Frugal Life, Minimalism

It Pays To Ask

I’ve got big saving goals coming up over the next few months, already looking ahead and planning to put away some money to tide me over during the dry period that will happen at the end of this year/ start of next. As inspiration, I’ve been reading back old editions of Five Frugal Things on my favourite frugal blog, The Non Consumer Advocate. I’ve read most posts a couple of times already, so I’m going back and reading the comments. Seeing commenters from all over the world stretch their dollars (or euro, or pounds) to the absolute limit has been great motivation for me to continue my frugal journey.

One lesson that jumped out at me whilst going back and reading hundreds of tips was this: it pays to ask. Emboldened by Katy’s confidence, a lot of her readers are starting to ask for items or opportunities they wouldn’t have before, and the risk is usually paying off, resulting in overlooked discounts, gifts, or free goods.

I realised I’d done this myself twice this week, without even thinking about it. The first occasion I talked about in yesterday’s Five Frugal Things, where I was charged 40% more than usual at the hair salon. I’m so glad I went back in to question this, instead of blindly accepting the price hike. In situations where we’re dealing with fields we don’t work in (I don’t know how much bleach costs! Maybe dye really is this expensive!) it can be difficult to trust your gut instead of the professional. But this instance proved that questioning the experts can prove that they’re at fault. Better to ask and be educated than not ask and never fix the mistake!

The second instance happened because I had finally donated all of my pre-capsule clothes. I now only have around thirty items of clothing and three pairs of shoes. I’d been given a cute pair of Melissa rain boots that I’d gotten a tonne of compliments on and thought would see me through winter. I therefore gave an old thrifted pair of lace up winter boots to a close friend. A week later, I was forcibly reminded of how my feet swell when it’s cold, developing purplish chilblains that are hugely painful. Sadly, my beloved boots were pointy-toed, squeezing in all the wrong places and making me nauseous with pain after a day of wear. Not good. I resigned myself to check out thrift stores to try and find a replacement pair – something warm, a bit higher, round toed, lace up, maybe with a snug trim…basically, everything I had with my old thrifted boots. I tentatively reached out to my friend describing the foot situation and asking if I could swap my fancy Melissa boots for my old boots (I didn’t want to leave her with nothing). Turns out, she took my boots but prefers her existing pair, and was more than happy to give them back. Saved myself searching for a new pair of boots when I have a lovely pair that has plenty of life in them yet! And I’m happy to report that my poor, swollen winter feet seem pretty satisfied with the new accomodation.

These may be small examples, but it think it shows that a small change in attitude can be enough to save a lot of money. As commenters on NCA note, it’s the small, every day changes that lead to big savings. Let’s not be ashamed to save our hard earned money. Let’s take back receipts, ask questions, reach out. Here’s to being frugal!

Featured image: Megan Lewis

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