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Reading the thread about frugal friends made me wonder what others consider frugal to be. More than one person commented that their friends spent too much money on organic groceries, and so were not frugal. To me frugal is saving money where I can to spend money on things that are important to me. Organic groceries are important to me. I try to do what I can to save money, vegetarian meals, bulk buying, meal planning, etc However, I could spend less if we ate processed foods. Of course I don't see compromising my health as being frugal in the end, but that is just me.<br><br>
There are other things that I scrimp on, but are not worth it to others. I do cd's but none of my irl friends use them. Does that make me more frugal? I don't think so. we all are making choices aware of various tradeoffs.<br><br>
Every year for Christmas we have scrimped and saved. I have made everyone's gifts. Not because we didn't have the money, but because we were trying to be frugal. This year we have made a decision to spend more money as we would like to buy our families nice gifts this year. I have realized that although I appreciate homemade all natural things, they do not. I have decided if I expect them to meet me where I am, then I should do the same. Does that make me unfrugal? Or was I more frugal before?<br><br>
We are more apt to buy nicer quality items rather than the cheapest thing I can get. Granted I am very much a minimalist, I shop used, but I could spend less money on some items. However, dh and I never spend money on each other for gifts. I very, very rarely buy new clothes for myself or the kids. I can actually count the number of new things bought for each; 2 gowns for my son at 5 days old- he's now 3.25.<br><br>
Do you have a checklist of frugal and unfrugal behavior?
 

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I personally feel like frugal means getting the most value out of your money. Not necessarily by not spending it, but by being mindful of where it is spent so you get the most for it.<br><br>
Sorry to be a geek, but I really feel like m-w.com defines it well - they define frugal as:<br>
"characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources"<br><br>
and this definition of economy:<br>
2 a<b>:</b> thrifty and efficient use of material resources <b>:</b> frugality in expenditures; b<b>:</b> efficient and concise use of nonmaterial resources (as effort, language, or motion)<br><br>
Efficient is a nice word to describe it. It's not about not buying one thing, or buying another, but about getting the absolute maximum personal value.
 

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Frugality refers to, in my opinion, the absence of wastefulness, pertianing to all resources. We are stellar at certain aspects, but we have a habit of aging or produce, like all of it, every week. Not frugal.
 

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I define frugality similar to you OP. For me it's not about getting the cheapest thing, but shopping mindfully and minimally without waste. I feel I grocery shop very frugally, but still buy some organic, stick with minimal processed or "treat" goods - yet the amount I spend is not that small, it's small, but we don't have as much in our trolley as others. I tend to reuse, repair, buy 2nd hand before considering buying new (very rarely do I buy anything new these days)- so this helps us spend less and be frugal, yet frees up $$ to buy necessary more spendy items (ie we needed to replace the roof on our house or buy things to get the vegetable garden up and running).<br><br>
We are on a tight month to month budget without spare, but I guess there is still flexibility to allow for us to choose the non-cheapest option - I think a lot of people don't have that choice, and being frugal isn't a choice, but a means to an end.
 

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To me, frugal means eliminating waste, and I try to practice this in several ways: searching for a good bargain on things that we need anyway, buying a single well-made item instead of a junky cheaper one that will need to be replaced in a month when it breaks, skipping impuse purchases, and spending mindfully so that our purchases reflect our values.<br><br>
Like the OP said, it's cheaper to eat processed foods, but is that truly frugal - or is there a hidden long-term cost, as your health deteriorates from junk food? I believe it's more frugal to eat a simple, healthful diet, even if it costs a little more, because in the long run it is better for your body and better for the environment.<br><br>
I think frugality is about being a good steward of your assets, and getting as much value for your money as possible. The specific details may vary from one family to another, but the philosophy is essentially the same.
 

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I think of it as a euphemism for going without, as a hardship, because you are poor. Giving up unnecessary luxuries you would otherwise like to indulge in (like buying all organic food, or all hand made wooden toys). When people say they are being "frugal" in my circles it always means that they can't afford better. It's a lifestyle but not a lifestyle choice, if you had more money you would be spending it on higher quality.<br><br>
Thrifty I think of as economizing as a philosophy. Thrifted fabrics, thrifty menu planning. Recycling, reusing, eating the whole buffalo, not wasting. More of a lifestyle by choice than frugal.<br><br>
Penny pinching I think of as stingy for the heck of it.
 

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I really like this distinction between "cheap" and "frugal," where frugal is about buying value.<br><br><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2007/10/06/how-can-a-frugal-person-buy-expensive-items-a-deeper-look-at-frugality/" target="_blank">http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2007/...-at-frugality/</a><br>
Trent wrote:<br>
"A frugal person is willing to spend $1,200 on a new washing machine, provided that washing machine is low energy and has a long lifetime.<br><br>
"A cheap person can’t even conceive of spending that kind of money on a washing machine.<br><br>
"A frugal person might spend $5 on salad dressing, but follow it with a 70 cent can of tuna, because the frugal person has tried various kinds when they’re on sale and has found out the sweet spot of the best quality for the buck in both salad dressing and tuna.<br><br>
"A cheap person will buy the 99 cent salad dressing and the 70 cent can of tuna and laugh at the money wasted by the “frugal” person."<br><br>
mods: I hope I can post this long of a quote. If not, please let me know how to modify it.
 

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I think that making a distinction between cheap and frugal as the pp did is important. Basically, I think of it as doing the best you can with what you have. I think that the purchasers intention is important. This is why I actually get a bit frustrated with the "No Spend" thread. (Though I love everyone on it and am thankful for the support.) I am interested in people's reasons for not spending. I guess I want to believe we are all not spending for reasons other than being poor. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Do tell why you are frugal. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/loveeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Loveeyes">:
 

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I like that delineation of frugal vs. cheap.<br><br>
For me it is about making wise choices, given my circumstances. Would I go into debt or eat less meals than I needed to in order to make all those meals organic? No. But eating organic at the expense of other optional things as as a part of my budget I can afford does not make me an unfrugal spendthrift.<br><br>
I get discouraged with this board sometimes when people get jumped on for expenses they can afford (such as choosing to eat all organics or buying a high quality doll). Sure, I understand that some choices people make are unwise (like spending money thye don't have or buying a house that has a mortgage payment that is a collision course for disaster) but many times the responses take on a very judgmental tone about what amounts to an issue of different choices and realities (small gift items or food) and not a helpful tone of trying to assist in a truly unworkable situation (like a huge car payment or buying a house with a loan that is going to ruin you!)<br><br>
Just because one person's choices are not everyone's choices does make them chi chi or whatever.<br><br>
And I am laughing since I am a frugal person who bought a $1200 washing machine (got some off the price of course <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">) and I occasionally make a dressing that costs me at least $5 excluding time to make. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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Hmm... in regard to the frugality of cloth diapers...<br><br>
I live in a single family house in a small city (6600 people).<br><br>
I have to pay for my trash disposal, and I am limited to 2 cans (plus unlimited recycling) per week. If I go over this amount, I get charged more.<br><br>
I have a washer, a dryer, indoor and outdoor clotheslines.<br><br>
The nearest megalomart is 15 miles away, there are no warehouse clubs anywhere nearby, and the little stores here in town charge $0.50 per diaper.<br><br>
It would not make economic sense for me to use sposies.<br><br>
On the other hand, for the first two years we were married, DH and I lived in a much larger city (50,000 people) in an apartment.<br><br>
We did not have a washer or dryer in our apartment, and the very crappy coin machines in the basement's building were $1 per load wash, $1 per load dry (and nothing every got completely dry). Laundry was a major issue there.<br><br>
On the other hand, our trash was free with our rent. No limits, either, just throw stuff in the dumpster.<br><br>
We were a 10 minute walk from Wal-Mart (cheap sposies) and a 10 minute drive to Sam's Club (super cheap sposies).<br><br>
So when I lived in the apartment, it probably would not have made economic sense for me to use cloth diapers.<br><br>
(However, the second year that we lived in the apartment, I got a part time job at a laundromat to deal with the majorness of the laundry issue. So then, it probably would have made economic sense for me to CD.)<br><br>
I think that the sort of frugality that works for you is reflective of your situation.
 

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For me frugal is pooling your resources first before dumping money into something.<br><br>
DH is the greatest at getting like new or brand new things on ebay or craigslist instead of buying it off the shelf at the store for a greater price. We bought for $850 cash our over the stove vent. Yes its a large purchase but it would have been $3K new. This vent was about 2-3 years old and recently taken out of a brand new remodeled kitchen of a house that was slated to be torn down. The guy we bought it from took out the wooden cabinets, the countertops, the stove, vent etc. We bought the vent to go over our brand new $$ stove. The vent is perfect in our house. That was frugal and it saved it from the landfill. Because we are frugal, we have that kind of cash in reserve.<br><br>
We use fuzzi bunz. granted prefolds and a cover are a much less expensive option but the $300 we spent on the fuzzi bunz in Sept 2006 and still use today was worth it. I can sell these when MAggie grows out of them and get some of what I put out, not to mention I didnt spend $ every week on buying sposies. So I have already broke even on what I would have spent.<br><br>
I will make an expensive purchase and buy the better quality product before I buy the bigcomanymart saver. The product will last me longer and I will take care of it because I paid more for it. Then I can pass it on to someone else who needs it and they can do the same.<br><br>
Frugal eating out- I will go to the local coffee shop owned by my neighbor, the pizza joint owned by a guy in my town, as well as the local grocery store. I might spend a bit more than going to a fast food joint or the supertarget, but the money goes right back into my town and my neighbor keeps his job. It also improves my town etc so it makes my property a better place. Also, the owners of these places know me by name and want my dollars unlike the supertarget who could care less about my family.<br><br>
We have a very expensive stove. I have a large pantry filled with stuff my family eats. I also have a huge huge freezer filled. The stove is paid for and a special gift to ourselves. I love it and use it twice daily. I noticed that our cooking time is much shorter and the power it has, it makes cooking a complete joy (it was already but this is fun!). I do not regret the purchase but if you do not cook like we do, why bother? We seldom eat out, but if we do we go to the above places and usually for just lunch or something. So its a wise investment of our money. Frugal pricewise, maybe not, but it uses much less energy and time and in the longrun, its frugal for our family.<br><br>
We spent more money to get top quality windows. Our heating bills went down. so sometimes you need to spend money to save money and that is being frugal.
 

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For us being frugal means being realistic of what we need versus want and deciding what would work best for our family.<br><br>
I really needed new winter boots, I use them for work and we are outside alot in the winter. They had an ok pair that seemed sturdy enough for $30, my mom bought a pair and again reminded me I needed some as well. I waited, it is now just getting cold and we have had a lot fo snow, and my mom is complaining her feet are always cold and what a rip off they turned out to be. I went ahead and bought an $80 pair that was on sale down from $100 of Sorel boots. They are fantastic and sooo worth the extra money.<br><br>
We are also looking at a washing machine. My IL's are trying to convince me to get a $300 model, the one I really want (and frankly we need) is around $1,000. It uses less water, less energy, and has options that we need and would use. So for now we are waiting and I am hoping to get the model I want by spring, I am not going to pay $300 for something that is smaller than we have now.
 
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