I am so excited to announce that Pat, formerly from About, is now going to be helping out at the Dollar Stretcher! I have recently been talking with her about her thrifty lifestyle and here is what she has to say about life, saving money, and life after About.
TM: What has inspired you into the frugal lifestyle?
Pat: Actually, I think I was born frugal, but when it really started in earnest, I was a single mom with very few work skills and found out that I could still live comfortably with a little effort and that inspired me to go further with it.
TM: What are the easiest areas to stay frugal in? What are the hardest?
Pat: The easiest area for most is food because it’s so controllable. You can choose what to eat and how to prepare it. It’s a good place to practice self discipline and most people can handle that.
I think for many, the hardest part is impulse buying. People have bought everything from chewing gum to houses on an impulse. That can be disastrous. The hardest for me personally would have to do with music and books. Put me in a book and music store and I begin to cringe, but not enough to keep me from buying.
TM: Is there anyone who encourages you in your frugal lifestyle?
Pat: Right now, those who leave comments on my blog encourage me. Before, the readers at About did. Before the internet, I knew no one who had a clue as to why I would even want to wash out plastic bags.
TM: What has been your best frugal buy lately? What about your worst?
Pat: As I said, I don’t enjoy shopping, so I just don’t buy a lot of things. I did do pretty well on a music CD (!) from Amazon, though. I got a used one for less than three dollars and it was paid for with the remains of a Christmas gift certificate. It’s in great condition.
My worst was probably a Geo that I bought when I was pretty broke after a divorce. I got hit with a really high finance rate and it developed problems that I couldn’t afford to fix. Now, it’s funny, but at the time it was painful. I did manage to pay it off early, though.
TM: What made you decide to leave About.com?
Pat: I had been burned out for sometime because of the schedule that was required, although I had done part of it to myself. When New York Times bought About, there were some changes in direction (which is to be expected) and after awhile I just couldn’t make myself do it any more.
TM: Now that you are venturing out on your own, what are your plans?
Pat: I thought you’d never ask. I have a blog Pat Verettoâ€™s Frugal Living which keeps me going, and I write here and there around the internet. The biggest thing that’s happened, though, is that Gary Foreman of Dollar Stretcher called and has some ideas he wants me involved in. I’m excited about it. I know that phrase is overworked, but I’m truly excited. It’s going to be wonderful addition to his site and a great service to the frugal living community on the internet.
TM: Do you feel that your family has suffered from your frugal lifestyle?
Pat: No, I don’t think so. The kids grew up with it, of course, and when they went through the rebellious stages of growing up, they disagreed, but have since embraced the idea. Other than that, we’ve benefited rather than suffered from it.
TM: How often do you use coupons or do you just shop around and know where to go?
Pat: I hardly ever use coupons. Coupons aren’t issued for most of the things I buy and the things they are issued for can usually be had cheaper if you buy generic. Some people can do well with them, but I can’t.
TM: What is your favorite website to visit regularly and why?
Pat: I like Dollar Stretcher and always have. There’s so much information there that you can get lost in reading things that really make sense in real life. I still visit About, too, because it covers a lot of topics that interest me.
TM: Who do you think runs the best sales? Who do you think has the best deals on a regular basis?
Pat: That depends on what kind of sales you’re looking for and, I think, the area you’re in. Here, Albertson’s grocery (which I understand has been bought out) run very good loss leader types of sales. I don’t often buy new clothes, so I don’t keep an eye on that. For best deals on a regular basis, I have to say there is no one store that you could point to. If you’re looking to get the best deals, you have to shop around and keep on shopping around.
Pat has so many good ideas that it makes this mommy jealous. I guess I will just keep learning and sharing. Hope Pat will inspire you as well to save time and money by living the frugal lifestyle. She has helped me in so many ways!
Thanks, Pat, and great luck on your new endeavors. We are looking forward to all you and the Dollar Stretcher have to offer in the future.