My mother can attest to my insistance on getting a deal. I absolutely hate to pay full price for anything. And when I heard the word “frugal”, I knew it was a word I could stake my name on. I refuse to pay full price for anything (unless that price is FREE!). I will go out of my way to be sure I get the best bang for my buck.
For me, it started when I came upon a wonderful forum called Frugal Village. This is where I set up camp for years. I spent so much time listening to the wisdom of others on this forum, and giving my own thoughts and experiences. If you’re just beginning your journey through the frugal world, I highly reccomend this forum. I wouldn’t be where I am without the kind ladies and gentlemen of Frugal Village.
This is also where I heard about Amy Dacyczyn, and The Tightwad Gazette. Another early staple in my frugal arsenol, I got a copy of Amy’s complete book (two actually! I found another at a yard sale) and read it. No, that’s not true. I devoured it. No, that’s not even enough — I absorbed it through osmosis. Literally, I have read that book backwards and forwards, inside and out. If my memory wasn’t so bad, I’m sure I’d have memorized it by now. Amy is beyond brilliant, and my favorite of all frugal gurus. The Complete Tightwad Gazette became my frugalite bible. I took it with me everywhere, reading it whenever I had a chance.
Years later, I lived in apartment building that had a little rack in the lobby where the mailperson left stacks of flyers, along with coupon inserts. I discovered the magic of couponing, and eagerly started clipping and stockpiling. I had a wall of peanut butter, boxes of pasta, and bags and bags of cat food. At the time I was living with a young man (this was before I returned to the Church) and we were able to pare our grocery budget down to $80… a month (and those are 2007 dollars!). Through deal scavenging, couponing, stockpiling and creative cooking, we were able to live off of less than $0.33 per day. And we weren’t eating junk either! He was a chef and I was adept in the kitchen, and by the end of it, we were eating good meals with lots of variety.
Unfortunately, when our relationship ended, so did a lot of our lifestyle. I was in school, working a part-time job, and didn’t have the time, money or resources to continue stockpiling and couponing. I couldn’t afford to stockpile, I couldn’t afford to coupon. Heck, I couldn’t afford to buy food — every cent I made went into my gas tank so I could get back and forth to school and work. It was a desperate time for me, and one I have long regarded as the worst nine months of my life.
Photo Source: Ian Westcott
With that desperation also came a mountain of debt, which I am still climbing. Between my school debt, the credit card debt that I acquired trying to keep my head above water, and those little unpleasant hiccups that occur when you’re strapped for cash (like the battery of your car dying and having to pay for a tow truck to drag your car 3 minutes down the road), I wasn’t in the financial situation I once was.
But all that is many years behind me. I am again regaining my drive and passion for the frugal, thrifty life. I am leafing through The Tightwad Gazette with fond memories. I am lining my cupboards with healthy foods I find on a deal. I tote around a stylish bag that contains my two coupon binders, and I surf the web looking for deals and learning more about being wise and experienced with my finances.
Photo Credit: Lisa Murray
I have been through some of the darkest — and most expensive — periods of life. I have been married. I have been divorced. I have been hired. I have been unemployed. I have been sheltered. I have been homeless. It has taken me a long time to reach where I am, and I will continue to do everything in my power to not only survive, but thrive, on what God has generously given me.
My goal is to provide a healthy home for my husband and daughter. I look to frugal living, couponing, simple living, minimalism, and thriftiness to get me there. And I know that you, too, want that for yourselves, or else you wouldn’t be here.
So please, look around. Share my experiences. Tell me about yours. If you have a question, let me know! If you have an idea, share it! If you want to help out, submit a post! I am eager to hear all you have to say.