With all of my focus going towards saving money and paying down debt, it’s easy for me to get caught up in what I’m not doing right and completely disregard all the things I am doing right. Instead of being proud of paying $450 towards our loans earlier in the month, we both skimmed right past that accomplishment and have been focusing on limiting our spending and pinching pennies. However, even as newbies to the personal finance world we’re still doing a few frugal things as a married couple and I’d like to at least document those things before fixating on the things we’re doing “wrong”.
1. We didn’t buy a new bed when we got married. Currently we sleep on Mr. M&M’s mattress that he’s had since college, and it’s worked great so far. It’s a firm mattress from Ikea and hasn’t sunk in too much. Both of our backs feel great, and my old bed is currently residing in our guest room. Mattresses are expensive (although these ones seem like a great deal) and while it’s tempting for us to buy a new ‘marital bed’ we knew that having two fully functional beds would work great for the first few years of our marriage.
2. Over half of our couch was bought with gift cards. Neither of us had a full sized couch when we got married so we knew we wanted to get a nice sectional for our living area. We returned over $1000 in registry gifts (some not needed, some were duplicates – $600 at least was from a pot/pan set) and were able to buy one of the more affordable couches from Crate & Barrel
3. We mostly cook at home and are trying to limit eating out to special events or weekend fun. I think our $400+ grocery budget could probably use an overhaul, but we also love to eat a variety of foods and I really enjoy trying new recipes (like these ones) every once in a while. If we go out to eat it’s usually due to convenience (which we’re trying to cut down on) or to a few of our favorite restaurants throughout the city. We’re also huge brunch fans and usually go out to brunch once or twice a month on the weekend.
4. Our diet is mainly vegetarian with maybe one weeknight dinner including some sort of fish, or in the case of Mr. M&M, a chicken sausage. Eating a vegetarian diet is an ethical choice for us, both on the side of the environment and in regards to animal welfare, and buying mostly vegetables, grains, and legumes eliminates expensive meat purchases that would drive up our grocery bill. Hopefully I’ll be coming out with a few more Meatless Monday meals for you soon, along with the cost per serving of each one!
5. We own two older cars. Mine is a 2007 and his is a 2001. They both run fine but have just the basics; the Ford is manual in every way except the transmission (i.e. roll down windows, manual seat recliners, etc.) and the Honda, also known as “Merlin” needs to have his brakes fixed but overall they have been pretty stellar. We treat our cars well and save money for repairs, and hope that they’ll last at least another 5 years. Two cars is most likely one too many for just the two of us, and I think we’ll reevaluate if we really need both of them once we graduate and figure out where our next phase in life will be taking us.
6. Most of our furniture is free, found on craigslist, or bought at a thrift shop. Our TV was given to us to borrow by a friend who had two TV’s, the pink armchair in our living room was bought from my high school Spanish teacher (it turned out to be a funny coincidence) for $75, we have a large bookcase/bar that was given to me by and old roommate, I found our awesome entry table at Goodwill for $25, and the kitchen table and chairs were included in a purchase from Mr. M&M’s old roommate who also left the vacuum and bookcase behind. All in all the only new item we bought when we got married was our couch.
7. We almost never go shopping for new clothes. Both of us aren’t the type that love to shop, although I am finding my one pair of jeans could use a partner or two and my 3 year old running shoes need to be replaced. I’d love to learn the art of thrifting (Mrs. Frugalwoods is a pro!) and am planning on doing that soon!
What are the ways that you are already leading a frugal lifestyle?