I’ve never considered myself to be a frugal person.
I don’t make my own reusable toilet paper like those Extreme Cheapskates on TLC do.
I don’t bake from scratch. Though, this past weekend I made bread for the first time. It was delicious, but too much work for a Saturday so I probably won’t do it again any time soon.
I don’t clip coupons or pay attention to grocery store sales.
Occasionally I indulge in The Starbucks.
I don’t like buying things used.
I don’t use reward credit cards, or reward anything, really.
But with all of these ways I don’t fall in line with frugality, I also don’t spend a lot of money.
I take my lunch to work every day.
I stretch my wardrobe so I don’t have to spend much on new clothes.
I delay getting haircuts, and car washes, and all sorts of things to save money.
I patiently wait for birthdays and gift cards to get what I really want.
I sometimes make my own laundry detergent.
I DIY as much as I possibly can.
I don’t spend my windfall on that chair from Crate and Barrel (even though at times I really, really want it).
So which am I? Frugal, or not? Cheapskate or spendthrift? Saver or spender?
A few years ago my family needed to make big changes to our financial situation. To put it simply, we needed pay off debt, and we needed more money to do it.
But the thought of spending less money was so…unappealing. Spending less is what frugal people do. People like my neighborhood pal’s mom growing up who always had freshly washed plastic bags hanging from her windowsill. People who really like staying home and playing board games. You know, frugal people.
But what I didn’t realize at the time, is that I can still be frugal, and still be me.
I have the power to choose how and when to save my own pennies. I don’t have to do the other things that other people do. And I don’t have to feel guilty for not doing them either.
I feel like the pimpless Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.
Over the past few years my husband and I have made significant changes to cut our monthly expenses.
Some changes were simply a matter of cutting out the things that didn’t matter to us.
Some changes came when we found a less expensive way to achieve the same end.
Other changes were a result of taking our time and doing some soul searching. Can we really live with out this? How much do we love it? Can we replace it with something else?
And other changes happened when we became comfortable in our own non-frugal/frugal skins.
But nothing was done that we didn’t want to do, in the end at least.
So I may not clip coupons, I may not wash plastic bags, I may pay full price for popcorn and candy at the movie theater, but I can still frugal in my own right.
And as it turns out, that family that makes their own reusable toilet cloths really likes using them. That’s their right too.
This post is part of Women’s Money Week 2012. For more posts about saving see today’s Saving and Investing Roundup