I enjoyed this post today from Cheap Healthy Good:
She’s talking about frugality, and all the advice that’s out there on it, usually in the form of lists. As she says:
“You can hardly sneeze in the frugal blogosphere without running into a list of ten or 25 or 101 tips/pointers/VITAL RULES for living on the cheap. I love these lists – there’s always something I haven’t thought of or heard before – but I also consistently run into a few Rules of Frugal Living that I consistently, willfully don’t follow.”
The ones she doesn’t follow are: sticking to a budget to the exact penny, putting stimulus check/birthday money or any other extra, unexpected money only towards paying off debt, and quitting the gym. I have to agree on the first two. I have a general budget that I stick to pretty well, but as she says, it’s nice to know that you can join someone for an unscheduled lunch without budget guilt. And, I spent my stimulus check at the dentist. Yes, I could have made another 1 1/2 car payments, but this procedure was cosmetic work that I’d been wanting for a long, long time, and was worth every penny to me.
I haven’t belonged to a gym for years. When I was younger I wasted a lot of money on gym memberships that I rarely used. No more. I hate lifting weights, and I’d much rather pursue fitness with walking on the beach and working in the yard.
Rules that Cheap Healthy Good follows: cook at home, ditch the cable/internet/air conditioning, and pay yourself first. I nearly always eat at home, and I bring lunch to work faithfully – I probably eat in the cafeteria 1.5 times a month. I pay myself first too – I have automatic transfers from checking to savings with every paycheck.
But I haven’t given up the cable or internet or A/C. If I gave up cable, I’d be giving up TV completely. I could probably live without it, but I don’t want to. I’m a fan of certain NFL and MLB teams, and paying for cable to watch them is certainly cheaper than making an out of town trip to see them in person. And then there’s CSI…!
CHG lives in an apartment building in NYC, so she hooks into the internet through other people’s wireless connections (!). I don’t have that opportunity – if I went to sit in front of someone else’s house with my computer, I’d probably have to explain myself to the police. I have to use my computer on the weekends, since I teach online classes that have to be checked on daily. I could drive to work to use my office computer on the weekend, but a) I don’t want to go in to work on the weekend and b) the cost of gas to do that every Saturday and Sunday would probably come close to what I pay for internet. So forget that.
And as for A/C – if it wasn’t for air conditioning, there would hardly be any people in Florida. I don’t think I’d be here. That’s not really an option for me.
It’s interesting to think about, though. What are the things that you’d give up to save money, and what wouldn’t you give up? I found one thing to give up the other day. I dearly love Entenmann’s Raspberry Danish Twist. It’s been $3.49 forever. I picked one up the other day, and it was $5.29!! Forget it. I can live without those, for sure.