Friday, January 18, 2008

Frugal Friday Levels

Very few of us online are forced to the edge of true poverty (I believe this because if you have a computer and online service, you're probably not one of the poorest in our country). For the rest of us who are blessed, we all have to find our comfort "level" with frugality.

I remember reading something from Amy Dacyczyn years ago about the different "levels" of frugality.

Take coffee for example.

You may spend $6 + tip on a "coffee" at Star*bucks. Let's call that the "high level".

The next level down may be a large coffee at drive thru for $2.

Next would be 35¢ for cup of organic, strong brew at home.

The generic at home coffee may cost half of that.

And I've heard of people who use the grounds one day and then the next day add half as much to the pot along with the old grounds to make a fresh pot. Reducing the cost even more.

And tap water (instead of coffee) is practically free.

So what is frugal to one person, may seem an extravagance to another. It all depends on priorities. Mindset.

What may work well for me may not work at all for you. And vice versa.

And I find that comfort for me is not always static.

I've started to think of many different areas of frugality in that manner. Dinner could be a $150 affair. Or a 25¢ box of mac-n-cheese. My priorities at this time dictate that it be a bit more than the boxed mac-n-cheese. But no where *near* the $150 steak dinner at a nice restaurant. And I drink water for at least 90% of my liquid daily, but I'll have my 35¢ cup of coffee each morning, thank you very much. These are where I'm comfortable.

We all have to find our "level". And that's one of the reasons that I love the tips that are found each week on Crystal's Blog!


Kim said...

I like to try to be ultra frugal in things that don't bother me (I.e., coffee made at home, cooking from scratch most nights, washing in cold etc..), so that I can afford those $100 dinners out when we have a special occasion that warrants it without having to worry too much.

Not that we do it a lot - but it is nice to know we can when we want to.

My name is Michelle. said...

Exactly Kim! We're all frugal for a reason. Even if it's for an occassional splurge!

Mom2fur said...

I know what you mean--we each find what works for us. I will cut costs and save in many places, but I won't compromise in others. I've found over time that one place I'm willing to spend a little extra is on good quality chicken cutlets. I'd rather pay a bit more a pound and not have to throw out a bunch of icky stuff after trimming. Of course, if I find the chicken tenders on sale that's great. I guess what I'm saying is that, for me, being frugal in some ways means being able to be a little more frivolous in others!(For example, last year I put away my coupon savings and ended up with enough after a few months to buy a new computer when my old one died.)