Way back in the day when I first started writing Almost Frugal, I wrote two posts called 25 Frugal Things I Do and 25 More Frugal Things I Do. Since writing those posts, which were published in January and October 2008 respectively, a few things have changed. I thought it would be fun to take a look back and see what’s changed. I’ve crossed out what I no longer do, and bolded what I continue to do. Let’s see how the list holds up…
- I breastfeed. Not anymore! I weaned my daughter about 6 months ago. But I still think that this is one of the most frugal things you can do with a baby, if it’s something you want to do.
- I use cloth diapers… most of the time. I buy them used, and sell them after the baby’s outgrown them. This one got to be too much for me, what with three kids and going back to school and all. While I had used cloth pretty much all the time for babies one and two, I stopped using cloth with my third when she was about 6 months old. I did sell them to a friend though, so was able to recuperate my start-up costs.
- I use a dishwasher, using less soap and water than washing dishes by hand. Yes! Still do.
- I double the recipe whenever I cook, so that I can just dig in the freezer for something to reheat on those days when I’m not at all inspired! While I don’t do this 100% of the time, I do still do it on a regular basis- most of the leftovers get used for lunches.
- I line dry my clothes. Yes and no. We have a dryer now (hallelujah!), but I line dry the fragile stuff and most of my clothes, so that they last longer.
- I have two ‘no driving’ days a week, where I don’t drive my car, thus saving money on gas. Yes. I try to even make it three days a week, but I do my best not to drive my car on Wednesdays and Sundays.
- I have two ‘no shopping’ days a week, where I don’t buy anything. Yup, same as above. I try not to buy anything, including gas, groceries, lunch and what have you on at least two days a week. More often than not it’s four or five days a week…and I don’t make up for it the other days, if that’s what you were thinking!
- I grocery shop three times a month, not four. Even though I buy to cover ten days of meals, I reduce my impulse buys by 1/4. Sometimes I only shop twice a month. Not so much. Now that my kids eat more, we have to shop once a week- the fridge can’t hold enough food otherwise! (I’m scared for when they’re teenagers…)
- I only shop on Thursdays. My grocery store gives â‚¬5 in store credit for every â‚¬50 spent- on Thursdays. I wrote this when I was on maternity leave. Now that I work four days a week, it’s just not possible.
- I only buy used clothes for my kids and I sell the used baby clothes back to the consignment store. Mostly true. I wait till the stuff is on sale, and then I buy it new, if it’s something they really need. But we get a lot of hand me downs (and pass them on in turn) so I don’t have to do a lot of shopping for the kids.
- I try to only buy used clothes for myself. The thrift stores here suck when it comes to used clothes for grown-ups. So I shop a lot at H&M and wait for things like jeans for when I’m in the US and can go to Goodwill.
- I don’t always succeed however, so when I do buy new, it’s on sale. Still true.
- I sell my old DVDs, books, games, puzzles… anything that’s not nailed down basically. I use Ebay, consignment shops or used record stores. Yes, although I’ve mostly run out of stuff to sell!
- I use CFLs. Yes and no. I love how long they last, but I hate the quality of light. Luckily, in this apartment we get a lot of good natural light, so it’s easier to bear with the CFLs.
- I read PF blogs- they’re full of great ideas, and they help keep me motivated. I read a lot fewer now. I’ve been trying to spend less time online…and what time I do spend online is often spent producing content, not consuming it.
- I write this blog: it keeps me motivated, and accountable, and saves me from whining about my finances to my friends, who, if the whining kept up, weren’t going to stay my friends much longer! So, so true. Although most of my friends read Almost Frugal now, so it’s still like whining to them!
- I don’t have expensive hobbies. I read, sew, do needlepoint, and take Chinese lessons. But honestly, with three small kids, who has time for hobbies? Again, true. The Chinese lessons didn’t last long, but my hobbies are still quite frugal.
- We live in a small house. No, thank goodness! But our bills are still quite low, because the apartment is quite well insulated and we have shared heat and water with the rest of the building.
- All my bills are on automatic bill pay, which means I never pay late fees. Still true.
- We have free satellite TV- we don’t pay for any of our channels. Of course we don’t have very many! Still true. And we almost never watch TV.
- I use the library, and when I see a book I want in the bookstore, I write it down and post it in my Amazon wish list. I almost never buy anything from there, but every once in a while someone will buy a gift from it. Still true, and I also use BookMooch now- whenever I see a book I want, I put it on my BookMooch wishlist and it eventually pops up.
- When I want to buy something, I write down the reason why I can’t. Example from yesterday: ‘I can’t spend â‚¬300 on clothes because I have to pay to fix the doors.’ I don’t really do this anymore, but I do wait to buy things. I almost never buy something the first time I see it.
- I meal plan, but not obsessively and we eat a lot of vegetarian meals. Still true.
- I check my bank balance every day. I check it about once a week now.
- I keep a budget, and I know where every penny of my money goes… good or bad. Yes and no. I still keep a budget, but now that there’s more breathing room (including savings), I’m less compulsive about record keeping…which is again, a good and bad thing!
The second set will be coming on Thursday!
If you had to compare your frugal self today, with your frugal self from a few years ago, how would things have changed?