Frugality is great. As far as I’m concerned, the less, the better rings true most of the time. It has been a long time since I was a person hampered by possessions and I do not miss those days at all. Frugality can help you learn new things, inspire creativity or even (in more extreme cases) lead to complete self-sufficiency.
“The Things You Own, End Up Owning You”
This quote is taken from my favorite author, Chuck Palanhiuk. It is most recognized in the film adaptation of his novel, Fight Club. In case you haven’t seen or read it, it’s a pretty intense experience that I highly recommend. This quote speaks of us being dragged down by debt from buying the newest, nicest and subsequently, most expensive crap. For those who practice frugality, this one line alone can help remind you that even though you may want it, you probably do not NEED it.
Even though I do enjoy finding alternative ways to save on “stuff” and conserve resources simultaneously, there are many “frugal tips” that I just can not abide by. I am always looking for a new and interesting way to save, even in the most un-noticeable areas of my life…but some just take it too far. Here are a few frugal tips that I just can not bring myself around to doing…I promise that all of these are REAL. That is, I have read all of these tips in a book, on a website or through word of mouth. Even the most ridiculous of them are genuine.
- Re-use coffee grounds:
The promise of a hot, steaming cup of coffee in the morning is one of the few things that gets me up in the morning. To have this wonderful beverage insulted by using old coffee, or even half-new, half-used grounds is insulting to this great beverage. I have never, and will never give this a shot. Even if it saves me 50 cents on a pot, it is still not worth it to me.
If you are unfamiliar, hypermiling is the “art” of driving at maximum fuel-efficiency. These obnoxious morons will accelerate slower than your 93 year-old grandmother on heroine. Seriously, to be trapped behind a hypermiler is akin (in frustration) to having a shopping cart with 4 bad wheels. Fuel efficiency is important, but to take it to the extremes of hypermilers just pisses “normal” people like you and me off in a big way.
- Shopping Around:
This does not count if you are house shopping or shopping online, but those who go from store to store to save $1.00 on a jar of pickles just perplex me. Isn’t the point to SAVE money? Well, that is the opposite of what you are doing if you are wasting gas and putting miles on your car for inconsequential savings. Think about how much you are saving, if anything by store hopping, or going to the gas station two miles away to save that one penny per gallon. This tip can be counterproductive to your frugality.
- Stay Home:
I’m quite a homebody myself, but that does not stop me from taking the occasional road trip or flight. Do not take your frugality to “hermit” stage by denying yourself human contact with others or the experience of new and exciting places. The concept of a “staycation” is lost on me. Maybe that is because I have friends and family scattered all over the place.
- “Dumpster Diving”:
If you are unaware, dumpster diving is exactly what it sounds like. Many people search for usable, recyclable or even valuable items in dumpsters. Apparently, the most lucrative dumpsters to crawl into are those of businesses, as they trash much more of value than the common household. I just can’t justify getting filthy in hopes of scoring a treasure. Some people may love doing it, and maybe they are great at it…but it is not for me.
- Do it Yourself Home and Car Repairs
While you may be skilled at these repairs, many (like myself) are not. A trusted contractor or mechanic make much more fiscal sense to me than attempting a job that I am not capable of doing myself. If you have the capacity and talent, do it…if not, find someone you trust to take care of these tasks. Better they take care of it, than you eff it up yourself and have to hire them to fix your mistakes.
While most tips for frugality are great, there are a handful that I just can not give my vote of approval. If you have anything to add to this list, be it ridiculous, stupid, smelly, dirty or just counterproductive, feel free to add it in the comments. I’m sure there are a few that I missed.