First of all, I want to thank everyone for making me feel welcome here at Almost Frugal. I’m really enjoying being part of such a great, supportive community.
I realize that I haven’t properly introduced myself and how I fit into the AF picture, so I’ll give you a little background. I come from a solid middle-class family, although we were definitely on the lower end of the scale when I was younger. We always made do with what we had and my parents made a good life for themselves thanks in large part to a strong work ethic.
Fast forward to high school. We moved around a lot with my father’s job, and just before I started ninth grade we moved to a wealthy suburb of our capital city. The kids I hung around with wore name-brand clothes, drove nice cars, and lived in huge, newer houses. Most importantly, they spent money as a way to pass the time. I wasn’t really happy in this environment, but it took me a long time to understand why, years of working part-time jobs after school to try and pay for outfits from the Gap and dinners out with friends.
I was lucky enough to figure out that what I was missing was something real–not something that could be bought–and to find friends who felt the same way. Part of that was just growing up, getting out of the high school mentality, and part of it was discovering that appreciating simple things was key to living a simple life. Which doesn’t mean that I don’t love window (and catalogue, and online) shopping as much as the next person–just that for me, I get as much or more pleasure from looking as I do from buying.
I’m lucky to have a husband who is even less materialistic than I am, and we have a very common sense approach to our finances. With the exception of our apartment, we don’t own anything that we didn’t have the money in the bank to buy outright. Although I have a small salary we usually manage to save a bit every month. So what makes me ‘almost’ frugal? My biggest challenge is fighting the battle of the “stuff” (especially in a teeny-tiny home) and learning to be very deliberate about what I spend my money on. I also tend to spend too much money on both food and small-purchase items.
I think another of my financial flaws is being too conservative. I don’t like taking risks in any way, especially with money, and I need to think more creatively about income. The fact is that although I enjoy my job, it involves lots of hours of work for very little return, which is not helping us to try and build up our retirement savings, of which we have next to none.
So that’s a bit about me. I look forward to sharing more with you on our frugal journey!