The Limits of My Frugality

I love getting a great deal. I celebrate when I get items free by combining sale prices with coupons. I pat myself on the back when I combine a Children’s Place coupon with a clearance sale to buy my kids clothes for pennies on the dollar.

I don’t mind buying used. I was thrilled when I found a futon for our guest room on Craigslist. And I waited to buy a freezer until I found one on Craigslist, too. I frequent thrift stores for clothing purchases.

I also strive toward minimalism. I try not to buy something at all, if I think I can do without. I don’t like clutter, and I don’t feel I need every new-fangled gadget on the market. Yes, I’m a frugal person. But there are limits to my frugality.

Things I Refuse to Give Up in the Name of Being Frugal

1. Getting my hair cut. I know some frugal people out there successfully cut their own hair. I don’t dare. I tried to cut my daughter’s hair once, and it was a complete disaster. I can’t imagine what I’d do to my own hair! That said, I get a great deal on haircuts from a friend at church. The price is right, and the fellowship is great. Nope. I’m not gonna give it up.

2. Satellite TV. I suppose if push came to shove, and our budget demanded it, I’d give it up. But my family likes satellite TV. We don’t watch much on the regular networks, but my husband is a huge sports fan and watches ESPN a lot. I love HGTV and the Hallmark Channel (no groans from you guys, please). We rarely go to the movies or rent DVDs, so we feel OK about keeping the satellite TV.

3. The occasional frappucino. I’ve cut way back on my gourmet coffee consumption. Most of the time I make my own mochas or just have regular drip coffee at home. But I’ll admit when the weather gets hot, I love a good frappucino, and as of yet, I haven’t found a homemade recipe that tastes as good as the coffee drinks I get from Starbucks or Dutch Bros. So during the summer I allow myself a few frappucinos to satisfy my cravings.

4. Best Foods Mayonnaise. I like mayo, in moderation, of course. But I don’t like the taste of most mayonnaise. The only mayo I like is Best Foods (Hellmann’s for you East Coasters). Most of the time I don’t mind buying store brands or sale items. But if I’m out of mayo and I can’t find a good sale, I’ll pay full price for Best Foods.

5. Makeup. I know some women who don’t wear makeup, because they prefer the natural look and want to avoid the cost of makeup. I don’t always wear makeup around the house, but I usually put it on before going out. I just think I look much better with it on. I’m not loyal to one brand, though. I buy whatever is on sale.

6. School lunches for the kids. I could probably make them cheap, healthy lunches every day. But my kids are picky, and I’ve found that by making them eat school lunches, they’re more willing to try new foods at home. Must be something about the peer pressure at school. Whatever it is, I’m willing to pay for less picky kids!

7. An occasional splurge on a family outing. I love doing free things with my family, like going to the park or library. Every once in a while, we do something that is not very frugal, like hitting the Family Fun Center for a go-cart race or going to the county fair. I want my kids to understand and appreciate frugality, but I also want them to know that I care about things that they love to do, and that it’s OK to splurge on those you love once in a while…as long as it’s a planned expense and within the budget. I think it helps my kids know that they’re more important than saving money.

Now you know the limits of my frugality. What are yours? What do you refuse to give up in the name of being frugal?

Photo by kevin.

39 thoughts on “The Limits of My Frugality”

  1. with regards to what Sarah (from toddlers world) asked about quality cleanser… I would have to recommend Pevonia… Its expensive enough to make you balk at it, but you use such a small amount it works out to be quite cheap in the long run. its also cruelty free and preservative free and very very effective.
    you can probably order it online if you had a look.

  2. For me the point of being frugal is to avoid waste, and to save in the areas that are not important to you, so you can spend more on the areas that are. If you can’t occasionally splurge on something you or your family will enjoy, what’s the point in living?!

  3. Finding it hard to give up my daily Starbucks.
    I’m always in a rush in the morning and it really wakes me up and starts my day just right.
    Also, I won’t give up high quality vitamins – I think it’s important.

  4. Best Foods, yes!! It was the only mayo my mother would buy and now it’s the only mayo I’ll buy.

    Make-up: I can deal with the drugstore version of Lancome (which happens to be L’Oreal), but I ain’t doin’ without!

    Mighty fine post! :-)

  5. This post really made me think. I don’t do as good a job of living frugally as I’d like to, but green living is really important to me. It made me consider the things I do in my life that aren’t very green and why I continue to do them. Thanks for the inspiration. I feel a “confession” post coming.

  6. Yes, great post! It’s so important not to give up everything. You can compare it to dieting. If you don’t ever splurge and have a treat, you eventually hit your breaking point and binge on every piece of food in sight. I think the same stands true for being frugal.

    At least every two months, I need my own treat, whether it’s a manicure, pedicure or massage. But of course, it’s usually with a coupon when the local spa is running a special. Old habits die hard!

  7. I had to laugh. I always use Hellmanns but I finally broke down and bought the cheap stuff. I have to say it was really good. Who knew?

  8. Trips to the hair salon went a LONG time ago. I have to say that I am not giving up my yogurt. I but some greek stuff that is 2x the cost of the others but I refuse to eat anything else. It’s my one little pleasure in life and if I have to give every single thing up I think I’d go insane. Oh and high speed internet. I don’t have a home phone but I sure as heck won’t give up my internet connection.

  9. I have to have my brand of mayonnaise, Cains, too. I cut my and my husband and kids hair, but I have a basic cut. I satisfy any cravings to eat out with mystery shopping. And we have Netflix instead of cable. It’s still an expense, but I’ld rather pay $10 thar $60.

  10. I agree about the the haircuts and the coffee drinks. I do make my own drinks from time to time though. I freeze my leftover coffee in ice cubes trays and then store them in freezer bags. Use several coffee cubes in a glass and add french vanilla coffee creamer (about 1/3 of the glass or less). Add a squirt of chocolate syrup and top off the glass with coffee. It tastes more like the iced coffee from McDonalds than anything, but quite tasty.

  11. We’re frugal by force right now, but we have our limits too (cable is one of them). I used to feel bad about it, but it’s nice to know we’re in good company.

  12. I am with you haircuts. In fact, I just had one the most expensive. $50. I balked at first. Refused to pay that much. Then I realized: Almost all the places I go charge $40. What’s an extra $10? Well, it’s painful is what it is. But this woman did a fabulous job on my friend’s hair — a friend who has very similar hair to me. So I bit the bullet. And I’m thrilled with the result.

    Another item: The occasional date with my husband.

    As for makeup, I get that too. Unfortunately, I’ve always been pretty annoyed by most over the counter brands. So I invested a little money in Bare Minerals starter kit and starter kit for eyes. I don’t usually put on makeup except when I’m getting a little gussied up. So most of my makeup is nearly full still. And it feels so nice on your skin! I really love the stuff and so while I might not expand my collection, I am glad that I indulged a bit. It was a good investment.

  13. Oh forgot a cool one…..How many of you have good credit ratings, and are bold enough to open credit cards, spend some money (to live a life) on it, and get promotional points?

    I have opened and closed 22-23 cards in last 3 years. Each of the cards has given me a minimum of $40 cash (Exxon Mobil) to $300 (AMEX). Mostly, I get $100 to open a new card.

    How do you pass up such great deals in such bad economic times?

    How many of you have opened bank accounts, and gotten $25 to $300 for opening it? I have done it 7 times now, and gotten the money.

    Each of the bank and CC opening/closing is ‘measured’ in terms of Dollars per Hour. And, most of them return me $100 for approx 1.5 hours of work. That is a phenomenal $66.67 per hour. Of course, it is not for every hour I live and breathe, but it is worth doing 2 to 10 times per year, whenever one has time.

    For all the folks who are retired and stay at home, why NOT? Tell me one reason why you do NOT want to do it?

    Identity Theft? No way. Got to have to protection anyways. Get the alerting service even if you do NOT do the above.

    Why Open and Close? Well, why cut coupons instead of buying at regular prices? Why search for sales? Why stand in lines at the grocery store instead of 7-11? Why go to the Post Office (instead of having FedEx pick up at home)? All of that is time and, additional time spent translates to saving money.

    That is what my ‘frugal’ activity gives me……

    Hope this helps.



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