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Family or Marriage Finances & Money Frugality

Our secret to success: Part Two: Live Frugally

This article is part of my “Secret to Success” series. Check my index article to see where it all started and for the other four parts!

Frugality and thriftiness seem to be the new buzz words in this economy, but if you’ve been following for the last 3 years, you’d know that frugality is not a new concsept here.

I kicked it all off back in January, 2007 with an article titled “5 Xtreme Saving Ideas!“, followed quickly by “How to live without your Tivo” (before Hulu caught on). And my favorite early frugality article was “5 Ways Balding Gracefully Can Save You Time, Money and More!“.

I even have an entire “Ways to Save Money” series.

But I also try to practice what I preach. I (usually) follow all of my 50 ways to save money by not wasting, partly to save money, but also to save a bit of the environment (or just ruin it a little bit less). However, we aren’t always frugal, but my thought is you need a break sometimes or else you’ll get burned out of trying to be good. Then again, some people were born thrifty, while it’s a life-long challenge for others.

But I don’t write about frugality to sound condescending to those who may seem “wasteful”. Rather, I write about things I’ve tried, whether I was successful (or unsuccessful) and whether I honestly think it’s a worthwhile endeavor, simply to give my own point of view. But my idea of frugality in suburban Washington D.C. is probably very different than someone from a farm in Idaho or a beach in Maui.

Frugality in a Relationship

And for all of you in a relationship, or even just with a roomate, you’ll know that no matter how frugal (or cheap) you want to be, if your spouse, partner or roomie have other ideas, then you’re probably out of luck. Usually the less frugal in the partnership will win out, depending on the issue.

For example, if you’re trying to save on heat or A/C costs, but your wife (ahem, Stacie) is more than willing to have a “thermostat war“, then it will cost you money, time AND a little bit of your relationship. Sometimes it’s best to just pick your battles wisely. Not only do you need to ease yourself into practicing frugal methods, but you also need to educate, motivate and persuade them to be a bit more conscious about their usage habits. It’s a long road for the dedicated individual, but it pays off in benefits along the way.

Next Up: Earn More

About the author

Clever Dude


  • I completely agree about needing your spouse or significant other onboard to really start being frugal or sticking to a budget. My fiance always thought I was just nagging. Telling him not to spend any money. I figured he had no idea of the money that just goes in then out of our pockets every month. Did he really know how much we spent on stuff? Let alone how much a month lunches at work cost? After 6 months of trying to stay on budget I finally I decided to put him in charge of it. Slowly but surely he is realizing what I was blabbering on about before.

  • According to spendthrift means wastefully extravagant which would be the opposite of frugal. I used to get that word confused as well, so I thought you might want to know.

  • Yes, frugality is a new buzz word now…. the problem is that when the media start telling everyone the economic probs are over, how many will have learned the lesson? In my opinion, one needs to employ frugality alongside all financial strategies such as investing and not taking on new debt. It doesn’t matter what economic cycle you’re in. Congrats to you for staying consistent with it!:)

  • I think people have a hard time distinguishing the word frugal from the word cheap. People need to realize you can be frugal and not look cheap. Being frugal just means using your money wisely.

  • You don’t have to be frugal to save money. Many couponers and save freaks will do stuff like wash paper towels and not eat meat because of the expense. We have a different approach, find the paper towels and meat for pennies and eat like Kings. Not only have we been able to cut our grocery bill we are eating great quality food. Frugal doesn’t have to mean eating rice and beans all of the time. We are eating Steak and Potatoes!

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