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When Frugal Goes Too Far

Not too long ago, I was getting ready to check out at Aldi and noticed they had their beautiful floral bouquets on sale for half price. Since Aldi typically sells their floral bouquets for $3.99, they were marked down to $1.99 each and they still looked amazing!

I love fresh flowers and I love a great deal, so I was excited! However, as I walked over to pick one up and put it in my cart, I felt a twinge of guilt. Immediately, I started questioning whether or not I should buy the flowers. Yes, they were on sale for $1.99, but I don’t have a fresh flower budget category (!) and the money would have to come out of our grocery budget for the week.

Back and forth the arguments went in my head: Should I really use our grocery money to buy flowers? I shouldn’t spend that $1.99 on me–especially on something that’s just going to look pretty for a few days and then die. But $1.99 is a great deal and they will really brighten our kitchen table.

I picked up the flowers and then put them back three times. I was so conflicted about what I should do.

Finally, after a few minutes of standing there having my mind play tug-o-war, I snapped back into reality and realized how crazy I was being (and how ridiculous I must look to other people passing by!)

Yes, it’s a good thing to carefully examine every purchase. Yes, it’s a good thing to make sure anything you’re purchasing is a good deal and that it’s something you can afford.

For me to stand in the Aldi check out lane, though, and spend close to five minutes waffling over whether or not I should spend $1.99 on beautiful flowers is not only wasting time and energy, it’s taking frugal too far.

Frugality is not about living a miserable and bland existence, it’s about being wise stewards of our money so that we have more to save, give, and yes, spend on the occasional splurge. As long as you have the money in your budget, it’s okay to buy things on occasion just because.

In fact, if I can’t justify the occasional splurge for something that will bring beauty into my life, then I’m probably bordering on becoming a tightwad.

So, armed with fresh resolve (and the realization that we had plenty of wiggle room in our grocery budget), I picked up the flowers, purchased them, and guiltlessly enjoyed their beauty for the rest of the week.

Have you ever taken frugal too far? I’d love to hear your stories and how you’ve worked to find a healthful balance between living a frugal life, but also allowing yourself enough breathing room to enjoy life, too!

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  • keavy says:

    i have had that exact moment in the check out line at Aldi. i too had beautiful flowers that made me smile everytime i walked into my kitchen for a week. and that my dear, is priceless.

  • says:

    Been there, done that! No laughing here!! 🙂

  • says:

    LOVE this!!! I had told my husband to not spend any money on me for Valentine’s, we love each other dearly and that is enough. But I was already missing not having some flowers (and it isn’t even V-day yet!)..maybe he can swing by our Produce Junction and spend a few dollars after all 🙂 I work hard to save money at the grocery, and the free milk catalinas I’m getting this week is how I’ll justify his flower purchase! 🙂

    • O. Rivera says:

      I told my husband we can celebrate V-day a week later… When everything is on clearance. =) It would be cheaper and we could get better deals.

      • Brynn says:

        I felt the same way other Brynn! And O. Rivera, you are so right. No need to buy the premium roses on V-day for a small fortune, when after or even carnations, or tulips around that time aren’t quite as much.
        And, I personally have a soft spot for just one brightly colored Gerber daisy.

        • Whitney says:

          Me too! (the Gerber daisy). Nothing I love more than a single Gerber in a little white vase. As a matter of fact, Marshalls/Home Goods has faux ones just like that, maybe I should splurge on that … it is, after all, the gift that would keep on giving! 🙂

          • Brynn says:

            YES! I have 3 fake ones in $1 (i think) vases from Ikea. And one is in a cool glass water bottle I got in England, that makes a really cool vase/momento!

      • Kris says:

        My birthday is two days after Valentine’s Day. Works out great for my DH, because I would never ask him to get me two gifts two days apart.

      • Andrea says:

        DH proposed on February 15, so I like to celebrate that day instead of the 14th!

    • says:

      We got married on Feb. 14, so we celebrate our anniversary instead of Valentine’s Day! 😉

      He always like to surprise me with something, although I try to tell him not to do it. This year, though, I made him something (from Pinterest, of course!). 🙂

  • says:

    You’re absolutely right. There’s a difference between frugal and cheap. A frugal person knows that money isn’t the center of the universe. They use money wisely. Including a few dollars occasionally when they can afford to brighten their day.
    A cheapstake tries to save money no matter what the cost!
    Glad you bought (and enjoyed) the flowers!

  • says:

    So true! We give my husband some extra “fun money” each month so that if he wants to pick up flowers when he’s at Aldi’s (or that type of thing), he knows he can. (And after recently getting some flowers at Trader Joe’s, we’ve concluded the Aldi’s flowers actually last longer!)

    • Emily says:

      We love the fresh flowers from Trader Joe’s…….we let our daughter pick some out each time we go there and she happens to be with us (which isn’t often, but she LOVES flowers so much and it is a special treat for her). I never even knew Aldi carries flowers, but maybe we’ll give them a try.

    • karen says:

      I love to treat myself to flowers at Krogers on Sunday morning when they discount them- and they last about 2 weeks- Some dear friends gave us a lovely vase as a wedding gift 8 years ago – and I love that we use that vase every day – when they came to town a few years ago and saw their vase filled with flowers they assumed” I did it for them “-how nice it was to let them know that their gift is really used all the time – the bad part is that hubby thinks that flowers are so common in our house thier is no need to “surprise” me with the… ahhhh… well

      • says:

        Me too! My ‘Gamma’ passed away before I married my husband; but before she died, she had given my great-Aunt Betsey (her husband was my Granpa’s brother), and asked her to order a Waterford crystal vase – direct from Ireland. She always talked about taking me with her to Ireland one day, but cancer and live just got in the way. Now, I fill that vase all the time: at first, I’d get flowers, look at the vase, and I’d cry for missing her. But now? I look at those pretty flowers, see the rainbows dancing in the crystal, remember her loving, faithful soul and the legacy she left behind. I can’t help but smile and feel Christ holding me at those moments. 🙂 God is in the little things too!

      • says:

        My husband used to tell me to buy flowers for myself and consider them from him 🙂 Then he would look at the flowers on the table and say, “Those are nice flowers that I bought for you,”, or “What kind of flowers did I buy for you today?”

        I applied the same logic to buying flowers for the garden. I have 4 rose bushes right now, and my daffodils (bought years ago) are starting to come up 🙂 I still get to tell him thanks for the flowers 🙂

        The other advantage to buying your own flowers is that you get the kind of flowers that YOU are wanting, be it roses, daffodils, lilies, etc.

        • Anna says:

          Off subject but I love your website. I decided to make all my gifts next year for Xmas based on the examples you described in a posting you did for MSM. I looked at the things I had a home and made a list and started sewing, crocheting, cross-stitching, etc. etc. Some of the items on your website are so pretty and encourage me that Xmas can be simple. My family appreciates home made gifts.

          In October of 2011, I realized my gifts for my 4 kiddos were limited and so to “stretch” gifts for everyone I made things from Oct till Dec. I made each child a hat, scarf, and glove set. I crocheted each a special afghan. I cross-stitch each child a bookmark with special messages. I made clothes for each child out of material I already had. Finally, I made each child a beautiful cross-stitched and hand sewn Xmas stocking and Xmas ornaments to put on our tree out of materials I had. Then I saved all the “freebies” I got for the year and from Oct to Dec and put those items in their stockings as well as fruit, nuts, and home made goodies. I called it our “old fashion” Walton Xmas. The kids loved it!

          Each child got one thing on their list but honestly loved the homemade gifts better.

          Frugal is important but so is the reason for the purchase as well as enjoying what you have.

          • says:

            Thanks Anna!

            It sounds like a wonderful Christmas.

            I do the same thing for birthday gifts. Right now I am making roses from an old silk pajama shirt. They are going to be barrettes for my youngest for her birthday. I am also remaking some pajamas (hand-me-downs from someone else) into pajamas for my soon-to-be-four-year-old. I am planning to embroider a little girl on the pajama top for her.

          • LisaMommaOf3 says:

            This sounds wonderful! I wish I had the skills & talent to make things like this for my children! Last Christmas was very hectic & I went overboard with gifts for them. Now there is just to many toys & things, it’s overwhelming at times.

  • says:

    I do that all to often when I am shoppping…pick up, put down, pick up, put down…until my kids pull me back into reality. Glad you enjoyed your flowers:)

  • says:

    I’ve definitely taken frugality too far. I was trying really hard to save money by not wasting any food at our house – to use it or freeze it before anything went bad. I missed a yogurt cup (which I had gotten very cheaply with coupons) in the back of the fridge, and when I found it, it was a few days past the expiration date. I decided not to let that stop me, because I was determined to save money by not wasting food, and ate it for breakfast.

    I will spare you the details, but the remainder of the day was miserable. I have not done it since, and feel really foolish every time I think of it!

    • Sarah says:

      Ha ha ha! That made me laugh out loud. I’ve done similar things and will also spare the details. Glad to know I’m not alone. 🙂

    • Jennifer says:

      That surprises me…typically most things, but especially yogurt, is good for at least several days past the expiration date. I’m sorry you had a bad experience.

    • Carol says:

      I really feel for you. I gave myself food poisoning in January eating food that I didn’t want to throw away, and spent a week in bed sick because of it. I cringe when I think of the time/money I lost because of the lost productivity! Literally hundreds of dollars.
      I consider it my most painful “when frugality becomes stupidity lesson”. LOL

    • Laura says:

      Funny…I have eaten yogurt months (not kidding!) past the code date with no ill effects whatsoever. It is sometimes a little runnier than usual, but not bad. Sorry you had that experience. No fun! And not the best experience to keep you frugal, lol!

    • says:

      Usually yogurt is good for a week or so after the expiration date. I am surprised that it made you sick.

    • K* says:

      Dear Kelli:

      While I am very sorry for your er, experience that day, would you please sign an affadavit of it and send it to my mother-in-law? She doesn’t believe in expiration dates or food safety, and I am so terrified to eat anything there.

      • says:

        Jessica – It was probably around that – a week past the expiration date. Right after I posted my first comment, I wondered if I was the only one who had done those kind of things. Glad to know that I am not!

        K* – Your mother in law’s sounds like the kind of place where it’s best to bring lots of your own snacks. 🙂

      • Becky says:

        That is HILARIOUS! I feel the same way with my own mother. When I was growing up, I often had stomach issues. Now, I’m realizing that it was probably food poisoning. I’m a little afraid to send my kids over there since she has no qualms about feeding them something past its prime if the kids see/ask for it. Also, she’ll generously share prepared food with us after she has a party & whatnot, but I’m always hesitant to eat it since it could be spoiled from sitting out or prepared ahead. Would be REALLY tough to handle if she was my MIL since I’m sure you can’t be very candid. Good luck!

      • Jen says:

        K* that is hilarious. My mother-in-law is the exact same way. I cleaned out her pantry at the cabin two years ago and found things that expired back in 1995. She also just told me that my brother-in-law was going through her refrigerator a few weeks ago and found a blue cheese spread that expired 20 years ago! Her response was, does blue cheese really go bad???!!!

        • Kamila Straker says:

          This was funny. I found things at least 20 years old when I was cleaning a pantry when my grandpa (97yo) died couple months ago. I just laughed and kept filling the trash can.

      • Jen says:

        My husband’s mother and grandmother do this too! They live 9 hours away from us, so we don’t see them often, but Thanksgiving before last we visited them. I LOVE Thanksgiving dinner and all the leftovers. Who doesn’t? However, they served dinner around 1:30 pm and when we left to go to our hotel that night around 9pm, everything was still sitting out! I told my husband that I love them dearly, but there was NO WAY I was going to eat those leftovers, or feed them to my son the next day for lunch. We decided to go shopping at the unique little shops in their town the next afternoon before the leftovers came out of the fridge to be heated for lunch. We ate lunch in town at a cute little cafe. Sure enough, my mother in law was ill for the rest of visit with food poisoning from eating those leftovers for lunch that day. I felt so bad for her, and a little guilty for not speaking up and saying they shouldn’t be eaten, but it’s so difficult when it’s not your own family.

      • Joy says:

        Sounds like my mil, too. LOL. When my boys ask for ketchup at grandma’s house I lie and say there is none because it’s always expired by two years. Ugh!

    • kimme says:

      I too have been guilty of this. I have consumed foods way past their dates (as with most foods I’ve found that to be okay but definitely not all) and have been sick from them. ALL because I didn’t want to waste them even though I probably got them very inexpensively or free. Ugh. I still have a habit of wanting to do this (eat and not waste) but I’m a lot better about it now lol.

      • DJ says:

        My mom and dad are horrible about this. I was lucky enough to have two military parents who served in Vietnam, and believe that if you can’t stomach it, you’re a wimp. Ha! I’m always afraid to eat over there, and I frequently ask how long ago she made a dish. They will eat leftovers for a week. Four days is my max, and I’m throwing it out no matter how much is left.

  • says:

    I do that constantly in the grocery store! I am typically very strict on what I buy and make sure that I have a coupon or it’s a really good sale for most items.

    But since I became pregnant that has become a very hard struggle! I find myself standing in the candy aisle eyeballing a $6 box of Russel Stovers candy for 10 minutes trying to decide if I should really budge on $6.

    I did this on two separate trips (both times not buying the candy) until the craving got so bad on my third trip I convinced myself that all my hard work saving money was worth giving into a $6 box of chocolate to satisfy a craving! And it WAS satisfying and my own little reward for savings us so much!

    • Amanda says:

      I caved the 2nd time on the Russel Stovers candy!! I am pregnant as well and I felt like I needed the chocolate, not wanted it. I told my mom that I will have to buy a couple of clearance candy boxes after Valentine’s day because I’m craving more and just can’t go buy another box!

      • says:

        For those of you who like Russell Stover, I highly recommend Esther Price candy, a specialty of my hometown Dayton, Ohio. If you ever have a chance, I promise you will not be disappointed!

  • says:

    I think of it this way: I’m frugal so I CAN spend some money on beautiful things every so often and not feel guilty about it!

  • says:

    What a HOOT….but, we’d all have to admit that we’ve been there.
    Glad you bought the flowers and enjoyed them!!

  • says:

    Oh my yes! I can relate. You should read the book A Tree Grows In Brooklyn…helped me change my perspective a bit on the importance of “splurging” at times! Big Hug Crystal!

  • says:

    I’ve done this many, many, times. I have a hard time spending money on myself to begin with and a splurge, even a $2 splurge is tough for me. My sister recently started couponing and has been doing amazing with her savings, she messaged me and said that her percentage saved would have been lower if she hadn’t purchased the drinks her family preferred and my immediate response without thinking was, “That’s why you work to save money on the things you need, so that you can afford the things you want and prefer.” It’s something I need to remember. I am elated when I save money on things that I want but it’s important to treat myself every once in a while even if what I want isn’t the best bargain out there.

  • JD says:

    I went through that same process yesterday. Nine tulips, marked down to 99c for the bunch, they looked perfect. I hemmed and hawed and finally purchased them. Good grief! I haven’t had a bouquet of flowers in …well, let’s just say, I don’t remember. The tulips are looking quite friskie on our kitchen table. It is so pleasant to see something so fragile and sweet in our home.

  • Tya says:

    Enjoy the fruits of the Earth, especially for $2! I bet your whole family enjoyed tem too!

  • Meredith says:

    It’s my daughter that always gets me on something. She asked for some of those expensive California cuties oranges. They were 4.69 a bag at target which it way too much IMO. I told her no and we kept going through the store. After awhile, I realized I just denied my four year old fruit. We have more than enough money to buy her oranges and we have a nice savings. Yet, I said no to oranges. So we went back and got them. I will tell you this, she loves them, we are on probably our tenth bag and I have learned to budget them in. Guess what….she is four and hasn’t been sick this year so far! I like to think its because I didn’t let my frugality to too far!

    • :) says:

      Good for you!! I know I have the “no reflex” when we are grocery shopping, and I have to stop myself and think about what my kids just asked me for, because there have been times when they’ve asked for healthy things, and I automatically say no. I say it’s worth it to splurge on something that’s good for your health!!

  • Claire says:

    I will need to remember this next time I am at Aldi!

  • Susan says:

    I completely understand that. I will occassionally do the same thing, but then a week later spend $50+ on eating out instead of eating what I have at home. So, I have my “cheap” moments, but then kick myself as well for my “splurge” times too.

  • Becky says:

    I have been in this exact spot soooooo many times. Lately it was over a pressure canner that I’ve been coveting. (originally $110.00)
    I have $50 in swagbucks saved, and it was on sale for $56 on Amazon, and i aaaaagonized over the decision for 45 minutes (its easier to be indecisive when no one is watching you lol)
    My hubby finally made me do it, and week later i was ecstatic over my shiny new pressure canner……… if I only had some fresh produce to can I could completely let go of the guilt, and when I have beautiful jars lined up filled with my garden sur I will think that $6 splurge, was the best investment I ever made. 😀

    • Allison V. says:

      That’s an awesome deal! I am not so far removed from a time when a $6 splurge might well have been impossible, no matter how great the deal. How wonderful you could get such a useful investment!

  • says:

    How funny, just yesterday I “came clean” on needing/enjoying splurges on a regular basis. I’m not frugal by nature and just assumed that I’d be looked down for it.

    What’s also funny is that I did buy flowers at the grocery store last night. I NEVER buy flowers at the grocery store, but I had my daughter with me and the flowers she wanted are hideous. I mean they are actually colored with food dye or something crazy. I still have stains on my hands from putting them into the water.

    But oh boy, she brightened when she saw her pretty flowers in the vase on our table this morning. TOTALLY worth it.

    Glad you got some pretty flowers to brighten up your day. Also a bit envious that yours aren’t tie dyed. LOL

  • says:

    So true!
    And flowers are so pretty, they are a good splurge!

  • Amy says:

    When I first became a stay-at-home mom, I was a little overzealous. I was walking through the grocery store, determined not to buy any meat – to only come up with meatless meals in order to save money. Then the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “I can provide you with meat.” I always look back on this – it reminds me that I am supposed to be a good steward but God is my family’s provider – not me and my frugality.

  • says:

    I took frugal too far once when I let my husband cut my hair:

    • says:

      oh, man, I can’t believe he agreed to it! I’ve asked mine to trim the ends of my hair and he flat out won’t do it. Good thing I have an 11yo daughter.

    • Meredith says:

      I did too!!!!! My experience wasn’t terrible but not great. Even supercuts would have been decent but nooooo, I needed that seven dollars!!!!

    • says:

      My husband cuts my hair all the time. I haven’t regretted having him do it. Remember, it’s only hair–and it grows back. My husband tends to cut a bit shorter than I ask, but it’s been okay, too–I get to style it a little differently while it grows, and I found some styles that I LOVED that way!

      I can’t afford to have my hair cut, so if he wasn’t cutting it, I would have really, really long hair right now. I’m so glad he is willing to cut it for me.

      • Lorna says:

        I can’t believe I’m about to admit this but my hair is lucky to get cut once a year. I could spend the money on it I guess, and I know it would look so much better, but I just don’t have the time and it’s not my top priority! It’s too frizzy to have short or mid length anyway, I don’t have time to blow dry it every morning and mostly I wear it in a pony tail.

        • Jamie says:

          Right there with you! I was just thinking that I might use the Great Clips coupon that is out now and treat myself to a once a year cut. 😉

        • Charity says:

          Oh my goodness! Me too. I had mine cut last week and it had been a year since the last trim. But before that I went for three years(!) without a trim. I feel so, so, so guilty if I spend the money on it. Especially since I cut my husband’s and children’s hair myself. You can forget me getting a mani or pedi or anything of the like. It just wouldn’t ever happen without my tummy being tied in knots with guilt.

          • Andrea says:

            I usually go a year or more without cutting my hair. I dislike the whole process, including spending money on hair. When the ends started to look bad, I would put it up in a bun if I was going somewhere nice. Buns are in style again, so that worked out well.

            (Recently, I cut 13″ off my hair to donate. Two of my aunts lost all of their hair in chemotherapy, so I figured living with short hair for a while was a small sacrifice compared to what they experienced.)

        • says:

          I don’t cut my hair. Ever. It’s past my rear. I get many comments on how beautiful my hair looks. I usually wear it up in a simple sideways figure 8 with a side sweep in the front. Cheap and easy 😉

      • says:

        I just had my husband cut my hair, too…could no longer get a comb through it! All those clearance deals have become the target during our time at FPU ….which we are doing free through Ramseys website. When facing unemployment of both parents, or even the prospect of it, every single dollar becomes very important as we look to meet needs only and pay off debt. When u can afford to use savings to splurge, making the home nicer with flowers does benefit everyone in it!

        • says:

          Another way I have handled my clearance addiction in the past, especially with flowers like that, is to give to others. I like to do this for grandparents that help with the children, when I can.

    • Joy says:

      When I was pregnant with twins 10 years ago I was on bedrest. So I let my husband cut my hair. When I finally went to get a real haircut after the twins were born, the stylist said, “Ummm … you know your hair is crooked in back.” I just about died. LOL.

  • says:

    I’m not a flower girl, so I would have passed them right by, lol.

    But, I agree that we can take our frugality too far. For me, it was shoes for my 11 year old daughter. She was in desperate need for shoes. I hated to spend the money for new ones, so I kept looking over and over at the thrift store, but I could not find any! Finally, my husband said “Take her to the store and buy her some new shoes.”

    “But they cost sooo much!!!”

    “I trust you to get a good deal. She can’t keep wearing these old horrible shoes. It’s okay. We have the money.”

    So, we went to the store, which happened to be having a BOGO1/2off sale. We were thrilled to find shoes for her and I got to tell her “Pick out another pair” which is RARE around these parts. She is so thrilled with her new shoes, so I swallowed my “OMW, we just paid $40 for two pairs of shoes (which really is a pretty good deal, considering)” and thanked God that we had the cash to do it.

    On a side, but related note, just because we are being frugal doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy beauty, whether it be flowers, or a new meal using the same type of ingredients. I just wrote out my meal plan for our next grocery cycle and picked all new recipes, but I don’t have to buy any new ingredients because they were all standard ones. I’m excited to try some new meals to “spice it up.”

    Or, as The Prudent Homemaker has on her home page “And let it be beautiful!”

  • says:

    I love this! All principles need balance. I love your comment recently about your kids not being minimalists like you and you didn’t want to stuff them into your box (or something like that). 🙂 I appreciate your determination to live out your convictions but not impose them on others and know when it is appropriate to let it loose a little.

  • says:

    There’s an old Chinese proverb: “If you have two loaves sell one and buy a lily.” Beauty refreshes the soul just as food nourishes the body.

  • says:

    When we had a regular grocery budget (6 years ago) I considered flowers part of the grocery budget. Since you have the money to do so, you could, too!

    I love flowers.

    This week I sadly tossed the grocery ads, with a small glance at all of the flowers, and then I made myself look away.

    Our grocery budget is $0 right now, due to a serious lack on income.

    However, right now, I have flowers on my table. I pruned the plum tree last week, and pulled in any branches with swelling buds. They started to open this week. They are beautiful.

    I am also sewing some flowers this week, from a repurposed pajama shirt, to make rose barrettes as a birthday gift for my daughter. And soon, I’ll be embroidering flowers on a pair of pajamas as a birthday gift for another daughter.

    So, while I may not be buying any flowers this week, I still have flowers in my life!

    I don’t think your experience is silly. I think it comes from the habits of making frugal choices, and deciding wisely between needs and wants. It is hard to allow thng more money to spend, when you get to that point. I know it was hard for me to buy flowers when we got to the point that I could, but it was also so beautiful!

    Now I seek to grow as many flowers as I can, so that I can still enjoy them.

    • Teresa says:

      HOW in the world do u make it on a $0 grocery budget? Ours is small, but at least I have some grocery money.

      • says:


        We simply don’t buy anything when we don’t have money to go to the store.

        We eat what we have, and what we can grow. We went over a year without buying any food at all, because we had no income for 8 months, and very little after that. Right now we don’t have enough to buy groceries, so we don’t. My site is mostly about that, so come see what we’re eating!

  • says:

    Also, Crystal, you have worked to this point. You have earned these flowers. Enjoy them.

  • says:

    I’ve done the same thing only it was over a bag of potatoes! It wasn’t even anything pretty. What was I thinking?

  • says:

    Frugality can be a really good thing. Of course, we need to balance our desires for saving money and/or simple living, with the reality that we only have a limited amount of time. We can often make more money, but we can’t make more time. I have learned that frugality can go too far when we try to spend a lot of time trying to save a small amount of money. For example, driving 10 minutes each way to a gas station that charges 5 cents less per gallon. If I’m spending 20 minutes to save 75 cents, that’s taking frugality too far.

  • Amy says:

    I had a momemt just like this at Aldi one day because they had purple roses, my favorite, for only $3.99. I knew they werent a necessity but they would make me happy. Since i recently started my own Happiness Project I decided that made them ok. I then reworked my budget and added a Happy category. 🙂

  • Allison says:

    Once, when visiting Nashville we walked 2 miles (and another 2 miles back) across the city to visit a park, so that we could avoid driving there and paying for parking. I don’t mind walking 2 mi. in nice weather, but it was cold, we were tired and it wasn’t the most pedestrian-friendly route. We also had to walk back in the dark. And it turned out that we could have parked for free at the park. It’s kind of funny now, but we probably took being frugal a little too far.

  • says:

    I love this post! I was just thinking that I’m doing way too much of this. I have a hard time buying something new, even at a great price, because I don’t REALLY need it. I feel guilty when I spend money to work on my house, but it’s one of my favorite things to do!

    • says:

      Sandi – if you are spending money on your house, tell yourself it is an investment – you are improving your home and will recoup your spending when you sell it!

  • Tracy says:

    Wow! I’ve done the same thing too! And also came to realize the same thing!

  • Linda says:

    Good for you!

  • Julie says:

    I have done that several times. But instead of with cut flowers I did it with mums and other a perinneals that could possible last years if planted outside. This year I won’t make that same mistake when they offer them!!!

  • Rachael says:

    Um, this is why my husband hates grocery shopping with me. Been there!

  • Christine says:

    I am a huge tightwad but I have been realizing lately that I do splurge on things that I think are important to me. One is car washes every once in a while. To wash a car myself and try to vacuum it is a lot of work and I can either go through the car wash for $5 and use their powerful vacuum cleaner included in the price or pay about $10 and get it totally done for me. I have been realizing certain things are worth it, in my opinion.

    • Becky says:

      Except when they do a poor job of vacuuming, & I don’t realize until I’m across town later in the day. Then, I kick myself for not having done it properly myself–nothing worse than paying premium & getting a worse finished product. Definitely worth it if they do a good job though.

  • Karis says:

    GREAT post! I have come to the same conclusion myself… when you think of it as God’s money instead of yours, it seems like He would be ok with beautiful flowers that He made, every now and then 🙂

  • Bobbie Jo says:

    I probably would have “justified” buying them by taking it out of the gift budget and giving them to my daughter (just because), but encouraging her to keep them on the kitchen table for everyone to enjoy 😀 (I laughed at this post – because that is so me….as a matter of fact it was me a couple of hours ago at Target 🙂

  • says:

    Ha! I do this ALL the time!! My husband is always so proud of our grocery budget and how I can feed us all very healthy and at such a dramatic discount over what the typical family spends – but I will go back and forth and back and forth on a non necessity that is only a dollar or two – even when it is something we like – if it isn’t free and isnt on our typical shopping list I will ‘hem & haw’ for quite a while – once it was over cereal bars that worked out to less than 20 cents a piece that would have been great on the go snacks for the kids – but they already had snacks….debate debate debate – I ultimately got them – but it took forever – LOL!

  • Debra says:

    Haha! Your flowers made my day! I here you clear! And sometimes enjoyment of small things can make a huge difference in our lives.

  • Leanne says:

    I buy Aldi flowers all the time – I usually get 2 bunches (to make a full dozen) and they usually last almost 2 weeks. Sometimes I get a bad batch, but the majority of the time they open into the most beautiful roses! I love Aldi flowers!!!

  • Emily says:

    I almost told my daughter no on buying her swimteam warm-up suit. It is $80 and a lot of money, but I realized #1 She is only this young once and #2 Everybody else on the team was buying it. I did get it for her and she loves it – wears it just about every day as everybody else on the team does. As she will be on the team for 2 more years it makes it worth it.

    And when my daughter was small I got mad at my husband for buying a Barbie princess Halloween costume for $25. But she she wore it as a dress-up costume for quite a number of years and got tons of use out of it. So sometimes it can be an investment.

  • Melissa says:

    I’m so glad you took the flowers. If it’s in the grocery store and there’s more than $2 left in the grocery budget, I say it qualifies. It is difficult to plan the unadvertised steals. My frugality goes too far when I end up spending more than I save, so if I ponder long enough it usually ends up staying on the shelf.

    Enjoy your flowers. May they bring beauty to your day and to all those who enter your home.

  • Becky says:

    I completely get it! I had put chocolate chip cookies on my meal plan for last week. When I got to the store I found a bag of chocolate chips on sale for a great price. Then I turned around and saw my absolute favorite brand on sale for ten cents more than the first bag. I picked bags up and put them down for three or four minutes before I walked away with the cheaper bag. Then, ten minutes later I returned to the baking isle and swapped them for the more expensive bag. All that time and stressing for ten cents!

    • Lisa says:

      That’s a good point, Becky! What we may be saving in money, we’re costing ourselves extra in time and stress. Good reminder!

  • teresa says:

    Been there…done that. I can get conflicted over the smallest things. Then I remind myself that one of the reasons I live so frugally is so that I can enjoy the things that are important to me…and beauty is definitely one of those things!

  • lisa says:

    I was LOL reading your “tug of war” comment and how you must have looked to passerby’s. I can relate to your situation. I think MANY woman can. I recently went back and forth in my head regarding a $4 purchase. I need/want to take a short trip to visit loved ones this summer. I’ve been pinching pennies, retooling my budget and selling items via e-bay and craigslist. Trying to decide whether or not I should spend $4 on a Weight Watchers magazine subscription almost put me over the edge! 😉 In the end I did it. It’s about trade offs and not getting worked up over a small indulgence.
    In the end, I subscribed for the year

  • melissa says:

    I don’t count $1.99 as a splurge . This is why you save money on so many things, so that you can have small treats that make you feel good and make your home look nice. We all need to remember to enjoy !

  • says:

    Another spin on this thought (which I can totally relate to!) is that we each tend to have our own unique splurges. I have a good friend who is very frugal, and we often just laugh at each other’s idea of what a good splurge is. Along with taking five minutes to explain to the other one why this purchase is worth it to me even though you would never get it for yourself . . . finally we start to feel foolish with all the explaining and just have to realize that we’re each unique, even in our splurges! 🙂

  • diana says:

    I did the EXACT same thing at Aldi’s last week but the flowers were the full price! I agree…worrying about that little amount is too far. We’re STILL enjoying our flowers and I picked them up Friday. 🙂

  • Amy says:

    Being frugal can become a stronghold in your life and make you believe it all depends on YOU and how much YOU can save with each trip. It can become an addiction like any other. We are not to be addicted to anything other than Christ. When we carry frugal too far we are telling God that we do not trust Him to provide but that we have to have it all figured out to the last penny ourselves. Not that being a good steward is a bad thing, but sometimes we don’t allow God to come through for us because we already did it ourselves. He is strong only in our weakness. If we are strong we don’t need Him. He desires for us to have good things. He desires for us to have those good things NOW not just in the future. An abundant life does not mean only an abundant retirement. The other question is could you buy those flowers (or whatever) after analyzing it and deciding it would make you happy, then give them to the check out girl because she is having a bad day? Could you trust God to have something even better waiting for you?

  • says:

    That made me laugh out loud. I could totally picture myself doing that. I was at a consignment store and found a shirt with tags on it that I loved the color of for $3 and I stood there for like 10 minutes looking at that shirt, looking at other stuff, looking at that shirt. AND didn’t buy it! For Crypes Sake. It was $3 (and I have a Clothing Budget, AND I have mad money every month- neither of which I spend very often if you couldn’t tell)

    I’m such a dork.

  • lori says:

    I’m rather glad to hear you buy yourself flowers. I’ve followed your blog for over a year now, and I’ve noticed in a lot of your photos you have different flowers on your kitchen table. And more than once I’ve thought, “My husband doesn’t buy me flowers every week like Crystal’s does. What am I doing wrong?”

    Enjoy that little splurge … you deserve it!

  • Bethany says:

    This is a great reminder!! I once came home and found a $1/off coupon I forgot to use and burst into tears- my husband quickly pulled me back to reality and that everything was OK.

    When I spend so much time/energy/effort being frugal that my family pays and I’m constantly saying no to my husband’s desires to buy things (no matter how small), then I my priorities are off!

    • Becky says:

      Very frustrating about the coupon-can totally relate although yes, it’s not the end of the world. Just a note though, be sure to take your receipt and coupon back to the store the next time you’re in. They’ll usually give you the $1 (or whatever the coupon value). I went last week to Target with 2 different receipts & coupons I forgot. One was for $2 off vitamins (still valid) that I purchased before Christmas, the other was a $5 Target coupon that expired Christmas eve that I meant to use on a t.v. we purchased there in December. They reimbursed me for both–Target even!

    • Natalie says:

      Similar story,
      I gave the coupons to my husband to keep while we were shopping and he lost ALL of them before we got up to the register. I was so MAD and unfortunately it caused a huge fight.
      I have learned that if it is going to cause contention it is not worth it.

  • cherry says:

    I did the exact same thing last Saturday in Aldi AND I didn’t buy the flowers. It wasn’t such a struggle though. It was more like, “Oh, nice flowers and THAT cheap. Anh, I don’t really need flowers.” Now after reading this, I sort of wish I had bought them.

  • Julie in IN says:

    After years of counting out grocery money down to the last penny, I’ve so been there and done that but not with flowers. The only flowers I’d splurge on would be TULIPS! {>

  • Dana says:

    Not my story, but I always remind myself of Hetty Green when I am making a decision to spend or not spend and why or why not. She had quite enough money and let her own child suffer as a result of her frugality. THIS is the epitome of taking frugality too far!

  • says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I agree that if you have room in your budget, it’s well worth it splurge on a little something (or a big something!) here and there. We’re saving up our money right now for a second a laptop and a Vitamix, but when I tell people we’re planning to spend $400 on a blender, they think we’re nuts! Just this past weekend, we pick up Doritos and soda (junk food is something we never, ever buy) and enjoyed our junky food while enjoying a family movie night. It was so much fun!

  • says:

    Yes, that was me sitting in the drive-through line at Cook Out. It was past lunchtime, I was starving, but I was feeling guilty for getting a $.99 burger and a cup of water!

  • Katie L says:

    I was taking frugality too far when, after a recent budget meeting with my husband, I got all worried and concerned about our budget. It’s tight, because he’s going through grad school debt-free. I failed to a) trust the LORD to provide for us, as He always has and b) to thank God for the my husband’s opportunity to be here at school. Finally, I completely lost perspective– our budget is very tight because we’re going through grad school, debt-free, with the intention of graduating with a 6 months emergency fund in place. I was getting worried and taking out my worry on my husband over the possiblility, not of going into debt, but of dipping into that emergency fund if we have an emergency that causes us to go over budget. That’s completely the wrong perspective. I’m learning that thankfulness is the key to contentment, to peace, to joy in the abundance I’ve been given.

    • Kelly says:

      I’ve had personal meltdowns about this exact same thing. We are both going through grad school debt-free, so there is VERY little left to go around at the end of the month. I’ve found myself getting so caught up in how little we have that I overlook the fact that we won’t have that debt in the future- not to mention how fortunate we are to have the ability to do so!

      Luckily, that man can always pull me back down to earth. He even makes me splurge on myself every now and then when I worry too much about the cost of something!

  • grace says:

    do this on a regular basis….had a good laugh

  • shauna says:

    I do that tug of war all the time. My hubby thinks I’m silly, but then again he is not good with money. Sometimes I want things because they will make me or my family happy. Other times I say I don’t really need that item but I want it. I think if you want a bouquet of flowers is one thing. Some ladies want coach purses for over 300 or however much they go for.
    I know I can get cheap fruits n veggies at my reg. grocery store but I love organic fruits n veggies from whole foods. I feel they look and taste better. So I splurge every now and then.

  • says:

    I have done this so many times. But I’ve always had a hard time buying things, even if I have the money to do so.

    I will add that since we went to a cash envelope system, much of the guilt that kept me from spending has disappeared because if I want something, I have my set aside spending money to buy it.

  • says:

    Thanks for your post- great reminder. Yes, I have taken frugality too far- I was on a trip away from my husband and he texted me, I groaned because we didn’t have a text plan and it would cost us for me to read his text. My friend, who was on the trip with me, said, “How much does it cost to read his text”? “25 cents!” I answered. “That’s it? Just 25 cents? That’s not much when it comes to investing in your marriage.” Ahh, yes, enter conviction. I still struggle with being too frugal at times- but this lesson was a great reminder to see the big picture ! My husband is so valuable to me, how could I have been so crazy?
    P.S. We do have a big texting plan now and enjoy growing in our love via our text messages, it has deepened our relationship in many ways.

  • Angela says:

    I love this!! There was a period of time in my life when I felt guilty for buying pasta because I could make it so much more inexpensively. We frugal moms do have a tendency to turn into misers and I am so glad that you are showing others how easily it can happen!!

  • Amanda says:

    I actually cried when I admitted to my husband that I waited the entire month of November to buy an orange to try a new cranberry orange bread that I really wanted. How come I can’t spend a $1 on an orange when we have the money in the budget. Something about knowing they would be $1.49 for 5lbs. in a couple weeks kept me from enjoying the beauty creating something new for my family. It is always good to be reminded that enjoying Gods creation and good gifts is worship!

  • Barb says:

    Oh so funny and so true. Loved this post – I’m not alone! I did something very similar, but with the family in tow. We stopped at the store for a few items, when my son notices an item that will go great with dinner. I stop and say in a half panic – “Oh NO, I don’t think we have a coupon for that”! as I begin to riffle thru my little coupon keeper. They all looked at me like I had two heads and that’s when I realized I had gone over the edge. We had a good laugh and got the item. Now when I make a quick run to the store or splurge and rent a movie I hear from my family “Do you have a coupon for that!”.

  • says:

    I was guilty of this today. I met with my husband in the JCPenney parking lot to give him something he left at home that he needed for work. I had a baby a month ago and only have a few somewhat maternity dresses in my closet. There’s a wedding on Saturday and I’ve already lost some of the baby weight but asked him, “should I go in there and buy me a new dress or just wear one of the ones I wore when I was pregnant to save money?” I never even felt good in those other dresses and wasn’t that thrilled about going to the wedding in them. He told me that I needed to get in there and buy me a nice dress that fits and looks nice on me (thanks, hubby!) So that’s exactly what I did. Now I am actually very excited to go to the wedding because I have something that I know I will feel good and look good in! It took me a while though to decide that it was ok to buy a new dress for a special occasion. It matches hubby’s Air Force uniform that he will be wearing too–he’s in the wedding!

  • Ashley says:

    My poor husband normally suffers when I’m being too frugal. A few months ago, I realized he went through his deoderent stockpile and was on his last stick. He only uses Axe and, as a “seasoned couponer,” I know when Axe coupons come out. Every time we went to the store he would always ask if he could buy a new stick but I would always talk him into waiting a few weeks for a better deal. It’s crazy… when you’re waiting for Axe to go on sale, it NEVER does. A few weeks turned into 2 months, but I finally found a deal and bought him a few sticks.

    He didn’t tell me at the time, but he had run out of deoderent during my search for the perfect deal, and he ended up getting into the donation box that I was going to give to our local homeless shelter. It wasn’t his brand and was powder instead of clear. My heart melted when I realized that he decided to use what was in the house while I waited for a deal.

    What did I learn from this? We will NEVER be without the few things that the husband asks for again! I sure do love him!

    • Heather says:

      We’ve had this exact same situation except with a very specific type of Old Spice. 🙂 I never see deals for it! So I just get it anyway…I figure if it’s one of the only things I’m paying “full price” for we can handle it, and he has cheerfully compromised on everything else!

    • Amie says:

      Awww…I understand. I was like that with my husband when I first discovered the joy of free deodorant. He wasn’t too brand loyal so that worked out, but he did look a little skeptical at first. What my family really missed was snack food. My kids had gotten used to having Goldfish crackers as snacks, but there were no longer sales and coupons so I waited. They were down to saltine crackers and cereal so one day I did a money making deal at CVS and put it into snacks. It made them all so very happy. I realized that it’s okay to give them treats they enjoy even if they’re not free. It makes them happy. I was lucky and got free fruit snacks, used some ECBs on chips, and bought a big, cheap bag of animal crackers at Wal-Mart. Having these junky snacks (in moderation) makes my guys happy and that really is more important to me than saving a few bucks – and literally, it only cost me a few bucks. 🙂

    • Becky says:

      Ha-ha-ha! You made my day. Thought I was the only one who did this sort of thing by accident to their husbands. We’re in the coupon/sale waiting game for deodorant for him right now, & he’s almost out. Last time this happened (maybe a year or 2 ago), he ended up using mine for a little while. Totally irked me to have to spend crazy full price on it eventually, but it made his life easier (& less feminine), & so well worth it!

    • Emily says:

      Am I the only person who’s husband would have just gone to the store and bought himself some deodorant if I wouldn’t buy it for him?

      • Alex says:

        Mine would have too. Plus he would have come home with $20 worth of other snacks, drinks and goodness knows what else. I make sure I have the things he likes to keep him out of the store. 🙂

  • Susan says:

    Glad you bought them.

  • says:

    I think frugality is like dieting–if you don’t build in the possibility of a reasonable indulgence every now and then, eventually you’ll binge and the results won’t be pretty. : )

  • Lisa says:

    Oh my goodness, I am SO glad to know I’m not the only one who does the pick-it-up, put-it-down dance. I always feel ridiculous yet I have trouble stopping myself from overanalyzing every last purchase, always feeling like I could be doing better. Yet another reason why my husband is good for me – he reminds me that if we have the wiggle room in the budget and aren’t being irresponsible, it’s okay and good to enjoy a little something extra now and then.

  • says:

    Oh, this is truly what I needed to hear today…my husband was just gently reminding me of the same a few days ago. I’m guilty for taking frugality too far, particularly when it comes to something I would enjoy, but there’s no need for it.

    Thank you…thank you for your heart-sharing. Appreciate your words.

  • says:

    this has generated quite a few discussions and comments! there are times when i would have sworn i saw something i could do a price match on and i would root through my ads at the store and take up my time and i would feel myself begin to stress about it. ‘what if i could find that price match, i would save 25 cents! now, i typically just let it go. my time is worth something and thankfully 25 cents or even 5 bucks isn’t going to break the budget! but saving 5 bucks over 4 shopping trips equals 20 bucks and that is almost a weeks worth of groceries….here i go again! 🙂

    • Amie says:

      I forgot a $1 off coupon when I went shopping today and started to stress about it as it threw off my whole shopping scenario. I reminded myself I am still saving a lot of money on things I need and use and was able to let it go for the most part. I did look at my reciept a few times and told myself, really I could have paid $7.54 instead of $8.54 after the rebate, the $10 Register Reward, and two gas cards I purchased. I still saved over $80.00, which was pretty sweet. lol. You’re right though, you don’t want to make it a weekly thing.

  • says:

    I’m glad you got the flowers. I’ll bet they brightened your table and made you smile. I think this has more to do with being too frugal with YOURSELF rather than too frugal in general. I suspect if you were buying for someone else, you wouldn’t have hesitated. I often find it hard to treat myself and find I’m more careful about spending money on me than on someone else (spouse, child, friend, etc.) so, good for you for getting them. 🙂

  • lindsey says:

    Okay, here is where I almost went off the deep end: I saw a show where a lady cut up rags to use instead of toilet paper and had a basket for the used rags; she washed them when the basket got full. In a fit of frugality induced dementia, I cut up rags and proudly showed them to my husband and explained our new economizing measure. He looked at me and said, “The only time a rag is going near my butt after I go to the toilet is when I am senile and in a nursing home and have no choice. I love you like crazy but I guess I don’t love you this much.” It brought me to my senses.

    • Laura says:

      Ohmigosh! That is the funniest thing I have heard in a while :). I guess I am laughing so hard because that sounds like some crazy idea I would put to my family as well. Thank goodness our husbands keep us sane, right? !!

    • Stephanie M says:

      This made me laugh so much !!!!

    • K* says:

      This made me crack up laughing … and then cringe in horror at the thought of actually doing that! So gross!

    • Amie says:

      So funny. I was headed in that direction. I was trying to save money by making EVERYTHING from scratch and was considering making my own pads. Luckily, I found coupons! Whew, it was close. lol. I did do cloth diapering out of old swaddling blankets when I was off for the summer and it wasn’t so bad. and did save me a lot of money. I don’t have time for that now that I’m working. I wouldn’t want to use rags for tp though.

    • Emily says:

      I just had to read your comment to a co-worker, it was so hysterical! My husband would have said something very similar if I ever suggested using rags to wipe our butts!! BTW, we saw that same episode of Extreme Cheapskates (I think?), and we cracked up the whole time they showed those people.

  • Kristina says:

    I almost went too far when I spotted some old pacifiers on the ground that must have slipped out of someone’s diaper bag. They were the exact type my baby loves and I was tempted to take them home and boil them.

  • Leah says:

    thank you for posting this – this is me!! It about brought tears to my eyes as I realize that I am at times this silly 🙂 Thx for the perspective!

  • Laura says:

    Also wanted to add that even Oprah does this dance. She said on her show one time she was in a store trying to decide between two items, one being $10 cheaper than the other. BAck and forth she went, trying to decide. Finally, she came to her senses and just got both!

    So, I figure if Oprah is conflicted (her bank account is larger than mine, lol!) then it is okay for the rest of us to be similarly conflicted. GReat topic! Thanks for all the funny stories you have all shared. Got my giggles today for sure :).

  • Blythe says:

    Love this post!!! So true. We don’t celebrate Valintines day like most. It’s a normal day to us… I used to be sad… but My hubby brings flowers home other times of the year he doesn’t need some one to tell him what day to do that. It’s way better this way.

  • Suzanne says:

    I had to chuckle when I read your post Crystal and what others above have written. I’m 64 and have been using coupons for over 40 years. When I quit my day job, by co-workers put a money branch in a 3 lb empty coffee can with coupons glued all over the can 🙂 Anyway, YES, I have waffled …even to this day, at times I struggle. Sometimes we need to say, “it’s ok” and then go ahead and purchase the item… even without a coupon and DON’T FEEL GUILTY IF YOU DO PURCHASE IT W’OUT A COUPON!!!

  • Sarah says:

    I invested in wildflowers seeds and snow crocus bulbs (my first year for the bulbs) on sale so I can have flowers, on a good year, from March through October. My sister wanted to send me flowers for my birthday last year but I had so many “bouquets” blooming outside, I did not want her to spend the money. It has really been worth it. We used to buy flowers once a week (a gift from my husband to me) when they were around $2.50-$3.00 for the cheapest bouquets I could find at the store. Every time I pass by them now and see the $5-$6 pricetag, I’m so glad we spent money on something we will get to enjoy for much longer than a week. I wish I could paste a photo in here to show you!

  • Gloria says:

    Kroger always has carnations for $4.00 a bunch or sometimes marked down to $1.99. Purple, red, yellow, white, etc. I buy a bunch, put them in a beautiful vase with water and a tablespoon of bleach. Sit them on my desk at home and they last 2 weeks. They give me joy everytime I look at them. Priceless.

    • Emily says:

      Why the bleach? It doesn’t kill them? It sounds pretty diluted, but I’m curious why you add it?

      • Gloria says:

        I use the bleach to keep the water from getting a yucky color. The water stays nice and clear. Works great

      • says:

        Hi Emily,

        I believe that a very, very dilute bleach solution will prevent bacterial growth….that funky vase smell that sometimes occurs. But yes, if it’s not dilute enough it would tear them up.

  • says:

    I often used to take frugality too far. I began to resent the frugal lifestyle because of it until I learned that planning in (or being open to) a few little splurges made frugal living much easier.

  • says:

    I do this with almost everything. I pick something up “Oh I want this” Then I usually end up talking myself out of it. And usually glad when I get my total and don’t have the extra $X on there.

  • Laura Johnson says:

    HAHAHA!!!! That was me today! Love it! I was by myself and I decided to run into Ikea after a WalMart stop for two hothogs for lunch. I spent a whole dollar but I really, really wanted a yogurt which was another dollar……I got the yogurt! It was YUMMY!

  • Mel says:

    This reminds me of the other day when I had received my free pizza from Papa John’s coin toss, which included a free 2 liter pepsi. When I checked out, I owed them .10 for California CRV. It made me more upset than I should have been. Now that’s acting nuts!

  • Holly says:

    Buying cheap to “save money” almost never works out for household goods I’m finding. Yeah, you can save not buying the expensive blender, but if you have to buy a new blender for $30 every year, or one good quality one for $100 that will last 5-10 years, you’re not saving money buying the cheaper one. Researching brands helps a lot with this too. Sometimes the cheapest *is* the best option, but I never assume so anymore! (Finding an awesome blender at a thrift store or garage sale would be the best scenario of course, but you all get what I mean!)

    We homeschool & I’ve also found that refusing to spend money on schooling isn’t always the best way to go. Yes, theoretically I can homeschool our 3 kids for free — using the library, free websites, etc, but over the years I’ve found that those resources often aren’t enough, don’t have the programs or books we need, etc.

    So I do buy school books for our girls. I compare new prices online, browse the used curriculum sites, joined Paperback Swap, shop at library book sales, and whatever else to save money, but in the end our children’s education is worth spending a little money on.

    Our oldest is about to finish several of the workbooks she’s using and needs the next level. They’re not something I can usually find used. I will shop for the best price, buy them new, and not be regretful.

    Plus, I know we’re saving literally thousands of $$$ a year not paying for the local private school (our public school district is quite bad), so in the end homeschooling, even when you factor in frugally buying materials and outside classes, is really makes the best economic sense. =-)

  • Rachel Beita says:

    When I was pregnant I would go back and forth over whether to eat french fries! I splurged on them many times and they are not even good for you but I can say it was definitely worth it to turn around and go back when a block passed I realized I just could not make it without any! French fries were my life saver for never ending car nausea and hunger. No wonder my babies love them! I really do feel bad for setting such a bad example and getting them in the habit and spending the money. All I can say was I was pregnant and I have a sweet husband who always was willing to get them for me when we were out! (Good thing we live 30 minutes from town or I might have sent him out at all hours of the day or night every day. I could not justify 30 minutes each way for a craving!)

  • Danielle says:

    I am so, so glad you wrote this! I do this ALL THE TIME. I have to remind myself that, sometimes… I am “worth” that $2 splurge 🙂 I’m just jealous that our Aldi’s doesn’t mark the flowers 50% off… 🙂

  • Heather says:

    I had a long period of time where I would only buy clothes at the thrift store for 50 cents or less. (We have a store where all clothes are $1, and they are often running 50 or 75% off sales.) But I always felt crummy about the way I looked. So now I’ve upgraded to buying clothes from the Goodwill in the nice section of town, and I feel so much better having clothes that look good, are free of stains, and in style even though I have to pay $5 per item.

  • Mason says:

    Sadly, I have deprived myself of too much. The saddest time comes from when I went to a famous restaurant with my boyfriend, that I really wanted to go to – then I wouldn’t eat. . . what was wrong with me?

  • K* says:

    I waited until the day AFTER a holiday to buy holiday-specific greeting cards. My office had a postage machine, and I would print out dated stamps so they looked like they were sent earlier.

    I was only busted on this because my fiance wanted to send his grandmother a mother’s day card (I had a few for our actual mothers) and I was so stressed because DIDN’T HE KNOW THEY WOULD BE ON SALE IN A FEW DAYS.

  • says:


    I felt like I was reading my own story.

    I’ve done this too many times. Glad to know I’m not alone. :-).

  • says:

    Haha I’ve done that before!

  • says:

    Love this story, Crystal! We have a little slogan around our house: “Be frugal so you can be generous.” (That generosity can extend to *ourselves* sometimes, too!)

  • says:

    I so needed to read this. Yesterday, for my birthday, I was contemplating whether or not to spend $4 to eat out with my daughters for my birthday or take them home to have another PB&J. Silly, I know but I was thinking the whole time, “what category am I going to take this out of…?” All that to say, we ate out and I enjoyed every minute of it! Thanks Crystal for keeping it real.

  • lise says:

    I personally find I am way more of a tight-wad to myself than to anyone else. I enjoy spending money on those I love. I do treat myself, but it is so much harder to spend my husband’s hard-earned money on myself!
    Tonight I treated myself though. I saw a TV series for $19.99 on DVD that I have been waiting to buy for a long time. The last time I looked on Amazon it was 4x that amount. I reminded myself tonight that I had the $20 saved and it was really, really, really ok to treat myself to the DVD. No use being so cheap and regretting not enjoying a piece of life I rarely partake in!
    And now that I’m home, I’m so glad I bought it!

  • Laura says:

    Glad you bought your flowers Crystal!!
    I probably have been there too, My husband is very opposite of me…He works very hard, and wants to be able to enjoy his time, and has quite a bit of hobbies. For example, he loves to go to indoor shooting range, and bullets can be expensive. I know I know, spending money on bullets quite isn’t what I would like our money to go to, but its more than that. Its being able to see your partner and know that he is healthy and happy. Doing the things you love actually makes you a much healthier and happier person.
    I’ve always wondered how in my culture retirement funds are really not even heard of, and how people manage to survive, and make it to old age. My mother used to always tell me that a little prayer we say says: “Give us today our DAILY bread…” It doesn’t say give us today a years worth, or 5 years worth…or etc. Obviously being smart with your money is important, but at the same time, don’t lose focus on what really is special, and beautiful.
    The key is, having a balance between spending your money wisely, and living the life that you dream of. If being tight with your money gives you the joy and happiness, then thats your solution. No matter how much money we make its never about how much we bring into our home, its about how you spend it, how much you get to keep, and how happy you are at the end of the day. & I’ve noticed that being very simple is by far my biggest strength…. I get joy out of the smallest things, even if its just a bouquet of $1.99 flowers..

    • says:

      My husband is a super frugal guy. He has priced out bullets to the penny, including tax and shipping, and buying them in bulk with others to split the cost as well, just to figure out the best deal.

      And then he tells others about it, because all of his friends want the best deal, too!

  • VictoriaF says:

    I disagree somewhat. Being frugal and saving money is all about consistency. I mean like constant consistency… So, if you save money and then splurge on things that you don’t need – it’s like you lie to yourself. Occasional or rare case like yours is OK. Usually, I splurge only on small presents for other people. Personally, I don’t like cut flowers, only in a pot – it’s like a more “green” option :))

  • Nancy says:

    Umm, have you been at Target watching me? I had been looking at the same purple cami on the clearance rack for at least 4 weeks. It finally got marked down to $4.48, and armed with my $3 off coupon, I STILL wasn’t willing to pay $1.48 for it. Yesterday, it got marked down to $1.98, so yup, I got it for free. I think I took frugality too far. The item could’ve slipped away from me, and it was the perfect shade of purple that I needed to match something else in my wardrobe. Sigh… BUT, you are so right! We need to make decisions that make us feel good sometimes, regardless of price.

  • theresa says:

    i think you are right that going back and forth for five minutes is going a little too far for someone in your financial situation, crystal – but for me, at this time (about 30 days away from completing our emergency fund), the flowers would be a no – and there have been many times when 1.99 would be more than i have spent feeding my entire family dinner! i am keeping “to everything there is a season” in the front of my mind right now – sometimes it is a negative thing – we have had our spendthrift season, now it is over, but most of the time it is a positive thing – if we will be careful now, we will have more flexibility later – so, for me, too frugal at this time would be skimping on four food groups for my children or neglecting to change the oil in our one family vehicle – but i have got vision for those aldi flowers! we are just not there yet!

    • Amber says:

      Theresa, that perfectly describes where we are now too. Very well said!

    • says:

      I know how you feel. I strive to feed 8 of us for $3 a day (3 meals snacks for everyone) and right now buying food is just not possible.

      Sometimes, when I smell the stargazer lilies, I just walk over to them, pick them up, take a big whiff (or three!), and put them back in the water. I enjoy them right there in the store for that moment, and that has to do for now.

  • may says:

    i know exactly what u all mean.. for few years now kept telling each other not to buy presents for one another for birthdays and has been really tight. but i have been always secretly wishing he would find or even make me a cheap gift. how sad is that? =(

    • says:


      You are not alone. You should ask him if he would do something for your birthday or anniversary. Give him suggestions of ideas that could be done with things you already have.

      I remember asking my husband to buy milk for 2 years in a row for our anniversary. I missed being able to buy milk (we have had enough powdered and evaporated milk in storage that I could cook, though we weren’t shopping for food). I LOVE milk. The second year, he bought it. It was a HUGE splurge for us to buy a gallon of milk, and it was a big deal to me. I worried about the money (after all, we weren’t shopping for food) but it was a very meaningful gift to me.

      We don’t usually do gifts either–no budget for it–but you can give each other gifts of service. Perhaps there is something that he could do for you, such as clean the kitchen, mop the floor, clean the bathrooms, etc. In turn, you could take out the trash, vacuuum the car, etc. Gifts of service just cost your time, and though they aren’t a physical gift, they are nice, too. Perhaps you could have him cook dinner for you, or you could give him the gift of a nice meal (even if it’s just a new bean recipe).

      One thing that we do that is nice on those days is that we take the time to do something at home together. Usually we play a game together after the children are in bed. It’s nice to just spend time together, even though we can’t go out.

  • karrie jablonowski says:

    To the question…No..Ive never been that frugal, but I’m trying to learn. Im one of those,”Hmm..they are on sale so ill get like 6 bouquets, and my house will look and smell amazing!!” lol Ive spent my whole life over induldging on everything. Im trying really hard now to be somewhere in the middle to start, and get a lot of free stuff while im at it. lol Love the story though. Thanks for sharing that..

  • Becky says:

    Very funny–I feel your pain, Crystal! My possible over the edge moment happened last weekend. We went to a casual dinner party at someone’s house with several friends. We took 2 fancy desserts, 1 large expensive bottle of a limited release beer, a nice bottle of wine, & a 6 pack of beer (I know, I know–sounds like we have drinking problems). My husband & I had met some family out for appetizers & drinks beforehand, & so we hardly ate/drank when we went to the party. My husband drank a couple of the beers we brought, we shared the special release beer with the friends, & I had a 1/2 glass of wine that the hostess served me which was box wine that I know she keeps in her fridge at all times (nothing against box wine since we often enjoy it, just was cheap compared to what we brought). When we were leaving, I grabbed a couple of the remaining beers & the bottle of wine we brought that was unopened. I felt justified in doing it since we had brought so much and eaten/drank so little, but I just felt cheap doing it. I regretted it when we got home & especially hoped that nobody saw me collecting it as I left. I think I should have left it all–I’ve been feeling guilty about it all week.

  • says:

    Thank you for writing this so I know I am not the only one in the world who struggles with this!

  • says:

    So good Crystal! I have absolutely done this before. Thanks for the reminder.

  • says:

    After gaining 30 pounds, I was still shoving my haunches into my medium underwear…I was no longer a medium, for sure. Nothing makes you feel worse about your body than underwear that doesn’t fit! I thought I could lose the weight quickly enough to make do. So glad I gave in and bought underwear that fits! And now I feel like I look pretty good!

  • Joy says:

    I did the same thing yesterday at the the thrift store. Saw a really beautiful purple shirt new with tags from Kohl’s around $4 for me. I stared at it for a good 1/2 hour. Put it in my cart. Took it out my cart. Put it back in cart. Took it out of cart again and put in back on rack. I’m kicking myself now for not getting it. I guess I felt guilty because I had already borrowed money from my almost 13 y.o. son to go to thrift store in first place. I did buy a never used purse for $3 though to replace my falling apart one. LOL.

    • says:

      I think you did the right thing. You went to get a purse to replace yours. That was the important thing. You didn’t really have the money for the shirt, so putting it back was the right thing. It doesn’t matter how good of a deal it is if you can’t afford it.

  • Emily says:

    I was crying one day at the grocery store because my budget that week was “essentials only” and my son wanted me to make Turkish Delight for his birthday. Turkish Delight at our house is simply Jello made without all the water so it makes Jello Jigglers and then I roll them in powdered sugar. Since I had powdered sugar all I needed was a 69 cent box of green Jello. There I was standing in the Jello aisle going back and forth about buying it and crying about going over my budget. Seriously?!?!

  • Dara says:

    Thanks, Crystal, for sharing your story! As a black-belt couponer, I also struggle with any purchase which might fall under the category of a “luxury.” A particularly tricky area for me is movies. The last time I’d seen a movie was in September, and I didn’t even pay — I was taking the children I babysit for. But there’s a discount theater near my home with $3 movies, and they only charge $1.50 on Tuesdays. So this week, I decided to force myself to “blow” 6 quarters on this extravagance, and enjoyed a wonderful Tuesday matinee of “Puss In Boots.” Hurray for simple pleasures!

  • DJ says:

    My husband and I will go together to the card aisle on Valentine’s Day, pick out the cards we want, exchange them right there, then put them back! HA! My dad says this is taking my frugality too far.

  • Erin says:

    I did a similar thing once, but decided to pass them up. When I shared the story with my husband, hoping to get a pat on the back for my frugality and self restraint, I was surprised by his reaction. He felt horrible. He was working hard because he wanted to take good care of me. And when I felt like we couldn’t afford to spend a few dollars on something so simple, it made him feel like a failure as a man and provider of our family despite all his effort. Sometimes its good to remember moderation in all things!

  • says:

    LOL I did this at Aldi’s just last week! I keep looking at all the flowers, picking up each and every bunch. After a seemingly ten minute look over I passed the flowers over. I just couldn’t do it! To see that most of the flowers were a little beat up I decided to save my buck ninety nine for something surely less frugal. Bah probably produce haha.

  • says:

    How funny this is to read as the last 3 weeks I have been adding tulips to my grocery cart during my weekly shopping trip. However, this week I began to feel guilty about the $3.99 I was spending on these beautiful flowers that really gave me a pick me up everytime I walked by the kitchen table where they were displayed beautifully atop a vintage cake stand in an ironstone pitcher.

    So….this week I spent $5.99 and purchased a potted Gerbera Daisy that will still atop that vintage cake stand, but should last me until Spring Break before I manage to kill it…And, I feel like I just saved a ton of money.

    I guess what I am saying is I totally get what YOU are saying! Frugal doesn’t mean we have to deprive ourselves of a touch of beauty in our surroundings. Sometimes we just may have to re-think how we get that beauty to sate our frugal mindset…..

  • robbin says:

    I love most of these ideas but one. Shoes for growing feet. I have a couple friends who never got new shoes. They were always preworn. Now as adults they have serious and expensive foot leg n hip issues. My goal is to save but not hurt my kids. So unless the shoes are new we don’t buy em anyplace but a shoe dept. Sadly one of the people is my mother inlaw and she either can wear expensive sneakers. Or tie shoes both run over $80.00a pair. No slippers flip flops or even sandals work and I mean to the point she can’t walk has to be on bed rest and get treatment.

    • KC says:

      Totally agree when it comes to shoes. Buying a new pair instead of a used one is like teeth cleaning now or dental work later. Just my opinion.

    • Sarah says:

      I totally agree. My compromise is to only have 2-3 pairs of shoes for my son, but make sure they fit well (that 1/2-inch between his big toe and the end of the shoes is important, they last longer that way).

  • Becky says:

    Yes, I’ve taken frugal too far…even on groceries. I guess I’m a tightwad, but my husband is a free spirit, so I have to compromise sometimes. We have a budgeted item called “spending money” which we use to splurge on ourselves and most of my spending money goes to Bath and Body Works. Even there I feel the need to go to the outlet because the prices seem so much better than at the regular store.

  • says:

    I think about this ALL THE TIME! I can really get myself in a WAD over whether to save or give. Normally, the Lord reminds me of the story when Mary poured the expensive perfume all over His feet in lavish “waste”. Her “mis”use of the perfume glorified the Lord AND enabled her to experience abundance. HE delights in our pleasure as His children, and He loves to give us abundance when we can embrace it. He blesses us with money and the ability to enjoy nature, gifted people, art, and the joy of sharing with others. Oh that I will stay close enough to Him to hear him telling me when to bless and when to BE blessed. 🙂

  • Deb says:

    FYI….I bought a potted plant at Aldi’s a year or so ago (for a good price!) and found out later that it had aphids. Infected several other of my plant menagerie before I realized it was infested! Lesson learned: CHECK under the leaves before buying fresh flowers or plants there!

  • Jocelyn says:

    Thank you for sharing this! Recently had a conversation about a similar subject with some friends. I believe God calls us to live without worry and be generous. We are called to be good stewards and use all we have for God’s glory.

  • Christy says:

    I have a 4 year old boy and 1 year old boy. We have paid for haircuts for the 4 year old for about 3 years now. Just starting getting 1 year old’s haircut and I have been stressing about how I cannot spend $45-50 every 6 weeks for all 3 of my boys to get their haircut (including DH). I have long, curly hair, so I only get it trimmed every 3 months for $40 each time–yes I know that is expensive, but when you find someone that can cut curly hair w/o butchering it….Well, anyway, about 7 weeks ago, we paid for all 3 boys to get their hair cut. About 3 weeks ago, DH and oldest were due. DH got his cut but I was determined to save money and cut the children’s hair myself. 3 weeks later, I finally decided to cut my now very shaggy 4 year old’s hair. DH tells me our clippers broke months ago. Great! Did some research on the internet and many of you frugal mommies cut your sons’ hair with scissors, no clippers. A friend of mine cuts her 2 year old twins sons with scissors, no clippers, and regular scissors at that. Read a lot, watched youtube tutorials and set off to cut. BAD IDEA!! Of course, DH told me it was a bad idea before I started. Ended up driving up to CVS and buying a $20 haircut kit (with clippers) to try to undo the damage. The clippers were sooo much easier and made it look a little better, but there is a huge bald spot in the back where I had cut too short with the scissors before using the clippers and around one ear is absolutely horrid–again from scissors. So now DH is insisting on taking him to the haircut place tomorrow and is laughing at me about my frugal attempt that has turned into a $34 haircut ($20 for clippers + $14 for fixing it). I am willing to give it another shot next time he needs a cut now that I have the correct tools and figure they may be a money-saving purchase in the long run, but DH is against it!! 1 year old will need haircut soon…… Hats off to all you frugal mommies that do this successfully on your own and hoping the daycare lets him wear his ball cap tomorrow! Also having your 4 year old scream at you, “You should have listened to your husband,” is wonderful!!

    • Sarah says:

      hahaha! Your husband sounds like mine! He’s very good at pulling me back from the edge when I’ve gone too far. But he’s also been a great partner is my couponing efforts. He actually has a coupon swap with a bunch of ladies in his office at work! I’ve been so grateful for his help the last few months, since this pregnancy (and my ornery 3-year-old) are kicking my butt!

  • kathy says:

    Thanks For the laughs. Here’s mine. When our son was a toddler and I was a stay at home mom I decided I could save money by cutting his hair. Well when I finished we went to see grandma who said bangs were not right.She proceeded to trim them. Well needless to say We had to take him to our beautician to straighten out the mess. Her first words were What in the world happened to this child?LOL we never confessed but you think she knew? LOL Also when this same child was about ten and I showed him anew shirt I bought him his first words were “How much did you get off? ” That’s when I realized I would need to be careful not to go to far.

  • kathy says:

    One last comment /thought. That wonderful child is now a responsible young man with a family of his own. His comment to his wife was that if she wanted to learn how to save money (they were newlyweds at the time )talk to my mama. He meant It as a compliment. Just a word to encourage young moms.Teaching your children to save by example is a wonderful life lesson that will come back to bless them and you if not taken too far. May God bless each of you in your efforts to be good stewards of what He has given you.

  • Sarah says:

    Our family’s “too frugal” moment was 3 years ago when replacing the tile in our dining room. My husband and father-in-law went shopping for all the supplies (which included some beautiful tile that we’d got on a great sale). Well, hubby thought about getting that cardboard backer board that you put down underneath the tile to keep everything stable, but his dad talked him out of buying it because it was so expensive, and he’d tiled his kitchen without it and never had problems.

    Well, the 2 of them spent all of the 4-day Thanksgiving weekend cutting tile on our front porch (to stay out of the pouring rain) and worked like dogs to get the job done in the time they both had off work. Well, our townhome was built on the side of a hill back in the 1960s, so there’s definitely some settling going on with the house.

    After a month or two, the tile started cracking. After several months, all the grout had crumbled and had been swept away (yeah, no so fun cleaning a floor when you have more of the floor in your dustpan than actual dirt).

    Two years later we were finally able to afford to replace the flooring, so for two years hubby had to look at that floor and regret cheaping out and not buying the backer board. Cheaping out ruined all that hard work and wasted the money and time spent on the project.

  • kathy says:

    Just. A follow up note. Reading all this made me definitely think straight while in CVS today. Husband only likes one kind of Listerine mouthwash. Only one brand and one kind. It was on sale at good price. He’s completely out and for one moment I thought about not getting it because I had planned on a one dollar coupon and discovered it was only fifty cents! Then I thought about this blog. I bought hubby’s choice and he’s very happy. Thanks for helping when we almost slip back

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