Becoming Debt Free in 2009

November 16, 2008

Cheap, Frugal, What?

Filed under: Debt,Frugal,Random — ambercouric @ 10:32 am
Tags: , ,

First let me start by saying beginning this blog a month ago was one of the best things I’ve done in a long time.  I am learning so much from reading all the other blogs, all of the comments on this blog, and just doing general research.

Last night while I was talking to my son about money he asked, “What are you cheap, frugal, what?”  I laughed and then I couldn’t really answer him.  So I thought about it as I was going to be and as I got up this morning. 

Cheap – I don’t think I fit this.  I associate cheap with stingy (please tell me if I’m wrong).  I like to give both time and money.  I would much rather do for others than to do for myself.  I don’t break rules to save a dollar.  I don’t “poor mouth” all the time.  I’m not poor and I don’t pretend to be – I’m not rich and I don’t pretend to be. 

Frugal – Frugal to me is someone who is willing to work hard to do the little things that add up.  I consider Amy D. of Tightwad Gazette very frugal.  I won’t buy generic bread and tell my children they have to eat it.  They don’t like it so I spend $2.00 a loaf on bread. THIS IS WHY I CAN’T GET MY GROCERY BUDGET DOWN.  There are things that I’m not willing to give up for a few dollars.  Now, if I couldn’t pay my bills then I would be willing to give up things like Sara Lee bread.  So, I can’t call myself frugal.  I would like to be more frugal with a few things but I don’t know that I would ever be Tightwad Gazette frugal. 

So What?  Is there a name for me?  I don’t like to shop.  I can tell you every single item that I charged on my credit card all were major purchases that happened within a couple of months.  I have one child who refuses to wear name brand clothes and another who likes a certain brand that I buy but only when it is on sale.  I have enough money to cover my bills, have a saving, a retirement fund, have paid off 50% of my house.  I don’t need a lot to of anything.  No designer purses for me.  I prefer to get something on sale rather than pay full price.  I can’t stand the thought of having bills especially a car payment which to me is the worst.  Credit cards come in a close second. 

I think I go on the  philosophy of Your Money or Your Life.  I often look at what something would cost me in terms of work hours.  Or how long my husband would have to work to have enough to pay for certain things.  I don’t mind paying for experiences like trips to Washington to be at the Inauguration.  I do mind spending $50 to go to the local fair and ride rides.  Thank goodness my kids are past that point.  I don’t want a lot of things.  Right now on my want list is new smoke alarms, new dog bed, and new pillows.  When I see what I want on sale then I’ll buy them. 

Maybe, I’m just a simple frugal wannabe who desperately wants to be debt free without giving up the indulgences (cable, thearte, small trips, pizza night) to get there.  Do you have a better name?  Reading that last sentence I would say SPOILED.

I just thought of something, 2009 should be a fun year trying to turn my spoiled self into frugal self.  Oh imagine the internal battles I’m gonna have.  Anyone what to place a bet now?



  1. Hi there-I love this post!! I think I can identify with a bit of frugal, plus the indulgences to help me keep motivated. I think if they are low cost indulgences, they are deserved, particularly if you don’t put yourself into debt to acquire them. I need my thrifting every week-I’m trying to keep to a £5 (ish) budget. I don’t drink, smoke, go to the gym, go out socially (about 3-4 times a year, if that) so we all need something to keep our mojos up and running, this is my outlet, but not at the cost of getting out of debt. Hope you can find a happy medium between the two, you deserve to have indulgences, only you know from your budget how often you can have them, good luck!!

    Comment by sharon rose — November 16, 2008 @ 11:03 am

  2. I think the word I would use for you is responsible. Everybody falls on a different place on the money scale. Wanting to work to be out of debt, give, save, and enjoy some is a very responsible place to be. Nothing wrong with that.

    Comment by over the cubicle wall — November 16, 2008 @ 11:22 am

  3. It appears to me (just from reading your blog so far) that you know how to prioritize and you understand that it’s not “things” that make a life, it’s “things you do”, whether it be for yourself, your family, your friends, a charity, etc. Your life is fulfilled in so many ways you don’t need to fill it with empty “stuff” like so many other people. Your needs and wants appear almost perfectly balanced, you’re not kidding yourself with thoughts of getting rid of things you enjoy just to save a buck. I think you’re doing really, really well.

    Comment by Annie — November 16, 2008 @ 11:42 am

  4. I agree with you, there is a difference between frugal and cheap. Cheap people hate to part with money and will sacrafice quality to save money. Frugal people spend conciously, in accordance with their personal values and make certain they get the best value possible for their money (not necessarily the cheapest option). Frugal people direct their money toward what is important to them and buck current trends and trying to keep up with the Joneses. Frugal is a label given to concious spenders. I am frugal and proud!

    Comment by Money Minder — November 16, 2008 @ 2:27 pm

  5. I myself would call you ‘smart’ — you are not caught up on the ‘keeping up with the joneses’ – you have a nice balance of spending vs saving… exactly what life should be (in my opinion!) I am working myself to that point – once I get to 50% of my debt, I will be feeling that I am at the same ‘smart’ point 🙂

    Cute post 🙂

    Comment by jpkittie — November 16, 2008 @ 7:08 pm

  6. I call myself ‘semi-frugal’. That way I can pick and choose where I want to go bare bones in cutting back and where I don’t. 😉

    Comment by Pokeberry Mary — November 17, 2008 @ 8:36 am

  7. You are all so nice and have made me feel so much better. I think sometimes in the quest to pay off debt we feel we need to make the same sacrifices that others are making.

    My goal is to rid my life of the none important things and focus on the things that matter.

    If I use Money Minder’s definition for frugal then I would definitely be considered frugal because I am conscious of the way I spend my money.

    Comment by ambercouric — November 17, 2008 @ 9:34 am

  8. I’d call you “frugal-minded.” That means you think about it, and it’s on high in your thoughts, but you don’t let it dictate your actions. Sortof akin to ecologically-minded folks who turn the water off when they brush their teeth, but who don’t have solar panels on their roof.

    Best of luck on your journey!

    Comment by debtmaven — December 9, 2008 @ 11:57 pm

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