Many of us have odd things we do in life to save money… This is especially true if you are a naturally frugal person. If you’re frugal like I am, then being frugal is something that comes out of your core nature. It is not something you have to train yourself to be, because it is just your default position in life. For example, when I’m faced with the opportunity to save money and buy the “cheaper” option, my ‘default position’ as a person is to always go cheap. Many times I have to check myself to make sure that I’m not actually wasting my money by buying a product that is too cheap and is therefore poor quality. (which is even worse).
For those of you who are by nature ‘frugal’, you know exactly what I’m talking about and I don’t need to explain it any more than that. If you are by nature a ‘spender’ than you have no idea what I’m talking about, because your default position is to spend money – not go cheap and save. I know this to be true, because I’m married to one. She is a wonderful, beautiful… spender – which causes a lot of interesting discussions in our household.
That being said, this article is not written to compare the two, but to point out the odd things I do as a naturally ‘frugal’ person to save money. If you are a ‘spender,’ you will probably find these ideas crazy and may even think I’m a little ‘nutty’. I can’t argue with that, but I will say that many of these activities, although they are odd, I consider to be a smart choice for keeping more cash in my wallet. This is of course with the goal of spending it on more fantastic ideas, like a vacation or that new apple device.
Simple or Odd? You decide…
1. Razors & Shaving Cream (odd)
The first activity that I purposely engage in to save money is extending the use of my razors and shaving cream. I know this is a bit odd, but I just hate buying new razors. Many times I’ll go weeks with an old dull razor and will be shaving with a bar of soap because my shaving cream ran out 3 weeks earlier. The odd thing about this habit, is that I don’t save all that much money by doing it. Razor’s are pretty cheap and shaving cream is even cheaper. I’m just a frugal nut, and hate the idea of spending money on something I can get by with, and still have a satisfactory experience.
2. Gas for my Car (simple)
I drive a 10 year old Volvo with 170,000 miles on it. The car is a beast and has run great since the day I drove it off the lot. I plan on driving it for another 170,000 miles, God willing. The unfortunate thing about driving my car is that it requires 93 octane as a standard. For years I put in 93 octane expecting that 91 or 89 would destroy the engine. It wasn’t until I felt really cheap one day (maybe 3 years ago) and decided to start putting mid grade in the car. To my surprise, I found that my car ran just fine. Not only that, I discovered that I receive the same gas mileage as previously and my mechanic said it wasn’t a big issue. So now, I run a lower octane than recommended and save the difference.
3. Lunchtime Ramon and Working Out (simple)
It was about 2 years ago that I was really feeling motivated and decided I wanted to become a Triathlete. The only problem is that my swimming abilities were a bit ‘amateur’ (I’m being generous here) and I was very uncomfortable with the idea of the long swim. This is when I decided to join the YMCA and start swimming on my daily lunch break. It took a while, but eventually I felt comfortable with the triathlon swim and did my first triathlon last summer.
What I enjoyed just as much as the pounds I dropped, was the money I saved on lunch. Because I was working out, I just truly didn’t have time to eat lunch and would many times eat my lunch while working. My lunch of choice was Ramen noodles for 25 cents a pop. The main reason for this being that I’m cheap, but the other being that I could quickly grab it on the way out of the house early in the morning. All in all, it saves me considerable money (and weight) from buying my lunch at Taco Bell.
4. Overstuff the Washer and Dryer (odd)
This little frugal habit is one my wife adores… It is due to my hatred of doing laundry in as much as my desire to save money. I enjoy doing laundry so much, that my cloths will pile up until I am forced to do laundry or go naked to work. When doing laundry I usually stuff as much as I can in the washer, and subsequently the dryer. This of course will save me a little bit of cash, but I do believe it is a bit odd.
5. My ‘Light’ Obsession (simple and odd)
One obsession I have in my house is the obsession of saving on energy costs. I am a proponent of using as little energy as possible, so I will unplug devices, use energy efficient bulbs and most of all ‘turn the lights’ off when not in use.
In many ways this is a pet peeve of mine… I will routinely go around the house turning lights off in rooms that are not in use – or if they are in use, switch the light from the overhead to the standing lamp which will save me money. In return for this odd habit, I generally save some good money on my electricity bills.
The conclusion is simple… I’m an odd duck, but I think most of my decisions are driven by a ‘frugal nature’ that is apart of who I am as a person. Does it make me a better person? No, I don’t think so. What it does do is keep more money in my wallet and allow me to spend money on things I truly want, like the new iPad 3.
Readers, what are your thoughts? Are you naturally thrifty, or are you naturally a spender. Do you have any odd habits that you participate in to save money?