How to Choose Your Frugal - Part 1

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A couple nights ago we were watching the movie "100 Foot Journey".

In the movie, one of the main characters, Papa, is accused of being poor because he asked for a discount at the hotel his family was staying in. His response, "Madame, asking for a discount doesn't mean I'm poor. It means I'm thrifty."

I love this line because it demonstrates so well how to really make a dent in your spending.

You need to "choose your frugal".

 You need to know where you are willing to spend money to enrich your life and where you can save or not spend at all to live within your means.

I find wealthy people fascinating. I am not talking about the guy who won the lottery and has millions to spend. I mean the people who started with nothing, worked very hard and now are wealthy.

Despite having millions in investments and savings, wealthy people still "choose their frugal" everyday.

So what does "choose your frugal" actually mean?

This is a phrase I coined to summarize when I am willing to forgo comfort, and time, to save money.

For example: I use coupons to buy items like shampoos, body wash, toothpaste, laundry soap and razors. I am not very picky about which products I get for free or almost free, because in the end I don't find a huge difference between Tide or Purex.

There are other areas of our budget, where I do get picky. Haircuts are an area that I don't chose frugal. My son and I both have thick, curly hair and at the hands of the wrong hairdresser, it can be a disaster!

I also believe that good hair days start with a good cut. I want my kids to feel confident that they look their best everyday, not like mom got cheap and cut their hair in the kitchen.

Now, that's not to say that everyone who cuts their hair at home looks weird! I just chose to have the professionals cut our hair and I don't mind paying for it.

I have smart friends who also choose their frugal. I have a friend who just spent $150 on a pair of comfortable (and cute!) dress shoes for work.

Sounds like a lot, but they are classic shoes that she will wear at least twice a week for the next 5 or more years.

If you look at her monthly budget, you will see her family NEVER goes out to eat. With 3 kids it wouldn't take much to spend $150 on a few meals out. 

So you want to save more of your hard earned money but feel you have chosen as much frugal as you can. Let me give you some ideas:

1) Can you switch over to any cheaper brands of products that you buy or start making more at home from scratch?

2) Could you start to use coupons? You can find them in stores, print them online or use coupon apps.

3) Could you use Groupon for all dining out excursions?

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4) Is it possible to switch out some of your fresh produce in the winter for frozen, which is a lot cheaper?

5) Would making a simple meal plan on Sundays, help you avoid the drive thru and last minute grocery stops?

6) Would it be worth your time to call your internet/satellite/cell phone provider and negotiate a cheaper rate or eliminate some channels you never watch?

7) Are your kids now teenagers and able to work a part time job and take over their own entertainment/clothing expenses?

8) Are you giving your kids money for lunches at school everyday? How about giving them a set amount once a week or month and when they spend it all, they start packing their own lunches?

9) Are you still buying a latte, snack or lunch out everyday? How can you plan better to make sure you have snacks/meals with you?

10) Do your kids dictate what you buy in the grocery store? Are they old enough to understand that parents decide how to spend the grocery budget?

These ideas all come with a small sacrifice of time and effort on your part. Where are you willing to "choose your frugal"?

Part Two - 5 Areas Where We Chose Frugal