Housing, Transportation, and Food
Let's face it, extreme frugality isn't that much fun.
To most folks, the idea of putting on 4 jackets in the winter and leaving the thermostat at 50 degrees Fahrenheit simply does not appeal. Standing in the grocery store comparing the cost per ounce of beans is, for many, not a recipe for a good time. Single-ply toilet paper is just too damn abrasive for the potential compounded annual savings over 2-ply for most people.
Don't get me wrong, my fellow frugal friends tend to be pretty weird. Some people actually blog about how they use industrial CO2 containers to make their own seltzer water. We tend to be a pretty strange flock.
If you are motivated by cost cutting and frugality on small ticket items, go right ahead. We won't stop you. Stay the course.
But if the idea of penny pinching on the little things drives you crazy then perhaps you need a much needed re-frame on your concept of frugality.
Enter "The Big Three" Expenses
Housing, transportation, and food.
For those of us who cannot tolerate the idea of skipping our latte factor items, there may be bigger fish to fry for you yet.
Saving on housing, transportation, and food is a hell of a good place to start. In fact, it may be the only strategy you will ever need.
Housing. Buy less house than you can afford, nothing more. Married with one kid and no plans for more? Why the hell do you need a 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom house? You don't. Be smart. Warren Buffet still lives in the home he bought for $31,500 in 1958.
Transportation. Don't buy a new car. Ever. It's really that simple. Buffet, one of the wealthiest men alive drives a midsize sedan, a 2014 Cadillac.
Food. Don't eat out. Split meals when you do go out. Cook at home a great majority of the time.
My Own Rules Regarding "The Big Three"
Housing. Give these guidelines to your mortgage or real estate professional if you have trouble computing a price range off of these numbers.
If you happen to know you need a budget, but cannot see yourself trading in your 2-ply toilet paper for 1-ply to save a few Shekels, then focus your efforts in these three areas.
Housing. Transportation. Food.
Comment below on how you have saved in these areas.
Dr. Jon is a physical therapist by day, and a dedicated frugalist by night, deeply enthralled in the thrill of "pinching pennies" and investing the margin.