Posted by on Feb 17, 2012 in Articles, Blog, Podcasts | 0 comments

This Dad Is Frugal….and Lovin’ It!

I just finished interviewing Bob Dunning from Davis, California.  Bob and his family decided, at the beginning of the month, to not spend money!  They call it “Frugal February” and it was an idea that Bob’s kids came up with to see what it would be like to not go to the store for a month.  In thinking about this, I wasn’t impressed at first, I mean c’mon, so you buy stuff on day one and stock up…then you just wait it out.  NO!  First of all we live in a modern society.  If this were 1900 or even the Great Depression, we would have the resourcefulness to be able to “get by”.  We would know how to provision ourselves with one trip into town and we could fill up the wagon.  Today, we are used to running to the store for a loaf of bread or if it’s been a tough day (like they didn’t have those back in 1900) we could just run out to a local eatery and nosh on some onion rings and a beer.

In addition, Bob told me that when his kids suggested “Frugal February” he was only half paying attention and thought they said “Frugal Friday”!  No problemo…just do without for one night and we can all go to IHOP in the morning for pancakes…imagine his shock.  So, the Dunnings went to the store to stock up for the month…problem is they didn’t buy enough.  By now they are running pretty low and have had to make choices like make pizza with their last 2 cups of flour or make glue for homemade Valentines….the kids chose to make glue!

Bob Dunning is a columnist for the local paper The Davis Enterprise and wrote about this “experiment” of his family.

He has chronicled his families challenges in his column.  Bob told me that it isn’t just about food.  They don’t go to movies…don’t rent movies…don’t turn on the TV…no video games (it takes electricity and that would be spending money).  They also walk to as many places as they can, haven’t purchased any new clothes and he told me a story about spending an entire afternoon watching the crows in their backyard and determining which one was the dominate bird and which one was the dumbest.  Bob says that it’s not all bad.  The month without distractions has brought his family close together and they actually talk more now and are even considering continuing the “Frugal” theme past February.


So how about you?  Is this something you would or could try with your family?  We tried going one night, last year, without lights so we could help my daughter understand how hard things were for the pioneers. Living frugally used to be a way of life.  Benjamin Franklin advocated living frugally and saving your money “for a rainy day”.  I think we could all learn some valuable lessons from people of just a generation ago.  What do you think?

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