Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cool and Frugal

Yet another day to be cool and frugal. Being a spendthrift is out. Saving money and being a smart, sensible shopper is in ...again. People realize that during the boom when it seemed banks were giving away money to anyone for anything is not the reality of today. The reality today is to live within or below your means. Which brings us to an article from MSNBC called Is frugal the new black? Lets take a look -

Now, as the reality of a down economy begins to sink in, experts say consumers are starting to embrace the simple life: staying close to home, cooking more, planting a garden and even delighting in bargain hunting. Some retailers, trying to make the best of the situation, have begun looking for ways to latch onto the trend as well.

“Americans as a whole are pretty … adaptable, so when it gets tough, we make it cool to be frugal,” said Anna D’Agrosa, director of consumer insight with Zandl Group, a trend forecasting group.

For example, people who choose to stay at home rather than go bar-hopping tend to buy higher-end liquor because it’s still cheaper than what they would pay at a bar, D'Agrosa said. Online retailers also stand to benefit because they allow customers to save on gas, and lower-priced alternatives such as grocer Trader Joe’s and clothing store H&M also stand to profit.

While George Reese, 51, admits that it might be nice to get a new car or fill up the tank without a second thought, the lifelong frugal shopper also takes pride in the unexpected deals he finds during his frequent trips to discount stores. The other day, the Ventura County, Calif., resident was pleasantly surprised to come across half-gallons of name brand ice cream for just 99 cents.

“Being frugal is not anything to be ashamed of. It’s just the way of life,” he said. “It’s something you have to do to, if not to beat the system, then to keep up with it.”

Not all frugality needs to be so visible either. Changing to the supermarket brand rather than the store brand. Unless people look in your cupboards how will they know? Using less of an item.

Here is one tip - when using a dishwasher we have found that only filling up the dispenser a quarter of the way gets the dishes just as clean as when we fill it up all the way. Go from buying detergent weekly to monthly. Laundry soap also does not need to be overflowing.

Another tip is to bring lunch to work instead of eating out. Instead of throwing out leftovers, just package them up for lunches. Saves time and money.

There are lots of ways to be frugal and not feel like you are giving things up. That is the big challenge. As Mr. Reeves states in the article - frugality can help you beat the system and not let it beat you.

How does this relate to housing? At least once a week or more we feature foreclosed properties. Some of the people have no real choice. Be it life circumstances or houses that were never affordable, this group is destined to lose a property. But the other group could just cut back. Maybe drastic, life altering cutbacks if necessary - like canceling cable, cutting back cell service, no vacations, no eating out, no leasing vehicles, etc. Losing your home will be incredibly life altering experience. If there are ways one could avoid it our recommendation is to take it. Once again we recommend the book Tightwad Gazette (we are not affiliated with the author and get no money for the recommendation - it is just jam-packed with advice!). Buy it or be frugal and borrow it from the library. Make note of all the small changes that can add up to big money.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for the tips

will try them today