Saturday, August 18, 2012

I Don't Do That..........

Most of the time, the stuff I write on this blog has to do with how I'm living my life in retirement. Obviously, since I'm frugal and on a fixed income, I refer to costs and frugal choices along the way. On occasion though, I figure I need to share some specifics, especially when I get comments or private emails by people who expect to be in similar situations and wonder how they will manage.

Don't get me wrong. The best solution is to be prepared as one can be. The bottom line though is that many of us are retiring with much less than we had thought.  Reality has dropped in. Living a frugal life requires re-thinking many things. To be sure, part of being frugal is what one author called "active frugality".   This include most of the do it yourself aspects of cutting costs. Sometimes lifestyle adjustment involves "giving up" some important  spending or" downsizing".  Frugality and income adjustment is a multi step process.

The biggest parts of frugality, at least in my experience, lie in two areas. Things that simply become habit, and things that we just don't do.  In my case, the list of things that I don't do are not in the area of "giving up" or major sacrifice (although there are things in this area-they're fodder for another post).These are things I've eliminated from my life fairly easily (and often not just for frugality's sake).  I'm sure you have some things you "don't do" or even "never did" as well. Everyone will have a different list. Everyone will have a list of non-frugal things that are part of their lives as well. After all, I have two active dogs, one with a chronic disease. I'm a quilter-there's no such thing as "cheap" or "economical" quilting fabric.  My sewing machine cost in the thousands, not in the hundreds.

Nevertheless, whether it's for simplicity's sake, frugality, or laziness, here are a few of the things that I never do-or do rarely (in no particular order):

In my case
  • I don't eat out-on a regular basis. When the kids were home and I was working, we ate out a fair amount just so I didn't have to clean up or take the time to cook. Now I prefer to eat at home. I do eat out a few times a year-at really expensive gourmet restaurants (definitely a food snob), and I've been known to eat dinner out when traveling. The rest of the time I cook and enjoy my own cooking. Some retirees are just the opposite and eat out much more post retirement.
  • I don't use paper products, other than the obvious. This is not just a frugality measure-I prefer cloth to paper. I use cloth rags, wipes, napkins and polishing cloths. I keep a few paper towels around for dog gak, and I haven't seen a solution to the TP problem. Every thing else, even in my younger pre-menopausal life has been cloth.
  • I don't shop for pleasure-other than thrift shopping on occasion. I've never been a shopper-even during my depression spending phase, which even made the spending result even worse. I hate the smell of a mall and cannot even mall walk because I hate it so much.  These days I can even leave thrift shopping aside (probably because of all the buying and reselling I've been doing).
  • I don't get pedicures or manicures on a regular basis and I have short, uncolored hair. My self care routine is fairly simple. Obviously for some folks this would be deprivation. I am quilter who bakes, types, draws, is an artist and works in the dirt. My fingernails are short and plain. I do my own nails and get a pedicure quarterly just so I can get my leggs massaged.The rest of the time I do my own toenails.  If my arthritis got worse I would probably return to having someone else do my feet.
  • I don't by books, as a rule. I obviously buy books to resell, and on a rare occasion I will put something on my kindle that costs money. But I do not buy reading books or literature-ever. I use the library or put free things on my kindle. I where there was no English library for seven years and that ole Amazon I-click button was my comfort (although I almost always got used books). With the current library system I would be crazy to pay for something I can get for free (or at least free after my property tax payment.
  • I also don't buy movies or have netflix. I use the library and once in awhile pay a dollar or use a free movie code at Redbox. However, I also have cable. Should I give up my bundle all of this could change.
  • I don't have a land line-at least for now. I've considered changing this because I live in tornado alley with electrical outages. But the only true safe solution for that problem is to buy a traditional dial phone for cheap somewhere.
  • I don't have a credit card.  I realize that for some this is not an issue of frugality. Long ago we chose to live on a cash system and it worked well for us. I recently took on my first car payment, and I have a mortgage and that is already too much debt for me. For the record, I have traveled and I have rented a car with my visa logo debit card.
  • I don't feel the need to just get out of the house and go somewhere, at least on a daily basis.  All people are different.  My leaving the house is generally a planned event. It's not an "I need to go get a coffee, go to the drugstore, or go to  the home depot kind of thing. However, I enjoy being at home when I am at home and have regular planned socialization.
  • I don't have a House and Garden Style yard.  I live in Texas. I'm also basically lazy. Having a minimally landscaped yard and some pots on the patio is both frugal and energy saving. Some day I may have raised beds, but my yard will never be seen in Southern Living.
  • I don't pay for exercising.  Again, this is one thing I don't do that works into where I live. I swim outside when its too hot to walk. I walk when the pool finally closes, and I have a set of weights and lots of u-tube teachers.
  • I don't dress up, or dress for success. Other than bathing suits, I don't need special clothing for any activity. I don't wear work clothes any more and I take pride in not knowing where the dry cleaner's shops are. I have both church clothing and special occasion clothing. Most of my days however, are spent in long yoga pants and bright tops, or the equivalent.
  • I don't spend lots of money on entertainment. I'm blessed to live in an area where there is a lot of low cost, high quality entertainment.  One blogger implied to me that it just wasn't the same as Broadway. Perhaps, but it's damned good. I have local summer theater, a festival every weekend, piles of amateur theater and music options, free museum opportunities, and movie theaters that charge almost nothing for the first showing of the day.
  • I don't buy things immediately when I want or need them.  This doesn't mean I don't buy them at all, just that I always allow a waiting period-and always check estimates. Unless the house has lost its roof due to a tornado, most everything else can wait at least a day. I shouldd add that this has been one of the most difficult things for me. Not the waiting, but rather the researching. I was married for years to a guy that LIKED to do that stuff.
  • I don't throw things out. ...........Unless I'm absolutely sure they cannot be re purposed and that I will never need them again. While simplicity and frugality can be complementary I personally tend to find minimalism the anti frugality. Throwing it out and buying another if I decide later I need one is not frugal, or financially sound for me. I haven't used my very big slow cooker since last January. But I will need it again next January. Since I have room for it in my pantry it would be senseless to throw it out-just to have less stuff.
There you have it. I'm sure I could add many more things, and I'm sure others would add different things. Feel free to share or opine on what you have let go from your life-for frugal or other reasons.


  1. Barb, we do much of what you do, primarily because we have chosen travel as our primary focus in retirement.

    I will add the following 1) We do not do iPhones, iPads or IAnything else. Too expensive, and just more noise in our already too noisy lives. 2) We walk or bike everywhere we possibly can. More fun, and saves on gas and vehicle wear and tear. 3) We use discount coupons, primarily from Groupon, for most of the meals we eat out. It is fun, half off, and always a surprise. 4) We use Goldstar for most of our entertainment options. Similar to Groupon, everything is half off . . . And often a fun surprise.

  2. Tamara, I would like to get rid of my smart phones, but for me its also a credit card reader and a scanner, so they stay. Yes, there are many more things I DO that I will list in a second post later on.

  3. Wow that looks like my list (except for the do it yourself hair color...I will have colored hair until I am 90!). Nice list and great money savers!

  4. We haven't really "given up" much in retirement, but there is a lot that we don't do or never did. Ditto to much of your list. In addition, we never, ever, ever pay retail for anything. Malcolm is one of those guys who "loves to research" and can find a bargain every time.

    We also don't spend a lot on hotels, entertainment and eating out when we travel. Like Tamara, we use Groupon, Hotwire, Living Social, etc. to find discounts.

    My biggest challenge these days is to avoid waste. I just hate throwing soggy carrots or mushrooms in the garbage.

  5. We are not retired yet but your list sounds much like our lifesytle already.You are so right about fabric, it ain't cheap but I am able to save some by watching for the sales then stocking up. Even thread is crazy expensive.


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