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#1 of 92 Old 07-05-2006, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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....you have ever witnessed?

I had my laundry hanging out and SIL teased me about dh and ds's 'dirty" white socks. I said they weren't dirty but stained---red sand from the beach, grass, etc. She told me that her dh and ds 'refuse" to wear socks like that, so she "throws them out" and buys new!!
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#2 of 92 Old 07-05-2006, 02:45 PM
 
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Wow, that's incredible - and not in a good way

My top contendors are fairly common:
- Throwing out ziploc baggies
- Going out for lunch every day at work (I work with people who go out every day, spending $7-10 a day)
- The sheer number of people who marvel at my leftover prowess by saying "Wow, my DW/DH/DC won't eat leftovers". :
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#3 of 92 Old 07-05-2006, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Shanna, Your list could be mine, too! My dh LOVES leftovers for lunch the next day--although he does harass me about washing baggies.
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#4 of 92 Old 07-05-2006, 03:05 PM
 
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We use a lot of kitchen cloth, but I just can't shake the paper towels. There are just some things that they're perfect for, yk?

A friend has cycled through 2 living room sets (she's on her third now) in the last 4 years. Complete with new paint jobs, rugs, custom made draperies, couch and chair. Must be nice. Although, I do have one of her 'old' jute rugs in my LR now!
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#5 of 92 Old 07-05-2006, 03:09 PM
 
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2 people living in a 11,000 sq. ft. house AND keeping the A/C on while hanging out on the porch with the door to the house open. aka my in-laws
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#6 of 92 Old 07-05-2006, 03:51 PM
 
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I tend to see two biggies:

1. Buying houses when you could rent the same amount of space for far less money each money, even accounting for the tax deduction the family *might* get, depending on the size of the mortgage and the household income.

2. Buying new cars, when a quality used one would do just fine. As a corollary to that, buying another car rather than spending money on repairs to keep the older model going.

My philosophy about frugality is that if you watch the biggies, like housing and transportation, you don't have to sweat the small stuff, like socks and baggies! But frugality, of course, is all in the eye of the beholder. It's not so much about not spending any money, it's about not spending money on things that don't matter to you.
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#7 of 92 Old 07-05-2006, 04:58 PM
 
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My in-laws are just the two of them, with a medium-size dog, and they recently bought a 7-seater van. Just because. They don't travel, so they don't need room for luggage and stuff. FIL also owns a four-seat pickup truck that he drives to work in an office. So they have room for 9 passengers besides themselves, and they don't go ANYWHERE with ANYONE. They just drive to work and church and the market.



My mom used to know a woman who wouldn't wear underwear more than once; she had some major clean-freak thing going on and every week she'd buy a pack of panties and throw them away after they'd been worn once.


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#8 of 92 Old 07-05-2006, 07:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber
My philosophy about frugality is that if you watch the biggies, like housing and transportation, you don't have to sweat the small stuff, like socks and baggies! But frugality, of course, is all in the eye of the beholder. It's not so much about not spending any money, it's about not spending money on things that don't matter to you.
And my philosophy on frugal is that if I watch the small stuff, then I can afford to splurge on a too-nice car and a house I love.
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#9 of 92 Old 07-05-2006, 07:09 PM
 
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Here's one that I see as totally not being frugal. Getting one's nails done every week or every two weeks.
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#10 of 92 Old 07-05-2006, 07:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber

1. Buying houses when you could rent the same amount of space for far less money each money, even accounting for the tax deduction the family *might* get, depending on the size of the mortgage and the household income..
I'm having a hard time agreeing with you on this one. I'd view it as more frugal in the long run to have ownership and equity in something rather than save a few dollars in the short run on rent. Better off to buy a smaller house in a nice neighborhood than to rent a mcmansion anywhere else. The hidden costs of home ownership (including sweat equity) do add up, but my home has more than doubled in value in the 8 yrs we've lived here, and there's no way I would have saved that kind of coin by scrimping.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber
2. Buying new cars, when a quality used one would do just fine. As a corollary to that, buying another car rather than spending money on repairs to keep the older model going..
I mostly agree with you here. I've never owned a new car, and probably never will (unless we buy a hybrid). But there comes a point when continuing to pour money into your old beater that accd to the insurance company is considered totaled when something costs more to repair than the car is worth. At some point it's more economical to cut your losses and just buy another used car that doesn't require so much maintenance (and may be safer and more fuel efficient also).
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#11 of 92 Old 07-05-2006, 07:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber
I tend to see two biggies:

1. Buying houses when you could rent the same amount of space for far less money each money, even accounting for the tax deduction the family *might* get, depending on the size of the mortgage and the household income.
Why is this not frugal? Once the mortgage is paid off (and hopefully it won't be *that* long if one manages money well), housing costs will be much lower than for someone renting. Also, rents are always going up, whereas the mortgage should stay more or less the same. I am honestly curious, if you plan to stay and/or keep the property for a good amount of time, why is this bad? And, of course, a property can be sold to recoup much of the cost, whereas rent cannot be recovered. I'm not saying renting isn't the best choice in many circumstances, but it would seem to me that buying would be better for someone who plans to live in or keep a property long term.
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#12 of 92 Old 07-05-2006, 07:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebecca
I'm having a hard time agreeing with you on this one. I'd view it as more frugal in the long run to have ownership and equity in something rather than save a few dollars in the short run on rent. Better off to buy a smaller house in a nice neighborhood than to rent a mcmansion anywhere else. The hidden costs of home ownership (including sweat equity) do add up, but my home has more than doubled in value in the 8 yrs we've lived here, and there's no way I would have saved that kind of coin by scrimping.



I mostly agree with you here. I've never owned a new car, and probably never will (unless we buy a hybrid). But there comes a point when continuing to pour money into your old beater that accd to the insurance company is considered totaled when something costs more to repair than the car is worth. At some point it's more economical to cut your losses and just buy another used car that doesn't require so much maintenance (and may be safer and more fuel efficient also).
We cross-posted, and I agree 100%! On both counts. I hate to "cut my losses" with a belonging and buy new rather than repair, but at a certain point it is definitely cheaper to just get a new (or newer used) one. It is one of the things I dislike about our disposable society; things are built to be replaced, not repaired. I try to repair for environmental reasons, but even then you have to consider the environmental costs of resource efficiency of new cars and appliances, etc. With many appliances these days, they won't even fix them under warranty; they just send you a new one!
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#13 of 92 Old 07-05-2006, 08:58 PM
 
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I knew people would disagree with me on this! But that's OK, because like I said, frugality is in the eye of the beholder. To steal the motto of Tom Frank, one of my favorite business writers: "The secret to happiness is low overhead."

But I probably should explain myself further:

With housing, I think it's easy to get emotional and too eager about owning your own place when it can be much more frugal to rent for a few years while you save up money and catch the housing market in a better part of the cycle. Yes, in the long run (10-plus years), it pays to own. But often (the current market, for instance), it is more frugal to rent for the short to medium term, especially if you'd have to use some unusual loan product (interest-only, adjustable rate, no down payment, etc.) to get you in a house to start with. Look at your house the way a potential investor would: Given how much you have to borrow to buy the place, could you rent it out for enough to cover the mortgage and other expenses? If not, the cost/value ratio of the house is out of whack. This is your classic housing bubble.

When people evaluate the benefits of owning, they tend to overemphasize the perceived benefits, such as the interest rate tax deduction, which may or may not even apply to them at their income level. Even equity is not as clear cut as it may seem: Even with a conventional mortgage, those first few years of payments are all interest, no principal. Also, selling a house involves a very big transaction cost if you need to move. Assuming you get big appreciation (which I would emphatically NOT assume for the next few years), a big chunk of those gains will be wiped out when you pay a real estate agent to unload the house for you.

People also tend to underestimate the real costs of owning -- I spent more than $10K on repairs and maintainence in my first year of owning my modest little rowhouse. With my appreciation gains have come big tax hikes. Fortunately, I knew this was coming and had budgeted for it.

When the market is out of whack like it is now in many parts of the country, often the most frugal thing to do is rent while saving the difference between your rent and what your mortgage would be if you bought. It takes discipline, but you can get a very good return on your investment.

The point is, look hard at the numbers and see what the truely frugal choice is before deciding to rent or buy. It may very well be buying, but it's better to do real calculations, IMO, than to assume the conventional wisdom applies to your case. Of course, you may decide that even if owning costs more, it's still worth it to you psychologically. That's fine! But know that you're paying for that feeling as well as housing, so it's not really much different than the warm and fuzzy feeling I get from a stop at Starbucks even though I could make my own coffee cheaper at home!

For me, it's very important that I never get in a bind with bills that I can't reduce should DP or I lose our jobs or get sick. That means always paying cash for our (good, used) cars and keeping housing costs at about a quarter of our take-home pay. Our cars aren't falling apart, and the house isn't in the 'hood. They just aren't as fancy as the bank would let us have. We invest in good insurance -- health, disability, life. We save in our emergency fund, in our retirement accounts, and in our nephews and niece's college funds. Beyond that, we treat ourselves: plenty of visits home to visit family, nice dinners out to celebrate special occasions, donations to charity, etc. This setup means that should something happen after our baby comes in November and I can't or don't want to work, we would be able to get by just fine.

I mean, I'm sure it happens, but I've never known a family to be driven to bankruptcy by throwing away baggies, using too many paper towels, or getting too many manicures. It always seems to be medical bills, oppressive mortgages and usurious car loans. So I try to do everything in my power to avoid those three things. Make sense?
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#14 of 92 Old 07-05-2006, 09:13 PM
 
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1. People who only buy name-brand clothes for their kids.
2. Huggies and Pampers Brand diapers
3. People who buy name brand just because it must be better
4. Using disposable EVERYTHING--paper plates, paper towels, cleaning wipes
5. Keeping a house 68 degrees in the summer, in Texas

In short---my sister in law
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#15 of 92 Old 07-06-2006, 08:11 AM
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Smoking.
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#16 of 92 Old 07-06-2006, 09:32 AM
 
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Buying a well-maintained modest home and refinancing when the rates were low has been one of our best financial moves (our mortgage is currently much less than rent would be and we have enjoyed substantial tax deductions), but I can see where this may not be true for some families who are not already in the market given the weird state of the real estate market right now.

Here are the unfrugal things that make me crazy...

1. Eating out (esp lunch at work) seems a huge waste of money to me though I am no longer convinced that throwing out baggies will sink us financially (though I feel terrible from an environmental perspective)

2. Housekeepers/lawnservice

3. Throwing expensive and elaborate birthday parties for very young children - ie. ds was once invited to a Build a Bear ($25 or $35 per kid or something like that) with McDonalds after for nearly 25 kids for a 2 year old :

4. Not taking the time to compare prices. I recently switched Vets because it seems like my Vet is overcharging for everything to fund their new "state of the art hospital" I called around and they are charging way more than everyone else for standard pet vaxs (3 times as much for some shots). Told my neighbor (who has 3 dogs) we were switching and she said that she had thought it seemed more expensive; however, she hadn't considered calling around and had just spent about $175 per dog for shots that are going to cost me $65.

I could probably go on and on as dh and I spend a fair amount of time chatting about all of the ways our sibs waste all of their money

BJ
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#17 of 92 Old 07-06-2006, 09:43 AM
 
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I think the housing thing can go either way. It depends on what your financial situation is like at the time and what the market is like at the time.

We know someone who is buying a $150,000 house right now (moderately expensive in this area) because they can't stand their apartment anymore. They're a couple with a dog. They're building this house when they have NO MONEY to put down on it. No money in savings and not even enough furniture to fill more than one bedroom and the living room. Their payment will go up $400-500 a month and they will have to finance 100% of the house and all closing costs. They also have other debt and won't have any money to repair anything should it break. And interest rates are high right now as well. All around not the best time to buy in our area. I feel like they'd be better off staying where they are, continuing to pay less in rent for awhile and saving up some.

Home ownership is sometimes and good investment and sometimes not. We're selling our house and moving to a rental in a few months but it's an area we're choosing not to buy in right now because the market in overinflated and overlysaturated so houses sit on the market for years before they sell. No thanks. Wth the HUGE savings we'll net from paying MUCH less in rent than we're paying on our mortgage we'll save up to buy later.

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#18 of 92 Old 07-06-2006, 09:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirelle
2. Huggies and Pampers Brand diapers
i can only use these two brands on ds, i have tryed the others and they dont fit as well, leak and give him rashes.


the most unfrugal thing imo is a new pair of sneakers because they got some dirt on them.
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#19 of 92 Old 07-06-2006, 09:54 AM
 
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For me:

Wasting food. Such as- buying your kids a huge meal and drink and then tossing most of it out, we save everything for later if possible. Dinner last night is dh's lunch today. My sil will buy a small carton of orange juice for each of her 3 kids only to throw out equal to 1 1/2 of the remainder. It kills dh to watch. Why not buy 1 and pour it into cups!!!

Living w/ short term solutions to long term problems. Or day to day, month to month. I hear so many people (lncl here) say its this amount monthly blah blah blah. Look at the big picture to see how much whatever IT is is costing.

Moving into the mortgage arguement. As a ten year home owner of a property that has more than doubled in value, it would cost me double what my monthly payment is to rent the house down the street. Yes our interest has gone down for a tax deduction since we own a lot more of our home but now we are looking to pay it off sooner than later. Worth investing if you plan on staying put.

Big huge trucks cars whatever. I see these huge suvs whatever driven around and not a sole in the back. If you have a heard of kids, yes you need one, but these are just people driving these huge cars.

sposies dipes and wipes- this argument could go on and on.

paper products. we do keep a roll of paper towels in the kitchen but it sits for a while since we use rags, cloth napkins etc

People piling things up in their homes. Whether in the bsmt or garage its all sitting there. Go thru this stuff and sell it, donate or throw out. Most likely donate since its not doing any good sitting there. pass it on!

large spaces to live in. My sil/bil just bought a starter castle. Yes they can afford it etc but this place has 5 bathrooms and 1 roughed in in the huge bsmt they plan on finishing. for a 5 person family it seems kind of wasteful but to each his own

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#20 of 92 Old 07-06-2006, 10:48 AM
 
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Well, I have watched my lovely friend and neighbor spin her family into enormous debt in the last year. Recent purchases include a new boat, a new SUV and a $50,000 kitchen remodelling project. Her dh is sweating the bills, their marriage is strained and they are a few steps away from financial ruin should his business slow down (he is self employed).

I see people spend money on silly things all the time. They get their nails done, they buy over-priced cups of coffee, they splurge on fashion. I get why people want to buy themselves things. It feels good to have a little something nice in my life; something special that is just for me, something I don't have to share with the kids.

What I don't get is over-consumption and risking your family's financial stability. I don't understand my friend and her compulsion to buy. And it is a compulsion. She really feels that she needs all these things. She watches me hang our clothes on the line and wash baggies. She thinks it is wonderful that I am able to do these things and wants to be able to do them herself, but truely feels she cannot. : Therapy, anyone?

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#21 of 92 Old 07-06-2006, 11:55 AM
 
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Re: the housing 'debate'...I agree that MOST of the time, it's better to buy and your payments may be less than what rent would be.

BUT, I see the PP's point about rushing into things also. My brother is in that boat. He rushed into buying the house he's in and he HATES it now and wishes they'd never bought it and he can't resell right now because the economy has taken a nosedive around here.

I see ALOT of unfrugal things, and we do some of those ourselves...our biggest one being the cable tv/internet. :
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#22 of 92 Old 07-06-2006, 12:42 PM
 
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The most unfrugal thing I see ALL the time down here in TX.....

Driving a giant SUV - particularly for a long daily commutes, with one or max two people in it.

Buying a huge 3500+ sq ft McMansion way out in the suburbs, setting up oneself to have to drive everywhere, plus all the additional costs of heating, cooling of said giant house, etc.

The least frugal thing I do - probably eating out a lot more than we need to.
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#23 of 92 Old 07-06-2006, 01:04 PM
 
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Lunches.

Tonnes of people at my work buy lunches every day, even though we have two fridges, a convection oven, two microwaves a toaster and a dishwasher. I don't look down on them for it, but I do notice it when I bother.

Buying coffee every day with a muffin for $5. That's a lot of cash!

We use the toughest papertowels around, bounties, in our kitchen, because we feed a raw meat diet to our cats and it's not healthy to use rags and then re-use them. We don't have a washer/dryer, so it's also gross to throw them in the hamper for the two-week wash trip. So, there are good reasons to use paper towels.

Buying everything new.... I know some people that never consider getting used anything, they own department store credit cards and they use them on a regular basis..... Only our table sets are new, and they are wedding and anniversary gifts. And our home is really nice!

I can't wait to actually buy a house and start building equity.
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#24 of 92 Old 07-06-2006, 02:05 PM
 
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buying a brand new living room set with a toddler in the house. its only going to get stained etc and you''l end up buying another one.

i do think buying new can be good, if its when its at a point in your life where the wear and tear on it wont be to bad,eg with teens lol. We buy our furniture from goodwill etc.
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#25 of 92 Old 07-06-2006, 02:33 PM
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Just had to put my two cents in on the housing thing. Even though it is a sellers market, and therefore not the greatest time to buy a house, economy-based, if it is a good time based on your family situation & finances, you should do it. It is cheaper compared to renting in most cases - I have a coworker who is renting an apartment, 100 sq ft less than my house, for about $150 more a month, both are 2 bed, 1 bath. My mortgage include taxes & insurance (whereas they'd have to pay insurance seperately from the rent). While I do have to pay for repairs myself, we're still coming out ahead, and as mentioned above, if we need to move, the house can be sold so we'll get our money back, whereas it'd just be gone w/ renting. It's also there if absolutely necessary, to get extra money in an emergency (home equity loan or second mortgage). Where it becomes a problem, causes financial strain, is when you listen to the bank and by the most expensive house THEY say you can get, even though you really can't afford it. (And just having enough in your budget to make the mortgage payment is not being able to afford it!) In our case, we were approved for up to $230,000 for a loan, but the payments were way more than I was comfortable with, we ended up buying one for $90,000, only 6 yrs old so not lots of major repairs to be expected right away, and plenty of house for the 2 of us. Which lets us put an extra $200 a month towards the mortgage, work on cutting down the interest faster, and if repairs are necessary we can easily afford it without wondering how to pay our other bill. Of course, having some in savings is even more important when you own a home too, for that same reason.
We throw away baggies too, but for lunches use tupperware sandwich containers, plus 98% of leftovers go into tupperware too, so not too many baggies anyway. Just don't trust to get them clean enough to ward off germs.
Biggest wastes IMO: taking out loans for stuff you don't really need (or that could wait a couple months while you save the money yourself), driving big trucks or SUV's living in the city - there are good uses for these vehicles, but just that you like it better isn't one, housecleaning & yardwork services (Except maybe big jobs that require machinery that the average individual wouldn't know how to operate). Also, in many cases, full-time daycare, especially w/ very young children. I know, necessary in some cases, but in most (w/ 2 parents), you can make more money for your time if 1 parent works at night.
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#26 of 92 Old 07-06-2006, 02:41 PM
 
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Also, in many cases, full-time daycare, especially w/ very young children. I know, necessary in some cases, but in most (w/ 2 parents), you can make more money for your time if 1 parent works at night.
this reminds me of the SAHM's who out their kids in daycare 5 days a week so they can have a break and the kids can socialize.
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#27 of 92 Old 07-06-2006, 10:25 PM
 
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Oh, I could go on and on about this.

My biggies:
--paper towels (both my mom and mil FREAK OUT in my house)
--prepackaged food, especially kids "lunches" (aka cr**)
--hair straightening

But--and I admit these are all from the same friend/aquaintance:
--leasing cars
--hiring a color consultant for your walls and a garden designer for your yard(and then landscaper and gardener)
--buying things that are "the best" or "most desirable" because your contractor told you to (like beaded crown molding and granite slab counters and stainless appliances!)
--personalized license plates
--did I mention hair straightening?
--taking your 2yo out to lunch 3x/week "for fun!
--teeth whitening
--full-day daycare when you really need .5/day 2-3x/week

I'll stop there, this is already too long!
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#28 of 92 Old 07-06-2006, 10:39 PM
 
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So, this is probably a topic for another thread, but what is an acceptable thing to spend one's money on? I.e. what isn't considered a waste?

If I was the paragon of frugality, as conceived by an amalgamation of our individual concepts of frugal perfection, I'd have a *lot* of money each month. What do I get to spend it on guilt-free?
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#29 of 92 Old 07-06-2006, 10:49 PM
 
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i spend on take out or eating out........because its my ownly luxury and me and dh make it into our time.
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#30 of 92 Old 07-06-2006, 11:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber
If I was the paragon of frugality, as conceived by an amalgamation of our individual concepts of frugal perfection, I'd have a *lot* of money each month. What do I get to spend it on guilt-free?
Hmm... LOL I guess that would be organic food products, a hybrid vehicle (on sale, preferably used), and a clotheline if you can't find rope and pins on your freecycle group! I'd say that you can fairy it to me, but I guess that would be a waste too!

I'm just kidding! We all have our own ideas of what is important to buy and what is a waste to us. That's a free market for ya!
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