Frugality is a core tenet of who I am.
While growing up
It’s no secret that our life experiences shape who we become.
Growing up, my family experienced a roller coaster of prosperity. At various points in my childhood my parents did really well financially. At other points they really struggled.
Throughout my youth, despite whether we were doing well financially or not, my mother always did what she could to be frugal. She’d use coupons. She’d shop at multiple stores to get items at the most optimal price. She’d shop at thrift stores, and discount stores. She was the queen of garage sales and regularly found amazing bargains.
From this, I learned not only the role that money plays in family dynamics, but also the reality that it’s possible to get by just fine on very little. My worldview, and my approach to money were inevitably shaped by these events.
I’ll give you a few examples of how these experiences have shaped my spending habits to this day:
- I find it uncomfortable to eat at expensive restaurants, even when someone else is paying.
- From memory, I can tell you what you can order at pretty much any restaurant to get the best bang for your buck.
- I have no qualms about eating at McDonalds. It’s laughable to me how many adults see this as beneath them. To my point above, if you order the chicken nugget happy meal, and add a cheeseburger on the side, you get 1) Nuggets with dipping sauce, 2) Fries, 3) A drink, 4) Apples, 5) A cheeseburger, 6) and a silly toy to bring home for the kiddos all for under $5!
- I buy my jeans from Old Navy, but only when they have their buy one get one free sales.
- We make most of our own meals
- I drive a 2005 Volvo. When that dies, I’ll pay cash for another older car.
- A couple months ago a fellow ran into my car in the parking lot. There’s cosmetic damage to the driver side door, and there’s even a tiny little gap at the top of the door now where when you’re on the freeway, you can hear air coming in, but I refused to get insurance involved. I’d rather just drive with a damaged door than do that to someone – even when it was their fault.
- When I fly for work, I park in the much less convenient, much farther away parking garage to save the additional $6 per day that I’d pay if I parked right next to the terminal.
I could probably go on and on, but I think you get the point.
Call me cheap, call me silly, but I’m naturally frugal to the core. Always have been and I’m proud to say that I always will be.