How has frugality changed in the last decade?
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  1. #1
    Registered User FrugalWAHM's Avatar
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    Default How has frugality changed in the last decade?

    So everywhere we look, people are posting about how their lives have changed over the past decade. My question for you is: how has frugality or attempts at frugal living changed for you (or in general) over the past 10 years?

    One major area that I've seen change is in couponing. In the mid/late 2010s we saw a spate of couponing TV shows, blogs, books, etc. The "extreme" nature of some of these caused changes in store policies, and in couponing as a practice - no more doubling or tripling of coupons, more regulations, fewer coupons in general, a move away from paper coupons toward e-coupons, etc.

    How about you?

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    Moderator aka AmyBob AmyBoz's Avatar
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    I think, for me, couponing in general changed. My papers stopped having all of the coupon inserts, and so we stopped getting the paper. My stores do digital coupons now, and I use those and do pretty well with them. But I do miss the days of walking into a store with a fistful of coupons and walking out with a bunch of products for free or almost free.

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    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    Coupons are pretty much dead here, too. The exceptions being store specific, like oil change discounts, Kohls % off, Joann's, etc. Everyone has an app or a loyalty card now.

    Minimalism was a thing for a while there, but i don't see consumer spending going down.

    Thrift stores seem to have gotten way more expensive. Men's shirts that used to be $1-2 are now in the $4-5 range, women's clothing more than that.

    I've seen a lot of urban construction in the last couple of years. A 1980's mall got torn down and is now home to a couple apartment buildings and light retail. LOTS of apartments going up in the urban centers where it used to be retail or light industry.

    The job market doesn't seem to be as tight as it was after the 2008 mortgage crisis.
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    Registered User KathyB's Avatar
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    On a personal level:

    We are in much better financial shape than we were 10 years ago. We paid off the credit cards and student loans. We are now putting more in our retirement funds. And my husband and I are both making more than we were ten years ago. But we are keeping our standard of living around what it was. We have slowly transition from frugal by necessity to frugal by choice. Well maybe not strictly necessity. Technically it was not necessary to pay more than the minimum on our credit cards to get them paid off.

    But I find that I have become more happy in my frugality. I have developed a feeling of "enoughness." I have enough to make me happy at the level I am at. I have a decent place to live, good food to eat, we can pay all our bills on time and have money for hobbies. I do not feel like I am sacrificing anything by being frugal. I do not feel jealous or resentful toward people who have more money than me.
    KathyB

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    10 years ago I had just bought a house that I could barely afford....but that was about it. I was in debt upto my eyebrows (2 house payments, student loans, car payment and CC - $300k) , working a full-time job, part-time job and donating plasma 3x a week to make ends meet. I had no bed, no couch, no kitchen table, no chairs - I couldn't afford any of it. Occasionally I would miss work on thursday because I didn't have the gas to get to work and the CCs were full. Then I found Frugal Village and started to change my thinking and my life. I don't know where I would have ended up if it wasn't for the wonderful supportive people of FV.

    Today - I'm still driving the car I had 10 years ago and I choose to be frugal. I'm still learning how to make-do and be on my own. The thought of not having enough money no longer causes me sleepless nights. I know that if I hit hard times again that I now have the skill set to survive.
    2020 Goals:
    Pay off Ohio House - PAID OFF!! March 2020
    Save for whole house generator - $0/$15,000 (Guess amount, no quote)
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    Survive Outage - 6-12s for 3-6 months.....love the pay, hate the hours
    Save for pond....now a 2022 goal

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    Registered User KathyB's Avatar
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    I also worry less about money.

    I also feel like I am less afraid of being poor in future. I am not talking about reducing the change of being poor in the future - although I have taken steps to do that. I am thinking that I would be able to handle it better than I did the first time around. I know more money saving skills and more things to do for entertainment that are cheap or free.

    I have been looking at lots of retirement advice recently. The finance planning sites seem to act as though living you retirement life at a low income is the worst thing ever. It is not. There are lots of fun things to do that are cheap or free. There is lots of things you can make to eat that are tasty and cheap. You can have an enjoyable worthwhile life even if you do not have a lot of money.

    Now I am putting money in a retirement fund and I have a pension. So I am pretty confident I will be doing good financially. But I also do not fear having to get by on less.
    KathyB

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    Registered User FrugalWAHM's Avatar
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    I was thinking more about this and realized that frugality seems to have gone more "mainstream" in the last decade. More people were talking about saving money, "side hustles" became a trending topic, and couponing became almost a competition (even if you were only competing against yourself). I don't know if being frugal ever had a stigma, but it seems to be embraced more now than it was 10 years ago.

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    FrugalWAHM, I think people have had to become more frugal in the last ten years due to the Recession and massive student debts, among other things. I also think that some things are cyclical - frugal periods and extravagant periods (especially in the economy). The Recession has brought up reminders of the Great Depression and the frugality of that period. The Hippies and the "Back to the Land" movement of the 1960s has re-emerged as environmentalism and homesteading, etc.

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    Registered User KathyB's Avatar
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    I see a lot of stuff on the internet on frugality. But not all of it puts frugality in a positive light. I feel like about 1/3 of the stuff I see is mocking frugal people, especially those that take it to an extreme level. So maybe we are in a period of transition about acceptance?

    Since there are so many people on the internet, even if less than 1% of the people liked something there would still be a lot out there on the internet for it. I am not saying that frugality is that rare, I am just saying I can't judge by what I see online.

    In real life, I feel like people are doing frugal things, but not talking about being frugal. For example, we have a Starbucks in the building and lots of people buy coffee everyday. I also know of several people who bring their own coffee pots in. But I have only heard one of them talk about how much she was saving by doing it.

    I really do not talk about frugality much in real life myself either, since I am not sure how it will be received.

    I have one friend who talks about how much he has saved on various things. He cuts coupons and researches out specials at various places. But most friends and coworkers seem more likely to talk (brag) about where they went out to eat, vacations, stuff they bought, etc.

    Most of the people I work with are paid fairly well. They may grumble about their salaries, but most of them would be classified as middle class/upper middle class. So I wonder if maybe that would be different if I lived in an environment where people had less money.

    There is also a time v. money thing too. Where I live, long commutes are pretty common. So that makes it harder to find time to do some money saving things like cooking your own food or repairing rips in clothing.
    KathyB

  11. #10
    Registered User KathyB's Avatar
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    I have been thinking about whether being frugal has a stigma or has had a stigma in the past.

    I think being poor has a stigma and probably always will. Sometimes if you are frugal people will assume it is because you do not have much money. On the other hand, if you are poor but your friends and neighbors are poor too they will not give you a hard time about it.

    Being "cheap" is generally seen as negative, but that is not quite the same thing as being frugal.

    Beyond that, I think it depends on the specific frugal thing.

    I do not think there is a stigma on buying things on sale or shopping around for the best price. I do not think there is a stigma on home cooking or bringing lunch into work. I do not think there is a stigma against bringing in your own coffee pot or tea pot to work to save money.

    If my coworkers have noticed that I am wearing the same clothes as I wore last winter and the winter before that, they have not said anything.

    There is some stigma against thrift stores, but I think that is lessening now.

    There is sometimes a stigma for buying less expensive brands. I have ran into this for clothing, but not recently. Maybe the stigma is less now. Or maybe the people at work are just more mature than people at my high school. The online craft community can be bad about this. I have been in multiple craft groups online where people were looked down on for using "cheap" material.

    Of course there is a movement of upcycling - making things with recycled material. It is often emphasized as an eco-conscious thing rather than a money saving thing. But there are people that also talk about the money saving aspects too. There is actually lots of nice stuff out there, especially in the clothing make over category.

    I also see blogs online for frugal crafting, dollar store crafts, etc. Some of them have some really nice stuff. But there is also stuff that just looks ... not very good. In all fairness some of these are crafting for kids. When I google frugal crafting I see things made of paper plates, toilet paper rolls and popsicle sticks. It kind of sends a message that frugal crafting is great for "mommy and me" type projects, but not something an adult crafter would want to to on their own.
    KathyB

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    Registered User MsMarieH's Avatar
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    I think in the eyes of onlookers there has always been a fine line between being frugal and being cheap.

    My life has changed so much in the past ten years. late 2009-2011 was a rough period with hubby being unemployed for 14 months, me getting furloughed at work (fortunately only a 10% cutback), my mother/father-in-law/grandfather-in-law passing away.

    But I had started my own side gig in 2014 that grew to become a full time training business and I am thrilled with my life at the moment.

    I am definitely less frugal in some areas. I value my time more than my money in some areas, so pay to have a house cleaner come in twice a month and for landscapers during the summer. But I am still downright cheap at times with other things that don't matter as much to me (clothing, etc.).

    I scale back in many areas not so much specifically for frugality, but as a byproduct of my decluttering whims. Getting rid of clutter makes me so much more conscious of what things I am bringing into my home.

    Hubby and I are paying more for experiences over time. Once we hit 50, I told hubby we needed to start doing some travel while we were still young enough to enjoy it. So we have done an Alaskan cruise and a Hawaii cruise. We are going to Italy later this year. We will be celebrating 30 years married (lol well assuming we make it).

    I watched my parents pass away without enjoying their "golden years" following my dad getting Alzheimers and my mom getting Parkinsons and then my father in law pass away at 64 in a freak accident just a few months after he retired, when he was FINALLY getting ready to "enjoy" life. While we are saving for retirement, we are also taking time to live NOW and build memories.

    I am currently living the best years of my life and loving every day and I want to keep that going as long as I possibly can. What a difference a decade makes!
    2020 Pay Off Debt Challenge: $25,675.45/$25,676.45 (Goal COMPLETED: Pay Off By 12/30/2020)

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    Registered User jettsmom's Avatar
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    I rarely use coupons. There really aren't many for the things I use. I used to shop at a variety of stores buying the loss leaders at each store and going here and there to get everything I need all in one day. Recently I've decided that my time is more important and I will pay an extra $ here or there just for convenience. I still shop at multiple stores, but I don't do it all in one day. I'll save a trip and combine it with something else I'm doing. Dh wanted something earlier in the week and I asked if it could wait til the next day, because we'd be coming right by a particular store on the way home from his appointment. I buy things online so that I don't have to leave home. Most times it is cheaper, but I do it for convenience. I'm sure one day I'll do grocery pick up. I am picky about my produce and meat, so that is one thing I won't let someone else pick out for me. I do wait until I have a coupon for places like Kohls. Most times, I end up not getting what I was planning, so I end up saving money. My frugality has changed over the years. I'm getting older and tire easier, so I'll spend that extra buck.

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    Registered User earlybird's Avatar
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    We still have 1 store that has double coupons which is nice. All our grocery stores have the digital which i use but it
    isnt as much fun. Still saving though. We get coupons in the sunday paper but most items now you have to buy 2 or 3
    so not worth it to me. I am not stockpiling much of anything and using what i have at home. We are working towards
    debt free but medication prices are slowing us down. Not much you can do about that but I am exercising more,
    eating better and losing some weight. I think the older we get the less stuff we want. We just did a big declutter in
    beginning of January and took lots to the thrift store. Don't miss any of it and couldn't tell you more than 2 or 3
    things that were in all those bags. lol

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    here frugal is wrapped in the environment and recycling so thrift stores etc free on craigslist etc all good. and the thrift stores go up and up in price too. cheap is different the frugal I think. frugal to me is buying good food but finding the best deals, freezing preserving etc. cheap is just eating what is cheap and available not good always. investing in good shoes or clothes that last vs fast fashion.

    of course there is plenty of consumerism and takeout food even in grocery stores is more and more. I noticed that in middle class there is more that a trip to mexico or hawaii is a normal once a year thing now..and they tend to sell more of their things where we used to give toys and clothes to each other more. don't hear about kids swap meets etc as much. and of course there is a range of incomes.. who you are around income wise makes you feel richer or poorer. dh works at a rich school can't complete there. but we are middle class. all relative.

    the last ten years went in a blink of an eye...we got ahead in one way because housing went nuts here so our place is worth 3xs what we paid for it. but of course unless you downsize still costs to buy ..sorry for kids now rents are nuts too. why dh got an inheritance from his mom. raises aren't much not cost of living and they go up and up. gas, electric, food..all basic stuff. we lived though dh losing job and it taking over a yr at much lower salary in the early 2000s

    we weren't that frugal in lots of ways lack of energy, time wasted resources. spent lots of hours taking care of his parents for years. we did some trips to get away from it all because kids are only young once and really only way to get a break. now I want to go on trips like msmarie.. when we can enjoy them. one kid graduating high school this year. dh cousin got sick at his age and recently passed after having cancer for years at 63. we spent a lot on pets vet bills but most of those are gone now.still have new cats but they are young so more bills in the future. we always do what we could ourselves and used resources like the libraries.

    not many coupons here but shop deals all the time like I always did. the sales, markdowns. we always did used cars. put away money for kids, education, have life insurance, extra payments on the mortgage. I think you get more content when you are older too. and now we are freer to do things for us and work on the house which has been put off for so long. things are just going up here so can't change habits.

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    What a great thread! I have really enjoyed reading all the entries. I am amazed at how much happier and calmer I am now, compared to ten years ago. I closed my dance/yoga studio, had my hips replaced, and inherited money after my dad passed. He advised me to keep my expenses low, and to live off of the interest of the stocks. It has worked. Being frugal for all of these years trained me. My needs still only cost about $20,000. a year. I have started traveling, which I love. I get excellent deals, though, and pay cash in advance. It's fun to plan all year, and look forward to the adventure. I don't seem to get as much done as I used to, but I don't worry about it. Tomorrow is another day. I started blogging, which keeps me busy and happy. I have an Etsy shop, and that pays for my health insurance. I am driving a 20 year old car, and it's only got 60,000 miles on it. I still take the bus and ride my bike. My hobbies are free or cheap. I knit and crochet with yarn I have received from extravagant friends who said they will never use it. I check out books and dvds at the library, and go hiking and walking with my dog each day. I did purchase a vacation home in the mountains, and it has been wonderful. It's a lot of work to keep up both places, but it gives me a feeling of security for the future.

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