"Frugal" Things You Do/Don't Do - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 63 Old 06-13-2019, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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"Frugal" Things You Do/Don't Do

Ok, I realized after I finished this itís an absolute book to read, but Iím very interested in learning about other peopleís lifestyles and experiences, so I hope even just a few members are interested enough to participate

I have been fascinated for a while now with the ďminimalismĒ movement in the sense of keeping less stuff, or only the stuff that brings joy (or in a practical sense, stuff you NEED. ie. dish towels don't necessarily bring me joy but I NEED them.) To me, this idea also crosses over with financial planning/saving for future endeavors, which I've just recently become really engrossed in after getting my first really decent full time job. I've sort of turned financial planning/saving into a challenging game in my mind so that it seems less stressful.

I just paid my first boarding check for my mare this past Sunday when we moved her out to the ranch Iíve been taking lessons at. Iím getting a great deal (or so I believe, time will tell. But I really admire their horses and their lifestyle, and I think they will do a great job with Dreama and help me learn to do the same.)

That got me thinking about how we all value different experiences and things that we invest our money in. Obviously, owning, leasing, or even taking riding lessons with horses is not a ďfrugalĒ thing to do at all. (ďFrugalĒ is another word that gets thrown around a lot in certain financial planning videos I enjoy watching, and being not too many generations removed from my grandparents who literally lived in the hills of KY and farmed tobacco, I wonder if some of the people in these videos actually understand what ďfrugalĒ and the necessity to be frugal actually is.)

I was going over in my mind the things that I do and sometimes my partner does that save us money, some of which Iíve heard people talk about as ďstrangeĒ ways to save money. I donít think any of them are strange at all and Iím betting that other Horse Forum members feel the same, as we all come from various walks of life and financial situations.

SO I was wondering about what you all do that saves money or is ďfrugalĒ in ways that some people might think was strange? (And maybe pick up some ideas for myself.) Iíd love to hear what other horse people think about this subject, or if itís something you even have to think about or just subconsciously do. Also, if you do consider yourself a very money-conscious person, what are the things that you think are worth splurging on? I have already seen a few fabulous things that other members do with their properties to conserve resources and re-use materials.

Here is my list of examples of things that we do:

- I donít cut my hair.
- My partner cuts his own hair.
- Dishwasher pods Ė just started making my own. No adverse effects so far on the dishes or dish-washer.
- Laundry powder Ė about to start making my own. Iíve seen all kinds of pros and cons of this online, but my mind was made up when I discovered I have a co-worker who has done it for years and loves it.
- When I kept pet rats, I used fleece bedding that I washed instead of wood shaving or paper disposable bedding.
- Clothing - I wear thrifted or hand-me down clothes. I was tempted to do a complete wardrobe re-do when I got my new office job. Mom helped me thrift for some dress-pants and blouses, and I decided Iím NOT buy any new clothing until winter, when I may have to invest in some work-appropriate sweaters. I did buy appropriate boots to ride in as I really didnít have a truly safe pair.
- No real TV service, nor home phone - We split Netflix with my partnerís family, and I watch pretty much everything else I want to online.
- Dish towels/rags Ė We use them for almost everything. For napkins, cleaning, dish washing, etc. I donít keep disposable sponges. The only reason I still keep paper towels is that I donít like cleaning up cat-vomit or the toilet with something that isnít disposable.
- Re-usable Swiffer pads Ė I love my Swiffer, but I crocheted my own pads! They get thrown in the wash and re-used like the dish towels. I'm also thinking about donating my swiffer and replacing it with a different brand, as I didn't realize when I purchased the wet-jet that I couldn't refill the cleaning solution myself - they've made it so you can't refill those containers, so you have to keep purchasing their refill pods. I know there are versions out there I can fill with my own cleaning solution. Over time, I think that would save some money and be more environmentally conscious (less plastic waste and I could refill it with something more eco-friendly.(


Some quirks that keep me from saving more money:

- Books. We have a local bookstore I love (and worked in the coffee shop in the front while I was in college). I still love the library and second-hand books, but Iíve decided to make room in my budget to purchase one from them once a month or every few months. (I have so many currently to get through Iíve put myself on a book no-buy for the next couple of months ) Itís important to me to support local businesses when I can.
- Shoes. As with other clothing, I donít keep a lot of shoes and the ones I do have were primarily hand-me downs and gifts, but boy when I do decide to buy a pair of shoesÖ I want quality. I want leather typically. I want something thatís actually going to stand up for multiple seasons instead of falling apart after one summer or winter of use. Iíve been shocked by how quickly some of the name-brands have fallen apart from being worn every day so I am more careful now.
- When I DO decide to buy any new clothing, Iíve decided I am interested in certain natural fibers and brands of quality that may not be cheap. I am still researching what brands I actually want to start to add to my wardrobe in years to come, and I do still intend to search second-hand first.
- Eating out - Something I am trying to do better about. My friends and I are all so busy though, that sometimes the only way we get together is have dinner at a restaurant before we head home in the evenings. What I am trying to completely cut out is fast-foodÖ where I travel between the different locations of my workplace, it is often way too easy to not devote the time to cooking and just grab something on the way there.
- And obviously, horse care


I will be surprised if anyone made it this far Congrats to anyone still reading! I hope someone out there finds this sort of thing as interesting as I do.

** Edit to say, by "first really decent full time job" I mean that I had a full-time job straight out of college but it was miserable, I freelanced in my field for a while and worked multiple part-time jobs. So I've never not had income, as is obvious by the things I've talked about spending money on. It's just that I feel I can attempt to really plan for things and evaluate my goals more accurately now.

"She could be a witch, and he would never build a pyre upon which to burn her thoughts, desires and dreams."

Last edited by CopperLove; 06-13-2019 at 10:23 AM.
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post #2 of 63 Old 06-13-2019, 10:55 AM
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I've been doing the "do it yourself, do without or make it do" thing for about ... forty-five years now. I used to spend a lot of time with my grandmother, a former farm wife back when farms were nearly self-sufficient entities. She made all her own and her children's clothes, sewed quilts out of flour sacks lined with wool from her own sheep, helped butcher hogs and made ham and sausage and soap, grew and put up all the fruit and vegetables they ate all year. She taught me to make bread without a recipe, darn socks, make soup stock, and many other things. She put me on my life track I guess.

I know how to do a lot more self-sufficient things than I have energy for, these days. I still keep hens but I no longer keep dairy animals and make yogurt and cheese the way I used to. I don't have the energy to keep up a veggie garden. We just moved last year and I have replanted some of the apple orchard that used to be here. Am returning a great deal of the stupid acre of lawn to natural meadow. But I'm not young any more, and I want to use what time and energy I can on what I enjoy the most, which is riding.

It's good to be aware of the monumental excess and waste that living in a capitalist economy forces you into whether you want it or not. Just try not buying single-use plastic -- it is EVERYWHERE AND IN EVERYTHING. You cannot avoid it. Same with burning fossil fuel. You have to swim upstream with everything you've got just to not float down the bloated river of mindless waste with everyone else.

But saving money is super easy. Simply making a box lunch for work and drinking water out of the tap, is a radical move. Cook at home, mend your clothes, walk or bicycle wherever you can ... these things are both frugal and rewarding.

Another thing capitalism wants you to do besides never think about the consequences of what you are buying is to be too busy to do for yourself, so you have to buy convenience. It's a whole system.

I am a pessimist by nature; I think humans are destroying the living fabric of the planet as fast as they possibly can. I try not to cause harm -- that's about all I have the means to do. That it also saves me money is a byproduct.

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post #3 of 63 Old 06-13-2019, 11:09 AM
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I do buy used books (sometimes. I live in a small town and we don't have a used bookstore, and our library stinks selection-wise)

Try to use coupons for anything I can. I'm a crafter, so A.C Moore, Michael's, and Joann's are my weaknesses. Also pet stores, because my dogs MIGHT NEEEED a 3-foot long beef trachea chew. Obviously.

Wear clothes over and over until they're worn out, shop for sales, never buy any new clothes unless I need them or they're ridiculously cheap.

Reusable water bottle and tap water. Might not taste *quite* as good as the bottled stuff, but hey. Better bland water than plastic bottles.

I never ever buy trinkets or knicknacks. I am tired of clutter, tired of stuff. Unless it has a purpose, I dont want it. I don't buy things just because they're pretty or would match the curtains.

Our luxuries are food and Internet/services. We have really bad Wi-Fi and data signals, so we have unlimited data on both so we can bounce between the two. We also travel a lot, and I stream too much music. We have Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify Premium and Hulu. Guilty pleasures, but cheaper per month than buying a new DVD or CD. We eat lots of fish, and that's pricey. But fish is so gooooood.
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post #4 of 63 Old 06-13-2019, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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@Avna I have found, even though I like researching financial/minimalist/diy things, a lot of it is stuff that we were already doing or that my family did growing up. Despite the fact that I eat out way more than I should, I still meal-prep every week and never buy bottled water. I definitely know people who eat out for almost every meal, or only do pre-ready stuff at home. Because I'm not always purchasing new clothing, I'm not good at sewing but I have learned to repair small holes in things sufficiently enough for my needs. I also know how to knit my own socks! But good sock material these days is pretty pricey.... usually a nylon/wool blend is the most practical because it keeps the property of the wool while being machine washable and dryable and holds its shape very well over time. Even though it would cost more in the long run, one of my goals is to eventually have knit all my own socks The knitting also doubles as entertainment and can keep me occupied for hours while also providing a rewarding end-product.

There is definitely such a fine balance in the world today of trying to be a little self-sufficient vs. completely wearing yourself out. There are things I'd like to learn while I do have the energy to do so. I'd like to have chickens one day. Not so much to save money, but because I feel very bad for chickens in factory-farm settings and it would be nice to know where all my eggs came from. I'm also learning to grow things... or more like just making an effort to grow things. I am growing just a few peppers and tomatoes this year, but I have to grow them in buckets since we rent and I doubt our landlord would let me dig up the yard Having to get the containers and soil to grow stuff in if you don't have a place for a garden is probably too expensive to be worth the produce I'll actually get from it... but I just wanted to do it. Start small, read and learn and maybe one day have a garden when I have a place to do so.

A few years ago I decided I wanted to switch to personal care and home cleaning products that were not animal-tested. That started a whole new journey because it opened my eyes about what kind of products we pour into the environment daily. It led to me really using less, because a lot of the more eco and animal friendly products also cost more. Overall it made me more conscious of all the "stuff" I was buying, because if you start thinking about what's in those kinds of products, you inevitably start thinking about the impact other things have as well. The processes of making clothing, synthetic fibers, where labor comes from, etc. I agree about trying not to cause harm. I try to do my personal best and not think too hard about the rest because it just becomes too overwhelming.
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post #5 of 63 Old 06-13-2019, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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@RidingWithRuby Ha! We also are not "this knicknack matches the curtains" kind of people. Nothing against those who do love home decor. We don't actually even have curtains We rent a very cheap place that is probably a bit smaller than we would like, but the goal is to save on cost of living and focus on saving money on the down-payment for a future home. At that point in time, I think I would like to save some money to buy some local hand-made art to decorate with, which again ties in with wanting to support local when possible... I spent a year doing art and craft vendor sales on the side and that stuff is such hard work. I have a weakness for hand crafted items and art. It has a deep value to me and I know what it means from personal experience to the artist when someone buys their work.
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post #6 of 63 Old 06-13-2019, 12:37 PM
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Well, I think you are well on your way to achieving absolute minimalism! For a few years, I lived in an RV and was surprised how little you actually needed to survive. Cheap gym for showers, parking place for saving gas, etc. I NEVER buy those wasteful and eco-deadly water bottles - watch the "Plastic Planet"!

Now, years later, on a small SSI income, I rent a room, culled my clothes (all Goodwill!), shoes, pictures, anything I either don't look at or use.

I no longer have a horse, though one time, I left my ranch manager's job, with just my horse and dog in tow. I had nowhere to go, so I parked at a trailhead and put signs around it looking for a live-in trainer/manager. Luckily a person called me, and I had a place to live cheap and a place for my horse. The toughest period of my life.
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post #7 of 63 Old 06-13-2019, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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@TimmysMom For a little while I was obsessed with the idea of tiny-home/RV living. But I think that also had something to do with being in a job situation that was wearing on my mental health and the idea of just being able to drive away from it all, no matter the cost, was very appealing. Changing jobs and moving into a smaller, better-kept rental space grounded me a little bit though.

I will never really be able to fit under the "minimalist" label. There are too many things I do like having even though I don't need them... making one's own clothing and accessories often costs more these days than store-bought, but I love to knit and crochet and make things, collect shiny bits to make jewelry from. I will probably always have more than the minimal, but who needs labels anyway, right? Some of that stuff I make to sell or as gifts though. I have down sized on the craft-room quite a bit now that I'm not trying to do it to seriously supplement my income.
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post #8 of 63 Old 06-13-2019, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by CopperLove View Post
@RidingWithRuby Ha! We also are not "this knicknack matches the curtains" kind of people. Nothing against those who do love home decor. We don't actually even have curtains <img style="max-width:100%;" src="https://www.horseforum.com/images/smilies/rofl.gif" border="0" alt="" title="ROFL" class="inlineimg" /> We rent a very cheap place that is probably a bit smaller than we would like, but the goal is to save on cost of living and focus on saving money on the down-payment for a future home. At that point in time, I think I would like to save some money to buy some local hand-made art to decorate with, which again ties in with wanting to support local when possible... I spent a year doing art and craft vendor sales on the side and that stuff is such hard work. I have a weakness for hand crafted items and art. It has a deep value to me and I know what it means from personal experience to the artist when someone buys their work.
Quoting this just for the sake of testing. Tried to post a reply and I was told I didn't have permission. Weird.
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post #9 of 63 Old 06-13-2019, 02:24 PM
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Of course it worked. After my draft disappeared. ={

Nothing against home decor here! I just don't need anything fancy.

I'm going to admit something here: I am an amateur photographer and my favorite subjects are my dogs.....so I have an Instagram dedicated to them. Maybe silly, but true. :'D

Anyway, I see so mamy beautiful handmade items on Instagram that I just cannot justify buying. $45 for a dog collar? I can make one cheaper than that.

It's gotten to the point where I make all my own bandanas and I'll soon be dabbling in collars, dog tags, leashes, etc. I've been considering selling online at a reasonable price, because so much is either overpriced or mass produced in a factory. (I haven't found a handmade harness for under $40. I have two dogs. $80 would feed them for....a long time. $80 would cover a yearly exam plus some.)

Speaking of dogs, they're too expensive
&#x1f604; Once spent $400+ on a scratched eye. Then she went and did it again.
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post #10 of 63 Old 06-13-2019, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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@RidingWithRuby Earlier when I came back to look at replies (we're having a slow day at work, I am admittedly bored) I noticed that this thread seemed to actually have vanished for a little while. I wondered momentarily if I had done something to accidentally have it removed. Probably just some small glitchy things happening, I totally believe you that it didn't work the first time!

Since I'm an Etsy seller myself (but mostly I kept an Etsy shop while I was doing in-person sales so that I had somewhere for my business card to point to and show inventory, it's terribly out of date right now), I will warn you that selling on Etsy can be a pain sometimes. Trying to set up your tags and titles so that their SEO actually allows people to find your stuff is the most irritating thing. I can imagine that pet stuff would probably be pretty popular though, and the fact that you're already familiar with photography would help you out too. My last few orders have simply been from people I knew on Facebook. You might actually do well to try starting up a Facebook page first, add your friends you think might be interested, and grow from there. I know people who sell a surprising amount of product on Facebook (and you wouldn't be out any money like listing fees and sales fees with Etsy. Although Etsy shipping labels are pretty handy. There are pros and cons to everything!)

I believe it. Both my cats have had to have a substantial amount of teeth removed... that was like $500 each in our area. Thankfully their issues happened about a year apart.
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