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Extreme Frugality - The other people think I'm crazy thread!

post #1 of 156
Thread Starter 
Why does everyone look at me funny when I mention I don't like to have to drive into the "city" a 30 min drive away. It costs me $15 in gas everytime and traffic is horrible. I don't like to do it ever and try and limit it to well, never if I can!

We can walk or bike to everything in our town and we like to walk and bike. I biked up to the grocery store the other day in the rain and on the way home the rain was hitting me in the face and guess what? I was grinning this huge grin because I was having so much fun!

Our truck is for sale and we have great plans for what to do with the cash we get from that sale. But everyone who sees what we are doing thinks we are crazy. We live in Ontario and in the winter it gets cold and snowy. Well guess what? They sell studded tires for the bike so I will be able to ride up to the grocery store even in January. In fact I am looking forward to it! What an adventure!

With triple digit gas prices coming, riding our bikes is a great alternative to paying for gas. Think of all the money we will save!

What extremely frugal thing do you do?
post #2 of 156
ParisApril, what an awesome idea for a thread.
I don't think I do really extreme frugal things but the things I do, get me some funny looks where I live. People think I am a bit odd for buying all my kids' clothes at consignment sales instead of going to the GAP and Gymboree at the mall.
I recently bought two little cloth snackbags from etsy and we use these every day instead of ziplock plastic bags. I keep getting funny looks and people asking me what they are and when I tell them, they just can't seem to get their head around it. I am pretty certain this type of product will soon find it's way into mainstream stores like Target sometime soon, it's a very green thing to do but my main motivation for doing it is that it saves us money by not having to buy the zip-locks.
post #3 of 156
ParisApril, how far do you ride/walk for your errands? I ask becuase (most) everything I need is within 6 miles round trip of my house, yet I find myself using my car. I REALLY want to bike or walk more.

btw, How cold does it get for you?
post #4 of 156
Extreme frugality? Not buying things.

Not buying a tv to replace the one that broke. When I did buy one, it was a tiny 15 inch one for $10 second hand.

Using what we have. Not running to the store every single time we "need" something. (Realize you don't have cheese for lasagna? Make spaghetti instead!)

Somehow, to some people, this sounds incredibly extreme.
post #5 of 156
My friends think our grocery budget is pathetically small, but since we love to entertain and cooking is our passion, they can't wrap their heads around how "well we eat". This is coming from people with double or more our food budget! I can't believe how much they spend on crap processed yucky "food". If I had $1000 a month to spend at the grocery store, we'd be swimming in organic everything, shellfish, grass fed everything! Sheesh!

Also, some of our close friends know we are on an envelope system, and cannot understand how we are so disciplined. I just tell them we have no choice. This one really baffles me, how is it disciplined to make sure we have the money we need when we need it? If we burn through our cash that we earn in the summer before the next summer, we would starve.
post #6 of 156
We moved to a very low COL area, and my ILs are still shaking their heads over it, 4.5 years later. They do not get it at all.

People are also blown away at how low our household/grocery budget is. We have a firm budget of $350/mo for household stuff, including food, non food groceries, clothes, and odds and ends. We typically spend just under $200 a month (family of four and a half) on food, so if the month is super tight, that we'll reallocate the other $150 for more pressing needs. I've encountered people even on MDC who don't get it- wonder how we eat well, isn't it deprivation, etc. Really, it's very freeing knowing that we'll eat just fine, and that we can come up with $150 almost out of thin air if we need to (nobody's ever died from not having ziplocs that month ).
post #7 of 156
Not having a car. At all. We live in a city with great public transportation and although it would be more convenient to have a car and zip to places, we don't see the need to be paying up the nose for that convenience. Yes, it takes longer to get where we need to go, sometimes the bus/tram/metro is crowded, but it's not a major issue. For out of town trips we go by train, on the week-ends tickets are half price.
We have a car share membership for those occasions when a car is needed, like a quick trip to the grocery store to buy the heavy and bulky stuff that we can't bring home by bus. The car is payed by the hour and gas and insurance is included with the membership. Definately much, much cheaper than owing a car. Works for us, bother other people. Oh well.
post #8 of 156
The main "people think I'm crazy" thing is walking to school every day, no matter what the weather is like. Granted, I live where "weather" is infrequent to begin with, but yes we walk when it is raining/cold/HOT. I grin, too! DD stomps in the puddles or practices the long jump! Well-meaning friends stop and offer us rides. We grin and invite them to walk with us. Oh, the horror on their faces.

My dad thought we were crazy on Thanksgiving for saving the turkey carcass and everything that came off/out of the turkey. Hey, those are free meals later, Dad! Eh? Too much bother. Normally, I give him leftovers for sandwiches, etc. Not this year. I got the distinct impression all that gorgeous free-range organic turkey meat was going to hit the trash can. Ironically, though, I learned a great deal of my conservation methods FROM my dad as a kid!!! I shake my head and wonder what happened. Then, I realize he was poor as a kid and learned conservation by necessity (and conservation of land resources through Boy Scouts). As he pulled himself out of poverty, he felt he "deserved" a different way of life and his model was the stereotypical American "bigger is better" and trash trucks take the excess away. Rather sad, actually. (Of course he DOES deserve all his wealth and privileges he has worked so hard to obtain! I just find it sad that he has forgotten some of the important lessons he taught me along the way....)
post #9 of 156
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mags.bubble View Post
ParisApril, how far do you ride/walk for your errands? I ask becuase (most) everything I need is within 6 miles round trip of my house, yet I find myself using my car. I REALLY want to bike or walk more.

btw, How cold does it get for you?
This spring we bought a Big Dummy http://surlybikes.com/bikes/big_dummy_complete/ with the Xtracycle Family Van Kit http://www.xtracycle.com/cargo-utili...y-van-kit.html It has totally changed my life. I love it.

The grocery store is 5km/3.1miles round trip. It is not far at all and I can get there in 10 min. 15 with the kids on the back. Downtown shopping is 2 blocks away. The closest city is 15 km away. Which we have biked to before but we can buy almost everything we need in our town so we don't go there too often.

In the winter it can get really cold here. -15C/5F + windchill. I would probably skip the trip to the grocery store on that day though and wait for a warmer day.
post #10 of 156
We are going down to 1 car, and people think we are nuts. I am out of work, trying to become self-employed, and I am home working and running errands really cuts into work time.. so 1 car sitting, can go. Dh has Mondays off, and that has becme our errand day.

Like the PP we boiled the heck! out of our turkey carcass and I got 8-10 qts of stock and a week's worth of meals outta that bird! None of it went to waste. Since I have been out of work, and dh has had his hours cut, we have trimmed our food bill from 300 a month to 120-150 a month for 4. I bake, we eat lots of soup--lentil with smoked turkey is the current favorite. DH said the other night that we actually eat better now with the reduced food budget then we did before. I can tell you, I can get a lot of food for $30 and none of it is junk and the result is we can go a whole week and only put out one bag of trash. I have contemplated reducing our trash pick up to 1 or 2 a month.

I have made my own Christmas gifts for years now, and when my dad got remarried, and I made my new nephews' hats, one of my stepsisters very snarkily said well, if it is hand made you know it came from K! In front of about 30 guests! I was really hurt, because I put a lot of thought into the hats (knitted them in the boys favorite colors) and my step mom made a big deal about and she tried to appologize, but once it was out, kinda hard to put it back.

We are huge readers, don't watch that much tv, and instead of buying books, we take hand-me-downs and when we do want a new book, we visit the used bookstores. Worn out jeans? I am saving them to make blue jean quilts.
post #11 of 156
I dislike being around people who don't get it. I feel pressured when I get invited to go "shopping" with people. I rather get my Gap shirt at goodwill than buy it new and have credit card debt or work long hours. I'm happy, so if people think I'm crazy, I guess it should bother me

I am impressed with 350/mo for household stuff. I've been doing the grocery game for a few months, and am not even close to that yet! That's awesome! We have saved a lot though.

I am so proud of my family. We used to buy all our books new, get haircuts super often, waste gas going to "the city" as mentioned in a pp, and just generally be more impulsive with our shopping. Once you break a habit, you don't really miss it at all. I'm so much less worried about our future now
post #12 of 156
Probably one I should not have admitted to anyone IRL, but I have cut my own hair a couple of times and when I've mentioned it people just think I am absolutely CRAZY.

Tjej
post #13 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by ParisApril View Post
This spring we bought a Big Dummy http://surlybikes.com/bikes/big_dummy_complete/ with the Xtracycle Family Van Kit http://www.xtracycle.com/cargo-utili...y-van-kit.html It has totally changed my life. I love it.

The grocery store is 5km/3.1miles round trip. It is not far at all and I can get there in 10 min. 15 with the kids on the back. Downtown shopping is 2 blocks away. The closest city is 15 km away. Which we have biked to before but we can buy almost everything we need in our town so we don't go there too often.

In the winter it can get really cold here. -15C/5F + windchill. I would probably skip the trip to the grocery store on that day though and wait for a warmer day.
Beautiful bike! I have a basic hybrid with the bags on the back. Just need to use it more.
post #14 of 156
Dumpster diving, keeping the heat at 60 (we will bump it up when it gets colder, but just a little), not driving, not having credit cards or a checking account, cutting our own hair, buying used whenever possible...

but then we WILL go out to eat at times, spend money on nights out with friends.

I guess it does seem hard to believe, but we don't do it strictly to save money. We like to be thrifty with resources and money, but will spend when it's worth it to us. I love a nice lunch out, or drinks with friends... but why spend the extra money on gas or heat when we can get by fine without it?
post #15 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeatherAtHome View Post
Using what we have. Not running to the store every single time we "need" something. (Realize you don't have cheese for lasagna? Make spaghetti instead!)

Somehow, to some people, this sounds incredibly extreme.
That's my mom. She shops every single day for dinner...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lil_earthmomma View Post
My friends think our grocery budget is pathetically small, but since we love to entertain and cooking is our passion, they can't wrap their heads around how "well we eat". This is coming from people with double or more our food budget! I can't believe how much they spend on crap processed yucky "food". If I had $1000 a month to spend at the grocery store, we'd be swimming in organic everything, shellfish, grass fed everything! Sheesh!
DH gets raises every year (military) and when he goes up in rank...we're so excited about it because soon we'll be able to shop more organically!
post #16 of 156
I just switched the girls and I to family cloth, we keep our heat at 60 (we bump it right now when the youngest is awake because she's potty training and therefore naked most of the time!), we are working on eating out less, shop used before new, fix and repair things rather than replace, and I refuse to EVER have another car payment and people just think that's insane. How will we drive....ummm, for almost nothing?
post #17 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by ParisApril View Post
This spring we bought a Big Dummy http://surlybikes.com/bikes/big_dummy_complete/
$2450??? is that really how much they cost? well, now that I think about it, it's a heck of a lot cheaper than a 2nd car!
post #18 of 156
There was a similar thread several days ago. http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1162692

We live so frugally and saved enough that we are both able to be home with the kids. Most people think we are insane for dh giving up a great job. This was the result of frugal living for 10 years. I'd take extreme frugality and having us all at home vs. any bought thing and one of us off at work full time.
post #19 of 156
We no-poo. We don't use lotions, etc, really - generally coconut oil instead. We don't have a cabinet full of pharmaceuticals (tylenol, etc), but we do use homeopathics, which imo is cheaper (lot more doses in there, usually) and work great... or for headaches, we use massage, etc. I use vinegar & baking soda for cleaning - people give the weirdest looks for that one. I cut my husband's and my children's hair at home. Dh isn't brave enough to cut mine (apparently he thinks he couldn't manage ), but I only get a hair cut about every 6 months, and usually go to the cheap place (it's like $15, I think?).

We also made soup from the turkey carcass - like we always do with chickens. Last year we had thanksgiving at my dad's house and I offered to make broth during the day while he was gone at work on that friday (we were staying with him) and he basically told me there was no point. I felt sort of more offended and sad than anything, but really, that's what they do. I was also weirded out when they broke out the paper plates when we had subs that CAME IN WRAPPERS. Uh... they *have* a wrapper - why do I need a plate? I dunno... they got mad at me and forced the paper plate on me. But apparently *I'm* the crazy one...

We also do cloth napkins, cloth "paper towels" (I cut t-shirts up into 5 or 6 inch square pieces and we use them as though they're disposable - having germs sitting around in a rag all day sorta icks me out), cloth diapers... None of these things seem overly weird to me, though, anymore because most of my friends (and many people on mdc of course) do them, but to the mainstream, I'm CRAAAAAZY...
post #20 of 156
Compared to my social circle, Im "extremely" frugal, but compared to most frugal people Im not at all. I come to boards like this to feel normal.
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