The ways in which we are frugal

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”.

Here goes!

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

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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!

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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?

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13 thoughts on “The ways in which we are frugal

  1. I’m in my 40’s and I still have mostly hand me down furniture! 🙂 I think we all have our ways of being frugal that are like someone else or not. It’s what makes us unique. I would hate to think we do every single thing in life that is frugal just because. My frugal hacks are not going out to eat hardly at all and very low utilities.

  2. Most of my furniture is hand-me-down. Our bedroom set has been mine since I was 2 years old. My Dad made my desk and bookshelf for our office. I did buy a pub style table back when I first moved out for $150 (it was a steal brand new and is holding up great over 8 years later), and we just got a coffee table half price with Christmas money from my parents. We’re a hodge-podge, but it’s so expensive to do it much differently. Regarding your couch, I love that it has storage under the chaise (yes, I clicked through).

    My car is 8.5 years old, and I’m hoping to get it past the 10 year hump. I’d like more than that, but I’d settle for another 1.5 years. It would turn into a sweet second car for bombing around in though.

    We also try to cook at home as much as possible. Some times it is way easier than others. 🙂

    1. I love that your Dad made your desk and bookshelf, that’s so awesome you have handmade furniture and that it’s from your Dad. And the couch storage is amazing , I agree! I’d love it if we could also get our cars to 10 years – I think eventually we’ll sell his car (or give it to his parents) and then use my newer one for as long as possible.

  3. I think what’s great about this is that you can see you actually have pretty frugal instincts 🙂 You haven’t been really tempted to go out and buy a lot of new stuff at any point, which means it should be pretty easy for you to keep on not buying a lot of new stuff when your income expands. Personally, I am naturally pretty frugal in that I almost never buy stuff I don’t need, and when I buy something big (furniture) I always dig around on craigslist and so on first. But I struggle a bit because when I do buy something, I like it to be nice, and that often means expensive! I want to get better about using ebay to buy nice used clothes (easier to target on ebay than when I’m thrifting.)

  4. Love this frugal list! Awesome! If you two do eventually need a new bed, we bought a king-sized foam mattress from Amazon for $279 (plus free shipping!) two years ago, and I highly recommend it.

    We eat exclusively at home too and vegetarian (with the occasional fish), which I enjoy for all the reasons you mention. Plus, like you said, it’s cheaper. There’s just no way around it–meat (especially organic, ethically raised meat) is expensive!

    I’m with you on buying used–it’s always a better deal! And, I’m excited for your thrifting adventures–enjoy :).

  5. Keep up the great work being frugal. I have been known to squeak when I walk, but it has helped me save a bit throughout the years. After you build up a sum that grows on it’s own, even faster than you can earn it, it feel great!

    I am a vegetarian, but not a strict vegetarian. I still eat chicken, pork and beef.

  6. We slept on my boyfriend’s university mattress on the floor for a couple of years too. It was still in great condition so we never thought about replacing it until we got a great deal on a pillow top mattress 🙂 We then used an Ikea giftcard my parents gave me for my birthday to help with the purchase of the bed frame. It was definitely worth the wait!

  7. I’m in the process of decluttering, and I can see that about 90% of the things I own are hand me downs! Some of which I don’t even like / isn’t my style / definitely didn’t even ask for…but I guess I won’t complain. 🙂 I do just about everything as frugally as I can. I cook simple meals, cut my own hair, coupon, also a vegetarian, and buy quality when it counts, and buy generic when it doesn’t.

    To me, the more frugal I can become, the more self-sufficient I feel. I just started indoor gardening, and I’m amped on ‘free’ and at-my-convenience healthy food!

    1. Hand me downs are awesome and totally unappreciated! I find stuff all the time that my (younger and cooler) sister has discarded and love that at least I get some new clothes for a short while. I’m interested in the cutting your own hair – I’ve seen that online but haven’t quite worked up the nerve to do it. Thanks for the comment Kayla!

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