I used to call myself a shoppingera, because really, I shop a lot before. But no, I am not a fan of signature clothing or high-end gadgets, it’s way out of my league, but I easily get pleased with little things like spray colognes, branded kids clothes, ball pens, notepads, washi tapes, etc., then the sad reality hit me: I was spending money on stuff that I do not need, It’s time to change my bad spending habits!
The realization didn’t happen overnight of course. It took me a long time to get over it.
Who doesn’t love shopping?!?
But it wasn’t the worst, the hardest part was the shopping withdrawal stage. HARD in all its possible meaning! It took me a loooong time to actually convince myself that I don’t need those things, that my kids are okay with Unbranded clothes, that we can actually live without eating out every day, and that it’s okay to wait for a certain movie to be available online.
So what made me change my ways? Lack of funds. There’s no point in denying that we hit rock bottom because I was already a WAHM yet still shopping like I was earning 100 grand a month!
Did I change right away, no? Of course not.
So, what were my steps in achieving a total frugal lifestyle without making myself a tightwad?
- Ditch ENVY. Keeping up with the Joneses was one of the culprits of my addiction and by stopping that, I realized that a simpler life is achievable if I stop looking at the other side of the fence.
- I stopped the bad habit called window shopping and only go to the mall if I really needed something. No, I didn’t save anything from not going to the malls because each penny I saved went directly to many more important matters like bills and grocery products. What is it with malls that one gets hungry every time he or she goes there? Are they putting something on their air conditioners to lure us to eat?
- We cook our own food. Quick cook and restaurant food are both expensive. Enough said. But hey, we indulge once in a while, nothing wrong with that. It keeps me sane.
- We don’t watch movies in the mall. Unless of course we get tickets for premiere nights, even tickets for regular showing days. You see, for a family of 4 to watch a movie, we spend around P350/pax for the ticket and movie house snacks alone. Count the cost of the dinner/lunch right after plus the gas and we’d come up with more or less P2500. That’s huge amount of money, period.
- We don’t buy toys. Seriously. Perhaps I am just privileged to belong to a family with members who doesn’t get tired of buying toys for my kids. I buy them toys — toys from McDonalds 😉 Are my kids deprived? No. They will ONLY feel that way IF we encourage comparison between what their friends have and what they have at the moment. Don’t compare, make them learn to appreciate their toys, make them toys, etc. The list is endless. The trick is to not let them feel that they lack something.
- Buy second hand. This is something that I am good at. Why buy brand new if you can buy it used?
- We decided to homeschool. It is not actually cheaper, but you are sure that every penny spent benefiting your children.
Hey, being frugal isn’t bad unless you become a tightwad. Get it for free if it’s really free but learn to respect entrepreneurs, by paying for their goods if they’re not for free. Haggling to get it at a very low price or for free is a no-no. That’s disrespect.
Mayaman ka na ba sa kakatipid mo? Wala ka na bang utang?
No and no. I still have tons of loans to pay and I am far from being rich. So why am I still doing this?
Because like homeschooling, it’s the lifestyle that I have decided to embrace. It is what’s best for my family at the moment and we are okay with it.