Monday, May 1, 2017

lazy habits can support frugality

Every year both laziness and improvements in my frugal mindset lead to gradual habit adjustments. Last year grocery shopping was one the few remaining places through which DH and I achieved our shopping 'high'. Being part hippie and foodie, we'd not only visit the neighborhood Giant but make the trek out to the area Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Wegmans at least once a week, each. It was also an easy way to get out of the house with our night-owl toddler after the sun had set, especially when the weather was bad.

After keeping that up for a while it eventually started to get really tiresome. Fortunately our neighborhood Giant has expanded their hippie/foodie offerings in recent years, allowing us to downsize those very unfrugal driving habits.

Another example is that DH used to like making the drive out to a specific Farmers Market in the region because it's the only place our favorite local beef producer sells his product. But as it is a  far drive, there's only a window of a few hours on Saturday morning to do it, and lately he's been feeling as lazy as I have about driving, we've simply gone without beef for over a year now.

A while back we started hauling kiddo to the library every week to get outta the house. While a worthwhile time killer, it did start to feel terribly far after keeping that up for several weeks. Nowadays a trip to the libary is also down to just a once a month or two.

Travel farther afield has also fallen into our widening category of so-not-worth it. We attempted a few overnight trips last year, concluding all of them feeling worn out and ready to take a break from big travel for most of this year.

While we strive to keep our very active pre-schooler engaged in the world around her, we've also reached the point of insisting on relaxing and making do at home and the neighborhood within walking distance more often.

This I think is where laziness can compliment frugal living goals.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

a few steps back

While DH and I get progressively better with our spending habits each year, we do still go through phases of backsliding on occasion. The last few months of 2016 was a good example, as we had definitely let ourselves go quite a bit.

At times we'll get discouraged with our quest, thinking if we've got at minimum several more years to go, we may as well get comfortable and loosen the purse strings a bit. Factoring into this issue is that as desires for expensive things, habits, and hobbies fade out of our system we sometimes feel at a loss for ways to spend our spare time, and so spending on consumables like alcohol and fancy chocolate will have a tendency to tick up. Adding to this equation is the need to take our toddler into consideration when coming up with ideas to occupy down time (since it's tougher to pull off with frugal loner hobbies like reading with any length or regularity).

But as our kid gets older, things have started to get a little easier and more parent-friendly with routines, sleep, and play.

Like most people at least when each New Years comes around we feel a bit more motivated to get back on track. At least between progress and regress, I can say that we accomplish a net gain of increased savings and frugal values each year, progressively feeling less desire to buy new stuff or get into pricey diversions.


Friday, January 13, 2017

clothes

Ah one of the vices in my former life. I was on the path toward stereotypical spendy female with closets stuffed full of clothes, shoe, and bag collections that I don't use. I hadn't gotten so bad as Emelda Marcos or Carrie Bradshaw, though still quite wasteful so still I've been working to increasingly reign in the habit for years now. One of my worst habits was buying clothes online, which nine times out of ten I would regret because it wouldn't come out looking quite the way it seemed to in the picture or I wouldn't like the shape or way it fit. I'm also always reluctant to bother with returns because I'm very lazy and the shipping sevice shop in my area that stays open past 5:30 is four miles away. Lose-lose.

It's taken years for that expensive lesson to sink into my skull but I believe it finally has. Partly because DH and I now have an annual tradition of making a trip to the local outlet mall's IMAX theater for our one and only movie excursion a year and we take the opportunity to do some shopping afterward.

This way I can do the proper thing and actually try on the clothes before I buy them, with the added benefit of heavy discounts on higher-end clothes. I've realized that if I rely on this one annual trip for new clothes, then I will spend money on clothes that I'm far less likely to consign to the Purple Heart donation bag in short order. Thereby continually reducing my need for new clothes each following year.

In the name of minimalism I've also spent the past few years whittling my wardrobe down to my half of the master bedroom closet and half of the dresser, consisting of everything I wear regularly. (With a few seasonal things like thermals, swimsuits, and very heavy hoodies tucked away in their own location when not in use.)

The hangers up in my half of the closet are still pleasantly spaced out, too, so I'm even a bit further than just my half of the closet as it's not stuffed or even close to. But, I still feel like I have more than enough clothes to wear.

So this year so far I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself and optimistic about my habits in regards to clothes. Resolution: no new clothes until the next movie trip in next holiday season (a goal I definitely did not attempt or accomplish last year)...