Trent at The Simple Dollar has a simply fantastic post on the frugal mindset and where it can lead. In his example he begins with making his own laundry detergent and through many steps and compounded interest by end of the story there are thousands in the savings account. His point is valid and his example is not intimidating. The emphasis is mine:
Make your own laundry detergent
Let’s say I decide to try out being frugal by doing something that’s quite fun (at least for me): making a big bucket of homemade laundry detergent. Each load done with the homemade detergent described in that recipe versus the cost of Tide with Bleach Alternative saves me seventeen and a half cents. We do a load of laundry each day, so that adds up to $5.25 a month in savings.
Use that savings to buy a big pile of CFLs
You save that $5.25 every month and after three months, you have $15.75 saved up.
The key point of Trent’s example is the money saved was already in the budget. This extra is then used for the next step in the frugal chain. In all honesty, I mess this up all the time. If I were meticulous, each week when I spent under my limit I wouldn’t gleefully pocket my change and use it for something that wasn’t in the budget. I would apply the money toward debt, a purchase that would further increase savings, or an interest bearing savings account.
Frugality is rarely about instant gratification. It is most often about careful choices and planning, changes in habits and expectations. The trick is to not let the effort go to waste by absorbing the extra money into other unnecessary expenditures.
How do you explain the frugal mindset?