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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Is Being Frugal REALLY Worth It?

Around here, I'm the coupon lady.... the one you go to if you are searching for the best deal on just about anything. Of course, I have no idea where to find some of the things that people ask me about. But it's fun to be asked!

But I know that the way we live often earns us a raised eyebrow or two. The burning question is simple.... Is this whole frugal living thing really worth it?

I invest a lot of time into seeking out deals. Then I spend time going to buy the ones that my family needs or uses. I also spend time posting those great deals here so that you can all get them if you need them. Add it all up, and it does take a substantial amount of time. And we all know that time is money, right?

If I look at it from a purely financial standpoint, then this whole being frugal thing has certainly paid off. I've been tracking this year's grocery and drugstore spending in the sidebar of my blog. I just looked at it this evening, and so far we've saved more than we've spent at the grocery store. In fact, we've spent under $500 at the grocery store so far this year. Since lowering our grocery budget has always been a goal of mine, then I would say that being frugal has paid off (literally!) in that area.

Not only have we spent less at the grocery store, we have a nice little stash of food in our pantry, freezer, and basement. (I'm still getting razzed by friends about my big cheese purchase!) I could probably make a quick stop for just milk and produce this week and be just fine for next week's meal planning. That's a good feeling!

If you look again at my spending tracking (in the sidebar), you'll notice that I've spent under $30 on personal care and household items at drug stores this year. If I took that same $30 and went to Walmart (even with my coupons), I could not buy nearly what I was able to get with my $30 at Rite Aid and CVS. I have a couple of cupboards full of personal care items that will last us for quite a while!

So, from a financial standpoint, being frugal pays off.

But there's more to it than that for me. God has blessed my family. He has always provided everything that we need, sometimes before we knew we needed it! We've never really gone without. That said, we feel that it's so very important to be wise stewards of everything that He's blessed us with. By shopping and living frugally, we're doing that. We're being careful. We're paying attention.

This frugal lifestyle has also given me an avenue of sharing with others. I share the actual goods that I purchase with others by donating items to the food pantry, our church, or the women's shelter. I can also share the good deals with others like you! I love to share the nitty gritty details with all of you on this site. (And my husband appreciates you all listening so that he can get the bottom line deal report instead of the details!) I love it when you email me or comment letting me know about the money you saved and the deals you got!

I've also been able to share this frugal living information with people who are taking the Financial Peace University course at our church. Though FPU is usually a 13-week course, it's a 14-week course at our church. That's because I always come for one week of the classes and do a two-hour presentation about topics like menu planning, couponing, drug stores, and other ways that people can save money. I've actually run into some of the attendees at the grocery store. They have their ads, lists, and coupons in hand! It does my heart good to know that I'm helping make a difference for their family budgets.

So... Is this frugal life really worth it? You bet.


Cas said...

I totally agree with you it is very worth it. I am by no means a pro yet but I am working on it. Us being frugal means that I get to stay at home with our son and since we have another one on the way its even more important to be frugal. I enjoy reading your posts and taking your advice. I really hope to be able to further get our budget under control so that we have a little more give...thanks for all that you do!

Kimberly said...

I totally agree, it is absolutely worth it. It is definitely about being wise stewards and I love the security living frugally gives. I know I have food in my pantry and toilet paper in the bathroom. I feel more in control of my world than the world and food prices being in control of me.

Brandon said...

As a "newbie" in this whole realm of saving and giving, I believe it is worth it.

It started in January for me with a huge wake up call about how we've been living. One morning in prayer it hit me square between the eyes that stewardship isn't giving 10% of our income to the church and then taking the other 90% to blow on our pleasures; it's recognizing that 100% belongs to God and appropriating it in ways that glorifies Him and benefits others. I've been sorely lacking. I recently found your blog via blogspot, being new to this particular blog community. I loved the title and now watching you live out what I'm just beginning to learn is a real blessing.

Yup.. worth it! Thank you for sharing your journey and a wealth of saving information! :-)

LouAnne said...

OK, I left the above comment under my son's account! It was actually me. :-)

Anonymous said...

i get to stay home with my kids every day so you bet its worth it, and we have better brands now than i would have purchased without coupons.

Mom C said...

It's totally worth it. I've only been "Couponing" since last August and I've reduced my 2009 grocery/personal care/household products budget almost 45% compared to the first 6 months of 2009. Additionally, since we completed Financial Peace University last fall and started living with a budget, my budget this year for the items above is about 55% of last year so we're making progress.

But as someone said above, it's really about giving. I'm able to give more and have more for my family by spending less which is really cool. Just this week I took $127 worth of diapers, wipes & baby shampoo that were primarily gotten at Rite Aid for free, over to the crisis pregnancy center which makes me feel good that I can bless others with God's goodness & faithfulness.

I also want to say that it's because of bloggers like you that I'm making progress so thank you for blessing so many people that you'll never know.

Contemplative Mom said...

Great encouragement! Thanks! I am fairly new to frugal living. It was forced upon me when we moved to Scotland so my husband could work on a PhD. I am excited to check out more of your site, though couponing doesn't work here. =) Thank you!

Mom2fur said...

Oh, my gosh, it's definitely worth it. For one thing, once you get going, it's fun. Seeing 40% or better savings at the end of a grocery receipt is a good kind of 'high,' LOL. And as long as we remember to be frugal and not 'cheap' (cheap is hurtful to yourself and others), it just makes sense. Why would I pay full price for almost anything? And wouldn't I rather get my shampoo cheap so I can swing a sirloin steak once in a while--oh, yeah!

Amber said...

I would love it if you would link to my weekly meme, Shop to Give Sunday