Do You Have The Frugal Gene?
This one is fun! 😉
This is a “do you have the frugal gene?” checklist/quiz for you and your friends. I notice some people are naturally frugal and some people need a little kick in the jumper 🙂 but it’s always interesting to see the separation of why!
The checklist is a behavioral summary you should magnetize on the fridge door. Frugality is a specific quality on the economics of spending and saving. Everyone knows the general definition of frugality but not everyone can agree on the principles of frugality.
I’ll try to attempt one here and you can see my logic. I created a Frugal Gene checklist of what it means to be frugal. Frugality is not simply a word tossed around to prove monetary responsibility. It is a set group of small behaviors that need to be brought to attention in order to challenge spending habits.
Print it out, pass it around, financial savvy is contagious!
The checklist has the basic principles of retirement and saving. Retirement is super important to people who are budget and money conscious. Trust me, do not become an 80-year-old on the curtail of government aid – not because of any political reason – it’s just seriously dangerous to depend on anyone but yourself to be your hero!
Is frugality necessary to becoming financially independent?
Answer: Oh yes. Unless you are the wife of an NBA superstar or any cast to Games of Thrones – absolutely. Frugality is also an eco-friendly and less selfish way to live life.
Some things I omitted but did cross my mind were saving for a 529 Plan and home ownership. I pulled back from those. I thought about the people who do not have children because they choose so or cannot afford them just yet. There are also people who prefer to rent instead of buying a house because not having to do any maintenance is a time & money saver in itself.
This checklist hits more general behaviors that apply to a general audience rather than a checklist of specific life schemes or actions.
Nature & Nurture
Studies have shown that parents of fiscally responsible children are naturally fiscally responsible themselves. This list is a subset of a larger list of major behaviors that someone with the frugal gene will gravitate to doing.
There are others on the list that I can define and defend but these are big 3. Shoot me a comment below to discuss!
Financial Responsiblity Checklist
1. CONTRIBUTE TO A RETIREMENT ACCOUNT?
Phew boy, this is important. Do you or your spouse have an 401K or IRA? A frugal person is also smart with their money. A person with the frugal genes knows that contributing 401Ks and IRAs means it’s free money! Most IRAs and 401Ks are tax-free! Some 401Ks also come with employer match!
Related: Is your retirement plan good enough?
2. HAVE & USE A BUDGET REGULARLY?
Everyone needs a budget. It’s not just a frugal thing to do but it’s the smart thing to do. Trust me, I had to fight myself on this with my husband. When we were dating, he wanted to do a budget and I said: “no, no budgets are not sexy.”
Boy is my face red! I was pretty frugal so I didn’t think budgets were neccessary.
Budgets are, infact, very important and the first time we made our budget I was so surprised to see where my money was going.
Now I’m addicted to it.
We made our own budget template in Google (the same one that we use ourselves) that you can download for free if you sign up to our mailing list. Just like any decent human being, we won’t spam and you can unsubscribe anytime 😉
3. SHOP AT DISCOUNT STORES (ROSS, GOODWILL, ETC.)?
My favorite store in my neck of the woods? Marshall’s! –Squeals–
I love a great deal and discount stores are great places to the scavenger hunt. I’ve gotten countless compliments from my kitchenware set to my collection of throw pillows – and my guests think I traded my wallet for them! I mean I had to elbow a few grannies…just kidding! 😇
My second favorite store is Goodwill. Not only as a shopper but as a supporter. We make donations regularly to our Goodwill store – extra frugality bonus: the items we donate can count as tax deductions! (You can find the official tax form here.)
4. IS YOUR PHONE IS MORE THAN 2 YEARS OLD?
Smartphones are expensive! Getting an unlocked smartphone is what we do and we are free from any smartphone-related contracts.
Related: 8 Frugal Reasons To Have Two Phones
5. DO YOU BUY GENERIC BRAND GROCERIES?
We use to live near a Whole Foods and that’s where we went shopping because we didn’t have a car. Everything was indeed more expensive. We opted to shop smart at their less expensive Whole Food brand which was called 365. Now that we have moved I’m happy to say the less expensive Safeway and Trader Joe’s is now our stable.
6. YOUR PARENTS HAVE A COMFORTABLE RETIREMENT?
Frugal genes aren’t just a cleverly disguised pun! Tee-hee. Actual research does show parents who have comfortable retirements tend to have children who also have comfortable retirements. My guess is both nature and nurture comes into play. Our society’s socioeconomic ladder is pretty right and can be hard to climb. Financial behaviors are also learned from our parents.
7. YOUR VACATION BUDGET IS LESS THAN 10% OF YOUR SALARY.
Dave Ramsey ordains a vacation be nothing higher than 10%-15% of your salary but we all know the frugal gene ones tend to shoot even lower than that! It’s not a vacation if you come back with a heap load of bills to pay – that’s just called putting off your problems.
8. YOU LOVE MONEY, HONEY?!
Wait, who doesn’t love money? Majority of the time, people love money for what they can buy and that is natural. But our definition of ‘loving money’ is being able to put it towards the betterment of yourself or somebody you love down the road. You love it enough to save it for a larger impact down the road. Reinvest in your golden years or towards your graduate degree is an act of loving money but it’s not for showing off a lifestyle that one cannot afford.
Related: What financial health means to me.
The act of betterment must be selfless if you truly love money.
9. YOU HAVE TROUBLE THROWING AWAY THINGS.
Eh, I can admit this might be a gray area – I’m don’t want every hoarder out there to think they’re being frugal. I think I’m frugal because I grow my own green onions and sweet potato plants. Not because I hold onto an egg-shell container for 3 months hoping to make it into a craft project…(just an example, I didn’t do that…🙄)
10. PAYBACK YOUR CREDIT BALANCE EVERY MONTH?
Big one! A person with a frugal gene will pay back their credit card balances EVERY month – no ifs or buts or coconuts!