Is there a point at which frugal becomes TOO frugal?

Recently I read something– beats me where– suggesting that when a girl is visiting a young man’s apartment, she ought to scope out the type of toilet paper he buys. If the paper is the cheapo scratchy kind, she ought to run, the article suggested, because no guy worth having would stoop to buy cheap TP.

My mouth hung open at the idea of dismissing a potential mate on such a flimsy basis. Granted, I don’t happen to be picky about toilet paper. I know some people care a lot about TP, but I don’t. I’ve bought the most affordable brands for most of my adult life.

But to dismiss a person on the basis of his frugality? To my way of thinking, these gals should take the cheap toilet paper as a good sign…. here (possibly) is a guy who doesn’t overspend. Maybe he even has a savings account.

OK, I know. That is a lot to assume from a roll of toilet paper. But careful spending in the small things is just as important to careful money management as getting the best deal on a car. Maybe even more so. ‘Small’ spending happens nearly every day, and sometimes people forget how it can break them. They just wonder why they’re out of money all the time.

The story got me wondering, though. Is there a point at which frugal becomes TOO frugal? Obviously I don’t think cheap toilet paper is that point. But is there a line? Is it dependent on your circumstances?

For example, would it be okay for a family who is unemployed to turn the thermostat down to 55 and bundle up in the house to avoid a big power bill? What about if that same family is making $80,000 a year and simply trying to pay off the house quicker? Would it be okay for a single guy to set the thermostat at 55, but not okay for him to set the thermostat at that level if he was married with 3 kids?

Other possible examples of frugality:
–living with one vehicle (or none!)
–buying only used clothing
–eating beans 5 meals a week
–living in a small house, and having 3 or more children to share one bedroom.

Obviously the ‘line’ is going to be different for different people. Some of the things that we might think of as too frugal are probably just normal living for people in 3rd world countries. For example, many people all over the world eat rice and beans most of the time. Millions of people cram a large family into a single room home. Millions more go a lifetime without ever owning one car, let alone two or three.

I personally would have to live a very different life before I’d consider getting by on one vehicle. We live about 8 miles away from the nearest grocery store, and I’m not that into bike riding. However, we COULD probably get by with less than the (yikes) 3 vehicles we currently own. And that’s not even counting Eldest’s car that currently resides at our house along with her.

But other frugal choices are pretty natural to me. We keep our thermostat low and heat our house mainly with wood. The bedrooms furthest from the wood stove get a little chilly, but that’s what quilts are for. We’ve done cloth diapers and cloth napkins and we yard sale and thrift-shop for most of our clothes. (Incidentally, this winter Eldest is wearing a lovely full length black wool coat that she bought at a yard sale for $2 — you do NOT have to look frumpy to be a careful clothing shopper).

I’ve rambled long enough. Now I want to hear from you. Are you contemplating new ways to save money these days? Have you made a frugal choice that would seem crazy to some? Are there frugal choices out there they you wouldn’t consider in a million years? How frugal is too frugal..to you?

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{ 60 Comments }

  1. So in answer to your question, I don’t think any of your examples are *too* frugal. But I might look askance at someone who kept their house really cold and wouldn’t turn it up a little when guests came over. Obviously, it depends on the circumstances. If it seemed like everything else in their life indicated that they were living hand to mouth, then I can get over having to wear my coat, and appreciate the hospitality. If someone has enough money to generally live comfortably and they choose a cold home, that’s fine. But I didn’t come dressed for it, so give me a couple of degrees of warmth, please! Is that mean?

  2. Well while tlaking to my sister in law ( who has also been one of my best friends for years, before we became SIL’s) this past weekend, I mentioned my choice to try using baking soda as shampoo. Her response was “Why don’t you just buy Suave shampoo if you are trying to save money.” I pointed out to her that it was not just about saving money, that there were environmental reasons, as well as health reasons for trying this out. So I guess to some, I seem crazy. But yes I am finding/looking for new ways to save money everyday. My thermostat is set on 60 and very rarely gets bumped any higher. Most of the time it gets turned off when we are not home. I am trying to make as many household items as I possibly can and reuse/repurpose what I can. And there is a lot more that I want to do, but can’t right now. L ike garden. I do not think my landlord wants me digging up the back yard of our apt building to make a garden. I am sure there is a point when frugality can reach an extreme, but I have not seen it or reached it yet. (At least I hope I have not lol) I did blog about my shampoo experience on my blog if you would like to check it out http://www.kyrepomanager.blogspot.com

  3. Too frugal to me would be putting one’s health, or the health of one’s children, at risk by buying vitamin-free groceries (you know the sort I mean). It is undeniably cheaper to eat poorly than to eat healthy, but it is not an area I am willing to skimp on.

    That doesn’t mean I buy exotic important tins of escargot, but I try to buy fruit and things free of HFCS, mostly. It gets discouraging when the cheap cr*p is so much, well…cheaper, but I persevere.

    I am not condemning in ANY way those who are forced by their budget to buy less nutritious food…but I get irked at people who brag about how low their grocery bill is and feed their kids mac and cheese and chicken nuggets every night while so they can still afford their pedicures.

  4. I think, like you said, we all have different levels. I have no problems with wearing used clothing and purchasing it for my son, but I know some people would just about die at that thought.

    I go through phases when I feel guilty for eating and living so well, when I know that others around the world have so little. And then I think of all the others who live so much “better” (or at least bigger) than we do.

    Life is interesting.

  5. I am tired of these folks on Capitol hill giving my loot away with No strings attached.

  6. I found that this may be truer than you think. I’m very frugal.

    However…

    About 10 years ago my friends and I visited a guy who portioned out strips of toilet paper (he forced his roommates to each buy their own because he felt they were using too much) when we needed to go to the bathroom.

    5 years ago I tried to date this guy. He made a hundred grand a year and cut corners any way he could to save money on vacations, eating out, whenever… I realized he was cheap. Too cheap.

    You gotta draw the line somewhere!

  7. While it seems impossible to find the source of everything we buy, I think it is too frugal to insist on buying the cheapest new merchandise possible (clothing and toys, for example), when the items are very likely made in sweatshops overseas where workers are paid less-than-unfair wages. It’s like insisting our frugality is more important than their decent quality of life. There is a cost to such low-dollar items; we’re just not the ones who have to pay it. Buying things that are not fair-trade just supports this despicable system.

    If I don’t have the time to research what merchandise is fair-trade or the money to afford buying fair-trade, I am all about buying things second hand, using as little of the questionable merchandise as possible, or simply doing without. Skimping on toilet paper (or switching to reusable cloth TP), using A/C and heat as little as possible — those people are my heroes!

  8. Awesome. Kewl. says:

    I personally draw a line at powdered laundry detergent. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a top-of-the-line washing machine, but powdered detergent frequently leaves “unrinsed marks” on our laundry that drive me crazy. I’m sure it’s exacerbated by my using cold water for most loads to save energy. I’d rather spend a little more for liquid laundry detergent and save myself the headache. Funny the little things that we’re not willing to sacrifice!

  9. The toilet paper comment made me laugh… we use the “green” paper, that is made without chlorine and better for the environment and our septic tank… don’t know what that says about our spending!

    I have always said I lived frugally but I’m not always sure that I do. One thing that I am not frugal on is the care of my pets… they eat food that is good for them, even if it is a little more expensive, and they are vetted regularly. Money can be tight for my husband and I… but the pets have no control over finances. I took on the responsibility of caring for them, and they deserve to be cared for well.

  10. Hahaha,

    It amuses me that I
    1. have no car (husband has one for work. The kids and I walk everywhere.)
    2. Live in a 2 bedroom house with 3 children all in the same room.
    3. Never turn the air conditioning on in the summer (The warm climate equivalent of a heating bill)
    4. Eat beans and rice/lentils/etc almost every day

    and I don’t consider myself particularly frugal.

    I buy new clothes though, when they are on the clearance rack for less than good will prices, Which happens a lot around here. The thrift stores are priced higher than target sometimes. Sigh, SoCal is messed up.

    I struggle with the idea of buying new things for such low prices because I know they were probably made by someone getting a very low wage in poor conditions but there’s also a moment from the documentary The Corporation that stays in my head. On of the speakers, in the bonus materials says, “…boycott sweatshops? No person I’ve ever spoken to who works in a sweat shop wants you to boycott their sweat shop, they need the money. They just would like to only work 12 hour days and get a few breaks.” I never really know what to do with that, but it will something I continue to ponder for a long time.

  11. My baby brother (21 yrs old) asked my mom why my husband and I are so tight with our money. We watch our spending carefully, have a budget, etc… My mom told him that it seems to work for us as we have no debt other that our house payment and we wrote a check for our last vehicle. God gives us wonderful things to enjoy, but we don’t have to have everything right now to be happy. Frugal is good, but the important thing is to make wise and well thought out purchasing decisions… even in the little things.

  12. Carrien,
    I think you make an excellent point regarding sweat shops. Sure, it would be awesome if sweat shop laborers made more money. But in many situations the sweat shop jobs are the best ones in that community, and the workers are glad to be making what they are making. It is a really complicated issue, one which I certainly don’t have figured out.

  13. I don’t think you can be too frugal (which I define as using money wisely), but you can definitely be too cheap (saving money at any cost-no pun intended). I think frugality is a more holistic notion, not just saving pennies, but living in a way that you don’t overuse your resources.

  14. I think giving freely as needed (and trusting God to provide) is good, and being frugal is good, I draw the line when people are greedily stingy. We, as Christians, should keep our hands open to others and keep the limits to ourselves.

    We have one car (hubby works at home), keep temps at 66, buy used or discount, and try to pay people what their work is worth. So another too frugal would be stingy people who refuse to pay for good work. I have met some wonderful Christians who have reminded me of this refusing to let me give them a discount and paying me extra because they feel my work is worth the money and as Christians we should pay others what their work is really worth instead of trying to haggle them down.

  15. I like to think that we are frugal (we are), but not cheap. We have 2 cars and could manage with 1, but we’re not that frugal. And I make most of our meals from scratch, but I don’t know if that’s frugality, or just wanting to eat good healthy food.

  16. I think perhaps motivation plays a *BIG* part here too.

    The example with the guy with the TP. Is he being frugal for a greater purpose (Perhaps to save for a house for his future wife and family? To give money to his church? So he can help his family?) Or is he saving money because he is greedy and never spends money on anyone so he can hoard it.

    My dh and I strive to be good stewards of what God has given us. We have a large family, and honestly have been able to grow our family through adoption because we live very carefully. We also find by living frugally we can be free to give to others when there is a need. If we live well within our means we are freeing ourselves up to be available to be used by God in blessing others monetarily when we see a need in their lives.

  17. I think whatever works for you and your family. If I buy cheap toilet paper, but splurge on Tropicana OJ because my family feels that they’d rather have better tasting OJ, then cheap toilet paper it is! Doesn’t bother me…and the 4 other men/boys in my house could care less about the softness of TP 😉

    That article should have said that if his bathroom is clean, then he’s a keeper!!

  18. I have never met anyone I thought was “too frugal.” Beans and rice are staples at our house, we generally shop for clothes at thrift stores, and my three daughters share a room. My husband makes a good living and I try to use the extra to bless others. This is a work in progress for me, but the older I get the more I try to find ways to use our resources in ways that will glorify God. I particularly like to give to causes overseas, like halfthesky.org or World Vision, where the needs are so great. Our dollars go so far in developing countries, and it costs us so little to give. “To whom much is given, much is required,” and I would like to meet my Lord knowing I was a good steward of what He entrusted to me. As I think about it, maybe I would define someone as “too frugal” if they skimped just to be miserly.

  19. I don’t appreciate people being snobs towards others about frugality; like that “advice” to run the other way for sub-par TP. That is a perfect example of what is so wrong with this country. We desperately need more people to be frugal with things, and generous with time.

    As for where the line is crossed? I think that if a person has the means, but does something “frugal” that causes them (or their family) harm or illness, they’ve Gone Too Far.

    Cheap TP… I had to laugh. I read a blog where the writer challenged her readers a while back to switch to cloth TP. I personally would do such a thing only if I had to, mainly because of the “Ew” factor, but also the time involved. It’s really not all that different from cloth diapering if you think about it.

  20. I’m trying to figure out new ways to be frugal, and I don’t know if any of the things that we’re currently doing would be considered too frugal. We don’t have Internet or cable TV at home (Netflix and LOST on DVD works perfectly, and there are 3 coffee shops within a mile for Internet). That wasn’t totally a frugality issue, it was also the fact that we wanted our first year of marriage to be about interacting when we’re at home, instead of staring at a screen.

    We also get by on one car for 2 people… doesn’t seem crazy to me at all, but in Southern California, the whole system is built around cars. Very little public transportation, for a urban area. But we ride bikes and just go out together or wait til the other is done with the car.

    I guess those are the only really “crazy” things we do. I know for a lot of people the Internet would be a big issue, but I like that it forces me out of the apartment.

  21. what a complicated issue! money and how we spend the money we’ve been given is such a personal thing.

    i think frugal becomes cheap when there is no longer a “goal” in mind. as in, i have the money to heat my home but simply choose not to because i get a kick out of cutting every cent i can cut. my husband and i have talked a lot about this because he leans toward being cheap and comes from a “frugal” family.

    i believe we’re to use to resources we’ve been given for three purposes:

    1) to give to others
    2) to save for the future
    3) to enjoy in the present

    when you’re focused on living on a budget or are just more frugally-natured for whatever reason, it’s possible to cut for the sake of cutting and forget to enjoy what God has provided. my husband realized he was being a little cheap when we’d set our grocery budget (pretty low, as it was) and he’d consistently ask me to spend less than what we’d agreed upon just because he finds joy in spending less. he was so focused on saving a few bucks that he wasn’t enjoying what God had provided.

    and, of course, we sometimes find ourselves in seasons where we need to save more (to get out of debt) or we have the opportunity to spend less. that why i start by saying i think it becomes cheap when you no longer have a “goal” beyond simply saving to excess.

    it’s a balance. and one that only you (and your spouse) can answer.

  22. Too frugal is a one square per trip rule for TP.

  23. I think what is “too much” varies from person to person and situation to situation. Back before the 70% electricity rate increase here in MD, I thought that it was “too much” to line-dry laundry and keep the house at 64 or 65. But with the rates so high now, that’s what we have to do.

  24. Cheap TP is one thing I will not do, lol. My husband and I live in a very small house, we have low payments which is helping us get our credit card debt paid off. I know there are some areas that we could cut back on, but we donot have to go that far just yet. I am very frugal in my grocery shopping using coupons. I used to be embarrased to use coupons, but I have found great blogs on people saving money and I am now very proud of the fact that I use coupons and am able to save a lot of money with coupons.

  25. I feel like I’m finally at an age where I don’t have to be as frugal as I once was, and now with the economy like it is, hubby may be kicked out of the Navy, and I’m going back to school, I will have to become more frugal that I ever was before.

  26. I have always been frugally. The rules I go by are to never let my frugalness affect another person or my family’s health.

    That being said, I won’t separate 2 ply toilet paper into 2 rolls because of the time involved but I will buy 1- ply TP when I can get it free after coupon.

    Believe me when I say there are a lot of “millionaires” out there who are very frugal and don’t care how cheap the TP is! So the person in the article could have been passing up a great catch!

  27. For me, too frugal is the point where saving money becomes the whole point. For example, if you’re not willing to pay a little more for something that can really simplify your life because your pride is in being frugal, or if you’re spending more in gas than you’re saving in coupons, I think that’s the point. But it’s different for different people. And I care about cheap toilet paper–as in scratchy–but I would never pay for the really expensive brands either.

  28. When you put it like that, then everything is frugal, but that was definitely thought prevoking. I hate using cheap shampoo, Pantene or nothing for me. I do always look around at the supermarket when shopping, if I need pasta then I lok to see what is on special, there are some areas where you are not so much frugal, but concience of what you are paying. TP, well I always buy the same brand and have never considered anything else!

  29. I enjoyed all your comments but they make me realize I am not as frugal as I thought!
    Cheap TP? Never; I even bring my own when I travel. A UTI is just not worth it (spoken from experience)! Turn down the heat? Why live in a home where you are uncomfortable? Putting on more clothes is fine, but there is a point where it becomes painful and not worth it.
    I also shop the “organics” section of the supermarket for the health benefits. ( I can’t garden right now.)
    I am embarrassed to admit though that we own 6 computers (for six people) and have 5 cell phones on our phone plan. I believe this is NOT frugality!
    I don’t believe my small “extravagances” are making a dent in our long term financial health, nor the overall health of the world, but I do hope the way we eat is making a long term dent in our life expectancy.

  30. I am softly laughing-

    “Other possible examples of frugality:
    –living with one vehicle (or none!)
    –buying only used clothing
    –eating beans 5 meals a week
    –living in a small house, and having 3 or more children to share one bedroom.”

    I am pretty much guilty of all of it. I don’t eat beans 5x’s a week, but at least twice. And I don’t buy all of our clothes used, but the sale has got to be pretty good. We’ve lived with one vehicle for over 8 years and learned to make it work. I guess I don’t look at it as being ‘too frugal’, because I could cut areas of our life more drastically if need be (which might not be too far off…we could be facing a lay-off in the very short future). I tend to look at it in terms of these are the neccessary steps needed for me to stay home with the kids and all of us (7 total) survive on one income.

    Oh, and I have to agree w/ Coma Girl. If the bathrooms was clean, he’s a keeper!

  31. I so agree with Coma Girl.

    The entire TP idea had me in stitches. I think that I am frugal about somethings and not on others. Everyone has priorities and they are many times different. I say to each his own. I think it’s more important how a person treats you than how cold his/her house is or what brand of tp they use.

  32. I got a bit of a chuckle picturing you riding your bike home from the grocery store with all the groceries for 12 people!!
    ….and for what its worth, I prefer the scratchy TP. Of course, I like it even better on sale!!

  33. I remember seeing this as well! Can I just say, being as men use toilet paper less frequently than ladies, the brand may just not matter. Ever. Unless they have a lady around to please =) I was pleased to find a very cheap brand at Wally World that I absolutely love. It being the cheapest brand was just the icing on the cake!

    I agree that being frugal is wise, but cheap is another matter all together. I am always amazed at some of the things people say they couldn’t do without and their reasons for doing so. I guess we all have our own things that fall into this category.

  34. What “edj” said a few comments above. I think that’s the line.

    I’ve seen “too frugal” a couple of times. One instance was a friend’s husband who was running his wife and family ragged with a never-ending parade of money- saving schemes. The good news is that his eyes were eventually opened to the effect his obsession was having on others, and he became much more thoughtful about it.

    The effect your choices have on others is definitely something to consider. Last winter we were invited to spend Sunday afternoon with some friends in their home. I was not aware that they ” heat” their huge, old home with only a wood stove in the living room (with no vents to other rooms). I would have dressed in many more layers and brought slippers if I’d known! They were proud that they use no gas heat and were convinced that their house was not cold. I couldn’t feel my fingers and was shivering so hard — sitting in the “heated” room– that I had to actually borrow and burrow under a blanket. Rude, perhaps, but necessary.

  35. I’m much more frugal than my husband-that is why I’m in charge of the budget! Luckily he ‘gets it’ most of the time. On some things, though, he gets his way-he is, after all the bread-winner and the head of the household.

  36. Thanks, Headless Mom—
    That was the first comment I read, that I completely related to!

  37. Being too frugal is summed up in the phrase, “penny wise pound foolish.”

    I have done this a couple of times in my life, to my regret. My son lost his retainer—it was $200 to replace. I kept thinking he would find it and thousands of dollars of braces were lost.

  38. I rather have a guy that buys inexpensive TP then spends water like water. What seems like flattery, him spending money on you when you are dating, becomes a real headache when it becomes your money when you get married.

    As for too frugal, my uncle used to and may still pay his bills every two months to save on the stamp. I never quite understood this since the incured late fees surely would be more than the cost of the stamp, but he adimantly held tight to this idea. But I’ve got to say, I always wondered about his frugality, but they are the aunt and uncle that gave us the largest wedding gift and have been traveling extensively in their retirement.

    I guess it is all priorities.

  39. I’m sure there are many who consider my husband and I too frugal or maybe just plain crazy. Last July, our central A/C broke (unfixable) and we made the decision to not replace it until spring 2009. We live in Missouri so it’s HOT & HUMID but, ya’ know what, we survived. We were gone for vacation for most of August and the rest of the season was manageable with fans and lots of trips to the town pool to cool off. We knew NO ONE living without AC and, believe me, our neighbors thought we were cuckoo (family did, too). We get kind of proud of our frugal nuttiness.

  40. I’m freezing right now as I type this comment and we certainly earn enough money to live toasty all winter long. BUT, there is a give and take – for example, instead of spending an extra $1000 a month on oil, we choose to send the kids to a private Christian school. Another family (no better or worse) may choose to send their kids to public school and live in a tank top all winter.

  41. One becomes too frugal when your frugality gets in the way of relationships. Here’s an example — we have friends, dear friends, who are frugal by necessity. Married, 4 kids, one paycheck (teacher). We were visiting from out of town and had gone to a nearby city with them for 2 days for a little getaway. My husband and the husband of the other couple decided that they should take advantage of our location and attend the Sweet 16 basketball games. Fine. Except that the other guy shows up at the game w/not enough cash and no credit card. He expected my husband to pick-up the slack. Then during the game he kept hinting that he’d like something from the concession stand. In the end, my husband did end up paying for this guys entertainment but we deducted what we had spent on the game from what we owed them for the hotel. Worked out even in the end but I thought it was very rude of him.

  42. Liked your post, it gave me a great start for one of my own.

    http://itsnotoverafter30.blogspot.com/2008/12/going-to-extremes.html

  43. I had my car stolen and amd making down without a new one for now, it has saved me a lot actually as I ride and catch public transport, but with petrol cheaper now I think I’ll buy a car again soon.

    I also don’t eat much meat – I’m healthier and it saves money and don’t eat a lot of processed food.

    My challenge now is to stop buying so many drinks when I”m out- I did the maths yesterday and I figured out how much money I’m wasting….

  44. I agree with the others- “too frugal” is the point at which you endanger the life or health of yourself or others. I keep my house cool and bundle up, grocery shop frugally, go long periods between hair cuts, and don’t buy food or beverages when I am at work (I pack a lunch and drink water.)

    At the same time, I pay for slightly more expensive day care for my kids because I know that they do things such as wash hands frequently, enforce “sick child” policies, and provide health insurance/sick time to their workers who in turn are able to stay healthier or stay home when they are sick. For me, it’s worth an extra $50/week to know that my kids are staying healthier at day care- and ultimately, I don’t have to stay home with them because they don’t get sick.

    So while there are a lot of ways that I can- and do- live frugally, I do look at the big picture and put my health and the health of my family first.

  45. You sound like you’ve read or listen to Dave Ramsey.

    I love this post because I ask myself (and my frugal husband) this almost daily. We are frugal and make a point to wisely spend the gifts (ie: paycheck) we are given.

    At our house, we have two wood stoves which mostly heat the house when we’re home. The furnace is set at 60 after much complaining as it does take a while to heat our home. We have two little ones (3.5 and 18 mo). Fortunately for our pocket book, they are warm bodied little things so I’m the only one who’s cold in the house!

    Food is a must at our house and we don’t typically skimp on that. We do, however, buy the off brand almost all of the time. We cook a months worth of meals (about 17) at once. This keeps us from running to the local grocery store for expensive last minute supplies.

    Other things in life like health and beauty products have also become low budget items. I went from a $20 bottle of shampoo to a $2 bottle, etc.

    We shop yard sales and thrift stores on occasion. Hand-me-downs are my favorite. Thats not to say that everything we have is cheap. My shoes are never cheap and this winter I also spent money for quality wool socks.

    The main thing is to not spend more than you make. And while trying to pay off the house early, save for an outdoor wood heater, keep the car running, and dream of a new garage and adopting a child, we know that we really have to limit our spending.

  46. We happily live with one car. And we have three little girls in one little bedroom. And they’ve all worn the same hand-me-downs. But, we’re making tradeoffs… I mostly buy organic produce and meats, so obviously we’re choosing where we want to spend the money. What a tricky thing to figure out, though!

  47. I won’t buy used undergarments and socks. That includes lingerie. Yes, I know that logically it washes up, but the thought gives me the heeby jeebies. Everyone in our family wears hand-me-down though, except DH who is a 3XLT. So for me, that is the biggest line to “too frugal” for me.

  48. Once again Mary you have inspired me to write a post of my own to address this…http://caliphoenix.wordpress.com/2008/12/12/cheapsqueakyfrugal/..My hubby is what I call Squeaky (as in so cheap that he squeaks when he walks into a room…Its all a matter of perspective…I am willing to buy nice clothes but I’m not willing to pay full price for them..

  49. I’ll admit that being frugal is not coming naturally to me, but I’m quickly learning now that we’re down to one income when I became a SAHM and my DH is a 4th grade teacher (so you know we’ve got to be frugal). We’ve done all of the “easy” things so far such as cut out cable, netflix, no eating out, more meatless meals, etc. It will get harder when our oldest starts Christian school next year.

    I actually have the perfect example of when being frugal becomes too extreme. My in-laws, who are perfectly wonderful people, are very frugal. VERY frugal. Frugal to the point that they will not visit their children and grandchildren because of the cost of gas or flights. They go 18-24 months at a time without visiting because of this. And they could afford it; they just choose not to. Now that’s too extreme – they’ll never get those times back with their kids or grandkids.

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