Its been a while...question on frugality


I haven’t posted on here forever. I’ve kinda wondered. I’m in my last year of school and money is extremely tight.

I find it very difficult to deal with discipline and temptation to buy things I don’t need, and to keep myself (and DH) on track. I’m sure there are a few of you on here who have families and apply frugality to your life. But does God make this easier?

I’m having a rough time with this. Please give me your experiences and opinions.



I could use some of that advice myself…


I’m not sure what you mean by this. If you are asking if asking God for help helps (lol see if you understand that), then yes.


Thats what i meant…thanks


When money is really tight and I get the urge to shop I go to our public library. I get a bag full of books, cds, magazines and movies all for free. I also tend to take up baking for some reason. I check out lots of cookbooks (and also go online)and see how far I can stretch a grocery budget.


After being financially stretched many times over the years we’ve come to realize it is a blessing for us. It keeps us focused on what matters and not material goods and pride. When your broke ya gotta be humble.:slight_smile: It is so easy to be distracted from our focus on God when we get caught up in material things.

We seen a lot of marriages strained from fighting over “stuff.” I tell my hubby we don’t fight because we don’t have any stuff.:stuck_out_tongue: If you can get your hands on a copy of My Daily Bread it’s a great little book to mediate upon daily.


What’s helped us is to set aside some spending money for each spouse to buy little things that are wants and not needs. My husband and I get $20 a month to spend on whatever we want, and it helps us stick to the budget in other areas. Good luck! Also, think of it as a game and see how much you can save or how far you can get with spending so little :smiley:


Have you tried leaving the house with only your ID? When we get used to always having some cash or credit in our pockets, it’s always a temptation.

While you’re building up your “spending temptation resistance muscles,” just remove the temptation. Sometimes spiritual exercises really need to start off with pure practical conditioning.


Just wondering what categories in your budget do you find you do most of your spending in? Eating out? Clothes? Groceries? Goods for the home? If you can figure this out, it might help. Sometimes, like when it comes to groceries for instance, I have to really just spend the money and trust God because there are just certain foods that though they are dirt cheap, I wouldn’t feed them to my family for anything. So I spend the extra money, support the local hardworking farmer who is trying so hard to do things right (instead of the million-dollar food industries who just want to make a buck) and trust God to make up the difference. That means I spend less in other categories, because food becomes the priority. I would suggest that you set your priorities and make sure that your budget honors those priorities in very concrete terms. If you eat right, everything else is gravy. You can live without a new dress pretty easily because I’m assuming you have a closet full of clothes, but you can’t live without good, nourishing food.


Be a list maker. When you go shopping, try to buy only what is on the list.

Use cash. Take only what you need. That way when you start handing it over, the amounts are very real to you. When its gone, its gone. You will be less tempted to buy a splurge item if it means that you will have to give up something for it. The value becomes tangible. Just to reinforce that idea, leave the credit cards, debit cards and checkbook at home.

Keep track of your spending so you know where your money goes. A couple bucks a day on little things never seems like much but you can end up wasting a fortune.

If you see something you really want and don’t have the cash for, ask the salesperson to set it aside for you. That gives you all day to consider whether or not it is worth going back for. Consider what you are willing to give up in exchange for that item. Buying a new purse might mean giving up coffee for a few weeks. Whatever.

If you can’t pay cash, you can’t afford it. Except for houses and possibly cars there is nothing you need badly enough to finance. Hubby and I got rid of credit cards 10 years ago and that was when we were living below poverty level. You can do it. Its just a matter of priorities.

To free up the budget, pick a credit card and pay it down. The sooner you get rid of interest and finance charges, the better off you will be.


A suggestion was once given to me that works quite well. When you want to buy something, write it down and wait a few days. If after that time you can come up with three reasons why you still need it, then buy it. If you can’t come up with those reasons, you don’t really need it. This has worked very well for me.

I also like to go to the library when I get the urge to buy stuff; it’s all free and it satisfies the urge to “bring something new home”.

But more than anything else, praying helps SO much.

God bless,


One thing I read to do is break down any income you have to how much you’re making hourly. Then, when you’re shopping and have the impulse to buy something think about how long you would have to work to earn the money for that item. If saw a sweater for $40 and you made $10/hour, you’d be working for four fours just to pay for that one item. That helps keep things in better perspective for me - especially when I see a tempting item on sale!


I always wonder about people who prefer to spend more money to support a single family, then spend less money to support a corporation that supports hundreds if not thousands of families of their hardworking employees, and hundreds of shareholder’s families, and provides the product for less so in a way, they are supporting the thousands of poor families who buy their products as well.


My DH does this and it drives me crazy! :whacky: It does work however and I am glad that someone in our marriage has a good head for figures. :o

To avoid creating wants I:

$ Try to put junk mail in the bin immediately. If I read it I find a whole bunch of products that I didn’t even know existed but suddenly think I really, really need. :rolleyes:

$ Don’t watch any T.V. and rarely listen to the radio, thus avoiding all those commercials telling me about even more stuff I really, really need.

$ Discuss large purchases with my DH who is very practical and not at all emotional about shopping (unlike me). Generally after talking it through with him I can see if it is a need or a want.

$ Put off purchases for as long as practical…often things I thought I needed NOW have easily waited…sometimes I’ve realised I can even make do without that particular item.

$ We also allocate a little pocket money each week so we don’t feel totally constricted by a tight budget.

I have gotten some good ideas from the other posters - thanks for starting this thread! :slight_smile:


Well thanks everyone!

We already live without TV…I hate it. If anything, we rent movies (well, we re-watch the movies we own mostly) or play our video games.

I use a list, and I do leave without money. That helps alot. I’ve recently cut our budget down a little bit ($40 a week) to see if we needed that extra ( I don’t think we do).

Our biggest, non-budgetted expense, hands down is eating out. I’m a student and I also work and DH works hard, long hours. Usually, by the time I get home, I don’t want to cook, and DH won’t. I love him, but we usually end up throwing out what he cooks…but he can bake :slight_smile:

I have another question for you all…

Say i’m online and see stuff that I want, and I get a large temptation to go across the street to the mall (poor place to have one in my opinion…lol) and get it. Do you find in situations like these that prayer helps to curb that feeling?



we started our marriage on a similar basis, both in school, already big student loans racked up, baby coming right away, bam, bam, bam 3 kids (no insurance) you get the picture. DH is German so he was born frugal, I was born poor so I learned it (certainly not my nature).

First Sunday at our first parish priest gave the $ talk, so DH tithed 10% of take-home from the get-go, we have always done it. if we did stop during lean times, we found each and every time the solution was to start tithing again. the # is not important, the consistency and commitment is. One hour’s wage could be another sound guideline, for example.

The reason it works, in my opinion and experience, is that it puts work and the fruits of work and all material things we have in right relationship with God, and corrects our own attitude about material things and about our work.

advice # 2: cut up the credit cards, if one of you has to travel for work or maintain a work expense acct., keep one card for that purpose and do not use it for anything else except work-related expenses.

buy on lay-away, or just save money in an account for what you need, and reorder your ideas on what you really need vs. what you want. we had to learn the hard way, hope it goes easier with you youngsters.


I hear you about eating out, my solution was a strict medical diet that makes it practically impossible to eat out, but I don’t cook any better than I did then (my family won’t eat what I cook to this day).

as far as second part, without going into details but you get the picture, a young priest gave me an excellent penance one time, to put a box on the table, and everytime I got the urge to go out and do “emotional shopping” put a dollar in the box first for the poor, and then take the contents to St Vincent every month. It did work because it made me think about the reasons I was contemplating a shopping trip. It was a little more complex than just an emotional reaction (like emotional eating), but the extra step of stopping to think first really did help me get out of a bad, expensive habit.

i still have to throw catalogs away immediately, in the garage, not even bring them into the house.


This is a great post and right on target. We tithe in our home, too. And as Annie says ‘it’s not the amount that is important, but the commitment’. We have found that being givers keeps us on the right track when it comes to material things.


That sounds exactly like what I did! I am a widow now and my children are all grown, but they look back with humor and joy at our all growing up together. (I had eight children).

We bought furniture at garage sales, did crafts together, and frequented the library a lot! Relatives and friends gave us good used bicycles, baby furniture, clothes, etc. When the children became teenagers they found there were many ways to earn money - delivering papers, shoveling snow, baby sitting, mowing lawns, etc. They are adults now, and pleased that they learned a lot doing this. Most of them are much better off financially than we were growing up, but they want their children to do some earning too, so they can learn to truly appreciate what they have.

And, there is definitely a way to plan menus that are delicious and inexpensive!


“make yourself rich by making your wants few”

My wife hates AND loves my thriftiness. do we need to be thrifty, not particularly, thank God, but i hate spending money. On things we need, fine, but there is that time in your life when you ask yourself “what exactly do i NEED?”… and the answer to that is “very little”…
Now, that is different from being cheap. “the cheapest man pays the highest price” is very true. but if you discern what you need from what you want… life uncomplicates quickly.

cars, furniture… big items you NEED, don’t buy cheap. get as much as you can afford. always be frugal, but never be cheap.

there is a big difference between the two.

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