Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Frugal is the New Black

Money--making it, spending it, (not) saving it--is a hot topic amongst the newlywed set.

Matt and I are lucky, in that we agree on the goal of *living slightly below our means*. We don't want to deprive ourselves of the the fruits of our labors (i.e. we work hard and feel justified spending some of our money on indulgences), but we also don't want to feel stretched paying our bills at the end of the month.

We like thinking of ourselves as frugal.

Recently, John & Sherry at Young House Love posted an amazing commentary by John's dad about being frugal, in which he said: too often frugality is incorrectly viewed as “giving up,” when the real point of frugality is “getting what you really really want.” Many times I think the main point of frugality isn’t in “not buying;” the main point of frugality- and perhaps life- is to recognize what brings you the greatest rewards and to go enthusiastically for those things.


Matt and I don't mind being 'cheap' about some things (okay, many things) if that allows us to get the things we really want. Making a big purchase still hurts a little, but the sting of spending is lessened by knowing that we can afford our big purchase thanks to our savings in other areas.

[Also, please don't think that being frugal means we don't want all kinds of things--trust me, I want Everything (what can I say...I'm really susceptible to mass marketing)--but knowing what we really, really want makes it easier to say no to the things we only sort-of want.]

How Do We Do Frugality?
-I wear my natural haircolor (but you can bet I'm sure-as-heck getting highlights when I'm an attending in 6-8 years)
-We make lunches from scratch on Sunday and carry them to work every day
-We eat almost all of our meals at home, and when we do go out, we try to do brunch or's cheaper
-Cooking vegetarian is cheap (as well as tasty)
-We work hard to eat the food we buy before it spoils (this sometimes leads to some really creative meals)
-We sell and buy on Craigslist...get money for things you no longer need / find great deals on new(to you) stuff
-We forgo DVR and also Netflix...there's plenty to entertain us on regular cable and the Internet.
-Everyone you know has a SmartPhone? Well, I have a DumbPhone...and it works fine (I just got a new-used phone [hand-me down from Matt, whose work bought him a shiny new phone], and thought I'd hit the jackpot because it has speaker-phone)
-We don't drink that much (seriously...alcohol is expensive...and contributes unfavorably to that mid-twenties spare-tire we've been trying to avoid)
-We wear our clothes for A Long, they get turned down by GoodWill

What Are We Saving For?
-New car for JLlo
-Trip to Hawaii for friends' wedding
-Trip to Hong Kong
-Redoing our kitchen and bathrooms

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