I’m going to be honest… when I started getting my financial life in order, I didn’t really understand the true meaning of frugality. Initially, I thought being frugal meant that you never spent money and I didn’t feel like I could identify with anyone. Seriously, I have about zero in common with extreme couponers and survivalists. I’m a married twenty-something living in the ‘burbs of Columbus, OH, I don’t need to know how to pay for two weeks of groceries for $.48 with 57 coupons. I appreciate preparedness, but I’m not interested in hoarding gasoline, assault rifles, and MREs. Give me a second-hand store within five miles, a plot of soil to garden, and I’m happy as a clam.
When I started really exploring the online frugal community, I was floored by how many people were just like me. I don’t mean similar to me physically or even culturally. Some are like me in that they began as grad students, became fed up with the disaster of academia, and decided to take back their lives, emotionally and financially. Other people are like me because they enjoy the thrill of being resourceful and finding awesome bargains. But what they all have in common is the belief that you don’t necessarily have to always be cheap, but you do need to plan for the future and always be thoughtful and smart about what you spend your money on. Now, that’s more my kind of preparedness.
For today, I decided to pick my three favorite frugal/financial links that have really helped me get a hold on different financial aspects of my life. From blogging to fashion to everything in between, here are a few of my online inspirations:
1) Making Sense of Cents–Some people follow Dave Ramsey, but I’m convinced that Michelle Schroeder-Gardner is the financial guru of my generation. I can’t even remember how I discovered her website, but I was drawn to her story because it was so similar to mine.
Emerging from grad school with thousands of dollars of debt, she paid it all off in seven months and quit her job as a financial analyst to travel as a self-employed freelancer. What I love about her blog/website is that she provides awesome financial information, resources, and a variety of guest posts by financially-savvy folk. In addition to publishing her monthly income report, she gives step-by-step instructions of how to create your own blog, market it, and monetize it to fit your goals.
2) Un-Fancy–I became obsessed with the idea of a capsule wardrobe after finding this blog. Caroline created Un-Fancy in an effort to cut down on excessive shopping and build a wardrobe based on a smaller number of quality pieces rather than a closet full of cheap clothes that ended up never being worn (enter the “Mix + Match + Repeat”). She even provides a free PDF that will help plan your own capsule wardrobe and makes the process feasible and exciting.
Learning about the capsule wardrobe made me realize that spending more on a quality piece of clothing is worth it if it’s something I love and will wear often. This brings me to…
3) Frugal Beautiful–Shannyn also started her frugal journey like me, emerging from a dead end pursuit of a PhD. She promotes a realistic view of frugality–being frugal does not necessarily mean being cheap. Being frugal means being smart with your finances. If you want to invest or throw down for a valuable item, save, plan, and do it because you have the freedom and choice to do so.
Beauty, food, fitness, money management, getting out of debt, she touches on it all. And lest we forget, always hustle, hustle, hustle! I think it’s safe to say that this is a common theme in all of these links. Everyone can have a side-hustle, you just have to figure out what it is! It doesn’t matter if you’re getting out of debt or just finding ways to save money on everyday expenses, being frugal is a full-time job, a lifestyle, and a complete way of life.
Until next time, my frugal friends!