August 3, 2007, 6:30 am

Frugal VS Non-Frugal

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Frugal
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Almost everywhere on the blogosphere, we find advices on how to become more frugal. We are being told how to save a buck here and there. One of my favourite frugal blog is The Simple Dollar who is remarkably talented to find original ways of saving money. But sometimes, I do not know if it is just me, but man, frugality is such a pain! I am leaving with two Homer Simpsons on my shoulders. Or maybe should I say with a Mr. Burns and a Homer Simpsons! Sometimes I want to be frugal and don’t spend a penny and some other times; I just gladly waste all my money away and feel good about it.

 

I am frugal when…

 

When I see my wife’s income decreasing because of maternity leaves and I think about grocery expenses. I start analysing our spending habits in order to cut down the expenses. I recently figured that we are paying much less for milk when we buy them in bags instead of those carton recipients. A glass of milk is a glass of milk; I don’t really care where it comes from. From what I am concerned, as long as a piece of cake is standing beside my glass of milk, I am happy!

 

I am also frugal when I notice how much it costs to own a house. So I changed my thermostats for electronic ones. Electronic thermostats permit to set the heater when you really need it (when you come back from work for example) and reduce their usage when they are not required (when you are at work or during night time). Therefore, you will request less power to heat your property. I am not only saving money as electronic thermostats help to regularize the temperature from one room to another. If you are comfortable at 22,3 degrees, well it will always be that way!

 

I am not that frugal when…

 

I pass by the coffee shop in the morning on my way to work. I just can’t help it. I need that Vanilla coffee with 3 sugars… God it is just too good to be true! Every morning, it became a religious thing. I get my favourite coffee, sit down in front of my computer and start looking at my email. This is my way of preparing my whole day of work. However, what becomes part of my “morning planning process” costs more than $500 a year (and this is when I don’t take those irresistible cookies…). $500 of pure heaven…I mean… brown liquid! I could easily bring a cup of coffee from home, but it just doesn’t taste the same.

 

When I go at Golftown and I buy a set of 2006 Big Bertha Callaway golf club for $200 more than the 2004 (still new in store) model. Why? It is simply because I want that 3 iron I love so much. I could have easily bought the 2004 set for $200 less and get another 3 iron from another company for half the price… and maybe for less! However, I just want to see that read head going off my golf bag. It is simply just a matter of feeling. $200 worth of feeling!

In conclusion I might say that I would like to be kept in the middle. While helping me saving money on a regular basis, I am still not convinced that I will become rich by being frugal. On the other side, wasting my money away is creating such great feelings inside me that I am not prepared to stop or revised my spending habits. What are your habits? Are you trying to be more frugal or do you think it is a waste of time?

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Comments

I’m kind of in the middle as well.

The more frugal you are, the more money you will have….but at what cost??? 🙂

By the way according to David Bach – if you stop with the vanilla coffees in the morning you will add about $14 million dollars to your retirement savings. 🙂

by: The Financial Blogger | August 3rd, 2007 (3:30 pm)

$14M$ ???? yikes! how does he plan to make that much money ?
That’s incredible! Let me know 😛

Ok I might have exaggerated a bit…in fact a lot!

Mike

How about finding a way to make the Vanilla Coffee at home? You would save a bit AND be able to increase your retirement. We buy a 5 pound bag of coffee from our local roasters. Individually a pound of coffee would be about $12. It is about $36 for the five pounds but we can make coffee as good as the coffee shop then too. Ok ok, it wasn’t just the coffee. We bought a fancy coffee grinder and coffee maker. Still over the last few years we have saved $$$ over the temptation of single cup purchases.
OK, I still buy individual cups…………but not nearly as often.

Barb

by: The Financial Blogger | August 9th, 2007 (7:41 am)

Hey Barb,
I think that if I could find a good coffee maker, this may be a good solution! I’ll go bargain hunting over the weekend!
cheers,
FB.

Hey FB, I term this the “inverse” Latte Factor ™.

I read Bach’s book and laughed a lot b/c he talks about the cost of Lattes but not about any way to replace them. In fact he does this all over the place and it’s really kind of sickening. It’s an obfuscated and misdirected method of telling people not to buy stuff. David Bach will tell you to stop your morning coffee & croissant @ Tim’s habit, but he’s just being a mindless prick b/c he’s basically telling you to stop eating breakfast.

I think tha the real key to “frugality” is to start from the top-down.
1. Am I achieving my long-term savings goals?
2. Am I enjoying the things on which I spend money?
3. How can I more efficiently spend the money I’m already spending.

A lot of the frugality sites focus exclusively on point #3 and usually completely forget to pay service to lifestyle decisions or points #1 & #2 (which are by far more important). The trick of course is not to fall into the “frugality trap” of being penny-wise and pound foolish.

The decision to drop consistent money into an RRSP is so much more important than deciding on the morning’s coffee that there’s no comparison. The primary benefit to frugality advice has to be how can I get more mileage from the money I’m already spending without making a significant lifestyle change.

Once you’ve cycled through #1 & #2 a couple of times, you’ll realize that you have a bunch of money left over every month and that you don’t mind spending it. Hopefully, The Simple Dollar will let you get a little more out of those dollars.

[…] he is studying in Law school, I guess he will not have to be frugal for long! My latest article on Frugal VS Non-Frugal is also part of the festival of frugality at […]

[…] he is studying in Law school, I guess he will not have to be frugal for long! My latest article on Frugal VS Non-Frugal is also part of the festival of frugality at […]