The Ever Growing List of Things I’ve Given Up in the Name of Frugality

My ultimate goal is to pay down my student debt of $550k as fast as possible. I turned to frugality as a way to do that. I’ve given up some excesses in my day to day life in order to reach my goal quicker. I find that it’s not a shame to be more selective, but rather a source of pride. Plus one if the decision ends up being eco-friendly. And the list goes on…

  • Gym memberships, specifically yoga-related. Substitute yoga at home, swimming laps at the community pool, and biking everywhere.
  • Weekly Sunday brunches. Learned how to make equally as good breakfast dishes at home.
  • The thought of a new car. Still driving my high-school ride.
  • Happy Hour Thursdays. Weekly football viewing now occurs at home.
  • Regularly dining out at trendy, fancy restaurants. Once a month Ramen date, still a likely occurrence.
  • Shopping, in general.
  • Cable TV at home. Thought about nixing the internet too, only for a moment.
  • Buying books. Exchanged my habit for public libraries instead.
  • Alcohol. Initially, paying money for it was a main factor. Additionally, positive health outcomes.
  • Outsourcing house-cleaning and maintenance jobs. Learned how to fix a continually running toilet, efflorescent cement floors, and clogged drains to name a few. Also a fan of touch up painting as a “hobby”.
  • Paying $15 to watch movies at the theatres.
  • Drinking anything but water at restaurants.
  • Buying music.
  • Paper Towels. Substitute washable dish rags instead. Also eco-friendly.
  • The idea of buying things new. Became a big fan of buying things used. Even bigger fan of hand-me-downs and borrowing.
  • Driving everywhere. Biking to local errands becoming more common.
  • Paying for parking spots. Will walk reasonably extensive distances to avoid paying for parking.
  • Personal space, specifically, an entire floor in our loft. Got a roommate in order to decrease monthly rent, a not-so-traditional way to reduce spending, in order to live in the house of our dreams.
  • Buying bottled water. Opting for filter water not only saves the environment but also saves money. I carry a water bottle around everywhere and fill up at public water fountains.
  • Buying lattes every week. I learned how to make them myself at home, latte art included! Also applies to $8 avocado toast.
  • Buying bread. I bake my own bread, and feed my own yeast. Also, started selling my extra loaves to people as well.
  • House decorations. I really embraced the minimalist esthetics, and it’s a plus for me because there are less things to clean and organize, and the space always looks neat.
  • Frequent haircuts. I cut my hair once every 2 years, which people say is sooo unhealthy, but is it really when my hair continues to grow faster than most people I know? I don’t have split ends and I still consider my hair pretty thick. Then again, I don’t shower in hot water and I don’t blow dry, curl, or dye my hair, barring twice a year exceptions.
  • Make-up and beauty products. I no longer wear make-up on my days off, and I only wear a dash of eyeliner and mascara on the days I go to work. I wash my face with regular soap, and avoid moisturizers and other unnecessary (and at times, harmful?) products. I used to have a habit of painting my nails every week, but I am haven’t painted them in over a year. They’re healthier than before, always trimmed, and match every outfit.
  • Snacks. When I was still in college, I realized that I was being unhealthy by reaching into the pantry for chips or the freezer for ice cream. I challenged myself to stop buying snacks to prevent myself from eating bad foods, but also to cut my grocery bill. It’s worked and I stick to the habit of cutting out snacks from the grocery list to this day.
  • Going to theme parks and concerts and festivals. This kind of goes in line with the movie theatres thing, but I substituted all of these hyped and commercialized experiences for explorations and hikes with friends.
  • Speaking of friends, I gave up the relationships that were centered around spending. I realized that we unfortunately had different visions as to how we want our lives to be, and it comes down to our core values being different. For those that were willing to hang out with us without the instagrammable scenery, we remained friends. Some of these things were harder to give up than others.
  • Going to Target, “just because”. This is the worst, am I right? (See also: Trader Joe’s.) I will have a mission and a list when I go into stores and groceries, and I stay focused on my goals.
  • Fast food. We originally stopped getting fast food because we didn’t want things that involved plastic and single use containers. However, getting rid of fast food is also amazing since it reduced our spending. It is so easy to think, “Oh, it’s just cheap fast food, so no big deal.” But the pennies do add up. And it is important to remember that fast food is not entirely healthy, so the cost of treating things such as high cholesterol and diabetes down the road will be increased if eating fast food is a common occurrence. Don’t get me started on our college days…
  • Buying pre-made meals and sauces. Cooking most things from scratch was initially started to reduce plastic, but it also prevented me from buying things that are wayyyy too overpriced for what you are getting.

More to come…

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