Then and now: frugality through the years

My last post saw me reflect on the life lessons I’d learned since graduation.

Today, I’m turning the lens on my spending habits. Am I still super frugal? Has lifestyle creep stealthily draped its cloak around my shoulders?

Well, yes, in a few ways.

We pay more in rent, which was a deliberate choice I’m happy with.

In 2007, my first year of university, we were paying $260 a week for a one-bedroom apartment. We actually paid less – $195 – for the next couple of years in a shared house. I think our next place was about the same, or slightly more, and then we moved to a studio for $250 after I graduated. It wasn’t till more than a year later that we moved to our current house.

We now have Sky TV. 

At our first shared flat, the flatmate from hell had Sky in his room and the boys would all crowd in to watch wrestling on Sunday nights. At the second, the executive decision was made to get Sky for the house. And from then on, there was no turning back. We moved out on our own, and now we foot the entire bill ourselves. Plus all our other essential utility bills have increased. Yay, inflation.

While our food budget has remained the same (woot!), occasionally we splurge a little on a fancier place to eat out, or on more gourmet ingredients (meats, cheeses, etc).

Weekly supermarket trips used to be a thing we did together. Now that I’m a more confident parker, and have actually learned to kind of like the process of picking out the best, freshest produce and finding bargains among the specials, I’ve taken over grocery shopping alone for the most part. It helps that now we’re only a couple of minutes away from both Pak n Save as well as an awesome Asian shop – T is a bit wary of the Asian place, but I have no qualms, so I head there almost every week and save buttloads on fresh food in the process. Our eating out budget is also the same.

I still don’t pay for books (that’s what the library is for!) and I don’t pay for music.

Given that I almost always have access to wi-fi, streaming songs is where it’s at these days.

I spend less on beauty care.

I used to obsess about my skin, and while skincare and makeup was never a huge part of my budget, I did make sure to pay for quality stuff. Nowadays I can get freebies in my line of work or through mystery shopping – but I don’t need them. I hardly ever wear foundation, I wash my face with water only (which wouldn’t work if you wear makeup, or have a different skin type – I tried the water only method when I was younger, oilier and pimplier, and it was a flop) and generally operate on the ‘less is more’ mantra. I put as little on my face as possible, and my uber-sensitive skin is all the better for it.

I still buy clothes secondhand or on sale.

And this year I haven’t bought any, except for two pairs of flats when my old shoes fell apart. Frugal living FTW.

I’m happy to live a reasonably ascetic daily life, in order to direct my money toward travelling and seeing new places.

Have your spending habits changed over the past few years?

10 thoughts on “Then and now: frugality through the years

  1. This is my first year with a regular salaried income (well, first few months really as that didn’t happen till September) so I’m learning how to budget, really. Figuring out how much goes to saving, how much I have to spend on necessities, and how much “fun” money I can allocate myself every month has definitely been a learning curve.

  2. I always bought quality, although very few of anything. I would rather have less, but good quality. It lasts longer and performs better. As I get old(er), I find I only replace worn out items.

  3. We’ve kept basically the same expense budget for the 5+ years. The only major changes have been increases in savings! LoL… One change we made recently was to budget $20 a month for household goods (soap, detergent, etc.) rather than paying for it out of our spending money. This made it much easier to keep track of!

  4. My spending habits have definitely changed. I find I spend a LOT less now that I’m tracking it. I think I track my spending too much. I try to only go out to eat if it is a special occasion and think thrice before I buy something.

  5. Definitely!!! My spending habits have changed soooooooo much!!!!! I now spend money only if it’s in the budget and I never buy on impulse. I can actually tell myself “no” now and have some self-control!

  6. I used to order a lot of DVDs online before, but the last year and a half I rarely do it anymore. sure was lovely, but what a waste. have discovered so many fabulous streaming sites for tv-shows!

  7. I spend a lot less at the spa and on clothing than I did a few years ago… I would rather save my money to travel! Isn’t it funny how priorities change!!!!

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