Today, let’s do something a little different. I’m going to list 48 things I’ve learned about myself and the world around me that I only discovered thanks to frugality.
1. I really like sun tea.
2. The patience and effort in teaching yourself something new is incredibly rewarding when you begin to succeed at it (like my piano playing).
3. When you’re sitting around a table with friends, it really doesn’t matter where you’re at.
4. Young children are usually more interested in the free packaging or other freebies than any item you might buy them.
5. A tall glass of pure water is the best first line of defense for many ailments.
6. Going nearly vegetarian when your garden is peaking in productivity is an interesting dietary adventure.
7. You don’t have to go to a dealership to buy a great car.
8. Fixing a toilet isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds.
9. Making a small sample batch of something before you make it in bulk is a really good idea.
10. You disagree with your spouse a lot less if you don’t have a pile of debt stressing you out.
11. YouTube and a pile of old newspapers can entertain a four year old and a two year old for several hours.
12. Real friends keep in touch no matter where your path leads.
13. I used to be ashamed of who I was and bought stuff to cover it up. Then I was ashamed of who I used to be and flaunted my frugality. Now I’m okay with both and I don’t really care at all.
14. You feel pretty good when you’ve fixed a hot water heater problem by yourself without having to call a repairperson.
15. Every time I let go of something I used to like, I have more room for the things I enjoy now.
16. Our local library has more groups going on that I could possibly be involved with.
17. When you’re spending time with people you really care about – and who really care about you – it doesn’t matter what you’re actually doing.
18. Most generics are just as good as the name brands; they’re like getting a $1 off coupon because the label looks funny.
19. Preparing something new in the kitchen and actually pulling it off makes our family dinner incredibly enjoyable.
20. You don’t have to worry about the important stuff if you don’t waste time and money on stuff that isn’t really important to you.
21. Our city’s parks and recreation department has more fun stuff going on than our family has time to participate in.
22. Netflix streaming (at $9 a month) combined with free over-the-air digital television provides better television viewing options than a $50 monthly cable bill.
23. Changing your own oil isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds.
24. Life is a lot less stressful when you don’t really care what the people at the grocery store think of you.
25. The flavor of fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden blows away anything you can buy at the store.
26. You don’t need all of the latest and greatest equipment to really enjoy a hobby.
27. A nap is the best free vacation.
28. Vinegar is a spectacular fabric softener replacement.
29. Haggling can be a lot of fun.
30. It’s a lot easier to focus on earning more money and doing something spectacular if you’re not scared to death of the financial apocalypse from losing your job.
31. I like putting beans in a lot of different kinds of food.
32. Being thrifty isn’t bad for the economy – it’s just a different kind of consumption. Money saved and invested helps the economy as much as money spent.
33. Making your own gifts for other people can be incredibly rewarding, both for you and for the recipient.
34. Saying or thinking “I absolutely won’t…” usually costs you money.
35. Getting rid of stuff you don’t use can be painful, but it feels exhilirating once you’ve started doing it.
36. It’s far better to own one thing that works than ten things that only “kind of” work.
37. The fun stuff you enjoy doing isn’t tinged with guilt when you’re not buried in debt while doing that fun thing.
38. Cloth diapering isn’t as scary as it sounds.
39. Sharing a good money-saving tip or two is almost always a good way to start a conversation with a neighbor.
40. The less activities you jam into a vacation, the more enjoyable and relaxing it usually is.
41. The more you talk to children about money and wise money decisions, the more they emulate those decisions with the money they have.
42. If you have the storage space, you’re almost always better off buying in bulk.
43. You are never too old to run through a cold sprinkler on a hot day.
44. Used paperbacks and books from the library are just as fun to read as new books from the bookstore.
45. Taking out your old thermostat and putting in a new one isn’t as scary as it sounds.
46. A bit of patience on any purchase almost always saves you a mint.
47. Time is far, far more valuable than money.
48. Most of the things that genuinely make me feel good – exercising, playing with my kids, holding my wife – don’t cost anything at all.
What has frugality taught you?