Thursday, January 26, 2012

On Feeling Broke

There are certain "frugal" activities that I really relish - things that give me a high and make me feel like I'm being really smart with my money.

Then there are things that just make me feel broke - things that make me feel like I will never get ahead, will never have to stop worrying about my money, things that I wouldn't want other people to know that I'm doing.

Things that make me feel smart about money:
  • contributing to retirement even when the markets are down or volatile
  • paying extra on my student loans or mortgage
  • pairing coupons with a sale at the grocery store
  • ordering from the kids menu (if there's no age requirement)
  • ordering only water when dining out instead of soda or alcohol
  • asking for discounts/credits to a bill (such as when my internet goes out for a few days, or if I get spam text messages)
  • using the library
  • unplugging appliances that are not in use
  • cooking from scratch as much as possible

Things that just make me feel broke (or would if I did them):
Note: these are actual frugal tips I've seen in books or on blogs.

  • saving the bits of deodorant to melt them together to make a new stick
  • washing ziploc baggies to reuse (I wish this didn't make me feel broke, since it's good for the environment! Instead, I just try to avoid using baggies altogether.)
  • sprinkling my head with baby powder to go longer between shampoos
  • only buying groceries or toiletries for which I have a coupon
  • arguing about splitting a bill strictly along the orders (I like paying the bill this way - but not arguing about it)
  • haggling on prices in big box stores like Target
  • cheaping out on gifts to friends and family
  • not traveling to visit family
  • giving up my cell phone

I think these decisions vary from person to person, so the lists are above are what's true for me.

What makes YOU feel smart about money, and what makes you feel poor?


  1. I just read somewhere that Ziploc is now making baggies that are recyclable. Apparently you can drop them off with other plastic bags at your grocery store and they'll be shipped off and repurposed. So no more feeling guilty about using them if you have to! Of course, if you can use glass bowls instead all the better, but sometimes nothing but a baggie will do.

  2. I avoid using zipbloc bags as well for environmental reasons. I am lazy so I don't wash to reuse them. I know a friend's mom who does though and I thought good on her on saving money and doing her bit for the environment. I have landline at home and I have a cell that I have using pay as you instead of a monthly plan...I charge it with $100 and it's good for 365 days. I prepaid $5 for 200 text msg per month so I could text people. I use it to call if it's urgent but not usually.

  3. WOW! I do a couple of the things that make you feel broke. . .I wash out ziploc baggies *occasionally* (like if there's only been bread or a bagel or something like that in there--NEVER meat or dairy) and I am definitely guilty of the baby powder thing. I reuse the ziploc baggies out of thrift (I'm kind of cheap that way!) but it doesn't make me feel broke. Although, I guess I probably classify as broke! However, I do the baby powder trick out of pure lazy...I don't want to wash and style my hair everyday! Actually, I'm more into using dry shampoos these days (I just found a recipe for a DIY Dry Shampoo and posted it on my blog!) but baby powder works in a pinch.

    What makes me feel smart about money is when I am at the checkout counter at the grocery store and the bill is over $100 before my coupons and shoppers card. Then, when everything has been taken off, I've gotten a good load of groceries for under my $50 weekly budget. That makes me feel great! What makes me feel totally broke is when I am literally limping my car around on a "6 miles left till empty" message because I can only fill up once a week. As a single mom on a very limited budget, I often feel the very tight pinch of wants vs. needs and its very often that my son wants something and I *can't* buy it. I guess it might be different if I was able to buy it but didn't just to show him an example of being frugal and buying what we need. But, being unable to buy him something or take him somewhere he wants to go makes me feel totally broke. It's awful!

  4. Cooking from scratch is a big one for me ... helps me save money and eat healthier at the same time.


Thanks for commenting!