Well Being

Meet Thrifty Karen!

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In a Lifestyles channel project called, Three Doors Down, our mission is to get to know our fellow bloggers and what makes them tick. We were instructed to start with the Lifestyles blog that is listed three places below us in the channel directory and then migrate three blogs south, getting to know each blog as we went. It was so much fun to visit the blogs that I normally do not frequent. I learned so much about conservation, being money savvy and how to do simple home repairs and was amazed at how easy it is to implement the ideas that they illustrate in the blogs! I decided to conduct mini interviews with each blogger and post a new one each week. The first neighbor that so graciously invited me into their blogging home, was Karen of Thrifty Mommy. After chatting with Karen, I wondered why the heck I had not already subscribed to her blog. She has so many awesome ideas for saving money, while still living well. She was even kind enough to answer all of my smart ass questions. You rock, Karen! Anyway, take a look at our interview and then get over to her blog to pick up today's special on being thrifty (and a great recipe for 7 layer dip!)

1. In your opinion, is “thrifty” just a fancy word for tight wad?

Sometimes I joke that I'm a tightwad, but I really don't think that I am. A tightwad is someone who is stingy and sort of a scrooge. Being thrifty has more to do with saving money, being conservative, and getting the most out of something. Some people are thrifty because they want to be and some people are thrifty because they need to save money any way that they can.
2. Have you always been a tight wad ummm…thrifty, or was it something that you acquired over time?
A bit of both, actually. My mom taught me a lot of what I know about being thrifty. She taught me how to shop the clearance racks, to look for sales, and to use coupons. Although it was taught to me, there are a lot of tips and tools that I've learned along the way.
3. What is the most enjoyable thing about saving money?
Saving money has sort of become a game or goal to me. I try to find the lowest price possible on what I need. It's fun to go to yard sales and come home with nice looking name brand clothes for 50 cents each, rather than paying full price. I just smile when people comment on how cute my daughter's clothes are. The people that know me, know that I don't pay much for clothing and groceries. Sometimes they just can't help but to ask how much I paid for something. They are amazed at the bargains I find. The enjoyment also comes in knowing that I am saving thousands of dollars each year in clothing, food, and other purchases for our family, which enables me to stay home and be more involved in their lives.
4. Likewise, what is the hardest thing about it?

Patience and contentment are the hardest parts. I am usually a pretty content person, but there are always those rare occasions where I want to just go out and buy whatever I want. The difficulty with patience comes in waiting to find a good deal on what you want to buy.

Most of the time, I can run across a lot of deals and never be lacking for anything. Then there are some occasions that I can't find a good price for something I need and I just can't bring myself to pay full price. This happened a few months ago. There was not a good sale on meats for a few months. I continued to use what we had in our freezer. Finally, when meat went on sale again, I was able to stockpile our freezer. I mostly run into these problems with groceries or clothes. I have an internal struggle with paying regular price for something when I know I don't have to.
5. What is the most you've ever spent on a pair of jeans?
A few years ago, I think I spent about $20 on a pair. I usually don't pay more than $10 though. Sometimes people comment on the cute pockets on my jeans or the style. I think it's great that I'm getting the same or similar product for much less money. The key is knowing where to look for bargains and being patient while you find them.
6. What is your secret splurge item?

My secret splurge item used to be going out to eat, but since I quit teaching I am making more of an effort to reduce our eating out. Now my secret splurge item is coffee. Thankfully, the coffee restaurants are on the other side of town and I only pass by them once a month. I try to rationalize that it's only once a month, but I still feel guilty over spending $4-5 on coffee. My husband found a really good deal on an espresso machine though, so hopefully I can figure out how to make my own caramel macchiatos and and frappuccinos soon.
7. Is generic just as good as name brand?
I can't really give a “yes” or “no” answer to this one because it really depends upon the product. There are some products that are just as good in generic. There are some stores that have a good store brand cheese and then other stores that I would never buy their cheese again. I usually don't have to buy a lot of generics though because once name brands go on sale, they are usually cheaper than the generics. If you have a coupon, then you can really save big.
8. Do you agree with the sentiment that Thrift Stores smell like old people?

, some of them have a horrible smell. Some smell like moth balls or mildew. I am very sensitive to smells and some thrifty stores make my eyes water and cause me to sneeze. There are some thrift stores that are clean and don't put out merchandise like that. You can tell which ones are more particular.
9. If you could spend $1,000 on anything at all….what would it be?
My first reaction would be a new laptop, but honestly, my husband and I could use a new bed. I was going to spend about $1400 of our tax refund to purchase new mattresses, but my husband was laid off from his job. Now I'm holding on to all of our money, in case we need it for expenses.
10. Could you ever be friends with a shopaholic (like me,) or do our frivolous spending habits irk you too much?
Kadi, I'm honestly wondering when you have time to be a shopaholic, unless you're shopping online. lol Actually, now that I think of it, my closest friends are shopaholics. They say opposites attract, so I guess this is true with marriage and friendships.

Usually, after I have been friends with someone for a while, I start to wear off on them. Once they see the deals that I find and how to save money, they start to change some of their shopping habits. They begin to see that most of the same items can be purchased for less money, which leaves them with more money to spend or save.
Karen www.thriftymommy.comKaren