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Northern Cheapskate: Economic habits can change

The old me said “yes” to many frivolous expenditures and to every kid who ever sold something for a school fundraiser.  The new me tries to determine if the expense is something I truly value and care about.

It’s been nearly a decade since my husband and I started to tighten our belts and pay down our debt.

A lot has happened since then.  We’ve paid off our student loans and car debt, remodeled and sold a home, built a new home, had three kids, celebrated triumphs and dealt with setbacks.

Sometimes I think about where I was in those early days of our marriage and it amazes me to think about where I am now.

The old me would have run to the store and paid full price for something I’d run out of.  The new me makes do with whatever is around the house until I can find a coupon and  a great sale price.

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The old me ate out 5 to 10 times a week – sometimes twice in one day – because I didn’t want to deal with cooking.  The new me eats out no more than once a week, and carefully plans a menu each week based on what I have in the pantry and what’s on sale.

The old me used to hop in the car and drive 30 miles to the next town just for something to do.  The new me plans road trips carefully and makes the most out of a trip to town by running lots of errands. The new me does as much as I can from home using the internet to save money.

The old me used to buy name brands and pay full price for clothing.  The new me shops thrift stores and end-of-the-season clearance sales to get the best deals.

The old me said “yes” to many frivolous expenditures and to every kid who ever sold something for a school fundraiser.  The new me tries to determine if the expense is something I truly value and care about.

The old me just tossed stuff when I no longer wanted it.   The new me tries to re-purpose it, sell it, donate it to a charity, or give it to a friend or family member.

The old me would sign up for services because it was only “$5 a month.”  The new me realizes that those little $5-a-month services add up to quite a lot.

The old me would never try something because I didn’t know how.  The new me looks online, asks friends, or heads to the library to find all the information I can to tackle a project myself.

The old me rarely acknowledged mistakes.  The new me realizes that, while I know a lot, I have much more to learn.

What things have you learned about yourself since you’ve taken the plunge into frugal living?

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This post was written by Christina Brown and originally published on Northern Cheapskate. Follow Christina on Twitter: @ncheapskate