I received an email the other day from CESI Debt Solutions, asking me to answer a few questions about my frugal journey. They had already did a story called 42 Money Lessons from 19 Very Frugal Bloggers that was picked up by Time.com and now they want to expand it to encompass 100 bloggers.
So here are my Lean answers:
1) What’s your “frugality story?” In other words, how and why did you become frugal?
I have always been a bit frugal, or what some people used to call strange.
I started my frugal adventure when I was in fashion college in New York. It was crucial (to us) to look cool but without a lot of money and still needing to eat, I began to look for shortcuts. There are so many ways that you can save money without looking like you are trying. So many tips are basic stuff such as using your local library instead of buying books, eating fruit and vegetables that are in season and therefore fresher and cheaper. Cooking in instead of eating out; right now is the perfect time to develop a passion for cooking. Food is super trendy right now as is crafting.
2) What, if anything, tempts you to overspend, and how do you resist?
My biggest temptation is eating out with my best foody friend. We both adore trying new restaurants and disecting the recipes. Now we have dinner parties at each other’s flats and compare bargains found at the market. When you dine at home you can have much nicer wine for a fraction of the cost of drinking out.
3) What personal finance or frugality habits were the hardest for you to adopt and why?
I am not great at disciplining myself which made writing Menu Plan Monday a bit of a challenge but after a few weeks it became fun and saved me a lot of money. Also the food going into the bin is nearly nil.
4) Have you ever taken frugality too far? How so?
Not as far as I can see but I did get some flack for making a big pot of chili and eating it for a week. I don’t know if that is taking frugality too far but my beloved was not thrilled in the lack of food variety. I was very happy that I would have a lot of extra time in the evenings and an almost clean kitchen.
I can still eat chili for several days straight but now I take it for lunch and make different dinners. My beloved is much happier with this arrangement.
5) What resources (blogs, books, websites) would you recommend to someone who’s newly frugal?
I think it depends on what your frugal goals are, if you want to get out of debt I would suggest anything by Dave Ramsey to start. I listen to his podcast on a regular basis, I find it very encouraging.
There are so many great frugality blogs such as Wisebread which covers all the pieces of the frugality pie.
Then there are so many deal blogs which are specific to certain areas or countries, in the UK I always check in with PennyGolightly. This lady has her finger on the deal pulse. Twitter is a great place to find the deal finders in your area.