The trouble with being frugal (and Mrs MDS has been on this slope for over 5 years) is that some benefits are immediate, others more a hill to climb and a couple mountains to conquer.
Let's get the current pitfalls of frugality aired so the word is not associated with austerity or austerity measures, aka the UK current government who are hell bent on confusing personal frugality with ideological measures. To be clear, looking after your household/personal budget is not the same as a complex economic framework. Mr Osbourne might be found of referring to governance of the Treasury as if he were figuratively holding purse strings and all that is required to show some economic might is some tightening of a belt but the reality is an economy is not a pile of cost centres but a machine with cogs that interact, stagnate and fall apart depending on how they are greased. Application of measures designed to inflate, stagnate or stem an economy is not undertaken by one simple act - unlike our own budgets.
We are the masters of our own budgets and can fiddle with the purse strings as much as we like. We can increase or decrease the funding of a certain area of our personal finances without it causing a global economic crisis. We can if we try inject more credit into them too by working more or selling stuff. Lottery wins are always a hope.
Being frugal has become more a lifestyle choice due to lessons drawn from mass consumerism, a trend that grew in the 1980s and accelerated until the banking crisis in 2008 - bit of general sweep but this is a blog post! Mass consumerism has had a two fold impact, one being an increase in personal debt and the other being an increase in stuff.
Frugality is what Gordon Brown spent a lot of time talking about over many years - being prudent. No one really listened to Mr Brown's view on prudence. He did of course equally spend many years increasing the support to poor households and made it his personal mission to end child poverty. Typically, frugality for Puritans and Quakers meant ensuring you were careful with your money so that you could save it and allocate the savings for more charitable purposes. Mr Brown with his Calvinist background was particularly prudent so he could be charitable. He was fairly hopeless in terms of being 'liked or likeable' but in reality much of his ethos shaped our best times.
Of course for Mrs MDS as others, being frugal is a by product of personal circumstances, notably being rubbish with money for so many years it has caught up with one and not really saving for a rainy day. Truth be told rainy days sounded so terrible dull. Now rainy days look like sunshine compared to inflation, petrol prices and increased costs to everything. Now the fashion is to be frugal. None of us want debts, most of us wish not to have a credit card and a savings account is preferable to an 'it bag'. Spending seems like showing off. Now of course it is all about, sewing, vintage, allotments and home made things.
I have found my outgoings are much less than they used to be (the ones I can control) and I make every endeavour to keep the battle against waste going. Paying back debts is a mind field and there is conflicting advice but being debt free is probably a nice personal goal. I've not tried to be clever and avoid a lot of the Martin Lewis, money expert type advice and stick to the more palatable and nicer Alvin Hall.
Frugal, prudent, making do - it is all the same. Think before you spend, have a budget, think of others less fortunate and in need plus review your spending and budgets but don't forget to enjoy life! You can do lots for free, think libraries for books and museums and taking walks in town or country. Do things on a budget, throw dinner for friends with down to earth meals such as chilli con carne and find inspiration from others. You are not being tight with your money - it's frugal.
Do share your money saving tips...