FIRE Finance Presents Festival Of Frugality #57

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]

Welcome to the Festival of Frugality #57. We are grateful for having been given the opportunity of hosting it. While you are here please take your time to look around FIRE Finance. There are many gems strewn around, take whatever you like!

Without much ado, let us introduce, Joe, the protagonist of today's festival.

JoeJoe is a photographer with a warm smile and an amicable personality. He seems cheerful and happy all the time. We wonder what is the secret of his perennial joy? Upon asking, he reveals that he earns much more than what he needs not what he wants. In fact his wants are little, not much! Is that it? Seeing our perplexed faces, he decided to share his wisdom and secrets with us at The Festival of Frugality. Joe takes us on a trip down the memory lane in his own words ...

Natural ParkBack when I was in my early teens, in the springs my dad and myself would go hiking in various natural parks. The smell of the blossoms would fill the air and the birds would sing at their best. We used to, rather my dad used to share his understanding of life, his experiences and wisdom, the lessons that life had taught him and so on. Oh! I used to cherish those trips. They are still so fresh in my memory. Those words had a profound influence in making me who I am today.

Stop buying unnecessary stuffOne particular day, we talked about money matters. At the very beginning he made sure I understood the differences among frugal, cheap and voluntary simplicity! (No Credit Needed Blog). He explained to me why people go in debt (Get Debt Free).

He said, "Many of us buy unnecessary stuff just because it is a steal. It’s only a bargain if it’s something you need (Frugal Babe) else not. Son whenever you feel the urge to buy something, ask yourself the 8 questions that will prevent impulse spending (Penny Pinching)". They are still as effective as they were then. Honestly, just the other day, I asked myself those very questions and decided that I'll pass on the iPhone (The Frugal Law Student). (With a chuckle) Unbelievable, isn't it?

College SavingsHis timeless tips on budgeting (My Two Dollars) are still so relevant. During the course of our discussion he dispelled the top 25 personal finance myths (Ask the Advisor). His pragmatic advice for my college days (Personal Finance for Students and Fresh Grads) helped me cruise through without ever getting short on cash.

When I was a student I used to live like a student. I would look for freebies such as 2 free CDs + $11 in YOUR pocket! (Stingy Students) and only then buy a music CD.

Humming BirdOccasionally our conversation would be interrupted. "Is that a humming bird!" I took the binoculars and gazed at it for a while.

Dad remarked, "So tiny yet so beautiful. Even that tiny little humming bird has a unique role to play in this universe." And then we would resume our hike amidst the beauty of nature.

A few years ago, I remember how I took his advice to heart and carefully chose a gas rewards credit card to reduce gasoline bills (Ask Mr Credit Card's Blog) when gasoline prices were sky-rocketing. I have kept up that habit of hunting for the best deal on credit cards. Over the years I have received plenty of free bonus miles for applying for frequent flyer credit cards (Five Cent Nickel).

Hunt for Best DealWhile planning a trip I try to use the accumulated miles for free tickets. If that does not work out I sincerely go through the tips on how to buy cheap airline tickets (Pro Bargain Hunter) without fail. Whenever I stumble upon any new buying tips I update my buying guide. It not only helps me but my friends and colleagues too. Last weekend my cousin was shopping for a cell phone. Out came my notes on free Money with your cell phone deals (Money, Matter, and More Musings). He thanked me several times yesterday. Its a different story that he bought an iPod Nano for his girlfriend with the anticipated cash back. (With a wink) No comments here!

save your dollarsYou see, being frugal has become my nature now. As a professional photographer, I travel a lot. While I am on the road I need to share my photos, get high quality prints and ship them to my clients all over US. I surveyed the top 5 online photo printing sites (Mr. Cheap Stuff) to settle on the one which gave me the best value for my money instead of making a whimsical choice."

Through an example of choosing the right service provider (Smart @ Money) Joe illustrated how due diligence is needed at every step to save our hard earned dollars. Then he continued with his story.

Keen Observer"My old man told me to be a keen observer. "Just by objectively and carefully looking at yourself, inside yourself and around yourself my son, you would discover 106 ways to save money (The Stubborn Capitalist). It is no magic."

"Really? Give me an example", I asked. Immediately he gave me 6 Easy tips for saving money on electricity (Binary Dollar). I was truly awed.

Along with discipline sometimes a bit of sacrifice is needed as well. Me and my wife Jane have decided to drop our cable subscription without losing our favorite shows (The Simple Dollar). Fortunately she is very understanding and accommodative. It is truly a blessing.

discipline & sacrificeShe got inspired and took the initiative to find out 10 ways to cut our restaurant bill big time (Money Smart Life). Taking advantage of tax exemptions from Uncle Sam she even devised a strategy to fund allowances for our son with a UTMA (My Wealth Builder). When I gave her my compliments on being so frugal she quipped, "It happened only when I found my brain at 30 (Sharon), thanks to my stars, that's when I got seriously involved with this handsome!". (There was a visible sign of blush!)

Now I see, how my Mom too exemplified frugal living through her everyday tasks. She would always, and I mean it, prepare a delicious birthday cake at home (Stop the Ride!) thus saving ourselves quite a few dollars. But the love that went into the cake - priceless! She showed us ways of saving money on valentine gifts (Not Made Of Money) - inexpensive yet with a personal touch. Around this time of the year my mom would have a date with the calendar store (Bargain Quest) (Joe had a sheepish smile on his face).

MomEvery Sunday she would religiously pore over the newspaper for deals and coupons. Sometimes with a glee on her face, she would humbly announce at dinner, "My Newspaper saved me $25!" (Financial Tips for WAHMs). Yes those were her triumphant moments!

She instilled in us the virtue of being tolerant - be it to each other or to adverse surroundings. Even in winter do you think we always turned up the heat? (Poorer Than You). We did so only if it was absolutely necessary. Our house would invariably be the last one in the neighborhood to turn on the heat!

Every single effort counts at the end. Frugal living is a lot about your attitude towards yourself, life and nature. Accepting life as it unfolds and being content are integral to such an attitude. That my friend is the source of my joy! All these simple truths are from the examples and inspirations I received from my parents, for which I am ever grateful to them.

JoeWith that Joe got up to leave for his current photo assignment. We thanked him for sharing his secrets with us. He winked at us, wished us great savings this year and drove off in his old Volkswagen van. Contemplating on his words we arrive at the end of this Festival of Frugality.

Please kindly note that if you had submitted your post at this festival and it was not published then it might have already been published at some other festival, carnival or online magazine OR it was not related to frugality OR it was not recently written OR it did not have enough original / substantial content. We hope that you understand our need to stay focussed within the domain of the subject of this festival and its guidelines. Please do not feel sad about being omitted, there is always a next time and a lot of carnivals going around each week.

We heartily thank everyone who participated and made this festival such a huge success. Next week's festival will be hosted by The Simple Dollar. With that we bid adieu :).

Image Source(s):iStockPhoto

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