Frugal Living Guide -- an Interview
Many people visit this site for fun and to find interesting offers, but many
also come here to help save money. For all of you that either want or need to
get more living for less money I'd like to introduce Pat Veretto. Pat is the
Guide for the About.com Frugal Living site. I recently did an interview with
Pat and I think you find her and her site fascinating as I certainly did.

After you have read the interview be sure to visit Pat's Frugal Living site to
find ways you can do more with less.
Q. What is your definition of frugal living? A. My definition of frugal living
is taking conscious control of our individual resources and quality of life.
Each of us make choices every day, and each choice changes our financial,
emotional and physical situation to a degree. It's our responsibility to make
the choices that allow us to live in the way we really want, not in the way we
are told we want. Q. Is there a difference in frugal living and simple living?
A. Yes, there is. Being frugal covers such an enormous territory that it can
also be an anti-consumer, environmental, or a religious choice, among other
things. While I realize that simple living can also encompass these things,
frugal living is a means to an end, not the end itself, so that many people with
many distinct goals use the principles for their own purposes. Simple
living is an end in itself, so if you're not in agreement with the basic
principle, it doesn't appeal to you. Q. There seems to be an increasing wave of
interest in frugal living. What are your thoughts on why this is? A. There are
many thoughts on this, but it's probably simply the pendulum swinging the other
way. In the US, we've been so frantically consumerist, that sooner or later,
there had to be a backlash. Having been told that there is happiness in the
pursuit of material goods, we've tried it and been disillusioned. Another thing
is that as the population as a whole matures, it tends to look past blatant
materialism as a satisfactory answer to its emotional needs. I think another
thing that fuels it is that there is a vague uncomfortable feeling with our
economy right now. No one really trusts our institutions and control system to
keep the economy healthy. Getting your finances and your life under control
makes it easier to face an uncertain future. Q. Some people say that they would
like to start a frugal lifestyle, but they just don't have the time to devote
to pinching pennies. What suggestions do you have for these people? A. Start
where you are. You don't have to invest a major amount of time to see results.
Being frugal is often more in what you choose to not do. The most important
time you can spend on it, will be in learning basic strategies. The actual doing
can be done in the same amount of time that you are now spending, a few things
take even less time. As an example, if you keep a list of what you need from the
grocery store and make it a point to go only once a week, then buy
only what is on the list, you'll save time and money. Refuse to go any other
time, and refuse to buy anything except what is on the list. You'll soon become
an expert list maker, and be much more aware of how you spend your food money.
Another thing you can do is put aside 15 minutes a day for doing 'frugal'
things. 15 minutes is not much, but if you can't find that, make it 5 minutes.
You can do such things as repair an item of clothing, or clip a few coupons and
paper clip them to your grocery list, or mix up a cup of powdered milk and add
it to your regular milk. You'll be amazed at how much you can do in 5 minutes.
If you're consistent, it will become second nature, and will 'grow' on you! Q.
How long have you been interested in frugal living and what sparked your
interest? A. Actually I was born that way! My parents raised 8 kids on a 'hired
hand' salary. We ate beans and potatoes and wild greens and wore hand me downs
and started working at a fairly young age. We developed confidence and
creativity and enjoyed the fun of meeting a challenge. It didn't hurt us at all.
To me, that is 'the good life'..to know that you can do more than just survive.
I think its a real shame that so many kids have the wrong kinds of challenges
today. We are raising too many self-centered, stressed-out thrill addicts, who
don't have a clue as to what real life is all about. Because they are not
allowed to be a part of providing for their own needs, they look for other
challenges, some of which are downright dangerous and pointless. Q. If you were
to pick your personal favorite three pages from your own site, what would they
be? A. The first would have to be the one called Pure Gold which
I've just started. Each week I will point out one especially interesting,
intriguing or challenging site that I've found. I'm kind of excited about it,
because it allows me to do an in depth review and to better point readers in
the direction of the kinds of sites they are looking for. Secondly, I have a
page with a list of Special Reading which is a collection of articles dealing
more with the philosophy and logistics of frugality. I had a hard time coming up
with three pages, since I've only been doing this a short while, but the
third would have to be one I wrote at the beginning, called Introduction to
Frugal Living - The Method. That pretty much explains it. I was trying to show
people who might not have been exposed to the lifestyle, just how it works. Q.
Are there pitfalls to being frugal? Have you had times when trying to save
money actually cost you more money? A. I think we all do things to the extreme
at times. Sometimes we will buy something second hand or on sale and find out
it doesn't do what we need, or simply is of poorer quality than we can use. It's
frustrating, but even if you shop at a 'high quality' store and pay a good price
for something (i.e, you're not trying to save money on the purchase) you
still run the risk of bringing home less than suitable merchandise. Besides all
that, I think sometimes people who are trying to be frugal are targeted by
unscrupulous offers. Cheap is not frugal. I have bought things, brought them
home, and got rid of them, all in the same day. The saving factor is that if you
don't pay much for an item to begin with, you don't lose much Q. What are some
of the goals you've managed to achieve by being frugal? A. We got to trade in
our old car for a new(er) one. If we could have waited a little longer, we
could have paid cash for it; as it is, the payment schedule is short, insurance
is very low as are license plate fees. A few other things...a new reel lawn
mower, and paid our property taxes on time, within the last few months. The car
payment is the only one we have, the pantry is being stocked for the winter,
and we don't really need anything right now, with the exception of a new
thermostat on the water heater. I'm going to try to learn how to do that myself,

so it shouldn't cost much. Q. What are some of your favorite frugal tips? A.
Probably the best one is 'don't go shopping!' ... so many times we use shopping
as recreation or entertainment. If you really think you need
something, wait at least three days to think it over, longer if its a major
purchase. Another thing is get everything down on paper and look at it. An
interest rate of 10% may not sound that bad, until you compound it every 30 days
and add it to the cost of an item for however long it will take you to pay it
off. Make lists and carry a calculator! The more you can actually see where
your money is going the easier it becomes to decide where *you* want it to go.
There's just one other thing I want to say here, and that is, don't let money
or method become more important than anything else in your life. Fanaticism is
not pretty, no matter what the cause. Stay balanced.

Don't forget to visit Pat's Frugal Living site.

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Cindy Sue

Oregon Grown and Raised

Ambition is that grit in the soul which creates disenchantment with the ordinary
and puts the dare into dreams.~




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