What is Frugality Really?

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Nature is the Model of Frugality

Nature is the Model of Frugality

First I will describe what frugality is not. Many people associate frugality with lack, but this is a misconception. It is not scrimping, being cheap, and playing small. Some may believe that frugality is all about saving string and clipping coupons, both of which may be tactics used in living a frugal life. But in and of themselves these tactics do not define frugality.

Frugality is what happens when your true values meet your cash-flow. The natural world is a perfect model for abundant frugality. Nature is amazingly abundant and giving, but she wastes absolutely nothing. Everything is used up or recycled. So frugality is not at odds with the law of attraction or with prosperity consciousness.
The wealthy started out frugal, and those who keep their hard-earned assets remain that way. To become financially independent it is imperative that you become aware of exactly where you stand right now and where you are trying to get to. Frugality is relentlessly reality based, and requires honest self-knowledge. But it is necessary for lasting financial success.
Keep coming back if you want to learn how to apply the principles of frugality to your own life. Do the work and watch what happens.

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Frugal Goddess Books is Pleased to Announce: Whole Food at Half Price-30 Days to Healthy Eating Without Breaking the Bank

Whole Food Book CoverMy dear frugalistas, I am very happy to make my book, Whole Food at Half Price-30 Days to Healthy Eating Without Breaking the Bank, available to you for pre-order on Amazon. The book will be out on November 24, 2014.

Food prices have always been one of the biggest expenses for many people, but now they are going up and it is harder and harder to feed a one person, much less a  family. This book can help!

You will learn how to avoid waste, how to shop for food, other sources of food besides the supermarket, and how to ditch the take-out with healthy home-cooked meals. It is NOT about couponing but instead teaches how to be self-sufficient and manage both the money and the food wisely.

My system will teach you to make the most of your money while eating meals that are fast, fresh, and affordable. I hope you enjoy it!

To order go here: Book Purchase Link

The Frugal Goddess Announces 3 New Free Webinars

If you have been struggling with your food budget lately you are not alone. That is why the Frugal Goddess is offering three free webinars to help you stop food waste, start eating local food, and ditch the take out for healthy meals at home. Please join me on the following dates and times:

Don’t Throw Money in the Garbage—Stop Wasting Food Now Sunday October 26th at 3:00 PM PDT or Monday October 27 at 6 PM PDT

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/3184394942788899073 This will be a step-by-step guide to reducing food waste so nothing goes in your compost but eggshells and peelings

Get Started with Local Food and Eat Better Today
Sunday November 2 at 10:00 AM PST
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/115701970440270594 Find out the seven sources of local food and which ones are right for you, plus how to shop local

Ditch the Take Out and Eat Real Food the Easy Way
Sunday November 9 at 2:00 PM PST
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/regi…/4769183724443709954 I
f you want to save money on food and be healthy you have to cook your food at home from real ingredients. This webinar will show you how, even if you don’t have time, don’t know how to cook, or are just too tired.

Sign up at the link, and don’t worry if you miss it live. There will be a replay of all three. I hope to “see” you there!

Go Shampoo Free for Beautiful Healthy Hair and Save Money Too!

IMG_2115Last spring I saw a post about going “poo free”. I had suspected for a long time that commercial shampoos were full of nasty chemicals so I decided to give it a try. The transition was hard, but the results are worth it. And I was able to trade a bunch of expensive products for two items that are found in our kitchen cupboard and a good boar’s bristle brush.

You will need a bottle of apple cider vinegar, a box of baking soda, a one cup glass measuring cup, and the brush.

Here is what you do: when you go to wash your hair, instead of shampoo, put about a quarter cup of baking soda into about a cup of warm water. Wet down your hair and then pour on the baking soda solution and work it through, especially the scalp. Rinse well, and also rinse the measuring cup. Then, put about a quarter cup of the vinegar into a cup of warm water. If you don’t rinse your measuring cup in between it will foam up.

Pour the vinegar over your hair, especially the ends. Then rinse thoroughly. This is important to get all the vinegar out.

Dry as usual and brush every evening. You don’t have to go 100 strokes, but that is a good number to aim for. At first your hair will look and feel dirty. Just ignore it and keep washing it the new way every few days. In about three weeks you will notice that your hair looks and feels great. And, for me at least, it helped my scalp a lot. It turns out those chemicals in modern shampoo are very harsh.

This works because shampoo actually causes your hair to produce more oil than it should to counteract the stripping that commercial shampoos do. After a few weeks your hair and scalp will go back to their natural state. Instead of oily and dirty, your hair will be soft, shiny, and healthy.

So get a good hat for the transition and give it a try!

Tips to Save Money on Halloween Costumes for Kids and Grown-ups

DSC_0489If you want to be original and save some money this Halloween now is the time to get your costume together. If you are going to avoid the expensive cookie cutter styles in the stores you have work to do.

The first question is whether the costume is for a little kid, a tween, or for an adult Halloween party. The smaller the child, the simpler the costume can be. For a toddler a simple ghost is enough. The biggest pressure to buy something like the other kids will come from the tweens. You may have to just go with it for a couple of years, unless you can offer such a cool alternative they get caught up in it. Pick your battles.

But, for your adult costume, think about costumes you have seen in other years that either caught your eye or won a prize. One year a couple I know went as a lion tamer and lion. They did a good job putting the costume together and won second place at a very large party. And both costumes were made out of scraps and bits of things they already had. They had to buy some orange fuzzy yarn stuff from a crafts fair for the lion’s mane. But that was it. What could you create with just a few materials and an imagination? Look around you.

If you just can’t think of a themed costume, you could try a mask on top and a ball gown or men’s formal attire on bottom, such as would been worn at a masked ball 100 years ago. Dig out the fanciest thing you own. For that matter, going in drag works as a stand-alone costume in any era.

Or you can buy just one small part of a costume, such as cat ears, fake scars or devil horns, and do the rest with make-up. A Zombie costume is almost all make up. If you can paint yourself a pale dead bluish color you can nail it.

The idea is to bend reality and show another side of yourself. If you can go into your subconscious for inspiration and then use your creativity to repurpose what you already have, you can’t go wrong. I know you must have saved some completely dated piece of clothing. There–in the back of your closet. Now it the time to break it out and run with it!

 

 

Christmas in August–Preparing for a Meaningful and Frugal Winter Holiday

MP900309696Though I used the word Christmas in the title this post is about all winter holiday gift giving traditions. Though the Frugal Goddess abhors the custom of pushing the decorations and ads up further every year, so that Thanksgiving and now Halloween are wiped out, there are two areas in which early preparations are required. Those are hand made gifts, and certain foods that must be started early to be really good. There are also foods that need to be ordered early to be sure of availability. That is why August is not too early to be thinking of the holidays.

One of the best ways to keep the holidays meaningful and frugal is making the gifts you give. If you can sew, knit, turn wood, make pottery, or MAKE anything, why not base your list on individually created crafts? If you start now with a sound plan by the solstice you will be all done.

And if you are a cook it is now time to start planning. If you want an organic heritage turkey be prepared to order it very soon, for both Thanksgiving and the holidays. Also be prepared to budget for this expense. It is frugal because the quality is so much better and the threat to you and your family’s health so much reduced. But those turkeys are more expensive, no getting around it.

The other food preparation is in various old-fashioned brandied cakes and confections that benefit from long soaking, such as Classic Christmas Cake, fruit cake and the like. Many of these recipes can be made three months ahead. Time to make that shopping list…

http://video.about.com/britishfood/How-to-Make-Classic-British-Christmas-Cake.htm

How to Be Frugal–Ten Tips to Get Started

How do we live the frugal life? It can’t be done without self-knowledge, attention to detail, and yes, time and effort. It is easy to get things done when we just throw money at the problem. But that is not necessarily a good idea in the long run. Unless you are very rich and just don’t care. But there is a huge and joyful pay-off to doing the work to craft a rich yet frugal life So how is it done? Here are 10 tips to get you started:

  1. Get organized. Many of the basic techniques of a frugal life DEMAND a degree of organization. For example–how can you avoid wasting food if you have no routine or schedule but keep shopping as if you do? Or how can you avoid library fines if you can’t find the books that need returning?
  2. Keep track of ALL the money that comes in–no matter how small. If you don’t know how much you have you could get an unpleasant surprise.
  3.  Know EXACTLY how much you owe, and what the amount of your monthly expenses are.
  4.  Cut all expenses that are not serving you. The useless gym membership, the online dribs and drabs. If you don’t use it–get rid of it!
  5. If you are running a negative balance or your expenses and income are the same– you are forcibly frugal. Look through the posts here that to get some ideas on making your life better. Cut your expenses anywhere you can. But–if you are lucky enough to have something left over you now have work to do.
  6. Set up fool-proof systems. Pay with a debit card that rejects the sale instead of over-drawing your account. Set up automatic bill pay for any items that will charge you a penalty for being late or where being cancelled can hurt you (car insurance for example). Make sure you pay all taxes and quarterly payments on time. In fact–make it early. If you have a tendency to forget make sure you don’t have to remember.
  7. It is time to decide what to do with your disposable income. The first step is SAVINGS. This may be in the form of a savings account, but that is really just a holding area. You need to investigate other places to put your money that pay you more. Go to Amazon.com and look at investment books for beginners, or find a MeetUp.com investors group in your area.
  8.  When you are thinking of buying something, ask yourself a few questions. Do you REALLY need/want it? Is If yes, is this particular item the very best thing to fill the need at the best price? Could you find it used or borrow it? Think things through before you pull out your wallet.
  9. You don’t need to save ALL the disposable income. Life is for living. Spending is part of dealing with money, and part of a frugal life. The difference between a spendthrift and a frugal person is that the frugal one spends it well. Deciding what to do with your pleasure money is very personal and takes thought. Unless you are very wealthy you have to make choices. Maybe small ones–buy that new dress or go out to dinner. Or maybe big ones–the camera or the trip. It’s your money and your life. Just don’t fritter it away on small things while you can’t make up your mind.
  10. Being frugal often involves using other resources besides money. What are yours? What can you use to barter with? If you want or need something, ask yourself how you could achieve the outcome you want without using any money at all. When you strike up a business relationship with someone always ask if they are willing to trade. You may be surprised. This only works if you are doing business with actual people and not corporations. This is a good reason to do business with small outfits that are capable of trading.

If you use these ten tips you will feel more in control instantly. And if you keep it up you will have more money, more control over your life, and more fun. That is the point of a living a frugal well-ordered life!

 

Why Be Frugal?

DSC_0687This might seem an odd question from the Frugal Goddess, but it is worth asking. Being frugal means more effort and often deferred gratification. There has to be a pay-off or nobody would do it willingly.

There are really three groups of frugalistas. The forcibly frugal are too poor don’t have a choice. This group  grew much larger in the USA during the crash of 2008 and is still growing. Sadly, the rest of the world has always had a large population in this group. For the forcibly frugal, there is no need to ask why. How is the question. How to feed a family, how to obtain shelter, how to survive.

The middle class frugalista understands the concept of deferred gratification. There are many, even in this over-heated consumer environment, that are willing to do the work to achieve a dream. This group understands the relationship between prudence and success. To be middle class is an exercise in compromise. A person with a moderate income can make choices, and satisfy some desires, but not all. For this group, a consistent frugal lifestyle means home-ownership, college for the kids, and the opportunity to do a few really amazing things like travel to the world. If this type were to go on impulse, all the surplus would be frittered away on trips to the mall, and they would have the debt-load of the average American family. For these frugalistas, frugality really does make their dreams come true.

But it does something more as well. It creates a deep sense of peace. It is well known that money problems are one of the biggest sources of stress in our culture. And that money fights are one of the biggest causes of divorce. Frugal people avoid all of that. And if the parents are frugal it sets a very good example for the whole family.

Though it may seem that we are through, there is actually one more type. The members of the voluntary simplicity movement tend to be very well off. Maybe even rich enough that waste is a mere inconvenience, not a life-threatening disaster. But this group is interested in a green life-style, and in a sustainable solution to the “human” problem. This involves avoiding waste and conscious values-based spending. That is the very definition of frugality. This group has a very different problem from the first two groups. The first group has no problem staying frugal, it is staying alive that concerns them. The second group may have temptations, but a commitment to a greater reward will keep them on track. But, for the voluntary frugalista, it is commitment to an idea of what is right that drives the frugal lifestyle. For them, the answer to the question “why be frugal” is an intellectual one. But, even so, there are rewards other than virtue. The voluntary frugalista gets the benefit of self-knowledge and clarity. This translates to more time doing the things that are truly rewarding, and less time spinning in circles.

Whatever your current financial situation, a frugal lifestyle is worth it.

First Time Gardener-A Follow Up

DSC_0637You might have noticed that my series on being a first time gardener just trailed off. That is because the garden just trailed off…

As you can see from the photo, all I got was a few tiny squash, 3 mini zucchinis, and a handful of not ready for prime time tomatoes.The squash are sitting near a grapefruit for comparison.

But–I am not easy to discourage. This year I have not finished planting, but already have a DSC_0641row of very healthy string beans, three thriving tomato plants, and a large strawberry patch. I will be adding basil, cucumbers, and chilis. Also several types of squash, and I expect the squash to act like squash this year, so I can scare my neighbors and friends.

We figured out that the soil was not rich enough, and the area was too crowded. Both problems have been fixed. So stay tuned for First Time Gardener–the Sequel!

Save Energy and Money—Hang Your Laundry Out to Dry

MP900255612In this age of high speed everything it is hard to imagine how people did the most mundane tasks as little as 100 years ago. When it comes to doing laundry, we in the developed countries can’t really fathom life without access to a dryer. But folks managed. It was labor intensive, but it worked.

Why would anyone want to go back to those days? For one thing, Americans use the entire output of several power plants just on drying laundry in a machine. We could close several large nuclear plants and cut our carbon emissions substantially just by hanging our laundry. For another, on a more personal note, using a dryer is running up your utility bill. Hanging your clothes is one way to reap the benefits of solar energy without any upfront costs. Just a clothesline and some clothes pins.

There are places that frown on hanging your clothes. In some neighborhoods it is considered unsightly. If you live in a place like that, but are intrigued by the idea, maybe you can work to get enough people interested and change the rule. As the energy profile of the country changes, so will the attitudes about line drying.

So—how do you do it? I am going to assume you are washing in a machine with a spin cycle. (The washing machine is another story…)

  1. Wait for a sunny day with a breeze. The sun is more important than the wind though.
  2. Hang your line. Make sure it is far enough from the ground that nothing will drag, but low enough that you can easily reach with the pins. Make sure it is well secured between two posts, or a fence and a post, or two trees. The line should be taut.
  3. Set a bucket of clothes pins nearby.
  4. Put your wet laundry in a basket and set down near the line.
  5. Take one item at a time and secure it with two pins to the line. Make sure the item isn’t doubled over or you will have wet spots.
  6. Come back in a couple of hours and check. If you are working around the house anyhow you can take your time.
  7. Fold as usual.
  8. Enjoy the fresh scent of air dried laundry.

You may notice that your items are stiffer and less soft than when you use a dryer. They will soften up with use. And besides, this is more than made up for in freshness and savings.

Here are some links for supplies:

Clothespins: http://www.amazon.com/Honey-Can-Do-DRY-01376-Clothespins-Spring-100-Pack/dp/B002CGV57M/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1367431614&sr=1-1&keywords=clothespins

Clothesline: http://www.amazon.com/Household-Essentials-Cotton-Clothesline-Natural/dp/B0002E35X8/ref=sr_1_10?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1367431709&sr=1-10&keywords=clothesline

And—if you have no place to anchor the line try this:  http://www.amazon.com/Household-Essentials-Portable-Umbrella-Style-Clothes/dp/B001H1GUXW/ref=sr_1_5?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1367432035&sr=1-5&keywords=umbrella+clothes+lines

Enjoy a Romantic Valentine’s Day Without Breaking the Bank

Valentine’s Day is the day to celebrate romantic love, but it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Men in the United States spend an average of $275 on Valentine’s Day, and women spend an average of $150. The question I must ask is this: whom are we trying to impress? The underlying sentiment of the day is wonderful, but we don’t need to celebrate it as a Hallmark Holiday.

The first question a frugal person would ask is who. Who we intend to spend Valentine’s Day with should set the tone for how much money we spend. If you are single and don’t have a date it is a good night to stay home. Or, if you are a member of a singles group try their event for people in the same situation. One of the MeetUp.com groups near the Frugal Goddess is having a Singles Awareness Dinner. This “group date” won’t cost any more than the average night out. Or-if you are politically minded, join one of the events raising awareness of violence towards women. Or show your love to the world by volunteering at a shelter. You may have friends that are lonely. You could send them all a Valentine’s Day message. It may be the only one some of them receive. There are lots of ways to experience love.

If you have a date but it is with someone new—now is not the time to shoot the moon with big spending. Just going out on Valentine’s Day sets up expectations that put pressure on a budding relationship. Spending way too much just adds another layer. If you really like your date, try to just enjoy their company. There are many ways to have a romantic evening that aren’t expensive. Try a walk in the moonlight or a trip to a skating rink. The most important thing is to find out what your date really enjoys and do that.

If you are spending Valentine’s Day with your long-term partner you have the easiest time of all—just pick something special you both have wanted to do but have put off, and do it. You know each other very well and have plenty of time. This is also the case where a little extra spending won’t hurt, as long as you have it in the budget. Of course you might be tired on the Valentine’s Day. Why not just have a relaxing evening at home and plan to go out when the restaurants in your area aren’t swamped?

The one time you might want to go all out with Valentine’s Day spending is if you are planning to propose marriage to your sweetheart. That is a big deal and it makes sense to make it special. So—if this is your plan, go ahead and spend!

Whatever your situation the Frugal Goddess wishes you all the love in the world.