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Wishes for the ‘frugal fairy’

By on April 12, 2008

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gas prices
Many of you are working hard at frugality because you have to. I’m no exception. I’m tightening the belt more than ever. My readers talk about how they sometimes wish there were a “frugal fairy” who granted wishes. She could wave her magic wand and let them choose one area where they didn’t have to be frugal. I want to share some of their wishes with you, so you know you’re not alone. While luxuries are always the first thing to be cut, it’s interesting to note that the majority of the wishes aren’t terribly fancy. There are tons of people feeling the pressure from the economic downturn. With hard work, humor and hope, you’ll get through it.

DRIVING: Many miss going for a drive without thinking about the high cost of gas. People are limiting leisure drives, and most are combining errands to save money. Many retirees had hopes of traveling but are finding themselves staying home much more often. Some readers have long commutes that are killing their budgets. Some are rethinking trips to garage sales because of the cost to drive to them. Several readers are paying more for gas than they are for food.

FOOD: This is one area almost everyone wishes they could splurge on. Dining out has become almost nonexistent, and people are finding it increasingly difficult to keep a low grocery budget. They’re pulling out their frugal recipes, stocking up during sales, planning their vegetable gardens and streamlining their meal plans. Many wish they didn’t have to look at prices, make hard choices and calculate the best buys. Some are tired of trying to make something out of nothing, too. Gourmet recipes have become wishful thinking, and they want more recipes with cheaper ingredients so they can stretch their meals. Some wish they didn’t have to pack a lunch every single day or feel guilty about not wanting to cook sometimes. They simply want to stop wincing at their receipts and not have to justify each purchase. They’d like to invite guests over more often, too.

HEAT: Sad as this is, many people wish the magic fairy could make utilities cost less. They’re tired of being cold and always bundling up — or sweating during the warmer months. When the choice is between food, gas and heat, the thermostat is being turned way down.

ENTERTAINMENT: People are cutting out trips to the movies as well as extras like vacations, concerts and theater. Many are relying on the Internet, movie rentals and library books for home entertainment. Some folks are setting their main hobbies aside for cheaper alternatives and wish they could afford craft supplies.

CLOTHING: Money simply isn’t being spent on clothing. Most of my readers are making do with what they have or buying clothing secondhand or on sale. Some feel guilty for not providing new brand-name clothing for their kids.

REPAIRS: Home repairs are being put off, which will result in higher costs later. Some people wish they could afford a new roof or to replace appliances. Instead of replacing them, many are going without. Microwaves, dishwashers and dryers top the list.

GIVING: People want to give more, but don’t have enough for themselves. People are giving more homemade gifts. Some readers simply wish they had more time to give to their own family.


  1. AmyBoz

    4/12/2008 at 7:41 am

    Thanks, Sara. This serves as a good reminder to all of us that we aren’t in this alone. Everyone is feeling the pinch, and maybe we can all share ideas and get through it together.


    4/12/2008 at 10:40 am

    We have just started a monthly community potluck at our summer campground. Everyone brings a hot or cold dish to pass and we all come together for food, social and to share ideas on a variety of topics that are related to the hard times that people are experiencing now. One of the things that we all decided to do is to clear out our clothes that we no longer wear and set up a clothing swap. We are also going to do a book and magazine swap that will be ongoing all spring, summer and fall. There will be card games and volleyball on the beach along with shared appetizers on the weekends. I have volunteered to take the lead and give some tips on shopping for healthy food at reasonable prices and then preparing them in a cooking demonstration. It is amazing how inexpensive it is to prepare a meal for 4 made out of quiona, black beans, corn, cilantro, cumin and chili powder. Add a nice organic salad to that with mixed fresh market greens, sliced strawberries and sliced almonds with a homemade dressing of agave and fresh squeezed lime…..and who have an inexpensive, healthy, delicious meal. Especially when the greens and strawberries are from your own garden.
    Thanks, Sara

  3. LC

    9/20/2008 at 12:30 am

    We will be going on a two day trip to the Mountains for our Christmas Vacation. Instead of giving gifts this year we decided to go away for Christmas. We are staying in a hotel but I’ve booked it in the middle of the summer and got a real cheap rate on the room!!!
    Sometimes you have to plan way in advanced in order to be able to do what you want frugally! We have a stove and refrig in the room so we can cook in the room saving money! This is the first year I have had a Christmas Vacation at my job and the first year my husband has had both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off so we wanted to do something special! We are saving in advanced for the trip! I figure it beats the same old socks and underwear gift giving!

  4. Sara Noel

    9/20/2008 at 12:52 am

    Lynn, Your campground sounds like so much fun.

    LC, The fridge/stove in your hotel will be a huge savings for you. Enjoy your holiday vacation.

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