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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Longevity of this Frugal Trend

I get the feeling that frugality is viewed with much more favor these days, due to food and gas prices. I see more articles on non-frugality-based sites on how to stretch your money. Demand for gas guzzlers like SUVs is down. But how long will this last?

I ask because on Sunday, I bought gas at about $3.66 per gallon. (I was buying from a wholesale store.) This is a major decrease from a couple of weeks ago. People complain and moan and groan about gas prices, but as the summer vacation months end and gas prices come down (hopefully), will people who took on frugal measures actually retain them? With decreases in gas prices, will people who don't need SUVs stop trying to pawn them away? I have a feeling that SUVs have not seen the last of the days. With cheaper gas, I think that people will be more content to stick with their gas guzzlers. (I give sympathy to those families who actually need gas guzzlers.)

When I implement frugality in some area of my life, I find myself very reluctant to stop. Even more so if it's fairly easy and complication-free, such as selective decreased instances of toilet flushing (we do not implement this policy when we have guests, of course). Composting is another measure that I would find hard to let go. If it's simple to put into practice, I feel like I am wasting money in not doing it.

(I used to save cold shower water in order to water our garden, but now we have a hose and it was always bit of a hassle to hand-water. We didn't save any money like that, since our water prices step up/down in big discrete chunks and not a continuous, per-gallon scale. We'd practically have to stop taking showers to get down to the next price step.)

Of course, frugality depends on how much effort you're willing to put in, versus the benefit. Near the beginning of our marriage, we used to be diligent about buying Sunday papers and cutting coupons. This takes time, of course, and over the course of weeks and months, we found that many (if not most) of the coupons were for convenience or packaged products, which we are always looking to cut out of our diet. I can't remember the last time we bought a Sunday paper. But if we did subsist on lots of those types of foods, I would bet that we would be cutting coupons more often.

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  • Thehotrod5

    We are one of the gas-guzzling families :( Even though we only have 3 kiddos, riding in a car is not always the most comfortable with 3 boosters in the back. We had a car before, and the kids could not even squeeze their hands inbetween to get their seat belts buckled :(. When we purchased a new(er) car we were going for either an SUV or a Mini van. Well, it just so happened that an SUV was practically dropped into our laps, within our price range, with only 27,000 miles on it :O. Of course we jumped at the chance. It costs us about $20 more to fill up our tank than it does our friends with a minivan. OTOH, ourcar insurance dropped $20/month when we purchased it...so for us it somewhat evens out (I might fill up twice a month).

    As for coupons...YOU BET! We clip and clip and clip...and search and search and search for the best deals. We do our best to live a NT lifestyle, but our budget does not agree. For the 5 of us we have a budget of $125 every TWO weeks. Most of the time I am getting razors and many other necessities (razors, toilet paper, shampoo and conditioner, soap etc) for free or close to it. It also helps in some other areas too. Sometimes If I can get something for free that we dont really need (non food) but can send it to someone who can (like our missionaries in Haiti). But that is also just US. When it was dh and I, we weren't as concerned as we are now about making the dollar stretch and it was just too much to try and clip coupons for the two of us. I can't say I blame you there!