Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Is My Frugality The Same As Your Frugality?

The simple answer to this question is " Of course not."  We all do frugal things for different purposes.

The frugality we do fits into the plan for our lives and always has. Yours would fit into your plan.

It was important from the first day of our marriage to plan for financial independence earlier than the age of 65 which most people retired at. That was for two reasons. Most importantly Hubby had heart disease history on his side of the family that said he wouldn't make it to 65 for retirement. Secondly, we did not want to give our time and effort 8+ hours a day working for someone else. Some people love working and love their jobs and bosses. We know people who have worked into their 70's and 80's and are perfectly content doing it. Hubby and I are very contented having retired at a younger age. Hubby was 54 and I was 48 when I left the working world.
We did not like working 8 hours a day and spending another hour commuting to be at the service of our bosses whims. So we set up a frugal plan to get out early.

Hubby and I buy quality clothes when we buy them. We don't care about fashion but we do want our clothing to last a long time. Hence we purchase the majority of our clothing from LL Bean. Their clothing is classic and never goes out of style and wears like iron. We only make purchases when something is truly needed. Hence we haven't purchased anything but a belt and sweatshirt for Hubby all year. Other people will buy new clothes every season when the fashions change. That's okay if they can afford it by spending less in other spending categories and it fits into their plan.

We like good craft beer and good wine once in a while. We will buy local brewery beer and/or Samuel Adams. Boxed wines have come a long way over the years. We like Bota. A good glass of wine with a special dinner is well worth the price to us. Other people don't drink wine or beer.

We like rib eye, T bones, strip steaks and filet mignons. We will have one once in a while but we buy them in bulk to save on the per pound price. Other people are happy with hamburger the majority of the time.

Restaurant eating and take out is not that important to us hence 95% of our meals we eat at home. Hubby says the majority of my meals taste better and are healthier than restaurant meals. If he is happy, I am happy. Other people are happy to go out to dinner once or twice a week. If that fits their plan then they should enjoy it. 

Many people love to travel. We have done some over the years and I still do. But most of our travel today is by car to visit family. We are homebodies and are extremely content when we are at home.

Which brings us to the next reason that we are and were frugal. We love a beautiful home that is designer decorated to our tastes and uncluttered. We love our home. We added $100,000. in upgrades to this home that we had built 6 years ago so that it would be just what we loved. We paid cash for this home and other homes. We truly enjoy every minute that we spend in it. It has always been extremely important for us to live in a beautiful home because we spend 98% of our time in it. Other people are content to live in a beautifully decorated to their tastes starter home that is much smaller. We all love different things and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As long as how we live fits in with our goals, it is all good. 

We also could have downsized when we retired to a 800 sq. ft. home but instead we downsized by building 2 different 2100 sq. ft. homes. We like space to entertain and to have family and friends stay with us and be comfortable. This home if perfect for us.

Sure it costs us to maintain a larger home rather than a smaller home but it is worth it to us. We live on a 1/2 acre that is beautifully landscaped and maintained. That is worth it to us.

Property and school taxes in New York are hefty and were $7746.42 after the Star Rebate for 2016 but we wanted to live in a nice middle class community with great schools. So we are happy to pay for the nice neighborhood that we live in and excellent schools for the children in our neighborhood. Other people move to other states to avoid taxes like these.Our taxes were lower when we lived in AZ but being near family and grandchildren became more important to us. It all fit into our extreme frugality plan.

We have never paid more than $30,000. for an automobile and it almost killed us to pay that much for this last one. We paid cash. But almost $30,000. was more than we paid for our first house. So that hurt. But it fit into our plan and we wanted this car to be extremely comfortable plus we love our butt warmers. Others buy sports cars, BMW's, Volvos, etc. That's okay if they can afford them and it fits in their long range goals.  

So when you see us cutting back or trying to in some areas, it is so that we can live the way we want to. Other people make cuts to live the way they want to. It is all good as long as you are not living in debt and paying interest to others rather than earning interest or making money in the stock market.

If you are living the way you want to but you end up living beyond your means, then you must change your frugality to get rid of that debt or you will never be financially independent.

Being a senior citizen, I have seen too many elderly retire with debt: mortgages, thousands in credit card debt, car loans, etc. Then a spouse dies and the other spouse is left holding all of this debt that they can't afford. In order to probate the estate in their state, the surviving spouse must be able to pay that debt monthly or pay if off out of the estate proceeds. I have seen too many seniors(mostly widows) lose income that was coming in via their husbands. They lose his social security and many times his pension. They can't afford to pay that debt and so they lose their homes to pay for it. This should never happen to any widow or widower. It happened because of poor planning. Please don't let that happen to you.

We may not do things the way others do but that is okay too. We have worked our plan for years and attained it and we still work it and invest every month to the best of our means. You may see things in my posts that we do frugally that you would never bother to do. That's okay. Do your thing and we will do ours. Thank God we are not all alike.

Did our frugality get us there? You bet it did. When you save on the big recurring expenses every year, it really compounds. But there are only so many big things, it's saving on the little things that adds up to big bucks over the years. But saving on these things does nothing if you spend that money other places. It must be invested so that you obtain your goals. 

Your frugality will be different from mine and that's okay. As long as it fits into your goal plans.  


  1. OMG. Does your life sound so much like my life!!!! But not as big or grand a scale. But very similar. Good for you!
    My husband has an inherited heart problem also, but we both have planned for what our lives would be like without each other. When he got his pension, we signed up for it to transfer to me upon his death. Also, I'll get half of his social security in addition to mine when and if he passes. It wasn't easy preparing nor thinking like this but it had to be done nonetheless.
    We live debt free BUT we now have to face a rather large medical bunch of bills due to his illness. Wasn't in the plan so early in the game. But we're doing it.
    Love your blog.

    1. Hi Cindi,

      I am so sorry to hear that your husband is ill. I will keep him in my prayers.

      I don't think we live large. We just made different choices than others. Many people live their lives differently than we have. More on that tomorrow.

      You made some smart decisions on the pension.

    2. Thanks so much for your prayers.
      They're always welcome.
      We live like no other, so we can live like no other.
      Again, love your blog!

  2. When you retired, was your home paid for? Could you draw off of your pension? What else had you done to prepare for your early retirement? I am 48 now and have been thinking of retiring...but We have never used my income to live on...only to pay off debt, build savings and house projects. My husband is a government employee and can retire in 9 years. Can you go into a little more detail on how you retired early for us?

    1. When we retired, we owned two homes. One in NY and one in AZ. The one in NY was paid for many,many years before we retired. The one in AZ we had built 2 years before we retired to it. Those two years we used it as a vacation home. We did not rent it out. We just used it when we went out there. It was paid for in cash. When we moved here we contracted to have this one built and paid with cash. we sold our AZ home shortly after we contracted for this one. We were able to draw off Hubby's pension when he turned 55. I don't know what else I can tell you about early retirement that I haven't already on this blog. It was a combination of the small pension and savings and stock market investments that compounded over the 33 years of working. We were able to save a great deal of money through careful planning and frugality. That money got invested in savings, CD ladders and the stock market and we never touched a dime of it until we retired. We both qualified for Social Security when we each turned 62. It takes hard work and discipline.

      Congrats that your husband can retire in a few years.

  3. I really enjoy learning from your blog. Your commitment to frugality is a big boost and inspiration to me. You are living proof that choices make a huge difference--it isn't blind luck, success consists of making deliberate choices. Keep up the good work. And thanks for stopping by my blog, As Seen Through Rozy Colored Glasses. A shower gift of a photo album and recipe book is wonderful! We all have different talents and interests. Thanks for sharing yours.