Why I Won’t Judge Your Spending

I don’t care what people think about me. I’ve shared this sentiment with you all before, and it’s not that I don’t care about people, I just don’t happen to put much stock in their opinion of me. I’m confident in who I am and the choices I make and I don’t let the desire to impress or prove myself guide the decisions I make with regard to spending or my life trajectory.

I do value the advice and guidance of friends, family, and my stalwart online frugal crew (that’d be you), but I’m not hung up on what anyone thinks about my appearance, success, or penchant for the extremely frugal. I used to care about these things—A LOT—and it consumed my life. I was stressed, always in a rush, constantly self-doubting, and rarely content. Not the best way to go through life. It’s a much better existence to be my authentic self and make decisions based on the goals that Mr. Frugalwoods and I have for early retirement and homesteading.

The Other Side Of Not Caring

Something I’ve realized is that there’s another, equally important aspect of not caring—it’s the other side of this equation and I call it “not judging.” Yes, I know, I’m amazingly original in my titles ;). But, in all honesty, “not judging” pretty much sums it up. Just as I don’t pay heed to the judgments of others, I in turn don’t judge.

Frugal Hound definitely does not care if you judge her snout or teefs

Frugal Hound definitely does not care if you judge her snout or teefs

As I experience more of life (that’s a nice way of saying “age”), I’ve come to appreciate the incredibly diverse trajectories we’re all on. Everyone is working through their own challenges, secret heartaches, hidden victories, and unknown insecurities.

I touched on this briefly in my exploration of the pain we encountered in our struggle with infertility because that experience heightened this awareness.

It is so easy to judge. I’m guilty of it all the time (just ask Mr. FW). It’s deliciously effortless to fall into the habit of thinking that I know what other people are going through and that I, in my eminent wisdom, know how they should improve their lives. I could (and I’m embarrassed to admit that I sometimes do) think unkind thoughts such as, “well, if those people would just stop eating out, they’d be out of debt in no time” or “they don’t look like they can afford that car—bet they’re paying off a loan at a ridiculous percentage every month.”

But then I snap the proverbial rubber band on my wrist and remind myself that I have no right to judge anyone and no clue what their lives are actually like. When I find those judgments creeping in, I remind myself that people probably see Mr. FW and I cruising around in our 19-year-old banged-up, rusting out minivan (the illustrious Frugalwoods-mobile) and make the assessment that we’re poor, terrible with our money, and probably in debt up to our eyeballs (when of course, we’re in the exact opposite situation).

I do not fit into a box!

I do not fit into a box!

I’m also a fairly multi-faceted person. I’ve been told I don’t “fit into a box,” or “adhere to norms,” and it’s true. We all have many dimensions to our personalities, and to our spending. Just as the clothes I’m wearing today (a very nice hand-me-down dress from a high-end maternity store and a J. Crew cardigan I purchased on clearance with a gift card) belie the fact that I’m ridiculously frugal and will be retiring early, so too someone else’s spending decisions don’t encapsulate who they are. As humans, I think we crave the ability to categorize and stereotype, but it doesn’t work that way.

Plus, I am keenly aware that Mr. FW and I are lucky, lucky people. We’re privileged beyond belief (see: The Privilege Of Pursuing Financial Independence), we live in a wealthy country, we’re healthy and able-bodied, and we’re very well educated. Since I live with those facts every day, I take them for granted. I don’t have to suffer with a terminal illness as I do housework or battle to understand forms I need to fill out for my 401k, for example. That stuff is easy for me, which is not the case for everyone.

I Won’t Judge Your Spending

People often assume that because I espouse the extreme frugality philosophy, I’ll heckle them for spendy decisions. But I won’t! I might not make the decision myself to buy a new car, for example, but if other people want to do that—who am I to judge?

The one thing I want to convey is that frugality is an awesome alternative to our dominant, debt-laden consumer culture. But, if it’s not your thing, that’s OK! I just don’t want anyone to go through life not knowing about the joys a frugal existence can provide. I’m a mission to spread the frugal word. However, I’m not out to convert you. Striking that balance between sharing how fabulous frugality is for me and not judging others for choosing a different financial path is something I think about a lot.

Don't bother a sleeping hound

Don’t bother a sleeping hound

Much of the early retirement canon is rather polarizing and casts the debate as “us smart, frugal people” vs. “those dumb, spendy people.” I’m frankly not comfortable with this dogmatic approach. There are countless permutations of frugality and of how people want—and need—to live their lives. We’re all beholden to a unique set of circumstances, backgrounds, and goals.

Trying to impose the same standard of fiscal management on everyone is akin to attempting to stop Frugal Hound from chasing squirrels in her sleep: pointless and you’ll probably get scratched.

I do firmly believe that financial education in our country is abysmal at best and I think we’d all (myself included) benefit from more robust opportunities for understanding our finances. But, I don’t believe we should all take the exact same path towards retirement, savings, or spending. For example, while using credit cards and their attendant rewards is a terrific tactic for Mr. FW and me, it’s not the wisest approach for everyone. Using credit cards could be disastrous for folks who are prone to overspend and who wouldn’t be able to pay off their balance in full every month!



Similarly, the fact that Mr. FW and I spend $10.68 on a pound of luscious, organic, fair trade coffee beans every other week could be deemed an atrocious luxury of overspending. What if that was all that someone knew about the Frugalwoods family? What if they were judging us as we checked out with our beans in tow at the organic market?

They’d assume we were spendthrift money philanderers with no regard for our fiscal health. And the same is true in the reverse—how dare I judge someone else for buying brand-new baby clothes? Just because I’ve benefitted from hand-me-down and garage sale baby clothes doesn’t mean that everyone can or will.

Why This Outlook Is Core To Happy Frugality

I grapple with the conflicting desires of wanting to convey how very possible it is to save over 70% of your income and also wanting to explain why this actually might not be possible for everyone. It’s a catch-22 in many ways, but my grounding force is my steadfast belief that everyone should be working towards their own true purpose and goal in life. When you’re focused on what you want out of life, and are doing what it takes to make that happen, then there’s no reason to worry about judging or being judged.

I’d wager that the twin traits of not caring and not judging are central tenets of happy frugality. The absence of both from my life allows me to ruthlessly pursue my frugal weirdo tactics and also opens my eyes to the possibility that someone else might be doing it better than me. I consider life an opportunity for endless learning and growth. By not focusing on what people think about me, I’m free to wear used clothes, drive an ancient car, eat all my meals at home, and have Mr. FW cut my hair. All of this enables me to reach peak frugality.

Mr. FW engaged

Mr. FW engaged in the classic frugal weirdo act of breaking down free pallets in order to harvest the wood

And by not judging others, I’m continually opening myself up to the sharing economy of not only tangible things, but of ideas. If I were closed in my commitment to frugality, and unwilling to listen to new thoughts and advice, I’d be tremendously limited in my scope. I’d lose out on the potential to expand my repertoire of frugal hacks.

Plus, judging others gives me a bitter outlook—it makes me misanthropic and nasty. It might feel good for a moment to consider myself superior to someone else, but then I just feel like a scoundrel. This isn’t to say I’ve mastered the Zen art of never judging, it’s just that I’m much more aware of the tendency and I try to shun it.

The moment I feel a judgment coming on, I try to thwack it back and I force myself to think something charitable about the person instead. After all, they’re on their own path and I’m on mine. How wonderful it would be if we could all learn from each other instead of only seeking to judge and compare.

How do you balance sharing what you’re passionate about with not judging others for their choices?

Get Fresh Frugalwoods Updates!

You may also like...

128 Responses

  1. NZ Muse says:

    Yeahhh, I can’t help judging certain things (eg spending on boy racery cars that inevitably get crashed, or sold for a fraction of what was put into them). But I keep those opinions between myself and T. But most things are pretty fair game, it’s all about individual priorities.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I’m definitely guilty of judging in my mind too–and I agree, there’s something about cars that always rankles me too ;). But, at the end of the day, you’re spot on that it’s all about individual priorities.

  2. Aussie frugaler says:

    Mrs Frugalwoods,
    I love the way you speak from your heart. It is so easy to judge everyone. My mum always said when I was growing up, you don’t get to choose where you are born what colour in what family, rich poor, what country. So you have to see and use what you have. Of course she was born during the great depression, that might have helped the philosophy. Now with this you would think that I had it all together from the start, unfortunately for me you would be wrong. I have understood it for a while now though, I am about to turn 44, I have just married my soulmate, we complement each other. I have a great education, Australia is a very providing country for this if you want it you can have it. In fact the first one in my immediate family to be university educated. But I still wanted something I didn’t know what it was. 5 years ago I figured it out, I moved from my family home state and city to a small remote country town and found IT…. Anyway I digress, I work as a supervisor in the local supermarket, which is very rewarding and can be quite challenging, and in my spare time have become a volunteer with the local ambulance service. (we are all volunteers). I discovered somewhere along the way that I love working with people, who would have thought….. Of course I see people come through and I might think, holy crap what on earth are you spending money on that stuff for!! It’s a normal reaction, just not letting them know about it! Maybe somewhere along the line I will find a way to be able to share my hard earned wisdom with someone and if I can even make one persons life easier it will be of benefit. For you I say, keep spreading the wisdom… Hey, I benefit from it. Maybe I can pass it on way over here in remote Australia. BTW it isn’t a cheap place to live, but there are those benefits it is very tranquil and beautiful, and living the frugal life can roll on anywhere.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you for sharing your story! I think it’s wonderful that you’ve found your “it”! Getting to a place where you’re doing work that’s meaningful and where you feel fulfilled is such an enviable position. And, I’m so happy to hear you married your soulmate :). Your mom sounds like a wise woman. And, I’d love to visit Australia someday!

  3. For me I began to learn not to judge once we educated ourselves more about our own finances and took control of them. Those feeling of envy began to lift and less comparing happened. It about self-awareness now and catching yourself when those thought creep in.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s a great point. I tend to feel less envy now that we feel we’re in charge of charting our future. There’s something very empowering about being financially put-together and on track for the life you want. Congrats to you for attainting that!

  4. Great post! Not judging others can be so difficult for many of us (ahem, me!). I actually perform a similar mental routine, of forcing myself to think something kind about the person, when I catch myself judging them.

    While I certainly can’t blame them for my thoughts and actions as an adult, my parents are pretty judgmental, and I think their influence is partly to blame for my sometimes reflexive judging. I work very hard to not judge others in front of my daughter, as I don’t want to teach her this nasty habit. She might still end up judging others, but at least it won’t be because she learned from my example.

    • Tarynkay says:

      My folks are the same way. I have definitely had to consciously work to not repeat this pattern, especially now that we have a son to raise. I also found that the more secure and happy I felt with my own life, the less inclined I felt to criticize others. I noticed that if I feel insecure about something, I immediately look for someone who is doing it “worse.” Certainly not my finest hours! So when I get judgy, I stop and ask myself what I am feeling insecure about.

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        So perfectly said, ladies! Thank you for sharing! I have that ingrained tendency to judge too and I really don’t want to pass that habit down to Babywoods. So, I’m trying to change myself first in the hopes that I can set a good example for her.

        Tarynkay–great point about insecurity begetting judgement. That’s true for me every time. I do the same thing as you: check myself and figure out why I’m not feeling confident about a particular situation.

  5. Kalie says:

    This is a great point that needs air time in the personal finance realm. Since starting my blog people have asked me if I am worried about people (that know me) judging my spending. I don’t worry about that, but about people thinking I’m judging their spending. We’re all tempted to judge others about any number of things, but as you said the important thing is to fight against that tendency and try to see people as whole humans, not as one external action.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yes! I like the phrase “whole humans”–that’s perfect. We’re all amalgamations of our experiences and our pasts and it’s impossible to distill our unique complexities down to one action or stereotype.

  6. Emily says:

    Thanks for this- I got a little lesson in not judging while camping last week in Maine. On Friday all these SUVs and fancy wagons showed up at the campground and I was looking around and thinking “why?” So much stuff! But after allowing me a brief rant my friend told me to knock it off. She rightly pointed out the I knew nothing about them and they could easily be judging me for my $400 tent. She saw through my insecurity, which lead directly to misdirection or looking at others the way i imagine they’re looking at me. Thank goodness for old friends. Although sometimes I think I should work to spread the word on consumerism, the best route for me now is to lead by example.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s a great example! I’ve been guilty of doing the exact same thing and thank goodness Mr. FW is swift to bring me down a peg and remind me to show compassion. Leading by example is my favorite too–there’s nothing more powerful than kind, determined actions.

  7. I’m in the process of “baby stepping” into frugality. I love your site for the fact that it doesn’t come across as judge-y. You share what you do, and how it’s helped you grow as a person, without implying that others are stupid for not doing the same. I also love the fact that, even though the Frugalwoods have succeeded, you still talk about what you are doing. I’ve stopped following several blogs that switched from being personal stories about how they’re succeeding, to posts preaching about what others should be doing. I prefer your more personal approach.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you so much, Cindy! I don’t believe in judging others for their choices and I also don’t want to preach, so I’m really happy to hear it’s coming across that way :). Plus, it’s fun for me to share stories about our frugal weirdo lives ;). I appreciate you reading and sharing your thoughts.

  8. Mrs. Budgets says:

    I practice be non judgmental all the time. Many friends and coworkers like nicer things and fancy cars. I obviously feel different. I try to be genuinely happy for them when they show up with some brand new thing because I know they are excited about it.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s a really wise approach. I admit I have trouble being excited for other people’s expensive purchases, but you’re right, I should be happy for them because they’re excited. Ok, something new for me to work on :)!

  9. bev says:

    You know, I love what Aussie Frugaler said about you, about how you speak from your heart. Well said, Aussie! It’s true. I can “feel” it in your writing. You will do well writing for a living, if you so choose. Anyway….judging! Gosh, we’re all guilty of it in one way or another, and I think all we can do to help ourselves is be aware of it and try to stop it when it starts. None of us know the other person’s situation. We recently bought a nice newish luxury car, paid for cash with savings and trade-in, and we have the title. It’s been a dream of my hard-working husband’s for YEARS, if not decades! You can’t believe all of the snarky comments we receive from people about what we can/should/afford to buy. But what people don’t know is that our finances are in order, and while we could have done a whole lot better in life if we had been smarter when we were younger, we’re still in good shape, better than most our age. You’ll get a lot of comments about your homesteading, not killing yourselves at jobs, your frugality, yadda yadda. I’ve finally learned to also not care about what others think….again a lesson that took way too long to learn. It’s also important to allow oneself to enjoy what their money can buy them, just as you will enjoy your homestead in the woods….debt free, guilt free.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      You’re so sweet, Bev! Thank you! I appreciate your “judgement” that I could write for a living–I’ll take that judgement anytime ;)!!

      Your car purchase is such a perfect example. No one knows how hard you worked to get to that place and it’s so true that we’ve all got to just live and let live. I don’t know why that’s been so tough for me to do for so long, but I do feel like I’m slowly getting there :). Also, I love “debt free, guilt free”–that’s a great phrase and I might have to borrow it!

  10. Sarah says:

    This was a great post, Mrs. FW!! I love that you and Mr. FW are secure in your frugality yet still make it a point to not judge others who might not be where you are. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, too. While my husband and I personally would like to retire early (well, more just be financially independent…I don’t think we’ll ever completely stop working unless it’s for a health reason), we also really want to enjoy the now (not saying we want to spend all our money, though!!). We’ve had numerous discussions about our future and at this point in time, we want a happy-medium. We want to work hard and save all that we can, but we also want to go out to eat sometimes, travel and not always be on a tight budget. Sometimes “stuff” is fun, haha!

    I will say, though, that if we had a goal like yours we would be living much differently!! I can’t wait to follow along your homesteading journey! Thanks for keeping it real and being so awesome 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you, Sarah! It’s so true that we’re all on our own unique journey and what works for one person isn’t right for the next. I think it’s awesome that you and your husband are charting out the life you want to live–nothing could be better! I try to keep it real around here 😉

  11. A good reminder. The openness of the PF world has shed light on how ridiculous it is to judge people for the things in life. You may see a fancy item, but you don’t know the backstory. It could be a gift or an inheritance. They could have gotten a screaming deal on it. It also may not even be theirs!
    I’m still guilty of judging people’s day to day habits at work. It’s really hard for me to see people buying $10 lunches every day and often multiple trips to Starbucks, and then hear them complain about not having money. It doesn’t take a detective to solve that mystery. But even then, am I judging their lunches or coffee or the fact that they can’t see where their money is going? Probably the latter.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I’m right there with you on the lunch & coffee judgements–that’s been a tough one for me to overcome. I really do feel the judgement creep over me when I see it happening day in and day out, but, I’ve got to remind myself that I don’t know their true situation and they don’t know mine! I think writing Frugalwoods anonymously has helped me a lot in overcoming judgement because no one at work knows about this huge part of my life and so, they don’t really know me (even though I see them every M-F). It’s an ongoing learning process for me :)!

  12. brookst says:

    This is a really well written post. I admit sometimes in my comments I censor what to say because I didn’t want to be judged but I won’t anymore. I will be free with my successes and failures, they all are learning moments. I struggle with the judging thing as well. I work among a large number of young women and at anytime there are several planning weddings. I think weddings are the biggest money grab that take advantage of young people and I hear about the debt these young people put themselves into but I bite my tongue, congratulate them and ooh and aahh over their diamond rings and wedding gown pictures. I now see that isn’t enough. I have to stop that negative commentary in my head and focus on the joy of the upcoming nuptials not my own philosophical take on weddings and marriage.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I agree–all successes and failures are opportunities to learn. I’ve certainly learned the most from my dumbest actions :). I’m also working on stopping the negative commentary in my head. I’ve gotten to where I don’t articulate it ever, but I want to actually stop it from happening at all. It’s an uphill battle, but I do think it’s possible for me to change how I think. Let me know if you have any advice on that front :)!

  13. Hannah says:

    I think there is a lot of wisdom in this post.

    Recently, I was talking with a friend who is a single mom, and she was asking me for a little help on her finances (she won’t have to pay for daycare starting in 3 months, so she essentially gets a 25% raise). At first, I was negatively judgmental when she said that her first priority was to pay for Karate for her son rather than pay off her car loan, but then I had to take off my judgy pants for a minute. When I was able to put myself in her shoes, I realized that Karate is probably a much better expenditure than paying off a car loan or investing in a 401k or anything like that.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s very wise of you to help your friend out and not judge her decisions! It’s tough when we see people making financial choices that we wouldn’t, but, Mr. FW reminds me that we spend our money as we want and so they can spend their money as they want.

  14. My frugality is personal and I keep it that way. I know it doesn’t look exactly like anyone else’s and I’m fine with that. Not to judge other people can be hard sometimes as a PF Blogger, for I have been guilty of being a little dogmatic when I write articles. I have slowly learned that there is no one right way to become financially independent. Still what’s good for others may not be good for me and that’s ok.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I think that’s exactly right–there’s more than one way to become financially independent! I am constantly reminding myself of that and of the fact that everyone has different goals. Even within the frugal-sphere, there are many gradations of frugality and I have to remember that my version isn’t going to be right for everyone.

  15. Mrs PoP says:

    The level of judgement against those who have different spending values was one of the biggest turn-offs for me when I first started diving more into the FIRE community. (I think it’s a sad state that one of the most active MMM-subforums is the “Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy.)

    We’re not perfect, and though we try to refrain from judgement, I know we probably pass it without realizing it (Mr PoP doesn’t hesitate to remind me that we’re INT*J* at heart from time to time). But as we’ve gotten older, we’ve seen that there are many ways to live and it’s not our place to dictate the lives of others, particularly if they’re not doing anyone else any harm.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Very true–there are so many different ways to live! And, I agree with you on the forum topics. I love the MMM forums, but the judging does make me uncomfortable at times. Not everyone has a FIRE goal and even those of us who do have different incarnations of how we’ll reach that goal.

  16. I probably need that wristband to snap myself every time I feel myself judging someone else. But to each their own, everyone has their own passions and desires. Not everyone can get excited about saving money like those in the personal finance blogosphere. I work with co-workers who make more than I do, yet struggle with consumer debt. Just recently one told me that it’s not possible not to have cable T.V in this day and age with Game of Thrones and other shows. I could sense myself getting on my soap box to tell her how cutting the cord would help reduce her credit card debt. I just let it go…although it’s tough when they in turn judge me and think that I’m “lucky” for being in a better financial position.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yeah, I hear ya. I struggle with not giving out unsolicited financial advice all the time… it’s tough, but I have to remind myself that everyone has their own priorities. And, I’m sure people think I’m nuts for being so frugal, especially since most of them don’t know the reason behind it. The cable TV one is hard–there are so many less expensive options!! Ack! Now I’m judging by proxy ;)!

  17. It’s fantastic that you mention that each person is on their own trajectory in life, which is incredibly true! This journey of entering the PF blogsphere has allowed me to open up to a world of new perspectives, opinions, strategies, and the like. It’s amazing how many paths people are on and how each one can lead to “success” – especially considering we each have a different definition of it! I attempt to encourage an openness and welcoming community to share my passions for personal finance. I turned to the internet to create my own corner because I recognized there were not many people around me in my communities that were comfortable with speaking about money/personal finance. It’s challenging to find a group in their early 20’s willing to speak about asset allocation, retirement savings, compound interest, etc. over coffee! I push away the judgment because I recognize that the journey of PF is going to continuously provide obstacles & victories. Recognizing people will join in at different times and that I can somehow help in one way, or another allows me to share my passion! 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Absolutely! I’ve found the internet to be an incredible source of support, knowledge, and information on all things personal finance. It’s awesome to have this community of people so invested in having healthy financial futures and I’m really grateful for it. Thank you for sharing :)!

  18. Leigh says:

    One of the things I’ve found frustrating is the absoluteness with which the personal finance community can be about frugality. I’ve learned that everyone has their own ideal level of frugality and who are we to judge theirs? For example, the author behind Financial Samurai retired in his thirties and he spends far more than anyone else in the personal finance community, but I’m pretty sure he had a ridiculously high salary and was saving 50%+ of it for many years, just like the math says you need to to retire early. I definitely spend more than you guys do, for example, but I try to be conscious of my spending choices and make sure that I get joy and value out of them. I make decent bank though so I can still maintain a 75-80% savings rate with a bit higher than maybe strictly necessary spending and I should manage to hit FI within about 10 years of my college graduation!

    P.S. I commented a while ago that I was planning on starting my Master’s degree. It turns out that my now-employer will pay for over 90% of it! (They have a $ limit they’ll contribute per year and my costs will go a bit over that some years.) That’s a pretty sweet deal!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      So true–we really are all on our own path, even those of us pursuing financial independence! Everyone has a spending level that works for them and it’s probably not going to be the same as the next person’s. That’s awesome that your employer will pay over 90% of your master’s!!! Fabulous!!!

  19. nothing turns me off more than reading a pf headline to the tune of, “why you’re in debt” or “why you’re not a millionaire.” Something to that effect, because it just screams judgment IMHO. ” everyone should be working towards their own true purpose and goal in life.” That’s exactly it. Heck I think not having kids is a pretty darn frugal move, but who the heck am I to say? That would be ridiculous. I do tend to get judgey myself too at times when I see people “making mistakes,” but I remind myself that I better be Miss. Perfect (and no one is) before I let any accusations fly. I made have made a million mistakes…just this week. 🙂 While I think there is room for gentle guidance (especially if people ask for your help or opinion), I generally try to just keep my side of the street clean.

    • Devan says:

      “I generally try to just keep my side of the street clean” — Tonya, I LOVE that statement, those are great words to live by 🙂

    • Kate says:

      Preach it, Tonya! Everyone is on her/his own journey. We are all fellow travelers on this planet, so let’s try to make the journey easier for one another.

  20. Devan says:

    Thanks Mrs. Frugalwoods for once again shining a light on a tricky to talk about, but very important topic. I think the worst upshot of our “judgey” society is that it makes people afraid to talk about their struggles, share their vulnerabilities and reveal their true selves. There have been so many times when my first impression of someone was totally wrong, and I hate to think I would have missed out on connecting with some great people if I’d let my initial judgements convince me “I have nothing in common with this person” – we’re all human and that means we actually have a lot in common with every person we meet if we’re willing to see it. I also really like your point about how others might see your used car or your fancy coffee beans and make completely wrong assumptions about you. Which brings home the fact that it’s really pointless to care what others think of you, because no matter what you do or how you present yourself, people will create their own stories about you, which probably have more to do with them and their perspective than anything to do with you.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you for sharing these awesome thoughts! I hadn’t thought about the negative repercussions of people not wanting to share their struggles/vulnerabilities in fear of judgement, but that’s so true! I think that’s the reason why so many folks are reticent to talk about money, for example. Thanks for giving me another angle to ponder 🙂

  21. KRFP says:

    This really resonates with me, thank you for writing it.

    P.S. Did you see the greyhound on Inside Amy Schumer? Season 3, Episode 5, the Doggy Daycare Bit. It’s on Hulu if you have that. 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you for reading it! I haven’t watched that show before, but I’ll have to check it out to see the greyhound 🙂

  22. Norm says:

    I have a long and pretty personal post inspired by your original “not caring what other people think of you” entry which I may or may not ever publish. In short, I’ve never had the problem of overvaluing what other people think of me, maybe to my detriment.

    And the opposite is also true for me, like you say today. I love to judge people based on their taste in music and movies, but it basically ends there. People are basically unknowable. Doesn’t matter how long you’ve been around them. You can never know how those synapses are firing inside their head. Marge was once bringing up how jealous she was of someone else’s success or money, and asked why I never express jealousy. And all I could think was, well, I’m living the life I want to live, and I assume other people are doing the same. So why do I have to have an opinion on them? I just suppose everyone has their reasons for doing what they do, and I can’t know what they are. Our next door neighbor just bought a Maserati, and parks it in a rotted falling-down garage. I wouldn’t do that, but I suppose he has his own reasons why it makes sense for him.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I hope you will publish that post! I agree–people really are unknowable. I’ve been incredibly surprised by things I’ve learned about people over the years and its caused me to realize that I have no business making assumptions about people’s decisions and life choices. I really like what you said about living the life you enjoy and thus assuming others are doing the same–that’s a wonderful philosophy to have.

  23. Good for you… I am a judgy mcjudgerson, but usually in instances where I know a bunch about someone’s financial situation. Worried about reduced pay due to rolling shutdowns at work and considering suspending your stock purchase plan savings? How about instead you don’t go to the fancy sushi place in town two times a week! (Actual, real life friend situation.)

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Ack! I’d feel judgey in that situation too! I still put on my judge hat more often than I’d like, but I’m struggling to get myself to a place where I’m less prone to making snap assumptions about people based on incomplete information. Hard for me to do though!

  24. I agree with most of this sentiment but with two (if I’m being honest) exceptions:

    1. I hate hearing about people willfully making themselves miserable via repeated bad choices and then blaming other people for their own bad choices. Do what you’re going to do but I don’t want to hear about it!
    2. I hate it when people with huge amounts of unsecured consumer debt (or worse, personal loans from friends and family) say it’s their money they can spend it however they want to… because it’s not their money.

    and obviously anything that harms children I’m against. Also theft, con artists, etc. Most illegal stuff. Oh, and I will totally judge people who take government benefits (or family hand-outs) and then rant about how the poor deserve what they’re getting because the poor are bad people (those *other* poor). So yes, I judge a lot of stuff. People’s choices of vehicles though, not so much. We all have different budget constraints and different utility curves and they meet at different places, and that’s a good thing!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Your exceptions make sense to me. I’m mostly trying to get to a place where I don’t automatically assume I know someone’s situation and feel superior to them for my “better” financial decisions. But anything illegal or that harms other people I’d consider immoral and worthy of judgement on another level.

      And re. #1, I too hate complaining/whining–I agree with you, do what you’re going to do but don’t whine about it! I’m a reformed whiner, so I think I’m highly sensitivity to it ;).

  25. I have been guilty of judging others, especially in early adulthood. I would wonder why someone had a cart full of pre-mixed, ready-to-serve disposable bottles of baby formula. Don’t they know that breast is best AND that even if they were going to feed formula, it’s much cheaper to buy the powder?

    Then, in my late twenties, I couldn’t get pregnant, we couldn’t sell our house. We short-sold the thing and when I finally did get pregnant (after 18 months–no major medical treatments but lots of charts and Robitussin), we were living in a one-bedroom apartment. Brought Baby home to the hospital to a rented duplex. And it was fine. And I think that’s when I started losing the tendency to judge others. My life wasn’t working out according to plan–why should I be hard on other people? Those people with the cart of ready-to-serve bottles? Maybe they had two full-time jobs (at least) and a broken dishwasher, but it’s not my business anyway.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yes, yes, yes!!! That’s pretty much my trajectory too. I was the judgment queen when I was younger, but the more I experience and age, I realize the less I know. The formula/dishwasher example is perfection–that’s totally something I would’ve judged as well but now I’d think like you do (plus, maybe they adopted, have an infection, their house burned down, etc!). I succeeded in stopped myself from judging people’s expensive strollers at Costco last night and I was very proud of myself :).
      P.S. Does Robitussin help with conception?? I was all over charting, but didn’t take any Robitussin… 😉

  26. Rose says:

    Love this post! I will never be an extreme early retirement/financial independence person. It’s just not for me. But I enjoy reading your blog and others like it because you offer a radically different perspective that shakes me up and gives me some new ideas. I’m impressed by how fearlessly you guys are pursuing your dream, even though mine is totally different.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you, Rose! I love that you’re on a different path but still enjoy reading :). I like to be shaken up with new ideas too–helps expand my brain, which is always a good thing.

  27. I’ve pretty much reached that Zen place of not giving a fcuk about others choices (even if they are suboptimal) as long as they don’t affect me. They will be the ones experiencing the consequences and not me. Too much other stuff to worry about than what other people decide to do in their private lives. 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Haha, you sound exactly like Mr. FW. You guys are so Zen in your absolute not caring. I’m still working on it, but I’ll get there. Plus, you’re totally right, there’s a lot of other stuff to worry about (esp. now with Babywoods on the way… who knew there were so many different types of bottles for example!!!!!).

  28. Wonderful post! I find it surprising at times how many of my actions, or lack thereof, are guided by what others might think. But not caring is the right way to go. As that old adage states, those that mind don’t matter and those that matter dont’t mind. Thanks for sharing…

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I definitely find a lot of peace and freedom in not caring what others think. It lets me pursue the things I want to and ignore the rest. Still a work in progress, but I’m happy to be on this path. Thank you for reading :)!

  29. Most recently, I have been passionate about the food I put in my mouth. I have personally experienced how eating choices affect your health. It is hard for me to stand by and watch others eat things that I know could cause harm now or in the future. This is a good reminder that it’s not my place to judge what others eat … unless it’s my immediate family, then I will fight the good fight;0)

    • Linda says:

      I too eat for my health and it is appalling to see the items in some grocery carts! But I have to remember I should not judge, it took me a long time and a lot of reading to decide to eat the way I do.

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        Agreed. I’m the same way at the grocery store. I look at people’s carts and shudder. But, like you both said, not my place to judge. I eat what I want and what I think is healthy, and I’ve got to let other people do the same!

  30. susanna says:

    Love the pic of your coffee station. I make coffee exactly the same way, even have a red pour-over. We rock.

  31. Like you, I don’t judge others. However, I do think people judge me as a minimalist. I think they somehow think I am depriving myself, but the truth is that cars, fancy clothes and resort style vacations do nothing to stimulate my mind or help my health and they just aren’t interesting to me. There is a huge difference between frugal and cheap. Being frugal is just not being wasteful, which for me, mostly means the environmental, and social piece, with the finance part being a nice side benefit. I think people who are frugal are just naturally drawn to finding happiness in experiences and time, rather than stuff.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Very well said. I completely agree with your assessment of frugal v. cheap. And, I know that people judge us for our frugality for all those same reasons. But, we feel the opposite of deprived–we feel liberated! Awesome to hear from someone with that same viewpoint :).

  32. ARBM says:

    Great post! I am so guilty of judging… I have been working hard at getting out of this habit, and I think it comes from being a part of the blogging world. It has opened my eyes up to different walks of life and different approaches. I’m not there yet, but at least I am more aware now.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I think awareness is key! I’m certainly not to the point of never judging either, but I feel like it’s a good goal to have :).

  33. Sarah says:

    I’m glad to see this acknowledged in the PF blogosphere. To be honest I’ve felt it here (and many other PF blogs), so it’s nice to hear it’s something you’ve decided to challenge yourself on – I hope other bloggers do, too! I love the proverbial rubber band comment. Being truly judgement free is certainly a Buddha-esque quality. We’ve all got it in us, so it’s nice to acknowledge it and work through it.

  34. This post is a big breath of fresh air in the personal finance blogosphere, especially in the frugal and FIRE community. I’m learning this myself, too, and have decided that as a rule of thumb I just won’t give anbody financial advice in conversation unless they ask for it. This is really hard as a PF blogger at heart, but I think my own humility and my relationships with others are better off for it. We simply don’t know what is best for other people; only ourselves. Everybody has their reasons for what they do.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yeah, I too tend to not offer financial advice unless it’s specifically solicited. It’s hard not to do, but I try 🙂

  35. As you know, I am a big believer in not judging and the first thing I tell all of my clients is that they are in a judgment free zone. I really don’t care what decisions they make, I just care about helping them achieve their life goals, and I have found that when people feel judged, they are less open and less open to making changes.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yes! I love your judgement-free zone. I think that must make your clients feel so incredibly supported in their journey. Being judged does not make anyone feel good or motivated!

  36. Hannah says:

    Love this post! Your blog and a lot of the other financed focused things has really helped me be actionable on feelings I had about my clustered life, filled with things produced via emotional choices and felt incapable of fixing. things just don’t make me happy and it’s good to find kindred spirits/examples in life. It sounds like your confidence has been very hard earned!

    I was thinking about how hard it is to find community around such a “small thing” (lol, small being extreme frugality) that is a fundamental choice about how your day to day looks. I was just reading this article about how alcohol and blackout drinking is talked about in our generation. It’s so common and hard to get away from excessive alcohol (bear with me on this tangent!). Alcohol “smoothes things over” and facilitates a good time. Shopping can have similar function (and also be seriously detrimental). It’s a social balm. For me, instead of “let’s spend time together,” my family and with friends have always been “let’s hang out and go shopping.” It’s so embedded in our debt, things- focused culture. I’m no different and struggle with my past choices and in forming new habits (spending together is not the same as quality time), although I’m working on the frugality and doing much better since finding your site in March or so!

    (I really don’t mean to be unkind or lighthearted in comparing alcoholism to shopping-and I apologize if it feels/reads this way.)

    Anyway, tangents abound, I’m grateful for your honesty and I really appreciate the share…

    1) Don’t you wish you could tell what a greyhound is thinking-I imagine just one bee buzzing in there.
    2) A curled up, snoozing greyhound (that sideeye!) is just the kind of thing that makes me compelled to disturb them-I cannot not squeeze them

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I think you’re very right that spending is extremely similar to other forms of escape-ism and our culture certainly employs it for more than just the purchase of needed goods. And, it can be tough to find a frugal community–it’s not the mainstream, which is why I’m so thankful for the awesome online frugal-sphere!
      P.S. Agreed on the greyhound thoughts ;). I think Frugal Hound definitely only has one bee buzzing around up there…

  37. Michelle says:

    Quite often it’s our own internal value and belief systems that create judgemental behaviour. We expect others to follow our rules and guidelines and some people will not bend or be flexible in that system. It’s sad to see because those individuals are limiting themselves in a big way. When we are open to others, their differences, and the way they do things – great things happen. We see the world in a whole new light. Being open to differing opinions and the way others approach life helps us learn and grow.
    Like any human, I too have had my judgemental moments. But once you experience a high level of others judging you, it’s clear that most of the judging comes from a place of ignorance.
    I just try to stay open minded and if I’m offering my opinion, I don’t force it on others.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      You’re so right about the value of being open to different opinions and ideas. Makes life more interesting! And, I think it’s good to be challenged in our beliefs from time to time too. Interesting point about experiencing judgement–that absolutely makes sense.

  38. Raina says:

    love this post and how you keep it “non-judgey” around here. 🙂
    It reminds me of the biggest fight my best friend and I ever got in to. She was/is/has always been a frugal weirdo, full fledged card carrying and doesn’t even know that’s a thing, lol. That’s just life to her.
    I got married very young and unfortunately ended up getting divorced. I moved in with her – into the house she bought on her own at 24 years old, and was fixing up. One particular bad day I decided I needed to do some retail therapy. It was a rough time obviously. I brought home this carry on bag I bought for $100. She saw the tag and yelled “WHAT?!? THAT’S CRAZY! TAKE THIS THING BACK!” looking completely horrified. I got so upset because I felt so stupid and I knew she was right, but at that moment, that day, my values were not in the same place as hers. “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle we know nothing about”.
    I did take the bag back.
    We laugh about it to this day. Judgement man!
    We all gotta live our own values, and I’m happiest keeping it judgement free, but it can be so hard. Let’s face it, it’s pretty fun to be judgy the first few minutes when you feel smug and superior…but then I feel crappy. I like your mental exercise. Going with it!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s a great story! It’s hard to be called out on stuff, especially when you know the other person is right (Mr. FW could give you plenty of examples of times I’ve reacted badly to being called out… ). You’re totally right about the momentary enjoyment of the smug and superior feelings–I’m definitely guilty of that. It’s a work in progress for me to be less judgmental but I feel like it’s a worthy exercise :).
      P.S. I love that your friend is just naturally a frugal weirdo. That’s awesome.

  39. Mrs SSC says:

    I find it so hard not to judge other people, but I’ve made great strides at it the last few years – I think the wisdom not to judge, or care if you are being judged comes with age and experience. My revelation came about when I was in the pregnant/new mom phase of life. There are lots of choices moms have in those early months that cause a divide among women… ie. natural birth and nursing, especially extended nursing. I realized that while I am passionate about the decisions I made, and was 100% convinced I made the best decision that all moms should make, well, lots of other moms had reasons to make other decisions. And while I didn’t agree with them, we all have reasons for the choices we make… and the more I listened to other moms, the less judgmental I became. We all come from different backgrounds, and have different stories – and I realized that I have no place to judge. And learning not to judge has made me appreciate the differences and opinions of other people more, made me want to understand their choices also. I mean, really – do I want a world full of people that think and act just like me? No way!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s a great point–the world would be pretty boring if we were all identical in our thinking! And, makes sense that we all make the choices that we think are right and that work for us. But, doesn’t mean it’s going to be the right thing for someone else.

  40. I grew up to be very judgmental. Not sure if it was my mom, depression or if I’m just generally grudging. But it’s something I’ve been working on a lot in the past 9ish years. Like you, I still have the knee-jerk judgment. Then I remember how we look to plenty of PF bloggers. We’re “frugal” in our own way, but we spend a lot on convenience food because of health problems. After years of my husband’s nagging, I finally relented and got us a (shudder) water service. Because even filters don’t help the water here. It’s nahstee.

    So people could see our sometimes-stalling progress and judge us. But they don’t have to live with our various conditions. If they had chronic fatigue, depression, severe joint pain, full-body eczema and/or COPD, my guess is their version of frugal would look a lot closer to ours. So if they can’t understand our struggle, then I probably don’t have much insight into their situation either.

    What’s also helped is my readers’ support. They made me realize that the concessions we make are reasonable (or at least tolerable). So if someone else judges me… well, screw ’em.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Absolutely! We all do what works best for us and there’s just no one-size-fits-all approach to life.

  41. Kirsten says:

    Your question at the end “How do you balance sharing what you’re passionate about with not judging others for their choices?’ is my daily Christian walk. Because not everyone “gets it”, let me try to explain in a judgmental way 🙂 I believe, as a Christian, that the Bible has a set of rules to live by. There are some black and white “things” that I must do. Sometimes, there are gray areas, and I have to do my best to sort them out and operate by faith. And, sure, I believe everyone should live by those black and white things.

    Let’s say you are my BFF and you are having an extra-marital affair. Um, pretty clear in the Bible that this is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. But if you are my friend (or even if you are not), I am not going to win you over by calling you up and saying “you know, what you are doing is a SIN and you are going to HELL” (oh my word!). No, the best I can do is love and guide and try to offer some advice when it’s appropriate or when it’s asked for. Otherwise, our relationship is going to be over and you are going to be struggling through some major life issues without your good friend.

    This is even how I approach Christianity on my blog. I might throw out a Biblical reference here or there, but my goal is not to shove the Bible down people’s throats, because if it’s not their “thing”, I’m not going to be able to force feed it. I hope that sprinkling conversation with tidbits is enough to make people think. And if they want to ask more questions (and they sometimes do!) then they will come to me.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I think that’s a wonderful approach. Approaching people with kindness and tolerance is always the best way to go.

  42. When I write and share my story I hope I’m coming across non judgmental. I try to convey that getting out of debt and more importantly staying out of debt is a process – one step forward, two steps back sometimes. No one is perfect and hopefully others will remember this when we share our stories and challenges. I personally don’t care what anyone else wants to do with their life. Spend your money, save it, try to buy you way to happiness, don’t spend a penny. These are personal choices and with these choices are consequences to our actions. One must decide if those consequences are worth the initial action. Only each individual can decide that for themselves. Great post!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      So true–we’re all ultimately responsible for our own decisions. And, I think it’s great to share that personal journey without rendering judgement. I think it’s helpful to read about what others have found to work for them–whether or not it’s exactly the approach you’d take.

  43. Linda says:

    Wonderful insight from someone so young! I’m curious, how do you use the reclaimed wood from the pallets? My understanding is some are treated with nasty chemicals and shouldn’t be used for gardening or burning

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yes, we’re well aware of pallet wood treatments–the ones we have are heat-treated, so never fear 🙂

  44. Kim from Philadelphia says:

    Thank you, Mrs. FW, for hitting it out of the park once again.
    I no longer “verbally judge” speedy types- I keep my muzzle shut when an in-debt friend tells me about the nice car they bought their 18 year old, or when an extended family member lives in a borderline uninhabitable trailer but their kids have every new plastic toy on the market.
    I’m making progress with my “silent judging”, though I’m not quite there yet. I find myself wanting to “fix” their financial disasters and “set them straight”, however we all have different priorities. I’m a work in progress!!

    At 48 I can say I give a hoot and a half less about people judging my frugality. I care that I’m a good, honest, honorable person who treats others and the world around me with care and respect…and that’s about it!!

    Oh- love the yoga pose- awesome!!!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I’m definitely still working on my silent judging too–it’s a tough thing to overcome! I love that you don’t care if people judge your frugality. Awesome!
      P.S. Getting a photo of that yoga pose was pretty funny–Mr. FW kept making me laugh and it turns out to be harder to photograph than original thought 😉

  45. Kim from Philadelphia says:

    Spendy, not speedy- though I wish I was more speedy!!!

  46. Eric B says:

    I’ve gone through a similar transformation over the last few years. One book that prompted many of these changes was How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World by Harry Browne. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in there, but I found the mental aspects he discussed to be life-changingly positive–it helped me stop worrying about what my friends and family did and start embracing their individualities. Side note: It is possible to find this book online 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks for the book rec! I’m always on the lookout for more reading material :). I’ll check and see if our library has it.

  47. Brittany says:

    What a great reminder, thank you! I’ve definitely been guilty of judging others on their financial situation, or coming off very “preachy” about financial goals. However, lately I’ve been reminded about how awful it feels when others judge US based off their own perspective and financial goals. It’s not fun. We’re all on separate paths, we’ll all get to where we want to go. Simple.

  48. Mrs. FW,

    Couldn’t agree more.

    I’ll do me. You do you. And let’s all be happy. 🙂


  49. Mark says:

    Unfair judgments definitely should not be made, but when my baby girls start dating you better believe I’m going to judge the guys I find on my door step to pick them up!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Haha, I think you’re entitled to judge your daughter’s dates. Seems like a parental right 🙂

  50. “Much of the early retirement canon is rather polarizing and casts the debate as ‘us smart, frugal people’ vs. ‘those dumb, spendy people.'” Well said. Here is something I struggle with a bit: I had a wake-up call about our finances. There was definitely a before (head-in-sand) and after (seeing-light). Now, I’m very aware of it when I’m talking to someone whose head is in the sand. I wouldn’t say that I judge – I just recognize my old blindness in others. I don’t try to convert them either, but I do try to engage and challenge them – without crossing their boundaries. All this to say, I don’t think that recognition of a flaw is necessarily judgment.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s a great perspective to have and I agree, trying to connect with someone and help them isn’t necessarily judgement. Especially if you can relate to how they’re feeling. I think it’s great that you’re able to engage and help people get to an enlightened financial place. That’s a wonderful gift to give!

  51. MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

    I must say I have read your articles when other bloggers have mentioned them but in the past I have found frugal blogs to be condescending so I never really followed any. After reading this post I’m adding you guys to my feed! I’m up for good frugal ideas about many things but I have other things that I consciously decide to spend more on. I don’t mind reading others’ opinions and thoughts on how they do or differently and why, I just don’t want to be made to feel stupid for choosing a different path!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks so much for reading :)! I definitely don’t ever want to make anyone feel stupid for the choices they make. We’re all on our own journey and what’s right for me won’t necessarily be right for you!

  52. Jamie says:

    I really appreciate this post. I have been reading a few personal finance blogs, but tend to stick with authors who are working their way out of debt because:
    1. I relate to them more
    2. I feel judged by those who are FIRE.
    There’s no bigger turn off then reading judgmental lectures from people that have forgotten or never knew the struggle you are going through. That’s why I really appreciate your blog! You guys have got it all together, but rather than being the hare mocking the tortoise during the race, you are more like a sherpa helping people to the top. Keep up what you’re doing =)

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I really appreciate that–wow–thank you! I definitely don’t want to preach or heckle anyone. We’re all at different stages of different paths through life and, while I enjoy sharing what Mr. FW and I do, I also fully recognize that it’s not the right fit for everyone. Thank you for reading and sharing!

  53. Helen says:

    LOL @ not fitting norms. I was once told by someone who knew me too well that I’m “contrary by nature.” Sure, if nature is consumerism, I fear I am in fact quite contrary. But if someone else wants to buy something, do something, invest in something…. their money isn’t my business.

  54. I am keeping my writing objectively or subjectively alone (based truly on experience). Then, I don’t use the pronoun you or never give advice. I also ask my friends to read it so that they can give me some feedback so that I don’t come out as judgmental.

  55. Kim says:

    I can be terribly judgmental, especially if I hear someone complain about something yet do nothing to better the situation. I am a fixer so I don’t understand why everyone isn’t just like me!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Haha, I totally get that! And, I agree with you–it’s tough to hear someone complain yet not take steps to make life better.

  56. Ginger says:

    I want to be you when I grow up. 😉
    Seriously now, your willingness to see your privilege with your amazing blog/story etc makes me a lot more willing to listen. I actually contacted the buy nothing group after you mentioned it, they did not have one in my area and I am helping start one up, while I find a job.
    I really respect you (or at least what I see of you and your husband) and you are a model of what I want to grow into. I am very interested to see how you handle frugal parenthood as I am a parent as well. Your actions and comments really make you seem amazing.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      You are so sweet! Thank you so much for your thoughtful words! I’m humbled :). And, very cool that you’re starting a Buy Nothing project in your area–I really am loving ours here.

  57. JW says:

    I am so happy to have found your wonderful blog! I had been reading Mr. Money Mustache but, as a woman who genuinely likes clothes and other girly stuff, I had a hard time relating to some of his philosophy. Which brings me to my slightly off-topic question: Can you do a post on how you deal with personal care-related expenses? I know you are cutting back on makeup and having your husband cut your hair (brave woman!) but what about other things? I am embarrassed to admit how much I spend on this stuff and I am not sure how to cut back. Some things are easy – I can start doing my own nails and can stop highlighting my hair every few months (bye bye fake blonde!) – but others, like my $80 every two month bikini waxes, face washes and lotions, decent hair products (I have greasy hair and have to wash it every day so I go through a lot of products) are tougher. And what about fitness? I have fallen in love with the Bar Method but, at $150/month, it ain’t cheap. I know I should just do workouts on my own for free but frankly that approach just results in me not working out. Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks so much for reading, JW :)! I’m so glad you found us! Great question on personal care. So, yes, you are correct that Mr. FW cuts my hair for me–he’s done it twice now and it honestly came out so great both times that I doubt I’ll ever go back to a salon (the tutorial post is here). I don’t color my hair at all, so that takes care of that. For make-up, I only wear sunscreen (I buy the Neutrogena brand from Amazon), mascara (which I buy super cheap at the drug store and one tube seems to last about 6 months), and lip gloss (which I buy at Costco in bulk–the package has lasted about 2+ years).

      I don’t paint my nails except for special occasions–like weddings or big family parties–and then I do it myself (and I’ll usually wear more make-up for special occasions too, but that’s only about once or twice a year). I don’t get bikini waxes–I just use my razor for, uh, everything. I buy a Cetaphil knock-off face wash at the Dollar Store and I get our soap, shampoo, and conditioner all from Costco (I just buy whatever’s cheapest). In terms of lotion, I buy Cetaphil from Costco, which I use on my hands and to moisturize my face at night. That’s about it for beauty care and products for me–I’ve really tried to simplify over the years, which honestly saves me a ton of time and money. If you’re interested, I wrote this post on how I’ve gotten to that stage in my thinking: How I Let Go Of Caring What People Think

      Fitness is another great question! I do yoga several times a week at a studio for free in exchange for working at their front desk for 30 minutes a week and then taking out their trash on Monday nights–I wrote more about that process in this post: How Does Free Yoga Help Our Financial Goals?. Your Bar Method studio might have a similar deal they can offer you–lots of fitness studios do offer free classes in exchange for working the front desk, cleaning the studio, data entry, etc. For other exercise, I do workouts at home that I find for free online, we have a weight bench that we got off Craigslist, and I do a lot of walking and hiking. All for free!

      Great questions and I wish you all the very best! Feel free to ask any other questions you might have :).

      • JW says:

        Thank you for your thoughtful response, you are too kind. This is really helpful advice. It’s not easy to let go of caring what people think, but once you do, you sure can save a lot of money on silly things!

  58. Pyper B. says:

    Mrs. Frugalwoods- this is a great blog post and very insightful. It is so easy to judge someone else when the reality is that no one’s situation is ever the same. It’s all about finding the balance that works best for YOUR life and not someone else.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Many thanks! So true–we’ve all got to figure out what works best for our individual circumstances.

  59. Siobhan says:

    You do a great job of being non-judgy…and I’m pretty sure I NEED someone to judge my spending — not that it’s your job:P I completely agree that it’s important to not judge others and to not be overly influenced by the opinion of others. I live pretty frugally, but splurge on travel because it’s important to me, soul-wise. Love your blog!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I think it’s good to splurge on the stuff that’s important to you :). All about finding that balance between frugality and spending on what’s meaningful. Thanks for your kind words!

  60. Lena says:

    I started reading your wonderful blog recently, and I’m thinking about your view on personal finances a lot these days. Interestingly, it brings back a lot of the spirit of my parents, who took part in the 1968 movement (is that also a thing in the US? Here in Germany it’s kind of a synonyme for the “hippie“ movement). I seem to have forgotten their valuable lessons about spending habits and life priorities as I was busy being “cool“ in my youth;-) Eating leftovers and such did not fit in with that….
    Anyway, what I really wanted to share is a nice metaphor about judging I once read: As we walk through a forest, we don’t think “what’s wrong with that tree – why is it so thin/thick/small/big…?!?“ We just see the different trees and assume, their appearance stems from their location (sun/shadow/concurrence…). No judging.
    I try to see people like the trees in the metaphor when I feel the urge to judge: Maybe someone grew up involontarily deprived of material goods and it feels like freedom to be able to be spendy…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get new posts via email. No spam, we hate it like greyhounds hate having their teeth brushed.