Frugal ways to make your dreams come true now

by Karen on November 11, 2008

Photo by darwinbell

washer and dryer

Being frugal involves a lot of waiting. But frugality isn’t just about planning, saving, and waiting. Sometimes it’s about finding ways to get the things we want now without going into debt or spending a lot of money.

Yesterday I wrote about the dreams my husband and I have for all the things we want to do with our money in the future when our debt is paid. Today I want to share what used to be on the list of things we want, and the frugal ways that we found to get them now.

Washer and dryer

Every time we trudged our laundry to the laundromat and spent hours washing, drying, and folding, we dreamed of having a washer and dryer of our own. A few months ago, I bartered with a co-worker: she and her husband had an extra washer and dryer, and they needed help moving. In exchange for a Saturday and some heavy lifting, we got a nearly new washer and dryer for free. Now we do our laundry at our leisure in the comfort of our home without having to schlep it to the laundromat. Best deal I ever made.

Furniture

When we moved out of our college apartments, we left behind the furniture that belonged to our roommates. The nice thing about college towns, though, is recent grads are always trying to get rid of decent furniture for next to nothing just so they won’t have to move it.

I spent my last year in my college town collecting furniture. Some of it we bought for very cheap; some of it was given to us by generous friends and family members. As I said yesterday, we dream of the day when we can replace it with new(er), nicer furniture. For now we have a comfortable place to sit and sleep even if it’s not the prettiest or the roomiest. Most importantly, we didn’t have to go into debt to furnish our home.

A good set of knives

For people who love to cook, good knives are an important investment. For years we used dull knives and dreamed of chopping with ease with a good quality sharp knife. We thought it would be a while before we could afford a nice knife set, but a few weeks ago we found a clearance knife set at a Linens n Things closeout sale. Using birthday money and a little from our regular spending budget, we finally got the knives we’d always wanted at an affordable price. We’re still on the look out for cookware, though.

A dog

For as long as we’ve been together, Tony and I dreamed of welcoming a dog into our family. When we moved to North Carolina, we knew we wanted to adopt a puppy. We saved up enough to pay the adoption fee at a shelter (significantly less than we would have paid to adopt a pure bred puppy). We also negotiated with our landlord before we signed the lease to reduce the pet deposit.

Once we adopted Howie, we found frugal ways to care for him. We bought a nearly new kennel on Craig’s List for 1/4th what we would have paid at a pet store (the previous owner’s German shepherd puppy had only used it 3 months before she outgrew it). We found a vet that offers a 20% discount on vaccinations every Thursday, and we continue to make his appointments on Thursdays to save a little money. We buy his flea and heartworm prevention medicines online to save money. We spent a lot of time training him so he doesn’t have destructive habits that cost us a lot of money. Despite our best efforts, pet care is still expensive. It’s worth every penny, though.

What about you? How have you used your frugal skills so you don’t have to wait for the things you want?

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