Frugality for the upper-middle class always kills me on some level.
For starters, is it frugal or is it just a good idea on paper? The real test of every list of helpful hints and ideas is whether they work in your life. Deep freezers suck for households of fewer than five or six people, who can save more money by only buying what they can feasibly eat. Ditto getting the whole damn ham if you’re not a fanatic.
I would love to see a poor inner-city family frequent a local orchard when it can’t even afford a car and the buses don’t go further than the ‘burbs. Hell, growing one’s own food, even herbs, can be a challenge in an apartment setting. Don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but you can’t afford to be picky about natural light when your desired rent hits between $500-$800. (If that’s even possible in your city.) Or ventilation, if you want to restore and build furniture for your flat. DIY only goes so far. Even a clothesline is an issue in that case; I doubt I’ll be able to squeeze even a wee drying rack into my first place.
I love how getting rid of your car is a cool idea on this list. Nice to be able to afford a car in the first place, eh? And preventative care! What a genius notion! I would love more of that! But I’m waiting for my Medicaid to come through because I am officially too broke to buy health insurance elsewhere. Sorry.
Speaking of first-world problems: deciding between a laptop and a Bluetooth keyboard for your smartphone? Shoot me now. Ditto “Print At Work” (hint: this only works if you have an office job). If you have the luxury of spare time to make detergent and, um, access to borax and washing soda, good show! You can probably afford detergent instead. If you can make your own beer, you can damn well afford your brew of choice.
I am skeptical of buying medication online; who knows where it’s been? And if I automate payments, not only will I forget I’m paying and inevitably overdraw at the bank, but… what if I want them to stop? Or if someone’s billed me erroneously, per tip 10, “Check Your Bills”? My home has never gotten dirty enough to require specialty grime-cutters, thank you, except for the carpets. That’s kind of inevitable when one has pets. I like cable, thanks, and it’s not prohibitively expensive as long as I don’t want the fancy packages. I haven’t actually got enough of a credit history to get a credit card, so my debit card will do.
I am not swapping over to water-only. I like my beverages to taste like something. Vinegar stinks up the whole damn house and is therefore not my cleaner of choice.
But knowing average prices, that’s sound logic. So is cooking what you can afford. And I am not sure whose homes come without insulation nowadays, so tip 11 is direly misnamed. Tend to your windows and your doors, yes, but you should be plenty insulated otherwise. I love buying my imports from their own stores; the variety is just better there than down a supermarket aisle, even the Pittsford Wegmans supermarket aisle. (Yes, I said it.) Managing your finances? Uh, duh? Finding a cheaper workout than the gym? “Don’t Rent a Modem”?! I thought this was common sense…
And in the Make Do and Mend category, I love the notion of shaving your old woolens with a Bic. If I wore anything that wanted dry cleaning on a regular basis, I’d wear it a few times before I bothered. This probably works because I do prefer to buy quality over quantity. Oldest rule in the book: love your well-made classics. See, here’s where DIY helps. If you learn basic repairs, you can maintain your wardrobe with little fuss.
I suppose some of this list is worthwhile, but a whole lot of it presumes frugality is a hobby or, and this was part of an actual tip, a lifestyle choice. When you can’t fathom that frugal living isn’t a damn choice for a good chunk of the population, you are out of touch.