Buy the best. Forget the rest.

Are you frugal?

Are you frugal?

I’m pretty frugal, but perhaps not in the same ways you are. The definition of frugal that I like best is this: Spending money on the things you value and saving on everything else.

I don’t have the best of everything, but I am willing to spend money on things that are important to me. For one thing, it allows me to be happy with what I have, which curbs the desire to have more. Here are some examples:

  • Athletic socks from Thorlo, at $15 a pair. I recently bought 6 new pairs (having been raised on 6-packs of socks for $10, you understand) after some of my old ones had the audacity to actually start wearing out after many years.
  • $140 Brooks running shoes, which I use for walking. They are comfortable and made to keep my feet from pronating. And they have enough support that I don’t have to add insoles (or figure out which ones will work and purchase those as well).
  • High-thread-count bedding. I use a soft, washable duvet cover instead of a top sheet. Really simplifies bed-making! And no, I don’t have multiple sets of bedding unless you count the ones I use in the summer when it’s too warm for a comforter.
  • Samsonite rolling carry-on suitcase, which has been my only suitcase for about 20 years now. I looked online and saw that the closest replacement would only cost $99. But it was a big deal purchase for me at the time, with the graphite (smooth-rolling) wheels and all.
  • Fiskars $200 push lawn mower. I’m sure I could have bought one for $20 at a yard sale, but chances are it would have been too lightweight to cut grass effectively, or the blades would have been dull and require sharpening, or it would have been difficult to push.
  • $100 jeans. You heard me right. I was shocked, too, the first time I tried NYDJ (Not Your Daughter’s Jeans). They’re $108 + tax + shipping, to be precise. But they fit me like a glove without my having to take them in at the waist, like I do all other jeans. And their regular inseam is longer than most, so I don’t have to either hem them or wear them too short. And they don’t fade. I can dress ‘em up, or dress ‘em down.

Let’s think about this last example for a moment. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a fashionista, so if you are one my frugal, minimalist methods might not work for you. How many pairs of jeans do YOU own? If I have 3 at $100 each…well, OK, I have a pair of blue ones too, so that’s $400. And if you have 10 pairs averaging $40 each, that also totals $400. But…I love mine and wear them daily. By contrast I’m guessing there are a few pairs in your collection that you never wear at all because they don’t fit right, or they need repairs of some sort, or, well, they just aren’t your favorites. Am I right? In my case, since mine are all the same, they’re ALL my favorites! This saves not only space but brain power, of which I have little enough to spare, when getting dressed in the morning.

This concept – Buy the best. Forget the rest. – applies to EVERYTHING. Think about your own stuff for a moment: What is your favorite shampoo/lotion/mascara? Buy that. There’s no reason to have 7 others cluttering your bathroom because you got them on sale, or you didn’t want to spend the money on your favorite, or you thought one of the others might be better in some way but it wasn’t. Do you cook? A few good knives are better than many cheap, inefficient ones. Do you paint (houses or pictures)? Good brushes that are well cared for outlast cheap ones. What other examples can you think of?

Here’s a related concept: Less is more. Less stuff — but stuff that you love, and use, and take care of, and know exactly where it is when you need it — means more time, more space, more efficiency, more enjoyment, more peace of mind, and an easier life, no?

Can you think of something you invested in that you still have, and use, and love? What was it?

Can you think of something that you wasted your money on hoping it would last longer, or be better, or be used more frequently than it was? Why did you buy it? Was it on sale? Had you lost the one you really like in a pile of clutter? (Do you still have it? Is it clutter?)

Please share in the comments. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there, done that!

Copyright 2014 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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  1. Josephine Levy on October 20, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Totally with you on the Thorlo socks! 🙂

    • Hazel Thornton on October 20, 2014 at 11:27 am

      Aren’t they great? 🙂

  2. Kimberly on October 25, 2014 at 9:27 am

    The first thing that comes to mind for me is food. For the most part I’m extremely aware of tastes and textures and once you’ve had the best version of something it’s very hard to go back. Especially tea. I order special Irish tea and that is a true joy for me.

    I’m 100% with you on the bedding as well. I’d love the company store.

    My planner as well. I use a Levanger planner which comparatively is very expensive. Every time I look at the less-expensive planners, I’m blown away by the cheap, thin paper. Since I’m using it all day it’s worth it to me.

    • Hazel Thornton on October 25, 2014 at 9:29 am

      What great examples, Kimberly! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Janet Barclay on November 3, 2014 at 10:52 am

    I bought a pair of Merrell waterproof sandals in 2012. They were over $100 which was the most I’d ever spend on a pair of shoes, but they’re still going strong. Now I never skimp on shoes anymore.

    I also own a pair of NYDJ jeans and I love them! I didn’t even realize what they were when I bought them – I got them at Winners and thought the tag said DKNY. I think I only paid about $40 – if I’d realized what a deal I was getting I’m sure I’d have grabbed some more pairs!

    • Hazel Thornton on November 4, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Oh, good one, Janet! I did the same thing with my Mephisto sandals, which lasted over a decade…possibly two…I’m realizing I didn’t wear them at all this summer, though, partly because they’re kind of worn by now (still donate-worthy), and partly because my feet have grown a bit. Guess it’s time to say goodbye.

      And your NYDJ/DNKY story is too funny….partly because it just is, and partly because I knew I’d heard that story before and couldn’t remember who told it…it was my own introduction to the idea that NYDJ might be worth trying!

      • Janet Barclay on November 4, 2014 at 3:26 pm

        Seriously? And you bought three pairs? They should definitely send me a free pair for that. 😀

  4. Jane Severance on December 31, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    I really like the orange body butter put out by Bodyworks. But it’s expensive and I don’t make a lot of money. However, a couple of years ago I treated myself. I decided I would only use it on my hands and feet and face at night and would use something cheaper else wear. Imagine my surprise when my heels, which for years had been a nightmare
    of cracking and bleeding, healed completely that winter for the first time in twenty years. I don’t think the lotion was magical, it was just that I liked it so much that I used it every night. religiously. Also, I have discovered that they have their “Christmas scents” on sale at Christmas time and I like the vanilla, too.

    • Hazel Thornton on January 1, 2015 at 11:42 am

      Great example, Jane! The fact that it works, and that you like it well enough to use it regularly makes it the perfect choice for you.

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