A couple of years ago, I said I was frugal before frugal was cool. If you read that post, you might detect a tone of irritation. I was bothered that I had been working hard to pinch pennies long before Extreme Couponing and the likes ever hit the scene. In fact, truth be told, I don’t think Extreme Couponing is very frugal at all…most of that stuff they don’t NEED, and in my mind frugality only happens when you get things you NEED.
A few years ago, I sat near a woman at a workshop only to find out through idle chit-chat that she was what I would consider an extreme couponer. She had no babies, yet bought scads of diapers on sale. She would grab up tons of cleaners and shampoos and makeup and processed food for free in order to keep them stockpiled in her basement.
She was shocked that I didn’t use coupons more often than I do. I was shocked she was okay with stripping the store shelves of items she didn’t need.
A pantry lined with Febreeze and 409 isn’t going to feed my family. And I have no need for high dollar electronic Christmas presents for every member of my family…no matter how reduced they may be.
Call me practical, but I don’t get a rush out of buying a ton of stuff I don’t need. That’s not frugal, folks.
Back in the late 1800’s a woman named Lydia Child wrote a book called The American Frugal Housewife:
In this book, she admonishes the ladies of her day to stop thinking that being frugal wasn’t necessary, but she doesn’t go on to tell them how to save money in impractical ways. She gives sound advice for REAL savings.
So, I would encourage you to look for REAL and PRACTICAL ways you can save money in your household. Don’t look at areas that aren’t necessary. A stockpiled pantry isn’t a sign of frugality unless the items in that pantry can feed your family with some semblance of nutrition for several weeks or months. A new jacket you paid a few dollars for isn’t a savings unless you needed the jacket. A deep discount isn’t a discount at all if you would have been fine without it.
So, think before you collect because frugal is useful and helpful and necessary.
Here’s a site that has proven itself to be quite useful. Jamerrill is a good friend of mine and her advice is always practical.
And if you homeschool, she also has a free ebook you can snag on homeschooling on the cheap: