Do you ever get discouraged with frugality? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 10-13-2008, 06:06 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm feeling really frustrated right now. Like why am I bothering to clip coupons or avoid buying small things when so many other big things come along and wipe everything out? Obviously, what is happening in the economy in general is beyond my control and we are losing thousands on our home value, retirement and college savings. So what difference does it make if I save 75 cents on a bag of flour? Recently dh had to have an xray and since we hadn't paid our deductable for this year, we have to pay the $500 out of pocket. So what does it matter that I didn't go out to lunch one day? I could have gone out to lunch 100 times for that much! Or that could have been our entire Christmas!

I just feel like I am pinching pennies over here while hundreds and thousands of dollars are slipping through my fingers, kwim?
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#2 of 17 Old 10-13-2008, 09:16 AM
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I've only been "frugal" since January, and it started after I calculated that my daily Dunkin Donuts coffee habit was costing me $360/year, and that I could buy 1.5 plane tickets to our favorite vacation spot for that amount. So, it IS the little things that keep me going. If you hadn't saved 75 cents on the flour or had kept going out to lunch, then you might *really* be in the hole when the big expenses come up. As for our investments...we just have to sit an wait on those, but there's no better time to be frual than now. Hope things turn around soon.
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#3 of 17 Old 10-13-2008, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by HipGal View Post
and we are losing thousands on our home value, retirement and college savings.
I wonder if you could take the long view here? You have not lost thousands unless you're selling. These things will rebound, and are longer-term investments. But if you believe things are only getting worse, then that must be a very dark place, and I could understand the frustration.

It totally makes a difference that you're saving here and there. Whether you have bigger expenses or not, you're always better off by the amount you've saved.

4 kids under 10
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#4 of 17 Old 10-13-2008, 10:40 AM
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Everyone gets discouraged sure. I get frustrated over time with feeling like I can't buy or do anything I want to do - not that I want to spend frivolously, but there is usually something I could really use that would make my life so much easier that I'm holding off on and it feels like you are holding off forever. However, I see the bright side when I am able to hold out past my need or desire for something and realize that I don't want it anymore and how holding off has really paid off in the end.

It's important to remember that the big items that discourage you would be there whether you are frugal or not, so you are still making a difference. The difference may be getting by without relying on credit, or without dipping into savings, which you would have had to do when the xray bill came if you hadn't been more frugal.

On the value of homes and retirement savings, I agree - unless you plan to retire in the next 5 years or move in the next 5 years, the value should not be a concern, it will all go up in the end. The trick is being able to wait it out - that is where people are having trouble. Those that need the money to retire in the next 5 years can't wait out the stock market drop, and those that need to move in the next 5 years can't wait out the housing slump. If you can do both, you are in good shape.

It might be worth the extra effort to keep track of what your efforts are saving you - as a personal accomplishment. $0.75 seems like so small, but when you add it up, maybe the bigger numbers will help motivate you?

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
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#5 of 17 Old 10-13-2008, 10:53 AM
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YES, especially right now. We've worked hard for several months to save up an EF, and pay off our cc debt completely. Then last week our cat got a urinary block and we had to pay to save his life on our cc. Now our cc is back up to $1300. It makes us feel hopeless and really sad. But DH had a great point last night: if we hadn't paid off our cc we may not have had available credit and likely would have had to bring our cat home to die of a UTI/crystals. That would have been awful.

It also makes me sad that we work our butts off to be super-frugal while others are out enjoying themselves like there is no tomorrow. My parents go on vacations left and right that they cannot afford. Sometime we get jealous, we haven't been on a vacation in forever and we won't be going on one anytime soon. It would be wonderful to go on vacation - or to even go out for dinner for that matter!

Zen doula-mama to my spirited DS1 (2/03), my CHD (TAPVR) warrior DS2 (6/07) & a gentle baby girl (8/09)
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#6 of 17 Old 10-13-2008, 01:40 PM
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I do. I'm starting to feel like we're so on the edge that only a change in the big picture (employment, where we live) will make a true difference (there's a reason we're moving cross country!). Sure, I can say to myself "Good for me, I stayed within my grocery budget and used some coupons," but it doesn't make me feel that much better ... even if I remind myself that doing so keeps me from winding up with more CC debt. I wish I were in a stable enough place that frugality felt satisfying, or creative, or truly beneficial. But I'm just not.

I feel you, OP!
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#7 of 17 Old 10-13-2008, 01:41 PM
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I find my attempts at frugality about 95% frustrating and 5% liberating. It's not a good thing.
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#8 of 17 Old 10-13-2008, 01:44 PM
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I have felt this way mama
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#9 of 17 Old 10-13-2008, 01:58 PM
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I also get really mad at myself when I screw it up somehow. Like I was going to this big private school garage sale that supposedly had great prices on stuff, I drove all the way there, find out I messed up the dates, it was the week before. So now I wasted 2 hours of driving + gas + my house is still a pigsty and I could have been cleaning it, etc.

Suzan, mama to DS 9-18-07 and #2 EDD 3/4/10 GIRL!.
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#10 of 17 Old 10-13-2008, 02:01 PM
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I have felt that way, too. I don't clip many coupons. Our grocery store does a deal on some thursdays where you get $10 off if you spend $50. So, dh and I go separately and save $20. I do think the little things add up. If you hate clipping coupons, don't do it. Find other ways to save. I only clip them if it's convenient. I don't go out of my way to search. Also, if we can buy things used, we buy used. We resell what we can, too. I feel that saving money that way is worth more of my time.

I used to feel a lot more down about it than I do now. Maybe I've just gotten used to it. We also try to make being frugal a game to have more fun with it. We've found some good scores at goodwill that we've resold for a good profit. That lifts our spirits.

I also work in the financial industry and understand how down most people feel about the economy. It will bounce back up. I've read some good statistics that make me feel better. It's also a good time to invest, since everythings on sale.

Wendy - mom to dd1(11), dd2(7), dd3(3)
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#11 of 17 Old 10-13-2008, 02:39 PM
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Car repairs do that to me.

I'm scrimping and saving on little things, then BAM a big ole' car repair comes along and wipes out all the spindly savings I have.

But the car repair would be needed whether I saved 75 cents on flour or not. At least I have the 75 cents so I can pay CASH for the car repair and not go into debt.

I try to keep that in mind.

Yes, it is hard.



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#12 of 17 Old 10-13-2008, 03:41 PM
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I can understand. We lost in the last 2 weeks 40K in our retirement investments, 2K in the kids education, plus I had to pay a $500 deductable to get my car fixed, $200 to fix a snafu on the furnace, and some other expenses. When it rains it pours. I am glad I am a planner and I have food in the house to eat etc.


It will take us 3 years to build that 40K back up. Then we have 33 years after to make it something bigger. Remind me in 20 or so years to shift things for a while when this hits again!! 3 years in the big picture is really no big deal. I am mad now, but oh well. Many more people lost thousands more or havent even started saving.

Some lady hit me car w her car door in the parking lot. Liz was in the car. All I could think about was- is my dd ok???? It was the other driver's fault, she is disputing this so I am out $500 until it gets resolved. So what, I still have my daughter who was fine but scared and my car is fixed. Heck the autobody place even cleaned it inside and out- I thought they gave me the wrong car back I didnt realize it was mine so clean.

The furnace would not go on correctly. We had to have the service guy come out, if we would have waited instead the cost could have been more because the furnace would have been damaged. Now our home is warm.

the 529 accounts- this is a great excuse for everyone to contribute to these in the upcoming holidays, birthdays etc. We have enough "stuff" for the kids. I can tell people their education accounts lost money and they can give that as a gift. Maybe they will finally see the light on that and not give us yet another toy....

Yes, I hate when things like this happen. Even our pastor said last week, can everyone please donate even just $5 more each week? I agreed to it in my mind and thought, yes a good idea. Guess what- gas has gone down so that $5 that would have gone in my tank can go to the roof our church needs now.

HTH a bit!

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#13 of 17 Old 10-13-2008, 03:49 PM
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It's frustrating, but I think now, more than ever, I am glad that I live simply. That said, I make occasional idiotic decisions and I do carry some credit card debt. We have savings but I wish we had more.

But anyway--I am really glad that we were not seduced into any more big ticket expenditures in the last few years. My MIL has been pressuring us to redo our kitchen (it is old, and we could use new appliances, countertops, flooring, and cabinets.) She likes everything just so. But we don't NEED those things--and I'm glad I didn't spend $15K or take out a loan for that money to redo our kitchen. At some point I told her that if she wanted to gi give us a large gift certificate Lowe's we'd think about it. But I'm not paying that myself!!!

Same thing with my car--I'd been thinking about getting a new one but couldn't get jazzed about spending the $$. Now I'm glad I didn't.

Someone posted somewhere else about how we're not rich--we can't live like we're rich. I agree. It doesn't mean I should live a life of want but it does mean that I need to be careful with my money. The day to day stuff--for me it's not as much about being frugal as a desiere to live simply.

Another whole post--all the little things that we do--I think America has largely stopped doing--and those little things add up. The coupons and the rebates and buying things on sale and not paying an interest rate because you paid cash...etc. The devil is in the details, you know?
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#14 of 17 Old 10-13-2008, 03:54 PM
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Yeah, sometimes I want to scream.

I have been frugal for a good number of years now (no cable, line drying, no eating out, etc.). We watched it pay off, we had money in the savings, were doing really well. We even bought a lot and were going to build a house. This was a couple of years ago.

We decided not to risk building, and stayed put. We just had a feeling that it was not a good idea, that it would really put us in straights if anything happened. Well, sure enough, look at the economy now! It hit us hard. Our savings is zapped, the kids have had some medical treatments that have cost us a lot of money, and more to come as our oldest will need braces. I, too, have looked at the coupons with an almost insane hilarity, save 50 cents, woohoo!

When frugality was a choice, it was liberating. Now that it is once again a bitter necessity, it's just hard.

ETA: I came back and re-read this, after posting about the pears we're being gifted. I feel kind of bad about what I wrote, ungrateful. We still have a roof over our heads, we are still eating. Yeah, there aren't any extras. But we've had some help, my parents just got my dd some much needed clothes, the pears, etc. We're ok right now. I'm scared for tomorrow, but tonite i'm going to say a prayer of thanks and try to remember all the blessings we do have.
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#15 of 17 Old 10-13-2008, 05:39 PM
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I do get discouraged sometimes. There are a couple of things I need done on my car and they are expensive. We recently had a new roof put on, and though insurance covered a big chunk of it, it was still costly.

Also, I tend to think of big vacations or significant remodeling projects as things OTHER people do...not things we do. That's a little sad in a way. I would like to re-do a few things in my kitchen (not even a big remodel), but even that would cost several thousand dollars.

Overall, I feel good about things and that we have been able to mostly live on DH's income. It hasn't been easy to make the transition over to one income, but we have managed. I look around at many others who are in our age range, though, and they seem to be buying new cars and taking cool vacations.
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#16 of 17 Old 10-13-2008, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Maddy123 View Post
Also, I tend to think of big vacations or significant remodeling projects as things OTHER people do...not things we do. That's a little sad in a way.
Yes, this. I feel this way too sometimes.
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#17 of 17 Old 10-13-2008, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Maddy123 View Post
Also, I tend to think of big vacations or significant remodeling projects as things OTHER people do...not things we do. That's a little sad in a way.
Originally Posted by ilovebabies View Post
Yes, this. I feel this way too sometimes.
Yes, this! I find I start spending more $$ when I start feeling this way.. when I hear about my globetrotting inlaws off on their 9th trip to Las Vegas and we haven't been anywhere in years. I start to feel the entitlement creeping up on me, and I want to have something to brag about. I feel this aching, gnawing.. I don't like it either.

The only thing that works to quiet it.. well, I brag about thrift to the people who believe in it. My mom and I compare how little we spend in general or what we managed to score at the used clothing store for $1.50 instead of $40. My friend and I talk about what we can do/make for presents for the teachers and relatives for little to nothing. I talk to my husband about how much $ we'll have in savings in June 2009, or December 2010.

I try to feel good about stretching out the time til the next grocery trip, and letting that feel better than spending it.

Laura, Mom of Cameron 07/01, Evan 01/08, and Madeline 07/09. Busy, but very happy! :
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