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Thread: The Frugal Thread

  1. #1
    Senior Member WarProfiteer's Avatar
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    The Frugal Thread

    Frugal; economical in use, prudently saving, not wasteful

    My financial perspective has evolved over time. I now tend to value frugality more than I ever have, and the last 5 years have seen me really move away from typical western consumerism and more towards playing it smart with my money...

    I can recall, with crystal-like clarity, when I first started visiting Thailand from Iraq. I HAD to have a big suite. The gal wants 3k baht? No problem (remember, this was 5 ears ago). Overpriced ladydrinks for her and her friends? Sure, why not?

    So I am definitely very, very guilty of the weekend millionaire sins. Been there. Done it. Guilty as charged.

    These days though I find the notion of any of those things is a big turn off. It would all automatically be mentally categorized as wasteful. These days I am far more interested in saving money than spending it. I'm not talking about being an offensively cheap scrooge, but just being smarter in the way one spends their money.

    As such, I just wanted to start a thread, for those in Thailand and those at home, where folks can share their money saving ideas... just basic things you do in your life to cut costs. Could be simple, could be over the top and therefore funny (thinking of Slimbag here, 555), but I just thought it might be an interesting discussion.


    A few of my recent things...

    I bought a $15 coffee maker instead of going to a coffee shop every morning. Sounds silly, but up until recently I didnt own one. I would typically spend $20-$25 p/w in Starbucks when I was here.

    We now shop in the local markets about half the time instead of the chain supermarkets. Ya cant get a lot of western products, but chicken and veggies and eggs are like half the price.

    I cut way, way back on alcohol consumption. I didnt eliminate it entirely, but it's down just once every few weeks, and on that occasion I stop after 2 drinks. I've had stages here where I'd have a few beers at home, then head out and have more (sometimes many more), multiple times per week... only later did I start adding up the cost of that.

    When I want something sweet, I get fruit from a fruit cart instead of cookies. Fruit's only 10 baht, whereas a bag of Pepperidge Farms cookies are 150.

    I use my credit card for everything, then pay it all off at the end of the month. It doesnt save me money, but it gets me the miles, which can then be used for free tickets. I'm up to about 200K miles now w/ Star Alliance. That's enough for 2 business class trips to the US, or 8 trips within the US.


    Just a few of my ideas there... interested in what others do/think, re; money saving methods...
    Last edited by WarProfiteer; 8th February 2015 at 07:48.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    I seem to have cut down on spending here by natural attrition...every year has cost me less than the previous year..and after 6 years here (at Songkran) I am online for coming in under 1M baht for the first time...It sorta went something along the lines of 1.8, 1.6, 1.5, 1.4, 1.2...and now if I keep it under 100K for this month and next it will be bang on the 1M

    The answer to this is mostly partying related...and most of that goes on LDs I gotta say..I would still spend 20-25K on LDs a month 555....earlier on in my time here that would have been doubled....partying altogether is till running near enough to 50K a month

    I don't hold back on doing/eating anything I want so my new found "frugality" is not driven by saving $$$..its all about my health these days...I eat more fresh stuff and cook more at home....and I party way less than before..TBH I just can't handle hangovers like I used to
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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    The biggest way I save money is through eating:

    I buy things that can be made and eaten for dinner and then lunch at work the next day.

    Bananas....cheap as can be, even organic. .30 or so for breakfast everyday.

    Something like pork tacos/wraps. The pork is cheap and all the vegetables that I buy for them can also be made for a salad.

    And sales. If something I like is on sale( like canned tuna) I buy a bunch of it.


    We dont go out as much as we did. That is more on Ao than me. She likes to stay in...I'd go out nightly if I could at times.

    I don't worry about costs on weekends. If we want to go somewhere we do.
    But if we go out on weekdays we will use a Groupon or go to one of the 5-6 bars that offer everything on their menu for 5-6cad or .25 wings night.

    Drinking....that will never be a cost cutting measure for me. It is just too much a part of my lifestyle. Now our cost on that has decreased naturally because we don't drink as much but I don't ever see me cutting down to save money
    Last edited by marc26; 8th February 2015 at 12:20.

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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Groupon

    I dont know if it is only available in BKK in Thailand but if not you guys living there should look at it.
    Some amazing deals...especially for buffets

  5. #5
    Senior Member sundancekid's Avatar
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    Same progression as N1 for me as well. Gone from 250K in my first month here to currently around 70K, business expenses included. Some months down in the 40s. And itís not because I need to save, but mostly because of a natural progression. Still feel I live like a king, although the LDs as a budgetary measure has dropped to the bottom end of my expenditures. Think I need to correct that in factÖ

    Just love driving to the new Makro up in Talang these days on the weekends. The bargain prices you can get there is really incredible. And then make some youtube dish watched the day before. Can be horrible, but can also be pretty freaking good. Iím using my dog as a taster though, as kings should. If he wonít eat it, I probably should not eitherÖ

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    Same for me. I'm probably better off now than I've ever been but drive a tatty little van, no car, do my food shopping at Aldi and any clothes shopping at outlets or Sports Direct. And even at Sports Direct I look through their clearance stuff first

    I've found putting my money away where I can't see it makes me feel skint. I look in my wallet Monday morning and there's £15 or so and I know it's time to go to work. Same at weekends, I will bank everything but £50 so big lairy nights out become unaffordable.

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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    But I dont see any of this as anti-Western consumerism

    Buying fruit, not going out every night, shopping cheaply
    None of that is a west vs east thing

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    Senior Member Geespot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve@thaib View Post
    Same for me. I'm probably better off now than I've ever been but drive a tatty little van, no car, do my food shopping at Aldi and any clothes shopping at outlets or Sports Direct. And even at Sports Direct I look through their clearance stuff first

    I've found putting my money away where I can't see it makes me feel skint. I look in my wallet Monday morning and there's £15 or so and I know it's time to go to work. Same at weekends, I will bank everything but £50 so big lairy nights out become unaffordable.
    Sorry but that sounds down right depressing, suppose everyone is different!

    Whats the end game?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geespot View Post
    Sorry but that sounds down right depressing, suppose everyone is different!

    Whats the end game?
    It's motivational, not depressing. End game is a bit more property and hopefully a better life after I'm 55. I'm ok working hard now but know I won't have the beans to later.

  10. #10
    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    Interesting timing as I've just booked a 2k business class flight to BKK and Hong Kong for the Summer hols but I believe that being frugal in some area allows you to splash out on some more stuff. Aldi is a great idea, I reckon I save around 2k a year just by going there and to be honest I've found no loss of quality or selection and if you go early you can get in and out in 30 minutes easy. I would definitely describe myself as frugal rather than mean as I can spend money with the best of them when I want to but don't believe in wasting money.

    There's a big difference between getting something cheap and getting something of value. I do find myself buying clothes in the sales as it just makes sense, it's rare I'm caught for something to wear so why pay 33-50% more for the same thing. I also always look out for 3 for 2 offers or buy one get one free particularly in toiletries as they're non-perishable. No harm to sign up to a loyalty card either. I also bring lunch to work as it not only saves money but it's just lazy not to, it's like the buying starbucks every day thing, 4 euro for one sandwich or a fiver to make your sandwiches for a week. I don't feel like I'm losing out on anything either but I do notice colleagues constantly with the coffee cups on their desks and making lots of trips to the vending machines, I think it helps that I'm not a picker when it comes to food, just stick to my 3 meals a day. Definitely helps if you don't have kids or don't smoke. I tend not to eat out much prefering to cook at home mostly and if I do it's usually pub grub or a take away, I rarely throw out food too, it's like throwing money in the bin. Great believer in using the credit card too as you can see exactly what your spending on your regular outgoings every month, try and make a yearly budget too, it's not as hard or take as long as you'd think but it allows you to see if you've some disposable income to get something for the house or just save some extra money. My two major expenses are my mortgage and my car, the first is on a tracker which has save me thousands and the 2nd is on a 0% finance deal.

    Will post another thread on the Summer plans, got a great deal on the hotel in Hong Kong, The 5* Langham(got 2 nights free lots of good deals like this around, if you stay for 3 nights get 1 free. Like I said I can spend with the best of them, there's no way I'd stay in a hostel or get a fan to save money on a room with no aircon, somethings are worth spending money on and if you can get a real nice 4* hotel for 40 euro a night then go for it.
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    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    I was "blown away" by the price of cigarettes in AUS last year when I was over... $26 for a packet of 20...same brand/pack here $3....of course its all tax but Thailand could jump on that as a way of helping with the hospitals budgets

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    Senior Member slampay's Avatar
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    I'm perfecting the "oh crap, I forgot my wallet" move.
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    A woman won The Nobel Peace Prize? Must have been a pretty good sandwich.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nelsonone View Post
    I was "blown away" by the price of cigarettes in AUS last year when I was over... $26 for a packet of 20...same brand/pack here $3....of course its all tax but Thailand could jump on that as a way of helping with the hospitals budgets
    Cigs at my club are $32 mate, from the vending machine.
    And they line up for then, unbelievable.

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve@thaib View Post
    It's motivational, not depressing. End game is a bit more property and hopefully a better life after I'm 55. I'm ok working hard now but know I won't have the beans to later.
    No pockets in shoruds also tho..

    Had people close to me drop down dead at early ages.. So have a balance in my mind.
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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slampay View Post
    I'm perfecting the "oh crap, I forgot my wallet" move.
    AKA The Khunt Denpah..
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  16. #16
    Senior Member WarProfiteer's Avatar
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    Of course, one of the big ways money is saved when living in Thailand is that having a car (and all the associated costs) is entirely optional. For most people, their cars represent their second largest debt, following only their house. An added bonus is that motorbikes get extremely good mileage... I seem to recall the PCX gets like 100 mpg. Typically a tank of fuel ($6) lasts me a week. When I'm visiting my folks, even with gas at serious lows, I burned through $40 p/w in their spare car- and it's an econobox!

    I live in (what I feel is) a decent, mid level apartment in the exact right location for us... it's right near the gym, a 7-11, local market and fuel station, as well as being right in the middle of the shewok's 2 schools. It's 83 sqm, 2 bed & 2 bath place with a nice 110 degree view from the 10th floor balcony... can see the city and the mountains behind. It costs just $475/mo. I dont think I could even get close to renting a place for that price back home unless I lived in the ghetto.

    One of the other things I've started doing is just not going out with a pocket full of money. Instead, if I am meeting some friends out somewhere, I go out with a reasonable amount (say, $50) and when that money is done, I'm done. In my early years in Thailand I did the exact opposite and it often lead to spending much more than needed. I honestly dont find I enjoy things any less if I stay more sober and just make more rational decisions.

    I'll have to see what my monthly average will be during my prolonged stay this time. Generally speaking, I shoot for 60k p/m, but unforeseen expenses like Taky's mom dying ($1000) or trips abroad for visa reasons probably drive that average upward. I'll track it over time and see how it works out. But really, I feel like I have a pretty good life for that amount... I go out to eat when I want or we make something de-lish at home (she's a really good cook) from fresh ingredients we got at the market, I grab a motorcycle and go on rides whenever I want, I hit the gym most days, we go to a movie most weeks... all in all, it's pretty good.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve@thaib View Post
    It's motivational, not depressing. End game is a bit more property and hopefully a better life after I'm 55. I'm ok working hard now but know I won't have the beans to later.
    Steve
    you are on the right track. There is no need to actually deprive yourself, just spend wisely.
    Always amazes me, all our tenants have a bigger TV and a newer car than us.

    Travelled business class and first class for work but quite happy with economy when it's our money. After all you are asleep most of the time.
    Had much more fun in interesting hotels than 5 star standard.

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    I don't feel deprived, more like I used to waste a lot of money and now I don't. I'm squeezing a bit harder than I need to at the moment, actually quite a bit harder, but finding that we live ok and eat well plus looking at the medium/long term benefits makes me feel pretty good.

    I think we have a culture in this country of often living beyond our means and keeping up with the neighbours. I don't, these days, feel any need to impress anyone with a flash car or a big house ( along with unneccessarily big mortgage ).

    Being old and poor in the UK has to be a shit place to be, I want to do everything I can to avoid being there. A few sacrifices now will pay dividends later. The surprise, to me, is just how much you don't need.
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    Senior Member PadMC's Avatar
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    Good thread. Things to think about...

    I'm naturally frugal when it comes to possessions and what I want. I'm not at all flash. I could have and can afford the perceived "nicer" things, better car, fly first class sometimes, stay in flash hotels. I just don't see the value for money in a lot of those things (I'm sure I get that from my Mum). As regards the small everyday things, food in supermarkets, cost of a cup of nice coffee, a good night out, a gadget I really want (imo the penny stuff) I don't give those kind of things a second thought. I would consider myself a generous person and it gives me pleasure to spread it around, mostly to family and friends. I always really enjoy my first week when I go to Thailand. I don't watch what I spend in general.

    I've been lucky with money all my life without having to really worry about it, even when I had none or very little, I've always had enough.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PadMC View Post
    I always really enjoy my first week when I go to Thailand. I don't watch what I spend in general
    To me, that's the place I will spend. I have one holiday a year and want to stay in a decent place and not think about money; a bit of a reward for watching the pennies all year these days.

    I don't think I'm mean, more like I've woke up to how wasteful I used to be.
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