Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Love Hate Relationship with Frugal Tips

The author of Mighty Bargain Hunter wrote a post with the hilarious title of, "Why Do Frugality Tips Suck So Much?" Hee! I love it! Mostly because I have wondered the exact same thing myself many times. You see, I have a bit of a "frugal tips" addiction. Every time I see a "34,451 Frugal Tips" post I click, even knowing as I do that 34,450 of them I already know and the other one doesn't work with my lifestyle. (For example, having no children, tips on babysitters don't apply.) The thing is - I know, even as I click, I am going to read things about lowering the thermostat (sigh) or not drinking coffee from Starbucks. (sigh, sigh)* Nonetheless, I will click away, hoping for some gem that I haven't tried yet - hoping some item that will catch my interest.

The case that Mighty Bargain Hunter makes is that frugal tips don't suck, it is just that we have unrealistic expectations of them. We expect tips to change our lives in moments, but they don't really work they way - they are frugal habits that need to be built in over time to be effective. No tip will make you rich in an instant, however, many of them done over time will make a big difference to the bottom line.

I hear what the Hunter is saying and I agree, but for me, frugal tips suck for a different reason...

I guess because I have been trying to be frugal for awhile now, I don't expect a miracle tip. I don't expect to read something and have it change my life, and I know that the only way tips work is over time - no tip will make you instantly rich. When I click on a blog to read their tips, I don't have high expectations. I am just hoping to see something new - something I haven't tried before. I don't think that expectation is unreasonable - I have picked up a number of great ideas from blogs. What gets to me is the repetition. Everyone has such similar ideas. Of course, when you get down to it there is a really good reason for that:

The only two ways to have more money is to spend less or earn more. That's it.

And since there are only so many ways to spend money, there are only so many solutions on how to spend less. That means a lot of repetition.

Does this mean I am going to quit my frugal tip addiction? Of course not! As I said, I have picked up a few gems here and there. My success with lowering my electricity bill through cfls, for example, came from an idea I got from Milk Your Money. There are ideas out there I haven't tried or even thought of. For example, my friend David sent me this article on how deleting your computer cookies can save you money online. There is something I certainly wouldn't have thought of!

I say there is still frugal tip gold out there, you just might have to search a little harder for it.

* So where do they come up with the figure for how much you will save by not drinking coffee from Starbucks, anyways? I mean, the only person I know who drinks a Starbucks coffee a day is my ex husband, (who would sometimes have as many as two or three,) but then again, he wasn't clicking on "Frugal Tips" blogs. It seems to me that if you are attempting to be frugal, this one is already a no-brainer, you know?

Photo by: Nick Humphries.

1 comment:

Andy @ Retire at 40 said...

Heh, you're right, they are recycled quite a lot of the time. I find by concentrating on 'how' you can be frugal rather than specifics examples, is more beneficial (and refeshing) to the reader.