Something odd happens when word gets out about your frugality. (I think it’s safe to say that word has gotten out about mine!) Somehow, even though it’s not my intention at all, other people are feeling guilty for spending more on groceries than I do, for not making yogurt, for not baking bread, for using their dryer exclusively, and for a multitude of other things.
So, I just want to say, right here and right now, that I don’t think anyone has an obligation to live their lives just the way I live mine, nor do I think it would be a good idea for everyone to be just like me. When I post here on The Frugal Girl, I’m not trying to convert everyone to my way of living. I simply want to share my life with you in the hope that you might find some helpful information or inspiration.
For example, if you want to make yogurt, I want to help you do it well. If you don’t want to make yogurt, I’m not going to try to guilt you into doing it. Your life is different than mine, which means that yogurt-making may not be the best way to spend your time each week. I’m certainly not in a place to judge that.
The same goes for your grocery budget. You shouldn’t feel bad if you need to spend more than $100 a week to feed your family. Maybe your family has larger appetites than mine do (that’s quite likely, actually! Though we don’t starve ourselves at all, none of us here at Chez Frugal Girl has the appetite or build of a football player.), maybe you have teenagers instead of gradeschoolers, maybe you buy all organic, maybe you work full-time and can’t cook from scratch as much as I do, maybe you buy healthier food than I do, or maybe you live in an area where food is more expensive.
If you want help in reducing your grocery budget, I’m happy to be of assistance, but I would never want someone to feel discouraged or hopeless because they couldn’t manage with the budget that works for me.
Heck, Money Saving Mom feeds her family of five (two parents, two little girls, and a baby) on $40 a week, and I don’t think I need to stress out about that. She’s got a different set of circumstances than I do (smaller kids, slightly smaller family, midwest prices, and a diet different from ours), and $40 meets their needs currently. I don’t think I could make it work for us, but that’s ok.
The bottom line is that you need to do what works for you and your family, not what works for me and my family.
And contrary to what people seem to think, I don’t spend a lot of time stressing about the way that other people spend their money. I know that my frugal ways are quite a ways toward the over-the-top end of the spectrum, and I don’t expect everyone else to be inspired enough to maintain the level of frugality I do. Everyone has their own set of strength and weaknesses, and while one of my strengths is frugality, some not-so-frugal people out there have strengths in areas that are weaknesses for me.
Really, the only time I think much about other people’s spending habits is when they complain about not having enough money but continue to spend like there’s no tomorrow. In cases such as those, I admit to occasionally thinking things like, “What in the world is wrong with you??” but as a general rule, I have a very live-and-let-live approach to other people’s money.
So, when you read my blog and find something helpful, great! I’m glad to have been able to serve you. But if you read something that’s not at all helpful or possible for you, just ignore it and carry on. I want my blog posts to leave you not feeling discouraged, hopeless and condemned, but encouraged, inspired and equipped to do a good job of managing your money, your family, and your home in your own unique way.
Which will, of course, be a little different than my way.
And that’s just fine.