In my forties I’ve come to a realization that I frankly wish I’d come to many years sooner: it’s really stupid for me to give away any more of my money than I have to. And I’m not doing it anymore. How did I get here? The hard way. Here’s what I learned, how I learned it, and what’s coming next on Putting Something By.
My Mis-Spent Youth
There was a time when I loved going to the mall, trying on clothes in store after store, and coming home with tons of bags from interesting and beautiful places. It was exciting! But ultimately, I ended up with more stuff than money and a very cluttered home.
I planned meals…sort of…and I shopped every week for groceries. But more often than not, I found myself at restaurants, not even thinking about the food I’d already bought that was going bad in the refrigerator at home.
And go bad, it did. I used to throw things away so casually, never thinking about the fact that I was actually throwing away money the entire time.
Then the recession happened. My business really struggled during that time. I’m proud that I kept the doors open through the hardest of times, but it was a very painful financial time for me, and I had to make some difficult decisions as a result.
I learned a lot during that time, and the lessons continue every day, even though we haven’t had those financial challenges for a long time now.
The most important lessons I learned during those really difficult times are:
- Dining out is highly overrated, especially if you know how to cook well.
- Also, dining out makes losing weight really hard.
- They give you way more food at restaurants than you need, and that means you can either share a dish or take some home, cutting your per-meal expenditure by half.
- I think about per-meal expenditures now.
- Once I’m home, whether I’ve bought food, shoes, or clothes, where I bought the item makes absolutely no difference at all. So I’d much rather buy things in stores where I know the items will cost less. For example, why would I buy something at Nordstrom, when I can buy the same thing at Nordstrom Rack a couple of months later at a fraction of the cost? Why would I buy food at Whole Foods when I can buy the exact same organics at Trader Joe, Aldi, or Costco for far less money?
- Patience goes a long, long way.
In the coming months, I’m going to start sharing some of my secret tips for what I call “frugal luxury.” Because make no mistake about it…I still love living a really nice life. My husband and I travel the world and enjoy extraordinary, amazing food and wines. We wear nice clothes and live in a beautiful home. We are unbelievably fortunate and we literally want for nothing.
My life is just as luxurious now as it was back when I was spending a fortune to maintain that lifestyle. The only difference is that now I’m “Putting Something By” for the future…so that I can keep living this life for a very, very long time.
So stay tuned. I’ll be philosophizing about frugal luxury and sharing how I do it in my quiet little blog, including recipes, lifestyle tips, moneysaving fun, and more.
A note of caution: don’t expect much regularity. More than anything else, this blog serves as a bookmarking engine for me to keep track of my experiments and recipes. And if it happens to help you, too, then that’s awesome.