Monday, August 24, 2009

What is frugal? And is it a good thing???

What does it mean to be “frugal”? Do frugal people ever have any fun? In a culture that values having the biggest, best, and newest of everything, is frugality a good thing?

In popular culture, it often seems that frugality is identified, or even equated, with being cheap. The implication is that frugal people must never have any fun, probably eat mac and cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches all the time, and buy low-quality, low-cost products.

Given the subtitle of my blog, “My Frugal Adventures,” you can probably guess that I do not agree with this perception of frugality! A little over a year ago, I started clipping and collecting coupons. That was the beginning of my own frugal adventures. I call it an adventure because figuring how to do all this has actually become fun for me. It was a little stressful at first (and still is, sometimes), but after you walk out of a store having paid less than a dollar for a cart full of products you know you’ll actually use, it starts to grow on you!

As a result of my “adventures,” our spending on personal hygiene items and household supplies has been reduced to literally pennies. We have also drastically reduced our grocery budget – we now typically spend a total of $10 or less each month on groceries. And, we get quite a bit more “fun” stuff now. We currently have enough ice cream in the freezer to last a few months – and it was all free! They even paid me to take some of it. (That’s right, sometimes you can actually make money by shopping!) In my opinion, we also get higher quality products now. Before I started shopping with coupons, I often bought off brands or cheaper products; I now have cabinets, closets, freezers, and a refrigerator stocked with “the good stuff.”

Over the last several months, I have come to realize that even though frugal shopping may not cost much money, it’s also not “cheap” – it’s being good stewards of our resources. In the current economy, cutting household expenses has become increasingly important for many people. Even when the country is not in a recession, I think it still makes good sense to learn how to save money when possible. Being better stewards has also allowed us to bless family, friends, and others in our community with our excess to a much greater extent than we could have before (another great benefit!).

It has been on my heart lately to start sharing shopping tips and strategies in a more public forum, so I decided to start this blog. I won’t pretend to know everything about saving money – I feel like I’m always learning more – but I remember where I started, and I know I’ve come a long way since then. The information posted on this blog represents both my mistakes and my successes, and I hope you can learn from both. Check back here often and see what amazing deals might be hiding at stores near you. I’ll also explain promotional programs at stores like CVS and Walgreens, and how to make them work for you. And, look for upcoming posts about making the most out of your coupons, how to get the best coupons, and even how to make a profit by shopping!


  1. hey would love to read your blog! thanks for sharing! you say you spend $10 a month on groceries....really?
    rachel baker

  2. Melissa...this is great...and right up my alley. I will be very excited to learn from you!
    jenny mccall

  3. Given my recent frustration with money, I am all ears! Looking forward to your wisdom.

  4. I'm a big fan of CVS coupons and deals. 2 cans of $25 formula for $14 one time! My biggest problem is that it took a lot of time when I clipped coupons and I wasn't saving enough to make it worth all the time as a working mom. Definitely looking forward to your suggestions!

  5. Thanks for all your comments; I hope you do indeed find it useful :)

    And, yeah, we really do spend about $10 on groceries each month now; sometimes less, sometimes a little more, but that's about what it averages out to. Our grocery spending went down considerably when I figured out how to work Jewel's catalina deals. I'm planning on doing a Jewel post soon because they've got a ConAgra/Kellogg's deal coming up that should be pretty good.

  6. Melissa, I was just going to email you and beg for you to share with me since we can't afford anything anymore. LOL. I'm so glad you're doing this. :)