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Some things need to be feared. Getting stuck on the wrong side of a vault toilet, unusual basement sounds when I’m home alone on a stormy night, and every popcorn fart of killer klowns from outer space. I embrace being fearlessly frugal because when it comes to saving, life is best lived outside the comfort zone.
Besides, I have an impressive collection of frugal stories similar to a fancy spoon collection but shiner.
On guard, fancy spoons, be prepared to meet your soup maker!
Mean, Green, Reusing Machine
Green is my favorite color, flavor, and saver.
When options abound, I take the greener road by choosing reusable over disposable. Paper towels, napkins, and plates are traded for reusable towels, napkins, and plates.
Plastic bags and containers get washed and reused too.
I didn’t go from 100% disposable to reusable in 24 hours, instead as I used products up, I would swap out cheap convenience for a lasting legacy. This slow and steady progress was more sustainable than trying to change a decade’s worth of habits overnight.
Reusable, green habits grow like mold on bread; slow, steady, and ready to patent into penicillin.
The Savings Angle
Saving is only limited by my imagination, time, and energy.
I rarely shop. If I can, I default to secondhand stores, but I can’t buy everything secondhand like contacts.
Recently, I completed my annual eye exam. Along with a round of superhuman eye dilation, I was informed my prescription changed.
Glasses get thicker with age.
That’s how I ended up in the market for new contacts. Since I bought some, years ago, there has been an explosion of online retailers which is ideal for savvy consumers. One evening, as Mr. BuLL was occupied with a film more violent than the Cold War, I shopped around. I viewed 6 or so sites before my brain was at a maximum saving capacity.
With the best offer located, I settled into Discount Contacts and let Edge work its savings angle.
Edge had a 20% off coupon code and a 10% rebate. As a final double-tap of savings, I used my credit card which has a 1.5% cashback reward. The total savings? 31.5%!
The final angle was using my pretax-medical-expense account (FSA) to get reimbursed for this medical purchase.
The beauty of angles is in the leverage.
Self-Contained Convenience Store
It’s convenient, but it isn’t cheap.
Convenience stores prey upon my desire to eat sugar, fat, and everything inbetween. I love to carbo-load but don’t want to crash my budget either. Instead, I BMOT (bring my own treats).
My acronyms need some work.
In my purse, I have a fig bar for immediate cravings. At work and in my car, I have snacks stored in cupboards and a storage bag. When I travel, by car or plane, I stock up on treats for the trip.
When I have treats at the ready, it drains desire. I can scoff at prices because a snack is in my pack, but I can’t mentally mock when I’m out of stock.
Preparing for temptation is how I prevent future frustration.
No-spending sprees is a common budgeting event. Sometimes my budget busts its normal boundaries and I reign it in through a no-spending spree.
With years of practice, it’s an easy habit to deploy. My biggest hack was finding free fun to replace spending fun. Instead of spending money, I’ll
- Read a borrowed book from the library
- Draw, write, juggle, practice the piano
- Catalog a few more fuzzy dots for citizen science
- Exercise with a run or walk
- Meditate or take a nap or both
- Tackle the to-do list
- Volunteer or visit centurion candidates
Filling hours with rest, relaxation, or rewarding moments is more valuable than any spending spree.
Desire has an expiration date. If I wait long enough, it could dissolve.
Sometimes, waiting forces me to ponder my need. Sometimes, the need is nonexistent and more of a reflex than necessity. At times, the want will shift or be fulfilled by what I have. Either way, the fearlessly frugal sloth wins the day!
They say napping doesn’t pay, their right, but it does save!
Becoming fearlessly frugal took time. I didn’t go from budget buster to budget blockbuster overnight. If I did, I’d be medicated.
I started gradually. Each saving success built confidence for the next round. It’s how I went from savings 15% of my pay to 52%, its how I saved $4,000 in 8 months, and it’s how I’m inching towards fearless financial freedom.