and where I spend money.
Also by being careful with your money, you’re more likely to be careful with your impact on the planet – buying secondhand, saving water and energy, growing your own veg etc. – it’s all environmentally-friendly as well as wallet-friendly.
What is something that you do that is ‘typically’ frugal?
Shopping in charity shops and secondhand stores. I go there for everything – clothes to wear, clothes to use as fabric for home furnishings and crafts, household items, toys, furniture, the lot! Other things I do I think are ‘typical’ but perhaps in an older generation’s view rather than my own. For example, when I buy a new bottle of washing-up liquid I decant half of it into the old bottle and fill both of them with water, making a bottle go twice as far. I think that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do but I’m not sure my friends agree!
What is something frugal that you do that is unusual?
Probably making my own skincare. Once you’ve got the ingredients it’s quite easy and sooooo much cheaper than bought lotions. Lip balm and eye make-up remover are particularly easy to make and there’s the bonus you know exactly what you are putting on your skin. I also make things like cushion covers from old shirts and pyjama bottoms.
What are some of the long term goals that being frugal will help you to accomplish?
We want to remain debt-free, mortgage aside, so being frugal is quite crucial to sticking to that plan! I hope to start selling crafted items soon and it’s only by being frugal that I can work part-time and so have the time to craft. There aren’t any other big goals, just a desire to tread a little more lightly on the planet and to be a little more self-sufficient.
Gabrielle Utton is the green gal and she lives in a little village in Surrey with her husband and dog. She works part-time as deputy editor at children’s newspaper First News and when she’s not in the office she’s at home writing on green issues, crafting, growing vegetables, and trying to live more sustainably.