Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Re-embracing Frugality

Over the last nine months or so (since I've been debt-free) I've definitely relaxed in the area of frugality. I'm sure I'm still more careful with money than many people out there, but I let loose in a lot of areas. I buy myself clothes, joined boot camp, went to some concerts, and just generally relaxed about money. I don't stick with a budget anymore, though I do keep an eye on my accounts. I am still contributing to my Roth IRA, my house down-payment fund, and saving an additional couple hundred dollars a month to my emergency fund.

Sounds pretty good, right? Enjoying the fruits of my labor, but still making some good choices.

But lately I've realized a few things that have made me realize it's time to get back to some of my more frugal ways.

Realization Number One: Even a budget wedding is still going to cost me quite a bit of money.
In order to pay deposits, pay for our honeymoon, buy my dress, etc. I've used all of the extra money I've stocked away in my e-fund each month, as well as my tax return and a financial gift from my grandma. I still have the same amount I started with when I got engaged, but I haven't been able to save any extra. This would be fine, except that the day of the wedding we are going to owe quite a bit of money to different vendors. As in, I need to have a couple of grand ready to spend on the big day. If I don't start aggressively saving each month, I'm going to have to tap into my savings (e-fund) in order to pay for it. No, it wouldn't drain it completely, but my goal is to keep three months of expenses in there.

Realization Number Two: I really, really want to buy a house.
For a while, I was content to take my time in saving for a house and just see what happens. But, prices are starting to creep up again, and I don't want to get boxed out of the market. I also would like a bigger place for entertaining/having family over for holidays. We're also talking about starting a family, and it would be great to get into a house before we have a kid. So, I definitely don't want to stop contributing to my house down-payment fund, or my Roth IRA (which could also be used to supplement a down payment).

Soooo...back to frugality. Here are a list of things I am going to go back to in order to save more money each month:
1. Make an effort to have ten "no-spend" days per month. This stops me from the little purchases that add up throughout the month.
2. No buying clothes (exceptions include wedding-related events like showers and bachelorette party, but I am going to try to borrow clothes for those). I legitimately need some new clothes since I've lost weight, but I am going to try to hold off on that until after the wedding.
3. No stopping for coffee on the way to work. I want to work on making coffee at home, or--even better--just not drinking it.
4. Rather than buying new shoes for the wedding, I am going to try to get my white wedges repaired and use those. They are super comfy, and just need new insoles.
5. Cook from the pantry...I have a lot of stuff in there, and this would cut down on my grocery bill.

I also called T-Mobile and got my bill lowered, and I am working on being more diligent about my electricity use (though this has never been a huge expense for us).

What other frugal things am I forgetting? It's been a while!


  1. Looks like a great way to start saving. We need to start saving for our wedding as well.

  2. We cut our internet bill in half recently as well as cutting our phone bill (but I went and got a new phone so that ... neutrals out.)

    Would it be worth looking at your gas usage and try and be more efficient there?

    Hum. I guess there's the old standby - cutting cable in some way? I've made the mistake of assuming that I'm probably already very frugal and haven't looked over how to cut spending more lately, so it's a bit tough to dust off the oldie and goodies off the cuff :)