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 Lauren from PathAcross.
What does frugality mean to you?
Although I grew up in an extremely frugal household, I didn’t realize the term “frugal” applied until recently. It was normal for me to walk into the kitchen and witness my father inverting one almost-empty ketchup bottle over a new ketchup bottle to catch the final drops of ketchup. He always asked us to bring home our brown lunch bags from school so he could reuse them. My parents really weren’t consumers. We never once bought a new car. Even the microwave was given to us by someone who didn’t need it anymore. To me, remaining frugal is a tribute to my family’s values.
Being frugal also allows me to control one aspect of life – finances – in a world in which so many situations and circumstances are out of my hands. I can worry less about money and focus more on writing, working, and other things that bring happiness.
What is something that you do that is ‘typically’ frugal?
I never live beyond my means. Everything I buy is on sale, and I buy only what I need. At the grocery store I examine the price per ounce of each food item to determine the best deal. When making larger purchases I don’t grab the first thing I see at Best Buy (for example), but shop around and look for reviews of the product on YouTube and other consumer review websites. Also, I reuse plastic bags for the garbage, use a sponge instead of paper towels, and perform a litany of amazing frugal kitchen tricks.
What is something frugal that you do that is unusual?
Some of the frugal things I do are pretty unusual. My favorite is that I don’t own a car which saves hundreds of dollars on gasoline, fees, maintenance, smog checks, and so on. It’s funny because I have this big empty garage and there’s nothing but a bicycle in it. Also, I don’t have a washing machine or a dryer. Instead I have this hand-powered pressure washing machine that I bought online for $42 and hang everything out to dry. This saves a lot of money on the electric and water bills. I can get away with this setup because I don’t have a family to take care of, but it works really well for now!
What are some of your longterm goals that being frugal will help you to accomplish?
Saving money now will help me complete my further education goals and get me through those tough times as well. If I ever have a family, I hope to pass my frugal outlook along to future generations. Maybe it’s a clichÃ©, but it’s a clichÃ© that I live by: living simply and frugally teaches you that the fullness of life has very little to do with having a lot of stuff.
Lauren is a Northern Californian transplanted in a small Colorado suburb. She works on the new website pathacross.com, where she is busy blogging about topics of self reliance and hunting for great web resources and people. The blog discusses transportation, frugality, and the challenges of suburban life. She loves writing and animals.