Are you too Frugal ?

drafted72(Chicago)May 12, 2005


Sometimes I worry I am being too frugal in my approach to life. I just hate spending money on almost everything and when I do, I worry that somehow I got taken or overpaid. Some examples of my lifestyle are my car a 94 Saturn with 370,000 miles on it, I shopped at the Salvation Army Store for many years for clothes and my TV is a 19" hand me down and I don't even have cable. Sometimes I worry about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) when it comes to spending money. Of course, I have zero debt and a nice old farm house in the country. Maybe I should post this on Dr. Phil's website instead.

How about you?? Does anyone else worry about being too frugal?

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thorspippi(z9/s14 CA Sacramento)

I don't worry cuz there just isn't any money around here. Too many health problems takes any bit of leftover.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 3:39PM
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Is your car in good working order? Are your clothes neat and clean, and in a style you enjoy? Does broadcast TV give you all the boob tube entertainment you desire?

If you answered yes to all these questions, then I would say you are doing very well for yourself. Home ownership and freedom from debt make one far richer than those with shiney new things but nothing lasting to show for their money.

Some people look at us funny because we don't spend, spend, spend. I look at them with pity because they think they are going to find happiness at the bottom of a shopping bag.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 5:44PM
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Hi lilacs_and_hyacinths,

Good points and well said. Thanks,

Yes, my clothes are stylish and in excellent shape. The Salvation Army store, I spoke of, was right next to one of the richest communities in the US. I worked near it. The store had tons of new Polo Shirts from companies with their logos on them which have been changed so therefore the old logo but new shirts were donated. I must have a 100 of them and each on was only $1 - $2 each. I am a walking billboard for the Fortune 500 companies in the US.

One of the best times for me is during Lent, when I gave up watching television completely. Giving up TV really changes your life.

ItÂs nice living simply and peacefully.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 8:05PM
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Too frugal is when you can't be generous at times when you can, and should. Some people who are very close with money are the same way with emotions and relationships.

Too frugal is when you still have a house and yard full of junk, it's just cheap junk instead of expensive junk.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 9:07PM
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I try to be Smart Frugal ... have found things on junk day that we have fixed and I either keep them or sell at garage sales or best yet Ebay ... made some nice money that way. One man's trash is another's treasure. Just lucky to live next to a well to do town!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 7:55AM
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That was a great point about the importance of generosity. Does being generous to the various stray cats that cross my path count? I hope so, because the citizens of my, shall we say... troubled neighborhood don't inspire much generosity.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 9:38AM
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Drafted, I think you have raised a really good point. Frugality is a great thing if it makes you more comfortable but I don't want to make it an end in itself. I certainly don't want it to make me grasping and selfish or down right insane.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 3:04PM
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I think you also have to be willing to extend that spirit of generosity to yourself. If you're so frugal that you are denying yourself things that you would like/enjoy & that you can easily afford simply because they're not frugal - then yes you are being too frugal.

Whether I splurge occasionally on a nice pair of lobsters for dinner, or enjoy settling in to watch a good old black-&-white classic movie on satellite TV - I'm really enjoying myself & "frugality" doesn't come into it at that point.

Life is short. Enjoy what you want to enjoy & keep the frugality in its own "slot". My feeling is that if you're even questioning that you might be "too frugal", that quite possibly you are. Test the waters a bit.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 3:52PM
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Hi lilacs_and_hyacinths and breezyb,

Thanks for the replies. Strangely both your replies showed some insight into my life.

Although, I live out in the country, my younger sister lives next to me. She is animal saver too. She has about 5 deer, 5 dogs and tons of cats and like me sheÂs a frugal person too. When you live out in a rural area near a city, you get what we call Âdumpers (pets people just drop off in the middle of nowhere) all the time. I have gotten a few cats that way and one day about 4 years ago, I was leaving for work and open the door, only to find an old fat little doggie sitting on my steps. She walked right in, and laid under the table. Well 4 years later, she is older, blind and almost deaf and sleeping on the couch now. I saved her too.

IÂve been saver my whole life. Nothing beats getting a good deal because every time you look at what was a good deal, you feel proud of yourself.

I enjoy black and white movies too and on holidays when I will be alone, I usually rent Casablanca. They donÂt make movies like that anymore.

Being frugal even if it is overdone, sure beats the opposite of spending too much.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 11:32PM
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That may be so Drafted72, but if you really like old movies, would getting a satellite system like DirectTV or DishNetwork that carries "Turner Classic Movies" (by far my favorite channel) as well as other old-movie channels work for you financially? Not trying to put you on the spot, but something like that might not actually be "not being frugal", but just treating yourself to something you'd enjoy & deserve.

I like getting a "good deal" too, & also have animal rescues as well (4 dogs, 6 cats, & a horse). While I am by no means at all wealthy in any sense of the word, this doesn't mean that I can't enjoy myself too.

I recycle like a crazy person & reuse every container possible for gardening, etc. But boy, at the end of the day when I settle down to a nice, perhaps frivolous, dinner & a good old-time flick on TV, everything seems to balance out.

And Drafted - not trying to get personal here & you don't have to reply, but if your sister lives next door to you, why are you alone on holidays???

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 7:26PM
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"sister lives next door to you, why are you alone on holidays???"

She's a ICU nurse who likes to work the holidays for the overtime.

We are very close and she stops over all the time and calls too. I am also close to my old sister who lives 10 minutes away. No dysfunctional family here, thank goodness.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 8:24PM
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Plus, as Americans (most of us are), we have a really really really skewed idea of what "needs" are. Travel to another country--even a wealthy European country--and see how people live without half the crap we collect. We don't need anywhere near the square footage, never mind toys, that we have.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 5:40AM
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beebees(E TN)

Hi - I'm new here, over from TN Gardening. My feeling is that we wouldn't have the ability to own (outright) what we have today if we were not frugal. Always have been, always will be. One of my girlfriends gets a new car with all the dodads every year. Well, I'm driving a really nice '99 SAAB 9-5, looks new, runs like a charm, safe and most important: will carry all the plants and freebies I can come up with. I'm gonna drive it forever. People with big mortgages call me cheap, I call them in debt.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 8:26AM
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Vernonia(z7b OR)

ahh, you are people of my own heart. *sigh* I am very frugal, I learned it at a young age. to some it is a compulsion, to me it is a virtue. I am much like drafted... maybe a little worse. I am not the typical woman. I only own 2 pairs of shoes (one is a size too big with a broken strap), and not very many clothes (what I do have is goodwill bought). I do not travel much, instead taking my sightseeing to my own birdfeeder, or to the river across the road. I prefer the simplicity, and I do not see where it is to the detriment of anyone else. I can be quite charitable to others, often sharing plants, and things I make, and yes, if needed money. I think frugality will only further you, and it will save you in your retirement when so many others have nothing left. I unfourtunately married a spender *sigh* so I know both sides of the coin. frugality is more desireable to me. It is not a good balance... no matter how much I give up, it gets spent. But on the other hand, I am in boot camp for retirement :) My DH gets a little preturbed at my frugality, but I just remind him that I am the cheapest wife on earth, and he should be glad to have me :) I am amazed at women who go shopping every week, or more, have everything they could ever NEED (not want), and are still not happy. I forever ask in my home... do I really NEED it? if I don't, then it can wait. and waiting shows you whether you REALLY need it or not. sometimes you can wait, and find a way to make it for little or nothing.
Drafted, rest assured, you might seem sick to some in this comsumtion happy society, but freedom from debt makes it well worth it, and no matter how they feel, just remember... Money/posessions have nothing to do with success. Success is being happy in your life! I am happy being frugal :)

On a side note... place your hand flat, with your fingers together, now, hold it up to the light... do you see any holes? that is where the money slips through your fingers ;) My grandma taught me that, It seems oddly to ring true, I have yet to find a case where it is wrong (IMHO). Mine are nearly air tight, while my DH has huge gaps, lol. To those of you not yet married, check your intended's hands! I forgot to, lol

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 10:04AM
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I'm frugal with everything material in my life, and the DH is even more frugal than I. We have to be frugal and pinch pennies in any way we can. Our income is so minute it is hard to find an extra nickle some months.
However frugal in material, we are ten-fold generous in relationships. Affection and friendship mean so much more and that is where we consider ourselves wealthy. We might be $ poor and not have new things but we have an abundance of loved ones that make our lives rich.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 10:31AM
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Thank you all for your advice and support.

Those were some very nice postings.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 11:25AM
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granite(z6 NC)

I don't think any of us should confuse the practicality of our tendency for saving $$ with being stingy or obsessed.

I used to feel somewhat bad inside when I gave my homemade gifts. All through school I had to take odd jobs and pinch pennies and do without, so all of my gifts were handmade. When I finally began my career, I was so happy to go shopping at the mall and choose bought gifts. I can remember the glow of finally giving a "good" present. Funny thing was, I heard several times that Christmas "I was hoping for a ______" or "I was looking forward to finding out what this year's project was."

I learned my lesson. My frugal upbringing (no TV, all hand-me downs, left-overs appear at the next meal, reuse and repair, etc) that was required by my parents raising 6 kids on a minister's salary was the training ground of creativity. I made the comparison of a $20 - 50 store-bought gift to the cost of the handmade gift in hours and skills and decided that there was no contest. I now plan Christmas "projects" with my son, and Christmas, birthdays, weddings, baby gifts, etc are all handmade gifts. I regularly invite all of my co-workers and friends and their friends to my garden for starts of herbs and flowers. The extra from my garden that I don't want to freeze or can goes to neighbors, co-workers, or the local food bank ministry.

Frugal means you don't waste. It's practical. It's creative. It means that you share from your bounty. Frugal living is probably the correct mix of exercise, creativity, enviromental awareness, and reverence for life.

Here is a link that might be useful: my gardens

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 3:05PM
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lynne_melb(z9b Melb FL)

I used to want my mother to spend money on herself. It took a long time for me to realize that getting a great deal on a blouse at a resale shop was a great thrill for her. So I stopped bugging her.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 10:44PM
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chuckr30(z5, GR-MI)

Beebees, you made a good point about mortgages. There's lots of people with huge houses, and 2 brand new Lexus cars in their garage, but they are not paid for, they are in debt. Which is why I'm betting my net worth is higher than theirs, and I have a tiny house and an older car.

Also, there's a difference between buying lots of stuff just because it's on sale, and buying stuff on sale that you will use a lot. If you don't use it and just store it, it's usually a waste.

And if you don't waste the stuff you have, you'll always have what you need.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 9:07AM
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littlegardenbug(z3 Alberta)

WOW! I'm new here, and this is just the bunch of people who share my opinions.

My DH and I are what I call relatively frugal, for various reasons. We are both graduate students and have small salaries (if at all!). We don't own a car - because we can do just fine without one. We live in an oldish neighbourhood (well, old for Edmonton, Alberta - 50 years!), the grocery store is within 20 blocks in either direction. Public transit is down the street. We ride our bikes year round - even in the snow. We don't have much - on principle. Like many poeople have mentionned, do we really NEED that? One of our most prized posessions is the breadmaker (we got it for free from a friend who had it sitting around for 4 years in her basement) and we haven't purchased a loaf of bread in 5 years. We write letters to companies that don't sell parts to their old/damaged products for less than a new one. Consumerism is over-rated! They usually send us the part for free, which is really besides the point but we'll take it.

We have an old 15" TV. No Cable. We only watch rented movies on it. Most of our clothes are from "Value Village" - the Canadian used item's superstore, from friends, or simply old.

And I'm trying to start a veggie garden to save on groceries. So far, I think I'm not saving money, but by next year I think it will be great! I couldn't really do it cheap because I had to start from scratch - I mean from a gravel parking lot and bringing in soil! The landlady is psyched though because it increases the value of the property to have a nice yard instead of a parking lot.

Anyway, I'm with you all. Frugality is not a curse or a sin. It's just how everone lived before this terrible consumerist society took over. In fact, what's neat is that if you don't watch a lot of TV, or see many adds, you don't get this urge to "want, want, want" that pop culture has. So in a sense, it's not frugality at all. It's just not following society's overzealous, brainwashing, mind-warping consumerism.

George Bush would say you aren't helping the economy, though!


    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 12:14PM
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Luxuries or treats are important. But for us frugal people, the thrill often comes from doing something besides handing over a wad of cash for something off a shelf.

I love old movies, too. But no way am I going to buy cable TV and pay too much for something that I find largely objectionable. Instead, a second hand VCR and a hand-me-down TV coupled with the offerings of my local library and I have all the "movie nights" I desire. The man and I splurged on a DVD player and again, the local library has plenty of DVDs to lend.

Vernonia, I really feel for you having a spendthrift husband. If you haven't been married long, give him a chance. My husband was a spendthrift when we met but after a year or two settled into a mostly frugal lifestyle. The biggest motivator was shopping for clothes at secondhand stores. When he realized he could come out of AmVets with three to five outfits for the cost of one at a department store, visions of closets full of shirts and slacks passed through his head.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 12:47PM
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Hey - everyone is always going to have their own definition of "frugal".

If you truly enjoy shopping & finding "finds" of clothing or whatever at 2nd-hand shops that's great - if you ENJOY it. If you're happy with your library's offerings of old movies & such - fine (but you're really & truly missing out there - lol!!!)

My point was/is that if there's something you'd like to have that you'd really enjoy & can easily afford - turning that something down simply because it's not "frugal" is, in my opinion, a mistake. The original poster, just by questioning that perhaps he was being too frugal, makes me feel that perhaps there are things in life he would like to invest in, but the textbook frugality of them is what's stopping him.

Life is just too darn short guys. I bought a major fixer-upper farm & my current vehicles are 10 & 15 years old respectively. I cook good decent food, organically grown veggies in season, & really enjoy my life. BUT - I also really enjoy my satellite TV & DVD players. Since I work at home on the farm, I buy most of my jeans at CostCo & Tshirts wherever & whenever I need them. And I enjoy a nice meal out or cooking a pricey meal at home on occasion - because I ENJOY it. And the guilt of whether it's frugal or not doesn't even enter the picture.

I guess it's because I've met so many people over the years who called themselves "frugal", who were, in reality just cheap - cheap with regards to themselves. And I find that a real shame.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 1:22PM
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Turtle_Haven_Farm(Z5 NY)

If more people in the world were frugal, we wouldn't be in quite such the mess we are.
I work in an "upscale" area, people drive the Lexus, Jags, etc. I've never worked around such angry miserable, stuck up and unhappy people in my life. After four years here, we're moving our office, and I can't wait to get out of here.
I have always been frugal, used coupons, fed my family on weekly grocery sales, shopped at the thrift stores. I dress really well, no one has a clue. Recently, I've started sewing again. The JoAnn stores have great fabric markdowns. I made several summer skirts last year for under $4 each.
DH used to tease me for years about my "cheapness." Now he cruises upscale neighborhoods after dark to see what he can filch out of their trash.
I'm trying to teach my kids the same. Oldest son is 21, attends college, works part time, now understands what a great time it is to have a quiet, relaxing evening @ home with a rental tape and a cheapo bag of snacks!!! - Ellen

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 2:49PM
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I did not read every single post in this thread, but about half of them. I consider myself very frugal, because I like to make my money go as far as possible and I like to recycle things. mother is probably pathological about being frugal. She loves to wear the proverbial 'hair shirt', and in short she is miserable. And she likes to make others feel like they splurge if they spend a few bucks occasionally on themselves. I allow myself one--count it, one--Starbucks coffee a week as a treat, and I often go home with a big bag of coffee grounds for the garden anyway...but to hear her talk about my, quote, "high-fallotin' three dollar coffee" makes me feel like crap sometimes. I now deny going there at all. I love my mother dearly but I believe she actually likes to be miserable in that way, she likes to make herself wear crappy clothes and get crappy $5 haircuts so she has some sort of visible proof she is frugal. I love my mother but hate the way she has gone to an extreme with it. She is miserable and makes everyone else miserable over it. Sorry for the ranting vent.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 3:11PM
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" I've met so many people over the years who called themselves "frugal", who were, in reality just cheap - cheap with regards to themselves. And I find that a real shame."

Hi, I am the original Poster...............

The above comment was interesting. I had an Uncle, who lived in the same house he was raised in which is in a bad area, never married, no kids, no friends and was the meanest person you ever wanted to know. I was the administrator of his estate. His house was condemned and torn down after his death because the inside was in such deplorable condition with cat waste all over when you walked in you would vomit. His clothes were 20 Â 30 years old and stunk. There are other things which need not be mentioned except to say, he was a sick old man his whole life.

But he died with $2 million in the bank which he refused to leave it to anyone. Instead he left it to an animal shelter which did not even come to take care of his cats and later the owner was charged and arrested on fraud.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 4:02PM
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My point exactly. I too had an elderly relative who - while not residing or dieing in deplorable conditions - passed away with millions in the bank that she was hoarding for who the h*ll only knows what purpose. Apparently it wasn't to make herself happy. If I had been her, I would have been having a grand old time in my golden years instead of mooning about one room rubbing my hands together over my bank books.

You can't take it with you, you know.

AGAIN - I'm not critizing or lambasting those who truly enjoy whatever frugal practices they really ENJOY. And I'm also not condoning running out & spending $$ on things one can't afford. What I am saying is that there is a time & place for frugality & a time & place for spending a little to have something that you really want & that might make your life enjoyable.

Sure, there's nothing wrong with renting movies, but you know what? I REALLY, REALLY like old movies. Was brought up in a family that has an entire library of movie memorabilia - & having satellite TV & the ability to choose from several channels showing different old flicks 24/7 isn't "not being frugal" for me - it's plain old-fashioned enjoyment. If I had to rent all the films I watch on a daily basis, it would far surpass what I pay monthly for my satellite service. False economy for me.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 6:54PM
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littlegardenbug(z3 Alberta)

Well, I really like the stories suggestng limits to frugality. I guessI'm in agreement that there is a limit. Mine is with food. Frugality in terms of items is definitely tops in this house, but animals are dense (small 2 bedroom main floor apartment with 2 people, 2 60lb dogs, and 4 cats!). We do splurge on going out to excellnet fancy, usually foreign food (Indian and Ethiopian are currently the favourites). That's good stuff! Adn it's not hoarding. On the other hand, stuffing pillowcases or basement walls with cash is kinda silly in my opinion, but lucky if it was forgotten about! No Joke! My friend bought a new house a couple years ago and while fixing up the basement one of the old walls caved in and he found 10 plasitic bags filled with over $10,000 in cash! Talk about luck!


    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 6:56PM
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Can you be too frugal? I don't think so. Even if I had money, I wouldn't spend it like water. I have a 1992 car I bought from my neighbor's estate when she died. It only had 50,000 miles on it, and 4 years later, only has 86,000. It's a good car, so I figure it's good up to 100,000 at least, even though it needs a coat of paint.

I just got back from a shopping trip to Goodwill to get new clothes for a new job. I got two pairs of shorts, three shirts, a battery operated clock/radio (for hurricanes), and a new hair dryer for $19.20.

I don't make much money, so I have to be frugal. My new job will pay more, but still not enough to blow money. With my current job, I only have $50 a week to spend on groceries and other needs, so I have made a deal with my friend who owns a produce store that I come in and help her out for a while on my day off, and she gives me a box of whatever is still good that she's tossing out. My freezer is full of food, and I'm a lot healthier than when I ate out almost every night.

Even though I have a new job, I'll still keep this deal going, because it's just too good to pass up. Get to spend time with my friend, and get free food in the bargain. What a deal!

I just picked up a nice table off a trash pile, one of those that has the hydraulic lift thingies that you can make it short or tall. As a short table, it's a perfect height for a few plants, and to be a side table for chairs in the garden. I'm going to clean it up, paint it, and make it lovely.

Also picked up an old sewing machine table. Just the right size and height for a table to hold a lamp in the spare bedroom. A coat of white paint and some stencils, adn it will do quite nicely.

I never buy anything I can get for free. I don't see anything wrong with that. Most of my plants were gotten for free, and I mean about 98% of them. I either swapped seeds, or plants, had them given to me, or got them from the rubbish or the wild. I pot things up and sell them for extra money around holidays and such.

The only time I saw someone I thought was too frugal was on some talk show. There was this man that made his family only use 4 squares of toilet paper and actually hung up used paper towels on a line and dried them for reuse. Now THAT is going too far! Although I've been known to wash and reuse ziplock bags, back when they first came out and were expensive, and I was young and poor. Now that they're generic and cheap, I don't do that anymore.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 6:52PM
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cantstopgardening(Zone 4/5 WI)

HennieTX, you have my sympathies! My mom can be the same way. She does know I often shop at rummages and Goodwill, and will ask loudly, when we are in a group of people, if I got my clothes at a rummage. It makes me feel like she is critizing! But, I think she just means to acknowledge a good deal. (She shops those places too, that's where I learned it.) I wish she just wouldn't bring it up like that, as I do enjoy sharing a good deal with her. But when she asks about it that way, others often say, oh, she looks fine, as if my mom was implying I looked dumpy.

Enjoy your weekly coffee. One of my treats to myself, is, I shop at a locally owned business for pet food. I could get it cheaper elsewhere, but sometimes it's not about price. The store I patronize is a family owned business, on it's third generation, and the fourth comes in to help after his baseball games. Fortunately, no one gives me any grief over this. My husband also enjoys patronizing locally owned businesses. And, as for your three dollar cup of coffee, Starbucks has some great company policies, including health benefits for all employees. So, it's not just a cup of coffee. Enjoy!!

I will admit, I have slipped away from being frugal, though still am in some areas. But y'all are right. Living simply and not spending more than you make is the way to go. DH and I have bounced around on having debt, seems like when one is interested in saving, the other is spending like a fiend. But last year, he has really had the goal of eliminating all debt, and, boy, is it a good feeling! I whole-heartedly agreed, and we're almost there, except fot mortgage, but even that isn't bad. (I had insisted on a modest house when we moved back to Wisconsin, as I didn't want to be house poor!! DH went along with it. Best decision we ever made, and after much handywork, our home is quite comfortable. Not huge, so we won't have to down-size when we get older ;-) I am encouraged when I read how you all enjoy living within your means. Thanks!!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 9:17PM
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To All,

Good job on living a good, simple and frugal life style in your own way. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

Original Poster,

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 11:22PM
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led_zep_rules(5 WI)

Hello all, I relate so much to this topic! I pride myself on being exceptionally thrifty, but am worried just lately that we are too thrifty. It is sometimes hard to get my hubby out of the house to go out to dinner or spend money on anything at all, but mostly I compare anything new and fancy to the idea of getting a job. Getting a job always loses, and so I stick with being frugal. (We are both retired early/very thrifty and living the simple life.) We are totally cool with free TV and free library rented movies, though, can't understand why one poster here wants us to waste our money on satellite TV. :-) What we do that others might consider wasteful is travel to foreign countries every few years on long trips. Actually we had a sailboat in the VIrgin Islands until recently, but that was too expensive so we sold it. Being thrifty lets us do such things.

My mother is one of those too thrifty people that ruin any meal in a restaurant more upscale than Taco Bell. She complains continuously about how much things cost, and orders the cheapest thing on the menu even if that isn't what she wants. I went with her and my sisters to Germany last September. She complained about how much almost every restaurant meal cost, to the point that I wanted to stab her with my fork a few times! She is my example for TOO CHEAP that I try to avoid.

I consider foreign travel something that is irreplaceable, I save $$ on food and clothing and cars and things like that. It is so true that people in other countries have WAY less crap than we all do. I find with freecycle that I buy even less now than I used to. I want to know why some posters said our clothing should be neat and clean? LOL As a gardener, my clothes get very dirty, but who cares?

My hubby and I read the book "The Millionaire Next Door" and what it said is that contrary to popular belief, millionaires aren't people with expensive cars and flashy jewelry, they are the thrifty people who just save a lot no matter how much they earn.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2005 at 2:08AM
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Once again - you all are completely missing the point I was trying to make.

For one thing, no where in any of my posts did I "want you to waste your money on satellite TV". Frankly, I don't care what you do with your money - that's entirely your business. What I said was that since "I" enjoy it so much, I did not consider "my" spending "my" money on it as a "waste". And I could easily afford it.

I also never stated that I considered it okay to live beyond your means. What I DID say - repeatedly - was that if there is something that you DO like or enjoy, & CAN easily afford, you shouldn't feel guilty about it simply because it's not "frugal" by your or others' standards. That is simply just being cheap & ungenerous with yourself.

If you enjoy your rented movies & regular TV, enjoy shopping at GoodWill or finding a great flea market or trash find - that's terrific. But if you're just doing it "because it's frugal", I think that's suspect.

I'm sorry if that makes some of you uncomfortable. The original poster's original post was that he was wondering if perhaps he was being "too frugal". I still feel that if he's wondering about something like that, there may be a very good chance that he is. If he was completely comfortable with his current frugal lifestyle, why would he need to question it?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2005 at 12:53PM
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BreezyB, I would like to make the suggestion that we (ok, all but one of us) do indeed get your point. This thread is long because people love talking about how good being frugal feels. Each of us decides just how frugal to be, and I see many recognizing that those who can't part with a penny more than neccasary may indeed have a problem.

Drafted (the original poster) has thanked us for our posts. You however keep beating a verbal stick over our heads that we just aren't getting your point. We do get it, but we'd like to keep talking about the way we do things, if that is alright.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 1:15PM
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Lilacs - thanks for the heads up - & yes I do understand.

I guess I just go overboard because over the years I've just known so many people who were "frugal" for all the wrong reasons, & would like to see others not make the same mistake.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 4:59PM
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I think I get your point Breezy. I am extremely frugal in many areas to achieve my goals in others. For us that is the ability to entertain family and friends, own property that allows us to farm and raise animals. A big thing is the ability to help others with the money we save. We like to do that and we feel it's not really *ours* in the first place--we are just stewards of it.

We like to eat well--homecooked meals (although largely grown by ourselves), to eat at nice restaurants for special occasions, to go to museums and travel some.

Mostly, we like to be able to live without a knot in our stomach if the economy turns and we are without income. And we would like to be free to choose the employment we want--as opposed to scratching a living doing something we hate. Or be forced by financial circumstances to choose immoral things (like cheating with numbers at the office,being unfair, being competitive at any cost etc..) I think that some folks back themselves into a corner and then become ruthless because they must feed an out of control spending habit.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 9:43PM
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:) are people afraid to come to your house? or do you have friends who aren't dependant on TV for their entertainment?

I grew up going to private school on a scholarship, in a fancy 5-bedroom mid-century contemporary that went without a furnace for five years because there was no money to replace it, and we didn't get a color tv until I was in high school (when dad's fortunes finally returned)

I spent $20 on my prom gown (honestly, I spent the same on my wedding dress two years ago- amazing what you can find when you're not in to fake pearls and sequins!)

and I think your only concern is this need to worry about your frugality ;) because if you're concerned about it, you're capable of looking at it rationally.

but if you can claim 6 people in your life that you can call friend, you're a healthy person who has simply failed to fall for wage slavery and supporting the CEO's.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 3:33PM
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Uh - "chinacat" - I have plenty of friends. And none of us are "dependent on TV", assuming that remark was directed at me.

Again - you are, like others, completely missing the point I was trying to make. Try reading the posts for deeper comprehension before posting an anti-TV/SatelliteTV comment. They're getting really old & only prove that you are jumping the gun before even trying to figure out what I'm trying to say here.

Good grief - was what I was trying to say so "deep" that no one here gets it??

    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 5:46PM
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ROTFL at Breezy! I know exactly what you mean. I don't misunderstand at all, and I have the same fears sometimes, when I want the $8.99 a lb. ribeye but settle for the top round that's on sale for $2.99 a lb. Or when I wait for literally YEARS to get something replaced (like a dining room set I hate) because I don't want to spend too much on it, and I haven't found a bargain good enough yet.

That's when I begin to worry, but other than that, I think I'm o.k. I quit buying cheap sheets long ago, because I'm worth the price of egyptian cotton, and they last a lot longer, too. I buy nice, fluffy towels, and I eat out at least once a week, even if it's only takeout from the Chinese place down the road.

I hate it when I see people I care about getting into financial hot water, having to work 60-70 hour weeks just to pay for that luxury car, when they could have easily afforded a less expensive used car. I won't buy a piece of junk, but I have NEVER bought a brand new car, and I don't ever plan to.

I think I read somewhere that most millionaires drive used cars, and they overwhelmingly choose Fords.

I think being frugal in some areas so you can have other things you want more is great! I used to go home to SC for Christmas every year, and it was penny pinching all year to be able to afford to take the time off from work, buy gifts, and pay for the gas. Of course, food and lodging were free at my mom's house, so that wasn't an added expense, but still, it was something I had to consciously plan for and save for all year. I always thought it was worth giving up the designer clothes and the fancy car and new furniture to be able to spend that holiday with my family.

I'd like to start traveling more, so I'm saving now for short day trips or weekends away now and then. There is so much to see and do in this state, that I could spend the rest of my life and never see it all!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 5:42PM
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    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 3:41PM
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Breezy, I agree with you, treats that you enjoy are totally worth it. Life IS short!

For me personally, I don't really enjoy restaurant food so I hardly ever go out to eat, and frankly I have found perfectly good clothes at thrift stores for years now, and only buy shoes new. DVDs I get for free through library loan. :-) My Corolla is 13 years old and I've honestly never felt the urge to get a newer car.

On the other hand, because I spend $50 on clothing a year and I have no car payments, I can afford to go to dog training seminars or get really good quality binoculars for birdwatching (they DO make a difference, at least for me) or get a super spiffy Apple laptop, things that for some people might be wasting money. But I don't think it's a waste for me, because I really savor the experience of having these particular things. I think a lot of people throw money away on things that two weeks later are sitting in the back of a closet.

Similarly, I would never say that whatever YOU feel you get your money's worth out of is non-frugal. It all sounds fine to me.

Drafted, I think you and your sister sound like very nice people. :-)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 4:44PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Can you watch the caps lock, its really hard to read that.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 4:45PM
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Greening - you definitely get what I was trying to get across. Frugality is terrific for the areas in which you enjoy it - but if you're just being frugal for the sake of frugality, that's just being cheap. And it bears repeating - LIFE IS SHORT.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 6:28PM
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i am sorry for the caps,,,what is the big deal??? they are easier to read for us old i type all my posts in small letters and my caps are on "off" and it still comes out on the board as capitals...not sure why! all the message boards i read on this web site are in caps.....maybe there is a problem with the server....

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 6:14PM
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... I say, do what makes you happy! If you want to buy something, you buy it. If you have everything you need, then don't buy. I know the feeling. You look around and say - Hey, I have everything I need, why do I need to keep buying more? I do continue to buy flowers here and there and have learned NOT to feel guilty about it. They make me happy - and that's why I feel good about buying them. Another pair of shoes, another outfit (to add to what I already don't wear) just doesn't make me happy. I think you are content with your surroundings, that's why you aren't spending - that's a good thing!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 9:56PM
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Hi Mele123

There is a 'test' forum here you maybe want to try when testing a solution to your cap problem.

Does your cap problem only happen on the GardenWeb site or other sites too?? I don't think there is a server problem since the rest of us are not having that same cap problem. Maybe you have a keyboard mapping problem. There is also a computer forum if you want to post your cap problem there and maybe find a solution.

Good luck

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 11:43PM
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I just noticed your address is AOL. Are you using AOL to reach GW?? AOL always does things a little funny. If you are, then try just using MS Internet Explorer to get to GW and then try posting a test message in the test forum to see if that fixes your cap problem.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 11:52PM
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I also find it hard to read Caps - you wonder why that is, because it would seem that Caps would be easier to read, but for me it isn't. I think that is why most people don't put Caps. Also, in some forums it is forbidden because it seems like you are SHOUTING (even though we know you weren't) (There, now I did it!! LOL)

    Bookmark   June 4, 2005 at 6:19PM
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led_zep_rules(5 WI)

Hey Breezyb, Please don't take offense at me, I was trying to be funny (note :-) smiley face, people don't seem to use those so much anymore, so maybe you didn't get it) by saying you wanted us to waste our money on satellite TV. Notice I said in the following two sentences that I enjoy foreign travel (30 countries so far) and had (until recently) a sailboat in the Caribbean (37 ft. catamaran.) Definitely not what some would call frugal, but hey, we loved it. I was trying to show how different people are frugal (and not frugal) in completely different ways.

I also want to express amazement about this thing you said **over the years I've just known so many people who were "frugal" for all the wrong reasons, & would like to see others not make the same mistake.** Wow! I have only known my mother to be excessively cheap in a painful sort of way. But I have many friends and relatives who were careless and wasteful and got into big trouble, huge credit card debts, bankruptcies, etc. by not being frugal at all. I would think that is a much bigger and more common problem. So many people wouldn't recognize frugal if it bit them on the butt! I wish I had more frugal friends, lots of people think my hubby and I are exceptionally strange in our monetary habits.

Also, the former teacher in me wants to speak out. It is harder for most people to read all capital letters than normal mixed case. It's because the letters are all the same height in Caps, with no higher or lower bits, compare say PADDLE and paddle. You have to look at each letter harder in all caps to figure out what it is, so it can make it annoying to read. Of course people who can't see small things can sometimes read Caps more easily because they are bigger. But in general, mixed case is easier/faster to read because the letters are more clearly differentiated.

Marcia (trying to be a nice balance of frugal and fun)

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 2:58AM
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cyndi_co(z5 CO)

I'm with BreezyB. I suspect it's what you experienced when you were raised. I have seen the down side that can come with frugality when it is not moderated, especially when frugal persons make it difficult or impossible for their family members to enjoy themselves within their means. Also, just as spendthrifts can falsely pride themsleves on their possessions, frugal folks can err by looking down on those who buy anything that isn't "necessary." Moderation in everything!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 12:41PM
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Here, here Cyndi. My point exactly. Thank you for saying it more succinctly than I was able to.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 1:11PM
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gingerlili(z8 NW FL)

Hi, I'm new here, but I thought I'd weigh in on the original question about whether or not one can be "too frugal."

I think the answer stems from your motivation. If you enjoy finding good deals, recycling, and all the other creative aspects of frugality, youÂre not being too frugal. It seems, especially after reading these posts, that healthy frugality comes from a desire to be able to enjoy life more--not worrying about debt, making responsible choices, etc.

Unhealthy frugality, I would argue, does exist. Yes, one can be too frugal. If you cling to money out of fear, miserliness, or cruelty, it's too much. The examples of the relatives using their frugal ways as to feel morally superior and of hoarding money in walls seems to fall in that category. Money should be a means to an end, not the focus.

After all that, I just want to say that I'm inspired by how sweet and generous the people on this sight appear to be. You've inspired me.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 5:57PM
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flowersandthings(MidAtlantic 6/7)

I think especially in regards to gardening I used to be. I would rarely buy say potted plants I could grow from seed. (ones I couldn't - grow from seed- I would buy more often) Now I still frow from seed.... plants that are fast/easy from seed or that I can't find as plants.... but..... But you know what? Now if I see them (potted plants that I COULD grow from seed) and want them .... especially if they're on sale.... but often even if they're not..... the amount won't kill me.... like say I just bought some heliopsis summer sun that I believe can be grown from seed. But I didn't feell like looking around for seeds and waiting a year or two for them to flower. The few extra bucks won't kill me! And it sure is pretty! :)

Go out and buy something similar soon .... It's fun! :)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 2:37PM
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(place sarcasm logo here) I am here to solve all your arguments. I am old enough to be wise beyond belief. 1. there is no such thing as too frugal. 2. you just have to look on it as having more money to spend on really important things. such as ..... children's college fund, travel, any luxury you may want to even if it is only a savings account that is labeled 'to be decided later'. 3. the only way frugal people can be too frugal is if they force it on other people, other wise I think all the advise here is a really good idea. Some one has to teach the spendthrifts in our world that frugality is not a deep dundgeon that must be avoided. 4. Besides, it is fun!!!!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 9:28PM
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deefar(zone 5 NY)

L&H, We used to live in Buffalo(near Bailey&Broadway) Your not kidding its a troubled area. We now live in the country near Darien Lake in Genessee County. I love it out here. So peaceful.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 6:35PM
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