Do What Works for You

Posted by Mrs Money on March 19th, 2010

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Joyful
Creative Commons License photo credit: Jean Pichot

I believe one of the very most important parts of frugal living is to do what works for you. I can sit here all day and blabber on how I save money by making my own bath products, turning my heat down, and consolidating trips to save gas, but those may be things that you aren’t willing to do for whatever reason.  That’s totally fine.  One of the best things about living life is learning from others and respecting their choices.

I do think that there are frugal alternatives to pretty much everything, so if you’re not going to be hardcore frugal, you can still save money in some way.

-Don’t want to use cloth toilet paper? You can buy your toilet paper in bulk, either at the grocery store or Costco or Sam’s. You will still be saving money.

-Does the idea of using baking soda as shampoo freak you out? Start playing the drugstore games to score some awesome deals on shampoo.

-Is your time limited and you can’t soak and cook your own dried beans?  Use a can of beans from the store.  They will taste just as good and you’ll save money over eating dinner out.

My point is: just because I do something to save money doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for everyone.  Time is just as precious as money.  It’s all about doing what works best for you and your family.

What is something that you don’t budge on when it comes to frugal living?

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28 Responses to “Do What Works for You”


  1. Great idea for a post. I think it’s important to remember that kind of thing when you read up on all the frugal blogs out there. Some people might think I’m crazy for what I do. . . and there are some people who do things I wouldn’t want to do–at least yet. I kind of view being frugal as a journey. There’s no knowing how far I’ll go just yet.

    That said, I don’t do the cloth TP. Not judging it, I’m just not there yet . . . and don’t know if I ever will be.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Simple in France- Thanks!

    I don’t like when people judge others at all. :( People have to do what works best in their situation.

    LOL I know a lot of people are turned off by the cloth toilet paper!

    [Reply]

  2. Abigail says:

    Yeah, I’m reminded of this a lot. I have severe fatigue and my husband is ADD, so we have to make a lot more compromises to frugality than I would like. And there are people who have implied that I’m rather un-frugal because I buy junk food or because I use our rewards program points to get my husband a PSP for Christmas rather than using them for groceries.

    I mean that literally. Someone left a comment (anonymously, of course) saying that my discussing this stuff was a turn-off because you shouldn’t be talking about expensive stuff on a frugal blog. Even though most of what I discuss we got for free. (I was also chided for investing in a heavy bag/stand out of pocket — a $200 investment — for my husband to vent frustration on. Even though I discussed thoroughly how the decision process went and the fact that he’d been asking for one for three straight years.

    To be fair, the post that she responded to was a little glib about some post-Christmas spending that I had done, but I was still rankled.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Abigail- That stinks :( I am so sorry someone did that. I like hearing how other people live their lives because there’s so much we can learn from each other!

    [Reply]

  3. That’s great advice Mrs. Money – and one that’s easy to forget. Tailoring frugal habits to your individual circumstances helps make them easier to adopt – and more likely to succeed in the long term.

    If people kept this in mind – they are FREE to take advice on frugality OR to pass if one particular tip doesn’t work for them, maybe they won’t feel emotionally tied to particular frugal habits and leave judgmental comments on others people’s blogs about their own journeys. FWIW Abigail – I think frugality is a tool and not an end in itself. If your frugal habits enabled you to buy something beneficial for your husband (after thoughtful consideration), then, in my mind, that is a frugal success story.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    ami- Thanks! I agree- Take it or leave it. I think whatever makes someone happy is the right thing.

    [Reply]

  4. I always say “Personal Finance is PERSONAL”. I’m in full support of the do what works for you approach. As long as there is planning, thought and awareness put into the decision making process you’re in better shape than wandering aimlessly with no idea or regard.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Lakita- Yes! I agree. :)

    [Reply]

  5. I agree. I don’t judge others regarding how they live their life (as long as it doesn’t affect others negatively) so don’t judge me on how I live mine. I’m learning to be more frugal but at this point, there’s only so much I’m willing to do. The whole make my own shampoo and soap thing is something I’m not comfortable doing at this time. So like you said, it’s a personal choice, do what feels right for you.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Random Thoughts of a Jersey Mom- I’m glad you have come to that realization. It was so hard for me at first because I jumped all in and was overwhelmed. That’s not good at all! :( It sounds like you have a great game plan.

    [Reply]

  6. I like this post Mrs. Money! The one thing that I absolutely will not budge on when it comes to frugal living is bottled water. I will NEVER drink bottled water. Did you know that Americans spend $15 million a year on bottled water? And it comes straight out of the sink for free!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Kimberly- Thank you! I think bottled water is awful not only because of price but also the environmental implications. I agree with you!

    [Reply]

  7. I couldn’t agree more. Next to “spend less than you earn”, this is probably my favourite PF axiom! :)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    2 Cents- Yes! That’s my other favorite too!

    [Reply]

  8. H Lee D says:

    I can’t do the essentially waterless showers. You know, the kind where you get wet, turn the water off while you wash, turn it back on to rinse, then get out. No can do. Would love to save water. Would love to save money on water. I’ve made my showers MUCH shorter, but that’s as far as I can go. At least for now.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    H Lee D- I haven’t been able to fully do them either. I shorten my time, but sometimes standing in the shower for a few minutes is therapeutic. :)

    [Reply]

  9. harvestwages says:

    You are right when you consider frugal living as a personal factor. What works for one, won’t work for all. And respecting other peoples choices is also an important point.
    thanks for the post.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    harvestwages- Thanks for your nice comment! :)

    [Reply]

  10. I drive a little ol’ 99 Ford Contour because we bought it for $1100, and it has decent MPG. I could afford something better, but this is much more practical.

    Crazy idea about making your own shampoo!! Weird but cool!!!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    MyFinancialObjectives- I love that! I used to drive a 1992 Oldsmobile Achieva that I got from my aunt and it died so we had to buy a new car. I still miss that one :(

    Thanks! Let me know if you have any questions or if you try it.

    [Reply]

  11. Christina says:

    I agree with you. What works for you may not work for me but that doesn’t mean there are no other means to save on something. Creating my own shampoo does not work for me but home made body scrubs and facial mask does..it is a huge savings instead of going to a spa or buying one. Being frugal doesn’t mean you deprive yourself of something and adapt what best will allow you to save more…personally, it only means finding an alternative to what you do or purchase delivering the same result…and this should be according to your free will…what best works for you and not on your wallet…

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Christina- Right! I agree on everything you said. I don’t want anyone to ever feel like I am judging them because they don’t try to make their own shampoo or whatever. I think frugality is a journey!

    [Reply]

  12. I blog about my simplified lifestyle, read and make comments on blogs about frugality as my own personal support system (and not to make $). It’s a great reminder in my day that there are other people of like minds doing what I’m doing even if they are achieving it in different ways.
    When I first started my ‘experiment’ in frugality my friends thought I was nuts. I didn’t push them to do as I was and kept my focus. As the months have rolled on I have kept my frugal ways and many of my friends see the payoffs and are cutting back in their spending!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Molly on Money- I agree. I think blogging is a great way to hold yourself accountable!

    That’s awesome your friends are being more aware of frugality. It’s catching on I think!

    [Reply]

  13. Great reminder that we all are different when it comes to what we are and aren’t able to do to cut our spending. It’s good to remember that doing what you can is better than throwing up your hands, saying ‘I can’t do all this’, and simply doing nothing.

    As for what I couldn’t do to live more frugally… cloth toilet paper seems to be one (really, almost anything to do with cutting down in the bathroom is a non-starter with me; I love my toothpaste, various body washes, little loofah thingie and long hot showers too much). There aren’t too many other ‘sacred’ areas, though; my fiancee and I have been trying to cut back on food, clothing, and other household spending, to say nothing of our entertainment bills.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Roger- Thanks! I agree- something is better than nothing. Baby steps are essential.

    The homemade toothpaste is just like store bought, I promise! :) I think as long as you are cutting back somewhere, it doesn’t matter where. You’re doing great!

    [Reply]


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