Hello, everyone! This week, we’re meeting a midwestern reader who works as a pharmacist. Here’s Ali:
1.Tell us a little about yourself
Hello! I’m Ali and I grew up in a suburb of a metropolitan city in the Midwest. I went to college out-of-state and then decided to move back to the area I grew up in. I currently work as a pharmacist.
I’m single and live alone but visit family often. I’ve lived in apartments since my Junior year of college.
2. How long have you been reading The Frugal Girl?
I’ve been reading Frugal Girl for a little while now. Probably since 2018 but for sure since 2019 (because I know it was before the pandemic).
I’ve been a long time lurker but only just recently have gotten brave enough to comment within the last year or so.
3. How did you get interested in money saving?
I grew up in a middle class household, my parents are big planners and savers.
I remember my dad driving older cars most of my childhood and we had my mom’s Oldsmobile from when I was in second grade all the way through my sophomore year of college.
My parents did not really have car payments for a really long time. So they were able to save some money.
Most of our family vacations have been in my home state at various state parks. Campsites are cheap and the car used less gas since we were usually only 2-4 hours away from home.
I guess my frugality has been inherited as I enjoy local vacationing now on my own! I was also taught growing up that sometimes paying a little more for a better quality means something will last longer.
I still have and wear child size XL mittens from REI (from the late 90s-early 2000s!).
The importance of taking care of your things so they last longer is another thing my parents taught me, I have not gone through near as many cell phones as some people I know.
4. What’s the “why” behind your money-saving efforts?
I want to pay off my school loans. My family was in a pretty bad accident before I graduated from college and so I had to pay a good portion of the last two years of pharmacy school with grad PLUS loans in addition to the regular grad loans.
I am also saving because I would like to buy a house or a town house(semi detached) sometime in the next 1-5 years. It would be nice to have my own space and not worry about people coming in all the time like you have with an apartment.
5. What’s your best frugal win?
I earned $750, and saved $1040! My mom and I scrubbed my old apartment from head to toe and so I got my whole $750 deposit back!
There was a new renter who wanted to move in early so I made sure I was moved out 1 month before I had to (I had to give 2 months notice) so he could move in and he paid my last month of rent!
6. What’s a dumb money mistake you’ve made?
Not maxing out my contributions to my HSA during the first 2 years of working out of school (I missed out on matching from my employer and large tax deductions because of this). I was more concerned about having the money in my savings account and so I was only contributing small amounts and missed out on the full employer HSA match.
Having late payments with my federal loans, because of this I could have had saved a couple hundred dollars due to a program I never knew about. Always try to pay bills on time!
7. What’s one thing you splurge on?
I like to get nice haircuts/blow outs about 3 -4 times per year.
Also, I buy (usually on sale or with a discount) expensive, high quality,name brand clothing because I feel like it lasts longer.
8. What’s one thing you aren’t remotely tempted to splurge on?
Salon services like waxing, getting my nails done etc, for so many reasons, including fears of un-proper cleaning of nail utensils and getting a fungal or bacterial infection. Also, I had a very bad past experience with eye brow waxing.
I’m also note tempted to buy the latest and greatest technology. Like other readers I upgrade my devices when I have to but I try to get as much usage (mileage) out of them as possible.
9. If $1000 was dropped into your lap today, what would you do with it?
I would use it to pay off or pay down one of my student loans.
10. Share a frugal tip with other Frugal Girl readers.
When on vacation and staying in a hotel with a continental breakfast, try to get a filling breakfast. Bring along a few snacks (that you packed from home) for during the day and then plan on going out to eat for an earlier (4:30-5 pm) dinner. This will save you a lot of money because then you are only eating out one meal per day!
Always check for discounts from memberships that you are apart of like AAA or if you work for a large employer. I saved lots of money on tickets for theme parks and on hotels with these types of memberships and employer perks!
11. Is there anything unique about frugal living in your area?
The state I live in has amazing parks, trails etc. There are lots of activities that you can do for no or low cost.
Ali, thanks so much for sharing!
I so agree with your vacationing tips, and I wanted to tell you that like you, I grew up camping.
A question: how did you get interested in being a pharmacist? It’s a LOT of school to get through, so I’m guessing there must have been some keen interest on your part.