Friday, October 14, 2011

My Job: The Frugal Lifestyle

fru·gal [froo-guhl]

1. economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful
2. entaliling little expense; requiring few resources; meager; scanty

Frugal is not just an adjective that describes us but it has become a way of life. It is a lifestyle that we have chosen to live out in our marriage. It is a lifestyle that has not always been easy for me to live.

Growing up living a frugal lifestyle had always been a part of our family household. I grew up with two relatively frugal parents especially my father. Growing up we never had many expensive things. If we did they were purchased as the fad was just starting to fade, when they were on sale or had to last several months (if not years) so that they could be handed down to the next sister or even other family members. We would often get one shot at some latest fad or craze but if it was lost or broken then it was not going to be replaced.

As an adult, the frugal lifestyle was a difficult one to embrace. Once I was in college, I fell prey to a few credit card offers. I fell into the trap of "I want and I want it now." I had not learned the dangers of credit cards since neither of my parents used them very much. I would walk by several displays all over campus and was an easy target for anyone offering a credit card. Some I would get in the mail and cancel right away but a couple I kept and used it to purchase the things I wanted without delving into my monthly allowance given to me by my parents. I thought I was living the life. I had the things I needed and the things I wanted. What could have been better?

After I graduated college, I tried hard to get myself out of the hole I had dug during my college hay days. I did  not have very much luck. I became overwhelmed and often wondered if I ever was going to get out of the mess I had created. I had not been as bad off as most people tend to get but I was in my own mess and I did not know how to get myself out of it. I could not figure out how to stay afloat and make headway on the mess I had already created. I tried to go back to the frugal lifestyle I had known as a child but it was hard to go back after having the things I wanted. I did not really dig myself much deeper but the hole I had already created was not getting any smaller. I found myself stuck in it until I could find a way out.

The way out came shortly before we got married. About six months before we got married, Kris and I decided it was time to come face to face with the mess I had created. I was afraid to even tell him how big of a mess it was but honestly I had not really taken a good look at it as I was too afraid to see how big it might have grown. Once I started to uncover the mess, I realized that the elephant was not as big as I thought it to be. So we tackled it one bill at a time. Slowly we paid off old bills and I started to relearn the frugal lifestyle which I had once been so familiar. We began the steps necessary to begin our own journey together into the frugal lifestyle.

The frugal lifestyle has now been our way of life throughout our entire marriage. It was a slow start learning how to manage our finances and take control of our budget but we have been getting better over time. A big help in encouraging our frugal lifestyle was taking Dave Ramsey's course Financial Peace University at our Church. We have learned budgeting skills that have become invaluable tools in our marriage. We embraced a cash only policy when we do our shopping whether it is to buy clothes, groceries or gas. We use coupons and take advantage of sales at the grocery store to reduce our grocery budget. We enjoy inexpensive date nights by going to the dollar theater and using coupons to enjoy a nice meal out. We combine coupons and good sales with our gift cards to stretch our gifted dollars.

Recently one of our favorite coupon savings websites Southern Savers was live streaming a coupon savings video as part of Save Up conference. I am always very encouraged to hear stories from other Moms, Dads, and families who save money and live a frugal lifestyle.

Here are some quotes and tips I leaned while watching the video:


- Embrace the frugal lifestyle.

- Save where you can so you can live like you want.

- Be smart with your funds so you can live the lifestyle you choose.

- Frugal does not make you noble but careful and grateful.

- There is a difference between poverty and proverty of spirit.

- Save on what you need so you can spend on what you want.

- Being frugal means you can live a better life on a budget.


- Sales rotate every 6-10 weeks. Buy 6 weeks worth of what is on sale and 1 week of what you need (not on sale) After about 6 weeks, you what you need list will not be as long and your pantry/fridge (stockpile) will be your "grocery store."

- Know where your money is going and find where you can save money even if it means going extreme.

- Be focused and organized. Forecast for the things you know you're going to spend money on.

We are proud to live a frugal lifestyle in order to provide for our future and family. We are not there yet but we can certainly see a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you so much to my wonderful husband for introducing me to this lifestyle. I could not have done it without you.

You can watch more savings tips on or follow Southern Savers on

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