One of the funny things about living this lifestyle is that you either wholeheartedly announce your intentions for being frugal or you just do it to take care of business, keeping it quiet but being determined to stick with it. So far on my journey, I’ve been part of the latter team.
It’s not something that I purposefully did; whenever the talk of frugality, couponing or simply trying to save money comes up, I’m more of the listener than the leader of the conversation. If advice is needed, I give it, but I don’t go overboard. So, for the most part it seems like I have a few good nuggets of great information, but I know they don’t see me as an “expert.”
When we hang with our friends, whether it’s here in our home or out about town, we like to have the best time without thinking about the budget. Now, granted, the budget is thought about BEFORE we meet up with them, but our main goal is to not stress over a bill while trying to keep the experience fun. Here’s an example:
When we invited everyone out to celebrate hubby’s 30th birthday, I immediately created a budget in which I could treat all friends to dinner and dancing, picking up the tab for everything but alcoholic drinks. What our friends saw that night was a wife picking up a big 3 figure bill and paying for nightclub entrance for 10 or so people in honor of her husband’s birthday. What they didn’t see was the weeks before where I researched restaurants that could feed a large group with smaller entrees(we ended up at a tapas bar) and a club that offered a discount for an advanced RSVP list and even getting the birthday person in free. I factored in a trip to the diner after dancing and planned to treat to that as well. After the whole experience, we got lots of e-mails and facebook messages telling us how wonderful the night was for them and how honored they were to be invited.
It looked as if we went all out with no worries, but this frugal maven had been planning for a month.
With my military buddies, it’s no different. We constantly go out to eat and drink after duty hours and we always end up with a notoriously large bill. To make it even better, we split the bill evenly almost every time. Because I only see them once a month (usually), I do budget for these outings. With every military check I get, I take a bit out of it and put it aside for the next time I’ll be on base. I’ve never told my guys that this is what I have to do in order to hang with them worry-free, but if they asked I most definitely would share.
Then, there is the coupon talk. For the most part, none of them knew that I was so into coupons until about a year and a half ago. My girlfriends were let in on the secret when we had them over for a meal and I nonchalantly mentioned my stockpile and let them shop from it. They were shocked at how grand it was and that I was basically giving away things they paid an arm and a leg for. They did ask how I could do all of this, and I just said that I took advantage of coupons. No in depth explanation, no referencing, not even a mention of the blog until recently.
The big question is: why don’t I share? It seemed as if maybe I was ashamed of what I do, but once I thought about it, that’s definitely not the case. Maybe I just want to keep the secrets for myself? Nope, that can’t be it either. If so, I wouldn’t blog about it to perfect strangers. I did figure it out. It’s because this is just what I do and what I am. Like being a wife and mom is just what I do and what I am. Being a military member is what I do and what I am. I don’t go poo-pooing about telling everyone I meet that I have 2 kids, telling their names, positive and negative traits, and listing all the awards and ribbons I’ve gotten in the past 11 years. I just do these things. If a friend or family member asks about these aspects of life, I share. It’s the same with my frugal life. I know eventually they’ll see how big this part of my life effects all other aspects (hi guys!) but I won’t flaunt it. I just won’t. Maybe that’s a faux pas, maybe not. The best part is, I know that no matter what, frugal or not, they’ll still be my friends. And that’s all that counts, right?