This is What Frugal Looks Like: PathAcross

by This Is Frugal · 6 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 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 cliché, but it’s a cliché 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.

About Lauren:

Lauren is a Northern Californian transplanted in a small Colorado suburb.  She works on the new website, 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.


1 Random Thoughts of a Jersey Mom April 1, 2010

Thank you for sharing. The fullness of life really has nothing to do with the stuff one accumulates. =) After making my bucket list, I found that I didn’t list one single “object” I want to own. Instead, the list comprises of things I want to achieve and experience.
.-= Random Thoughts of a Jersey Mom´s last blog ..Check Out Your Local College Theater =-.

2 Michael Crosby April 1, 2010

Hi Kelly. Inspiring post.

I do something that is frugal but I’m not sure if I should share with the public.

In fact, I won’t. Only to say there are lots of ways to be frugal.

My wife had dinner with a friend last night. The friend said her and her husband have no savings. They are reaching their 50s. I was dumbfounded by that because they drive an expensive new car, go to nice restaurants and do lots of activities where they spend money.

3 Kelly April 2, 2010

Mike, now you know we’re dying to know what it is! (Just kidding-sort of. Don’t share unless you really want to!)

4 Lauren April 1, 2010

Jerseymom and Michael, thanks for your comments 🙂

Michael, I would not feel comfortable being 50 and having no savings. Hopefully they have some sort of 401(k) or something.. I’m only 24 but one of the huge reasons I stay frugal is so that when I’m older there is something to live on. That should be a major concern of anyone in my age bracket.

5 dj April 5, 2010

Frugal is being aware of what and why we are purchasing something. It is respecting ourselves, family, and environment. It is being aware of who we are. Quality, not quantity.

I find it helpful if I ask myself:
– How long did I have to work for it. Don’t measure stuff by money, but in time.
– Is it a need or want.
– Did I do my homework on the product and the company.
– Is there an alternative. Brands don’t mean as much today.
– Can I wait. Like dieting, if you wait, often the urge to splurge goes away.
– Did I wait. Will it be on sale tomorrow.
– How was the product made, by who, and what is the life cycle of the product.
– Is this an infomercial. Run!

There’s a term for overspending:
Affluenza –

I wish we didn’t have to own a car. You are right about the expense – regular maintenance, repairs, and insurance. I cook at home. We never waste food. I buy on sale, and freeze. I mostly shop in the outside aisles, and don’t buy pre-packaged. I keep track of all expenses, and I review every receipt. I have a list of foods and things we buy, and their prices. I look for sales. I don’t have a wondering eye when I shop. I am susceptible to marketing gimmicks and poor quality food (salt,sugar..), etc. I know this about myself, so I avoid them like the plague. If we take better care of ourselves today, with better quality food, vitamins, exercise, our future healthcare will be less, and the quality of our lives will be improved. I make most of our own cleaners. I wash in cold water, and they are full loads. We actually tried to find a smaller house. Just think of the expenses on a larger house: higher property taxes, insurance, maintenance and up keep. We use up, and reuse. There’s great pride in the ability to fix things. When I do make larger purchases they are spread out, so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. My husband knows a nice picnic, walk, bike ride, frisbee throwing, and time together is better than jewelry, candy, or flowers 🙂

6 Lauren April 5, 2010

Thanks for reading and commenting. It’s really not easy having no car.. especially in the ‘burbs. While it cuts down considerably on expenses, it eats up so much time riding bikes to the grocery store. It takes 1.5 hours by bus to get to the next city over.. and it’s only 20 miles away. Carlessness is not something I’d recommend to anyone unless you lived in a city with great public transportation.

May your frugal endeavors be second nature.

Previous post:

Next post: