A lot of people talk about intentional savings: coupons, cooking at home, etc. But I recently realized that I have an awful lot of unintentional frugality, just based on how I live my life. I thought it’d interesting to enumerate:
This one actually surprised me, since I thought frozen chicken breast was more expensive than beef. But apparently I haven’t been paying attention to the skyrocketing costs of red meat.
This whole thing is especially accidental because I didn’t consciously choose to quit non-poultry meat. I’ve never been a big fan of fish, so that wasn’t much of an issue. And all the red meat options at college were gross. By the time I got home for winter break, I didn’t like the texture anymore. I figured it was healthier for me, so I never pushed the issue.
Working at home
This is the big one. I was surprised how many benefits there are:
I don’t have to buy office attire, which adds up quickly. Especially shoes. Instead, I can wear ratty old t-shirts around, which means my nicer clothes last longer.
No commute means less gas, but also less wear and tear on the car. That saves in the long run. Speaking of cars, we only need one since we’re both home all day.
Since I’m not in an office setting or terribly active when I’m at home, I can also re-wear clothes more often. This means less laundry, which means less water/electricity used.
I can also go longer between haircuts and colors without worrying about an unprofessional appearance. Oh, and I don’t feel the need to wear makeup every day, so the stuff I do buy lasts significantly longer.
Also, my working at home meant that my boss purchased my new computer for me. He gets to write it off as a business expense, but I think he’s just making sure he keeps his World’s Best Boss title.
Finally, I get to deduct the entire cost of the Internet as a business expense. That’s significant savings.
I will admit that working at home does incur some extra expenses: heating/cooling the house all day, more use of TVs and more toilet paper/water used for bathroom breaks.
Still, compared to multiple cars and more gas, I think we come out on top.
I’m usually either tired or in hermit mode, so we don’t go out a lot. That’s a big savings on entertainment or being at the bar with friends.
It also means that we’re less likely to go to a sit-down restaurant. Yeah, we still need to work on our fast food consumption, but at least we’re only paying fast food prices, rather than $30+ meals.
Gardening (or lack thereof)
A lot of people down here have rock gardens. We don’t even do that much. So we’re skipping the initial investment in decorative rocks. There are some folks who keep actual gardens: grass, flowers, the works. We don’t have to buy any of that or expend water to keep it all alive.
Also, we skip the cost of yard service for trees and/or grass.
This is only partly accidental. I specifically didn’t want a house with a pool. Still, our tight budget meant we didn’t see any anyway, which is good because I might have been tempted.
Instead, we’re spared the cost of a pool service. And we never have to worry about the costly repairs. (Most require you drain and then refill the pool. Even before the cost of labor, you’re looking at a pretty hefty bill.)
I’ve never been interested in them. Once I was vaguely curious, so I looked up the costs. That squashed any further interest in the matter.
I’m sure there are more accidental savings, but these are the ones that immediately came to mind.
How do you guys save just by being you?