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 Garrett Ball from Secure Medicare Solutions.
What does frugality mean to you?
Frugality is certainly a way of life. To truly be successful with it, you must let it seep into all, or at least most, aspects of your way of life. To me, it means having a financial plan and goal in mind, not just casting about aimlessly on a whim. The world tells us we should get what we want when we want it, but to be frugal, you must fight those urges and stick to a concrete goal or plan.
What is something that you do that is ‘typically’ frugally?
The thing that I consider typically frugal that we do is budget. We have a set plan every month and watch it vigorously. I know every dollar that goes out and every dollar that comes in to the point that our budget is itemized very precisely.
What is something frugal that you do that is unusual?
This has probably surpassed frugality and moved into downright cheapness, but my family reuses holiday greeting cards. We can get a few uses out of one card. Sometimes, what starts as a large foldout card ends up being the size of an index card with “Happy Holidays” and our name on it. First, the recycling is simple. We just cut one card into two cards and send out both. One has a lovely picture on the front; the other has a message and no picture. I wouldn’t use this “frugal” trick on just anyone but it works great when sending holiday cards or birthday cards to family and close friends. They probably think we are crazy – maybe we are! And one more bonus thing that is both frugal and unusual – I am a relentless shaker of the printer cartridges. If you don’t know this, you can get many, many more prints out of a cartridge even after the computer/printer says it is out of ink. So, you just take it out, shake it vigorously, and put it back in. Then, print away. Computer says it is out of ink again, repeat the process, until you finally just cannot get one more print out of it.
What are some of your longterm goals that being frugal will help you to accomplish?
It is my hope that being frugal will allow my wife and I to leave a legacy for our children, not necessarily monetarily but more like a legacy of saving and conscientious spending. On a more personal note, I believe and hope that my family’s frugality will allow us the freedom to stop working at age 55 and do a lot of traveling.
About the Author
Garrett Ball is the owner of Secure Medicare Solutions and Medicare-Supplement-Comparison.com, two websites devoted to educating seniors about the complex and convoluted world of Medicare and assisting them in saving money on their Medicare Supplement insurance. His site offers practical advice, information and Medicare Supplement quotes.