Another Frugal Repeat for you… originally published February 14, 2008.
I am reading The Complete Tightwad Gazette, by Amy Dacyczyn, for the second time. This is a must have book for anyone trying to live a frugal lifestyle. The book is over 900 pages of frugal fun.
In the book, Dacyczyn writes about passive frugality. I have always thought about this but didn’t really have a name for it. Passive frugality is about what you are not doing in order to live frugally. Many people talk about the money they save on groceries, cars, insurance, etc… but they are only able to save money because they are spending it in the first place. For example a 2 for 1 dinner coupon is great if you can afford to pay for the one meal. But truly, you save more money by not eating out at all.
When my husband and I decided to get rid of our debt, we realized that sometimes it is the things that you don’t do, that can save you the most money. Here are some things we didn’t spend money on last year.
We didn’t involve our kids in expensive extra curricular activities. Sports, dance, art, gymnastics, music lessons and the like are very expensive. Fees start around 50 dollars a month and go up from there. I am not saying that any of these are bad choices, but if you are going into debt in order to
We didn’t go out to eat. We stopped all the little trips through the drive thru, just to save time. We planned ahead and either packed lunches or just toughed it out until we got home.
fund these things you might want to rethink your investment.
We didn’t make little trips to the store. We made a weekly shopping list and shopped once a week. Those little trips to Target, just to get diapers, added up to a couple of hundred dollars a month, because there was always something else that we had to have while we were there.
We didn’t go to the mall. My opinion is that going to the mall creates an appetite of consumerism in me and the kids. At the mall we are inundated with images of the latest styles that are presented to us in a way that make it hard to say no. We actually enjoy shopping at the thrift store and yard sales. We love the thrill of the hunt and calculating how much money we save.
We didn’t take a vacation. Even a cheap vacation is more expensive than none at all. During that time, we explored the area were we lived and enjoyed as many free activities as we could find.
We didn’t use our credit card. Sure we didn’t rack up miles or cash back, but we spent a lot less when we paid with cash. Dave Ramsey and others claim that people spend between 12-18% more when paying with a credit card. I don’t know if that is true, but I do know we were able to pay off over $10,000 in student loans in under four months after we stopped using our card.
We didn’t run our air conditioning unless the temperature rose above 90 degrees. Sure there were a few days when it was slightly uncomfortable but we cut our bill by about 30%.
We didn’t go to the movie theater or rent movies. We utilized the library for movies or we borrowed from friends.
These are just some of the things we didn’t do to save money. Sometimes we forget that the best way to save money is to not spend it in the first place!