Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Flirtation with frugality

I'm a big fan of personal finance and frugal-living blogs, and over the years, I've tried a lot of tips to save money. For example, I'm willing to try just about any DIY beauty or cleaning product at least once. Lola the Corolla has been paid off for several years, and I'm in no hurry to replace her (and I'm willing to do some car maintenance myself), and when I do, I'll probably buy another used car, or consider becoming a single-car family if it's feasible. I'll also happily make my own lunch, reuse plastic food containers for other things for a while before recycling them, and take the bus when it's practical.

However, there are a few common frugal-living tips that I've come to realize I'm just not going to do:

  • Turn the thermostat way up. I work from home. In Texas. I firmly believe people should be comfortable at work, and one can only take off so many articles of clothing. I'm perfectly willing to bundle up in the winter, but in the summer, I want my MTV A/C. 
  • Completely kick my caffeine habit. I would like to do this. Really I would. I just function so much better on caffeine. (I blame ADHD. And Abe's and my weird sleep schedules.) I do try to avoid ordering soda at restaurants and getting fancy coffees too often, but I don't know if I can ever give up caffeine entirely.
  • Make my own laundry detergent/Oxy-Clean. It's cool that people do this. However, making my own laundry detergent seems kind of messy, and (considering how much you make at a time) kind of a waste of space. Frankly, I'd rather just wear my clothes a few more times between washes. Oxy-Clean is a necessity in our house - it's the only thing that keeps Abe's gym clothes from smelling like dirty filthy grossness. Keeping gallons of hydrogen peroxide around to make my own just feels a lot less practical (and seems like it would generate a lot more plastic and gasoline waste) than getting a giant box of of Oxy-Clean from Costco every six months or so when I have a coupon. 
  • Cancel cable. I'd actually be perfectly happy without cable, but it would make Abe miserable. I'm not willing to sacrifice one of my hub's favorite ways of relaxing for the sake of saving money. He has a stressful job. 
  • Buy cheap beer/shoes/meat/dog food. With the exception of flip-flops, I've learned I always pay for cheap shoes with my comfort. (Flip-flops just aren't going to be comfortable regardless.) As far as meat goes, I'd rather eat a few extra vegetarian meals a week than eat tons of growth hormones and pink slime. I'd probably feed Bailey less expensive dog food, but he's allergic to a lot of the ingredients in cheap dog food. I'm willing to pay a little more for grain-free food to avoid doggy IBS accidents and excessive trips to the vet. Life is just too short for cheap beer.
  • Tip poorly. If customer service jobs suck, waiting tables sucks to the power of 11. If I were to have service that was bad enough to warrant not leaving a tip, I would consider it my mistake for not speaking with a supervisor or letting the waiter/waitress know there was a problem. 

What do you think? Do you have any frugal tips for me to try? Is there any frugal advice you just won't take?


kim said...

YES!!!!!!!!!! Totally agree with all of these on the list. I'm not making my own laundry detergent. I'm not buying cheap meat or dog food. Or shoes. What's the point? They don't work.

eemusings said...

I don't drink coffee and we don't tip here! Woohoo!

But we do have pay TV (the boy's choice).

I wash out resealable bags, but I don't make my own detergent.

I DO buy cheap flats because the expensive ones don't last any longer. Unfortunately, you also then have the issue of looking cheap.