Frugal Living – Have I Seen the Light?
Mr. ToughMoneyLove has several times mentioned on this blog that he likes to refer to himself as a money strategist, not a frugalist. By that I mean I make sure our long term investment plans are fully funded, that we have adequate cash reserves for emergencies, our debts are eliminated, and our essential costs of living are covered. After that, I pay a lot less attention to spending. Based on recent events, I may need to reconsider things.
The Skeptical Frugalist
Maybe I really am a frugalist or, if not, maybe I should be. Let’s start with recent events. I’ve started a painting project in the upstairs bedrooms. This area is the former domain of our three sons. Two are out of the house completely. The third is still in college so he returns to his domain during school breaks. You can imagine the wear and tear on paint and walls inflicted by three active sons over 15 years. It took several days to patch, sand, and prime all of the dings, cracks and holes just in one bedroom.
So yesterday it was time to go to Home Depot to buy paint. Mrs. ToughMoneyLove alerted me to an advertisement from Sherwin Williams offering 30% off each gallon of indoor paint. She thought Home Depot would match it. I was skeptical because the products were not identical – different brands of paint. She called Home Depot and asked. They said yes. I was still skeptical. My attitude is that Home Depot has decent prices generally so why spend a lot of time trying to do better?
Well shame on me and my know-it-all attitude. Mrs. ToughMoneyLove was right. I weakly handed the Sherwin Williams ad to the Home Depot checkout person, fully expecting a derisive look when my “will you match this” request was rejected. Instead, Home Depot quickly took 30% off three gallons of its own brand of paint, saving us over $20.
I think I might like this frugal coupon stuff.
A Frugal Future – the Bigger Picture
The experienced frugalists among you are probably laughing at me right now. Go ahead – I probably deserve it. (But don’t laugh at Mrs. ToughMoneyLove – she’s on board.) But I am trying to use this little experience to look at the bigger picture of our financial future. One of the important elements in our big picture is that our family income will decrease.
In fact, my peak earning years may have come and gone. That happens to everyone and baby boomers are now experiencing it, some worse than others. Even if my gross income doesn’t decrease, our net income will, as taxes will be taking a bigger piece of the action. Massive federal spending will see to that. Inflation will take its piece of our spending power as well.
So an increased sense of frugalism is a natural reaction to the reality of declining spending power that is staring me in the face. It’s a harsh reality to be sure. But now I know that I have a new tool at my disposal to combat that reality: frugal living.
More important, I have a fantastic partner in our financial future. Thanks Mrs. ToughMoneyLove for showing me the light.
Have you transitioned to a new world of frugal living?
Image credit: shoebappa