For all the frugality I was surrounded with growing up, I often wonder why all of it didn’t stick. Teenage rebellion maybe? Who knows! I sometimes feel like a two-headed monster as I can be extremely frugal with some areas of my budget and others, well, I head to the extreme Spenderella side of things.
In this episode of This is My Frugal Dad I asked my dad about his most frugal moments, frugal tips, is having a frugal spouse important and have you ever gotten sick of being so frugal?
Are you frugal or cheap?
I don’t want to say I’m cheap, I’d say VERY frugal.
So, we know you’re frugal, how long have you been?
All my life, frugality came from family and childhood. I really knew what it was like to not have what I wanted. I was aware of the trade-off of working hard to get what you wanted; things simply weren’t “given” to you. There was always value placed on what it took to get something. Life experience taught the value of money. I would hear, “Dad has to work an extra weekend to buy this or do this.”
What are some of your frugal tips?
Recognize early when something will wear out, and then wait until it’s on sale.
Buy everything on sale, especially large ticket items.
Don’t wait until something breaks. Try to be proactive and research when it’s on sale.
Alcohol is a luxury.
Frugal Marriage – is mom frugal? Is a Frugally minded spouse important? Thoughts?
Yes, your mom was frugal. We would talk about major purchases together before making the purchase.
It is key to COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE as a couple. Develop your financial relationship at the same time as the rest of your relationship.
It’s very important that both spouses be involved in major purchases and decisions. One shouldn’t think, “I’m making the money so I’ll just go out and buy it.”
Couples today each feel entitled to their own income, but that’s not a family unit, it’s more like a corporation. It’s important for couples to pool their money and discuss where and what it will be allocated to.
What’s the most frugal thing you’ve done?
Our first home purchase, we bought only the size of house we actually needed, we did not want to be house poor.
DIY and frugality? Do you try to do all things yourself? Home repair, car repair, gardening etc. Tips?
Yes, I try to do it all myself. In our first house, the only time I had someone do something was to replace the windows and furnace. We couldn’t afford to hire someone all the time. The biggest savings was fixing it myself.
- Don’t be afraid of the job you’re going to do yourself.
- Plan and research.
- Figure out the how before you jump in.
Yes, I’ve had some trash finds. I took insulation that a neighbour was gutting from their basement and used to insulate our basement, I asked first of course. I would scrounge for building material, and home reno items, that’s how I finished the basement in one home. I never picked up furniture or toys, nothing like that.
Frugality and Cars, Bills/Utilities (heating, cooling), Groceries, Around the House
Note from BB: I will readily admit to experiencing many of these first hand! It’s comical to watch my dad siphon rinse water from the kitchen sink to use for flushing the toilet. Or, reusing a paper towel until there’s nothing left (provided it’s not soiled). I’ve been shouted at for disposing of a perfectly good, somewhat used paper towel.
Imagine for a moment, driver training with frugal dad. Ahem. It was an experience! No, NO, NOOO take your foot of the gas and coast! You can coast, it saves gas. Don’t accelerate so quickly; you’re using tons of gas!!!
Then I was taught to fix said vehicle, which I will admit, has come in very handy.
On to frugality around the house:
Save water – reuse dish rinse water to flush toilets, water lawn only at certain times of day (early morning)
Electricity – energy efficient bulbs, keep lights off, never had a need for latest and greatest electronics would wait 2-3 years
Groceries – Keep perishables to a minimum, stock up on sale items, such as canned soups, frozen pizza, coffee; keep an idea of when your fave stores have sales
How long do you keep vehicles?
1969 Pontiac bought brand new and did not trade until 1977 – had for eight years.
1977 Pontiac was new (not top of the line) and kept for 13 years.
After that, I noticed a big jump in MSRP of new cars in the 90’s and decided to buy used. We had several used cars (BB: oh, don’t I know it.). The value of a vehicle versus income earned was a large disparity.
Paid cash for cars, unless 0% interest was being offered.
Owned one used car that was held together with duct tape. 1970’s Mercury picked up for $700, and drove it for four years.
Tip: Buy what’s serviceable, research your purchase, choose a vehicle not for status, but that’s economical and reliable.
Have you ever gotten sick of being frugal?
(BB: I received a resounding NO to this question LOL!) Being frugal in some areas would allow us to go out for a nice dinner. We would have savings to let us go out for a nice meal. I believed in saving money, avoiding the cheaper restaurants and would then go to nicer restaurants with higher quality food less often.