Living a frugal life is a fitting way to describe our family. We’ve been frugal since the early days of our marriage.
In many ways we’ve mastered the art of frugal living. Over the years I’ve couponed, shopped clearance racks, consignment sales, yard sales and thrift stores. I’ve rarely purchased boxed or convenience foods, preferring to cook from scratch, have made many of our own beauty products, our laundry detergent and use very few disposable products, preferring reusables (cloth napkins, rags, diapers, etc.)
In our early days of marriage, we wanted to avoid debt. We were committed to living within the income we had. We saved quite a bit for a house downpayment but we also enjoyed consuming. Now, we weren’t able to go buy the latest and greatest or pay full retail for the things we wanted so we consumed frugally. (One of our favorite activities was browsing the local Goodwill.) We weren’t exactly consumeristic but we did enjoy shopping and bought things just because we liked them and not because they were needed.
Now, we’re still frugal. As a family of five living on one income while trying to pay our home off early, frugality is a necessity. We enjoy stretching our dollars as far as they’ll go. However, the focus of our frugality is not so we can consume as much as we possibly can on as little as we can. The focus of our frugality is to live contentedly on the income we have, focusing on our needs and not so much on our wants.
Many of the frugal things we do now are not simply to save money, we do them for environmental reasons. Saving money is just a bonus!
I try to buy as many things as possible used to avoid buying new products that require new resources to produce. I cook from scratch to avoid the excess packaging that comes with convenience foods. We have cloth diapered our babies because each diaper was used over and over (many of them on all 3 of our babies) and they are not sitting in a landfill after one single use like a disposable diaper. I have reusable menstrual products (DivaCup and cloth pantyliners/pads) to avoid single use disposables (and as a bonus they’re so much more comfortable!)
We live on a planet with finite resources. Many Americans give little thought to the fact that each thing they consume and each single use disposable item that gets ‘thrown away’ is using resources and destroying our planet.
We’ve been having conversations with our kids about landfills, how there is no ‘away’ when you throw things away and how cheaply constructed toys and items break quickly and are a waste of resources as well as money.
We’ve been working on reducing our waste by buying less, trying to avoid items with excess packaging (I saw single bell peppers at the grocery store wrapped in plastic!?!), recycling and reusing things we can.
We’ve been only buying things we need (we keep a running needs list) and we’re not shopping as a leisure activity (even when thrifting, I go with a list).
We’re focusing more on needs than wants and as a result, we’re living more frugally than ever.
Related post: 10 Ways to Change Consumption Habits
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