Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Some Good Frugal Living Philosophies

MSN.com has a Women in Red column by MP Dunleavey and a recent article 6 Saving Secrets From "Frugal Fanny" caught my attention. One of the Women in Red members, Anna, shares how she is supporting her husband and daughter on a single income of $65,000 in Washington, D.C. Impressively, 74% if her income is spent on committed living expenses, leaving 26% of unexpected expenses and savings. I also thought she had some good strategies, which have worked well for her. Here were the six money philosophies in the article, with my comments:
  1. Money should be for living, not spending. I agree that money should be treated as a tool for living needs, instead of for spending on "wants." Good use of money can enable one to create sustainable lifestyle. As with any tool, I believe one needs to learn how to use it properly.

  2. Never go into to debt, if you don't have to. Fully agree. For our family, I would modify this to "Never go into debt except for a home, a student loan that is less that 50% of one's salary from a first job, and maybe a first car."

  3. Don't deprive yourself. I like her approach of indulging, but not every time. I think it is very important to make choices on where to spend money and what to give up. My strategy is to be happy with buying only what I need.

  4. Steer clear of spending traps. I agree avoiding places that create temptation is a good way to avoid unnecessary spending. If I don't see it, I can't buy it :-)

  5. Beware of bulk buying. For me, I include this point in the category of only buying what I need. I don't see a problem with buying a package of 30 rolls of toilet paper at Costco. We'll always need toilet paper. However, I do see the overspending issue with buying 6 box bundle of crackers, when I only need one.

  6. Avoid comparisons. I think this is one of the best strategies. To me, it's important for our family to have the things we need and not what others need and want. For example, I admire home theaters, luxury automobiles, iPhones, and other wonderful things that my colleagues, neighbors and friends own. I am happy that they enjoy the items, am genuinely interested in the items, and am complementary about the items. However, in most cases, I don't translate admiration into a need to own it.

Finally, I think an excellent point of the article is that while Anna has good strategies, she is not perfect. However, as MP Dunleavey notes, "she doesn't let minor failings stand in the way of making steady progress on bigger issues -- a quality we should all aspire to."

For more on Ideas You Can Use, check back every Tuesday for a new segment.

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2007 Achievement Catalyst, LLC


Barry Hughes said...

I also agree with most of those although I really don't get the first one of "Money should be for living, not spending".

What about things that we do spend money on that we could save more of - for instance: Car, Home Insurance. There are many instances of money just thrown down the drain because we are not informed or we don't care enough to compare.

Super Saver said...


Thanks for your comment.

Yes, I agree the quoted headline from the article in #1 could be more clear. After all, money needs to be spent to have value :-)

My interpretation from the article was that money is what enables most of us to acquire what we need to live. (One could also say work does the same thing:-) Therefore, money should be used primarily for living needs - shelter, food, transportation, retirement savings, insurance - before being spent on wants, e.g new electronic gadgets.

I'm not sure if my interpretation is the one intended by the author, which I one reason I used the same headline as the article. Also to clarify, I'll revise and add "instead of for spending on wants." to my first sentence in number 1.