Today’s post, “The Surprising Benefits of Being a Frugal Weirdo,” is a guest post from Mrs. Picky Pincher, the blogger and money saving-maven behind PickyPinchers.com. She writes about paying off $225,000 of debt while living the good life.
Read on to see the benefits of taking frugality to new levels!
There’s nothing wrong with saving money. Nobody wants to pay more money to live the good life. We all want to be the next money-saving savant, but there’s just one small problem. To really save money in this world, you’ve got to be a total frugal weirdo.
We live in a culture that loves big-ness: big houses, big cars, and big mounds of stuff. The bigger you are, the more successful you clearly must be. But too often big-ness comes at the cost of high debt loads, stress, and working until you collapse to pay off your sports car.
Nobody wants to make debt payments until they’re 80 years old. And that’s why it’s so important to be an utter and complete frugal weirdo.
A frugal weirdo is a person who rejects most of the conventional rules about what we need to spend money on. Instead, the frugal weirdo saves his or her buckaroos to work towards financial independence, whether that takes the form of paying off debt, saving, or investing.
Car payments, credit cards, student loans, and even laundry soap are all up for elimination when you’re a frugal weirdo. It’s the key to escaping debt and retiring early. There’s no way you can live independently if you’re chained to a bank note for 30 years, after all.
Don’t get me wrong; it does suck a bit to be the odd gal out. I’ve experienced my fair share of witch hunts from people who want me to upgrade my car, buy a bigger house, and not pump all my money into debt payments.
Haters are gonna hate, though, y’all. I like marching to the beat of a different drummer, and that’s how I’ve discovered the surprising benefits of being a frugal weirdo:
It’s cool to be weird!
Tips to Embrace Your Inner Frugal Weirdo
Thankfully, I’ve never been cool or popular or remotely interesting, so it’s been easy to live on my own terms. Here are a few of the frugal-yet-weird lifestyle changes I’ve made to save a lot of money–and how they’ve benefited me tremendously.
Cloth napkins and hankies
I did the math and realized we spent $15 a month on Kleenex and paper towels. That’s small potatoes to most people, but to me, it was money literally in the garbage.
After poking around Pinterest, I realized I could make my own reusable items to replace pricey one-use items. I was tempted to toss out the toilet paper, too, but Mr. Picky Pincher nearly started a household mutiny, so the toilet paper stayed (grumble grumble).
To replace our paper towels, I bought a set of very nice cloth napkins from my thrift store for 25 cents apiece. I paid a grand total of $1.50 and I had fancy cloth napkins instead of Brawny. It took a bit of training to get out of our paper towel habit, but now we feel mighty fancy using cloth napkins to wipe the spaghetti sauce off our faces. Ahhh, luxury.
I couldn’t find cloth hankies at the thrift store to replace my beloved Kleenex, so I made my own hankies. I took a few of Mr. Picky Pincher’s old flannel shirts, rags, and fabric scraps and went to town. I’m not a great sewer, but thankfully all I had to do was cut the fabric into squares and put a hem on them to prevent fraying. The result was 40 pieces of homemade hankies for $0.
I am addicted to all things dairy. I have at least five different types of cheese in my refrigerator right now, several quarts of yogurt, and a gallon of kefir. Ahhhh, heavenly deliciousness.
My favorite snack is yogurt, which I used to buy in single-serving cups from the grocery store. It wasn’t until I analyzed my spending habits that I realized how much my dairy obsession cost each month. After doing the math three times, I was shocked that I spent $20 just on yogurt each month. What the hell??
At first I laid off the yogurt and forlornly ate a banana when I was hungry. Then I realized that plenty of people make yogurt at home. I’m clumsy and mess everything up, so I was nervous to do any type of fermenting (knowing my luck, I’d get botulism or something). But my love for yogurt was so strong that I took the plunge and made my own yogurt.
And you know what? I’ve been making my own yogurt for over a year! Instead of spending $20 a month on single-serving yogurt cups, I make one gallon of organic yogurt a month for about $7.
Weird? Definitely. Worth it? Absolutely.
And you know what?
I was ridiculed for my weird ways. But by making small life changes and cutting my expenses ultra-low, I was able to save over 50% of my income. It wasn’t easy and I spent plenty of nights huddled over pints of ice cream, wondering if my life had gone off the rails.
The surprising benefits of being a frugal weirdo come down to the numbers. I paid off $14,000 of credit card debt, eliminated a $10,000 car payment, paid for a $12,000 renovation in cash, and paid off $20,000 in student loans. There’s no way I could have done that with my previous spending levels!
The lesson I’ve learned is that it’s more than okay to make your own rules. You’ll find that there are plenty of pleasant surprises when you do what’s best for you.
Thanks again to Mrs. Picky Pincher for sharing her frugal wisdom. Be sure to check out PickyPinchers.com to learn more about the journey to Make Frugality Cool Again.
What frugal tips do you have to share? Would you consider yourself a frugal weirdo?