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In what areas are you guys frugal and in what areas where you would spend a little more?

My wife and I are frugal when it comes to:
1. cars (2 honda civics)
2. home (3 bdrm townhome)
3. home products (no-name brand cleaners, detergent, toilet paper etc.)
4. jewelery (no fancy watches, earings etc.)
5. gym membership (basic YMCA)
6. electronics (we have no ipods or high-end electronics)
7. TV subscriptions (basic cable)
8. cell phone (company cell and company paid service)
9. computer/internet (company computer and company paid access)

My wife and I will spend a little more on:
1. food (either fresh groceries or when eating out; we don't eat out often)
2. hair cuts (we don't cut our own hair; its about $20 every 2 wks for me)
3. clothes (we don't buy often but if we do it's made-to-measure)
4. vacations
 

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In what areas are you guys frugal and in what areas where you would spend a little more?

My wife and I are frugal when it comes to:
1. cars (2 honda civics)
2. home (3 bdrm townhome)
3. home products (no-name brand cleaners, detergent, toilet paper etc.)
4. jewelery (no fancy watches, earings etc.)
5. gym membership (basic YMCA)
6. electronics (we have no ipods or high-end electronics)
7. TV subscriptions (basic cable)
8. cell phone (company cell and company paid service)
9. computer/internet (company computer and company paid access)

My wife and I will spend a little more on:
1. food (either fresh groceries or when eating out; we don't eat out often)
2. hair cuts (we don't cut our own hair; its about $20 every 2 wks for me)
3. clothes (we don't buy often but if we do it's made-to-measure)
4. vacations
We are frugal with:

(1) Cars: 1992 Honda Accord & 2003 Toyota Sienna. Both purchased used.
(2) Home: 3 bedroom standard two storey home in a working class neighbourhood.
(3) TV: Basic Cable
(4) Cellphone: Two pre-paid el-cheapo phones
(5) Jewelery: Mostly inherited pieces.
(6) Cheap hobbies like running, swimming etc.
(7) Clothing: Mostly used for the kids. Being Engineers we are not expected to dress sharply (Dilbert: "A well dressed engineer has no credibility")

We splurge a bit on:

(1) Food: We're vegetarians but some vegetables can be expensive.
(2) Hair cuts: I refuse to cut my own or the kids hair. I'd rather pay someone than deal with the mess.
(3) Home cleaning: We have a maid come in every two weeks.
 

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Well I do cut my own hair!
Live in a paid for condo.
Spend my summers in a trailer near Bayfield, best purchase ever made (cheap vacation).
No gym membership - cycle all summer and recumbant bike in my bedroom the rest of the year; play volleyball year round, about $40 every 10 weeks.
Car - 2005 Cobalt, leased.
Food - daughter works at Real Canadian Superstore so get 10% off.
Splurge on: wine, books, eat out once a week at a really nice restaurant, clothes (but am starting to cut back...really!)
 

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I wouldn't categorize certain things as frugal because in some instances I am and at other times I'm not. I'll spend the money but on my on accord.

1. cars - 2005 Jetta lease (something from before me and my fiance met)
2. home - pricey condo in an affluent neighborhood - we bought the location
3. home products - explicit brands due to my fiances sensitive skin
4. jewelery - none really
5. gym membership - goodlife deal through my fiances job
6. electronics - I buy what I need but I make sure its quality, I don't buy every gadget
7. TV subscriptions - HD cable with time shifting( the fiance has to catch Y and R). no specialty channels. I was unable to catch any HD over the air :(
8. cell phone - company cell and company paid service
9. computer/internet - teksavvy service. Cheaper than bell and better support


10. food - we believe in buying quality groceries as well as some of the finer ingredients like artisan cheese's and duck :D
11. hair cuts - I cut my own hair since I shave my head
12. clothes - we give each other clothes as gifts so we never buy it for ourselves
13. vacations - maybe once a year, mid range extravagance. We don't stay at the fanciest hotel but we also don't spend time in a slum either. We usually look for boutique hotels.
 

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Interesting question!

Things I am probably more frugal than the average bear with:
  • Cars - have never owned one.
  • Gym membership - $299/year.
  • Clothes & beauty treatments - have never had a professional manicure/facial.
  • Dining out (too expensive and subpar in TO)
  • Cabs (only take them when expensable)
  • Housing - spent way less than approved for.
  • TV and movies (go to the movies probably twice a year, basic cable, no netflix etc)
  • Collections - no stamps, comic books, etc in this house!
  • Books - avid reader who uses the library

Things I choose to spend on:
  • Food (farmers markets rather than food basics etc)
  • Travel (no real leeway in timing due to work, I don't cheap out when abroad, like nice hotels)
  • Location - big smoke rather than some godawful suburb
  • Anything expensable! eg professional development courses, drinks with colleagues, breakfasts, cellphone, etc
  • Gym gear - sneakers, protein powder, towels, etc.
  • Gifts and treats for family when with them - we're both expats, so see them rarely and like to make it count.
  • Financial support for mother in-law.
  • Coffee shops - the dreaded latte! although I prefer tea.
  • Magazines - New Yorker, National Geographic, Moneysense. Worth the expense!

Things in my favour:
  • Never had any car or school loans
  • No kids or pets
  • DINK household
 

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Great thread. As I've mentioned in a post, we aim to be a little less tight on the purse strings where our values are.

Here's where we're a little more frugal:
  1. cars (2 cars, 2001/2002)
  2. utilities, cable etc
  3. eating out (maybe once per month?) - we cook a lot at home.
  4. clothes - I keep my clothes until it wears out, but my wife spends a little more in this area.
  5. jewelry - no fancy stuff at all.
  6. coffee - perk my own
Not frugal
  1. The kid(s) (only one right now) - education, activities etc
  2. Home - nice house in a nice neighborhood for none other than - the kid(s).
  3. Food and nutrition (groceries, protein powder etc)
  4. Gifts
  5. Charities
  6. Gym membership - $50/month
  7. Expenses that help promote/grow the business.

In what areas are you guys frugal and in what areas where you would spend a little more?

My wife and I are frugal when it comes to:
1. cars (2 honda civics)
2. home (3 bdrm townhome)
3. home products (no-name brand cleaners, detergent, toilet paper etc.)
4. jewelery (no fancy watches, earings etc.)
5. gym membership (basic YMCA)
6. electronics (we have no ipods or high-end electronics)
7. TV subscriptions (basic cable)
8. cell phone (company cell and company paid service)
9. computer/internet (company computer and company paid access)

My wife and I will spend a little more on:
1. food (either fresh groceries or when eating out; we don't eat out often)
2. hair cuts (we don't cut our own hair; its about $20 every 2 wks for me)
3. clothes (we don't buy often but if we do it's made-to-measure)
4. vacations
 

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My partner and I are frugal with:

1) Car (we share a 2002 Civic, bought used)
2) House (bought a fixer-uper for much less than we were approved for)
3) Phone/TV (no cells, no tv)
4) Clothes (always think twice, wait to get deals on quality)
5) No gym or ski memberships, we run and x-county ski for free
6) Travel (wait for seat sales, stay with friends, go to affordable locations)
7) Furniture (we try to buy quality used pieces)

We're not frugal with:
1) Groceries (by whatever we want)
2) Alcohol (we spend a humiliating amount of money in this category)
3) Travel in terms of frequency, especially to visit family
4) Sports equipment and outdoors gear (infrequent but quality purchases)
 

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We are frugal with:

1) Her car: 1998 Subaru
2) House: Modest home in a modest neighborhood, being mortgage free is in sight!
3) Clothes: Nothing fancy, I laugh at "designer" labels
4) Electronics: Still have my old CRT television!
5) Home improvement: 99% DIY, no need for high end appliances or fancy materials
6) Cell phone: Wife has a work-provided phone, I refuse to have a cell unless the boss pays for it

Not so frugal with:

1) My car: 'Cause I'm worth it ;)
2) Travel: We don't go crazy, but prioritize having at least one nice vacation per year
3) Charities: Lots of money goes to the causes and organizations we support
4) Food: Life's too short to eat spam!
 

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This is a good topic

Miserly:

1. Automotive. Own one and lease a Civic.
2. Coins. Stockpile my spare change. Cashed in $120 worth today.
3. Lunches. Brown bag it (but use fair quality ingredients)
4. Clothes. Only buy when really need it.
5. Jewelry. Timex on my wrist.

Working On:

1. Groceries. No Frills instead of Sobey's
2. Alcohol. I'm not a lush, but I am cutting back.
3. Impulse Buys. Sit back a day decide if I really need it.
4. Eating Out. A life without good sushi just isn't worth it to me.

Excessive:

1. My Girls. School and sport costs get paid (I live by the motto: Girls involved in organized activities are 10 x More Likely to Finish Higher Education and 10 X Less Likely to Get Pregnant!!) :D
2. Home. I could be debt free in a smaller place.
3. Gifts. Friends don't buy friends junk!
 

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We are frugal on

cars: we are still driving a 1993 Toyota Camry that is serviced regularly by a good mechanic friend of ours

entertainment: we don't play games nor attend concerts. Movie nights at home are the norm

food: we try to cook at home and brown bag our lunches

household chores: we clean our homes every other week and use all CFLs bulbs and take shower once a day. We also hang our clothes after washing and only use the dryer for big items i.e. blankets or bed sheets. We only use the dishwasher when it's full, typically once a week.

We splurge on

travel: this is very important to us as we (I and my wife) came from different backgrounds and met each other here in Canada. We take advantage of all kinds of travel deals and also try to have at least 1 vacation a year.

families: We still have a lot of relatives overseas and we do not go overboard on helping them out but we also do not say no to reasonable requests. You can make money anytime but you can't say the same for families.

More to come as I am still recuperating from a weekend getaway in Toronto.
 

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I find it fascinating to read all these replies- keep them coming!

It's interesting to note just how much the definition of "frugal" varies from person to person. What I consider frugal, others would consider to be a luxury, and vice versa. Particularly in areas like houses and cars, what's frugal is such a personal and relative determination. For example, I consider our house to be a frugal one, but to friends who rent a one bedroom apartment it's like a palace. I called our 1998 Subaru a frugal vehicle, but compared with canabiz's 1993 Camry it's extravagant- our previous vehicle was a 1992 Camry, and I can remember considering the "new" Subaru a huge splurge. Similarly, I consider my basic cable package to be frugal, but others think anything other than OTA is excess.

Do you think there's a standard definition or benchmark for frugality?
 

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Is this game like "hot or not"?

I consider ourselves quite frugal - and I would define it by the amount of net income used on non-essential/variable spending.

We are cheap in many aspects of our lives (just come see my poorly furnished house, and my personally serviced car), but we are quite extravagant in other facets - new house, new car, international trips every year.

Car: 2008 Rogue, 1998 Subaru
House: 2005 Inner city infill
Food: left over goodies from dinner night before - we do eat out a fair amount (3-4 meals a week) - but bills average $15-25 for a couple.
Entertainment: we don't do many things that cost money - hikes or snowshoeing in the mountains.
 

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I find it fascinating to read all these replies- keep them coming!

Do you think there's a standard definition or benchmark for frugality?
by definition, the choice of

'going to the excessive extreme to see how cheaply you can live smartly' or by 'giving up on some of the basic necessities in a modern world'

' after dishing out money and paying all expenses you have money left over to save for retirement'
 

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frugal:
1. car (paid for, dh takes transit)
2. home (condo)
3. home products (vinegar and baking soda for most cleaning, don't use paper towels)
4. not into stuff like fancy computers, tv, gaming systems, have basic cable
5. use library for books and movies
6. no cell for me, work one for dh
7. cloth diaper, breastfeed, don't buy a lot of stuff for baby
8. camping is our vacation of choice

Spend more on:
1. food (shop No Frills but buy stuff we like, nice cheese etc; eat out 2-3 times a month)
2. hair cuts (we don't cut our own hair)
3. kids, we have 3 and right now they're cheap but they're all under 8 and I can see programs getting more expensive as they get older plus saving for university etc.
4. family, our families live out west so seeing them is a priority
 

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1) Car - one Corolla, bought used. I take bus to work
2) House- waiting to buy (in Vancouver), currently rent which is so much cheaper than owning a place even after the recent price drop.
3) TV- cable free with rent (or probably not disconnected after previous tenant left :D).
4) Clothes- I wear clothing until they fall apart or become see-through. My wife buys more frequently but she is far from being a shopaholic
5) No memberships whatsoever. I take public transit so I get to walk a lot.
6) Cell phone - one Pay as you go phone used by whoever who drives the car
7) Use the library to borrow books and rent DVDs
8) Brown bag about 95% of our lunches.
9) Collect Aeroplan points through Aerogold Visa. Have collected enough points over 3 years to get 5 return flights to TO.
10) Invest in index funds (and really trying to suppress temptations to buy individual stocks right now).
11) No outstanding debt.

We're not frugal with:
1) Groceries (by whatever we want). Our weekly grocery bill averages $200.
2) Alcohol. I drink a fair amount of beer and we both drink wine.
3) Travel frequently to Toronto to see family or buy tickets for family members to visit us in Vancouver. Over 3 years we have spent over $20K in purchased tickets.
4) Our son - toys, clothing, entertainment.. you name it! We shower him with too much affection!
5) Eat out about once a week.
6) Parental support. This is a tough one. Both sets of our parents retired with very little or no retirement income. For us, it is a cultural obligation to support parents. This trend will stop with us.

All in all ... thanks to our frugal living, we saved about 30% of our gross income in 2008.
 

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Frugal:
1) car: 2004 mazda 3 for hubby - will be fully paid off next year. I take public transit
2) cell phones - both of us are on very cheap basic deals
3) food - we brown bag lunch most days and cook at home a lot.
4) house - in a big city but it's a modest home (we were approved for much more) but we chose a smaller home in an emerging neighbourhood in order to be mortgage free
5) jewelery and clothes - we don't really buy much - neither of us are clothes horses
6) entertainment - mostly we rent $1.99 movies or watch tv or play games.
7) haircuts - hubby gets the $7 Chinatown special, I keep my hair long and cut infrequently, when I do it costs me about $40 every 4 months or so.

Not so frugal:
1) Travel - we like to travel and though we always look for the best deal, we like a certain level of luxury
2) Cleaning lady - love coming home to a clean home
3) Eating out - probably only once or twice a week but this adds up
4) Home repairs and renos - we're not handy so we hire people for this when needed (e.g. gutter cleaning)
5) Concerts - we don't go all the time but I would say we go to 3 or 4 a year - this adds up.

Thankfully, all our "not so frugal" stuff is all easy things to cut out really if we needed to.
 

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Frugal? EVERYTHING except cars. Although..I did buy my lasy car new in the US for 14k less than in Canada, so I guess that's frugal..

Vacations...we do it, but very frugally.

Housekeeper..we have one but only after weeks of searching for the best bang for the buck..and only once every 2 weeks.

As my father-in-law summed me up during his spech at our wedding..." Andy says nothing is non-negotiable"
 

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Frugal or not? You be the judge!

I am frugal with everything!

...Except the following:

Car: Infiniti G35
Guitars: custom-made Vs
Amps: Mesa Engineering
Trips: 4-5 star hotels
watch: $1999.00 Invicta Corduba collection
clothes: mostly designer brands
briefcase: Ferre
jackets: Italian made
Restaurants: Daniel NYC $380 USD, Signatures, Beckta...
Spa treatments: Stowflake regular
CDs: Pay an average of $20,000 per CD (made 6 so far)

Seriously, I am frugal with:
TV: no cable!
gaming consoles: still have playstation 1!!!
Internet: what Internet?
Children: none that I know of

I always pay myself first, and work at extra jobs for the treats!

Rob
 

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I'm frugal with:
- utlities, I shop around, and I always make sure we're on the budget plan, when its economical
- electronics, I wait until I absolutely have to replace it before I do.
- clothing, I shop around, but I require a large wardrobe for work
- Food - I always have a water bottle or my own snacks with me
- Cars - I have one, drive it evenings only, however recently we were gifted 2 additional vehicles, that we are not quite sure what to do with.
- Pretty much anything that might put me into debt.

I splurge on:
- Groceries
- Hair, I love my pink hair!
- My dogs
- Trips, but only in little ways, going to see sights, etc.
- House renos, I'd rather pay the extra $2 a sqare foot for nice tile that will probably benefit me down the road if I sell.
 

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Frugal:
1) Car: 2002 Toyota Highlander (family hauler), paid for in cash. Our other commuter vehicle is a cheap bicycle (11km each way makes for a great workout).
2) Cell phones - prepaid for the both of us. Less than $250/year for two phones.
3) Food - brown bag lunches almost every day, except for take-out once a week.
4) Home - modest home that we plan to stay in for the long haul. Bought it before we had kids, but bought something big enough to accommodate kids & teenagers, to save on moving and realtor costs.
5) Clothes - we make what we have last, and aim for "timeless" fashions rather than trends.
6) Entertainment: TV shows & the occasional movie rental. Going out costs too much when a babysitter is needed.

Not so frugal:
1) Child care - both of our kids are in a top-quality not-for-profit daycare. This is where a huge portion of our cash goes - almost $1800 per month.
2) Home repairs - I do small things myself, but for larger items we hire professionals (roofers, basement finishing, etc) and make sure the work is top-notch.
 
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