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Auto-Pilot Your Way to Frugalville

May 26th, 2006 at 06:14 pm

Iím on auto-pilot, thatís what it is. I couldnít exactly come up with right term of why Iíve been doing fine on my (Modified) Minimum Wage Challenge, without lots of effort, but Priceplus nailed it. Iíve often noticed that heís a man of fewer but more pertinent words, and heís done it again.

I do not have to work at living frugal now; Iím on auto-pilot. Iíve kept my old good habits going, that enabled me to even think about doing this, and my newer habits (eating out much less) are starting to sink in.

It makes me think of Jeffreyís post on collecting 101 Painless ways to save. How many of us do frugal things that feel very easy to us, and we canít see why anyone would think bulk purchased cooked from scratch plain oatmeal would be Painful? We think hanging clothes is just another same old. Others of us may have been shocked at the idea of cutting things out, or buying things used, or making things from scratch. Well, itís not so much a matter or hard or easy, or painful or painless.

If you have never hung laundry, and have always had clothes come out of the dryer, hanging clothes takes getting used to. Maybe you need a rack or a line. Maybe you currently wash 6 loads at once and canít hang it all. You might not have cloths pins, not know that clothes dry in the house or on mild days, not like the look of the hanging clothes, be put off at the stiffness.

Over time, you get into a groove. You know how much will fit on the drying space you have. You learn that hanging clothes on hangers can help you fit more on the line. You get used to stiff socks, and you put your work shirts in the dryer for five minutes when they are almost dry to avoid stiffness and ironing. You find a good place for the rack, and you realize that clothes pins can have lots of other uses as well. It used to take more time, but now you hang them lickety-split, maybe while watching the tube or listening to the radio. You get to be on auto-pilot.

Itís the same task: hanging laundry. But it went from hard to easy, painful to painless. There are skills out there that I didnít have, and when I worked to get them it was a learning curve, but now they are easy. And other ideas, Iím intimidated by, but can tackle one at a time.

It really goes along with my idea of habits being the key (my second favorite post, from April 7).

Take on one thing at a time, fine tune it to your lifestyle (go generic and store brand for almost everything but decide you must have Campbellís chicken noodle soup), do it over and over, and youíll be on auto-pilot.

6 Responses to “Auto-Pilot Your Way to Frugalville”

  1. Thrifty Ray Says:

    Auto pilot is exactly right. I try to think of frugal things I do...and I often have a hard time coming up with them, because they are all so, well...second nature. Nothing special, no bells and whoopla....just plain, simple and 'normal'.

  2. kylieb266 Says:

    yeah, but I find I don't have the time for tasks, and to do things on auto pilot, but as long as I make the effort to hang my clothes on the line or rack, cook tea at home almost every night (have takeaway maybe once every month and a half), and shop smartly in the supermarket and look in thrift shops, then I am doing everything a single parent working part time can to live frugally...

  3. Tightwad Kitty Says:

    You have hit on the ahead in naming it "Auto-Pilot your way to Frugalville." Keep up the good work.

    I have been on Auto- Pilot for so long, that now I am trying to pin point what I am doing right and naming each strategy. Along with finding out if I can do better.

  4. markio26 Says:

    tightwad kitty:
    i am trying to do better also, i am on autopilot.. my spouse and sons are not.. one son does shop til he drops to find the best deal on line and at b&m stores. i have made a big impression on him.

  5. frontporchmom Says:

    Being frugal takes baby steps...but all the baby steps add up and become routine after awhile. It also is a process of becoming more humble and breaking with the prideful ways. It is very hard to be frugal and prideful at the same time. It is a refining process that really produces not only savings in the bank ---but also I think a person with a beautiful spirit as well. So to me all these steps and routines in being frugla are truly priceless-many folks I know do not want to learn this lesson. I feel sorry for them and all their cars, boats, motorcycles, mortgaged vacation homes and stuff stored in storage units all over town.

  6. lrjohnson Says:

    Kitty: I can relate to the "naming each strategy" idea. I'm living on less than half my net income right now, and I was bummed that I seemed to have no stories about it. I kept getting out of bed, spending little or no money, and not seeing how I could make a Minimum Wage Update out of it. I too am trying to pinpoint and name what is working well, and by examining the area more thoroughly-groceries, household, transportation, entertainment, what have you-make improvements. What I really want to be able to convey, most of all, is that living on a low income/spending less of an income can be not constraining, and that my life is not all about being cheap every minute and working at pinching pennies. There is less effort than someone might think.

    My life is full, and saving money is not a struggle. I feel no deprivation, and I want others to belive that it can happen for them if skills and habits are incorporated over time. Frankly, the security of being able to live smaller is priceless to me; I'm not worried about the rug being pulled out from under my feet.


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