Frugal for Life – Best of The Best Blogger Series

Best of The BestThe second in our “Best of the Best” blogger series is a profile of Dawn from Frugal For Life.  Dawn has been blogging about her financial experiences, as well as sharing tips from around the web, for almost seven years. In Web years, that’s nearly a century!

She’s been doing it long enough to know a lot about living below your means and some of the best strategies for spending cash wisely and truly embracing frugality as a mindset and a way of life.

We caught up with Dawn recently to talk about how she got started, some of her best tips for saving, and what she thinks about credit cards.

Q: How did you get started with Frugal For Life?

A: I realized that after I had claimed bankruptcy over a decade ago, that I really didn’t want to get in the same predicament, and needed to figure out a way to keep track of the resources I found that helped me live a frugal life. Thus, the Frugal For Life site was born in 2004.

Q: Frugality has really taken root with consumers because of the economic downturn. In what ways do you think that frugality will become a permanent behavioral change for Americans, and in what ways do you think its importance might fade?

A: Unscientifically, I think a majority of those who used frugality to get through the lean years will abandon it when it is all over, because they saw it only as a way to get through, a necessity in dire situations. But for those who stay with it, they’ll ultimately see a positive impact in their lives – they’ll discover they didn’t really need those extras in their budget.

Q: What’s the most overlooked “blind spot” that consumers have when it comes to their spending?

A: The impact of what they spend, dollar by dollar. If you ask someone how much they spend eating out or plunk into vending machines during a month, most people will underestimate. For most people it is a huge surprise when they keep track of every dollar for a month, and realize where their money goes.

Q: If you had to choose your top 3 most impactful money saving tips, what would they be?

  1. Take time to do your research on the big ticket items.
  2. Don’t discount how quickly $5-10 can add up over the course of a year.
  3. Remember that “secondhand” just means all the kinks have been worked out for you, don’t pass them up!

Q: Is there a place for credit cards in the frugal lifestyle? Or do you prefer to avoid them altogether?

A: I do believe credit cards can fit into a frugal life as an emergency assistance or as a way to budget (as long as you pay them off). However, if credit card debt is high, paying them down should take top priority, and the credit cards should be physically frozen or cut up, so they aren’t a temptation until you have taught yourself how to manage them again.

Q: What are some of your favorite money-saving blogs and why?

Almost Frugal is helpful with giving me ideas on reusing items around the house. I also regularly read Denver Bargains for good sales on household products that I need to buy or entertainment in the Denver Metro area. Finally, I read the Buck List as a way to get a different perspective from my own, on a frugal life.

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