Things I miss about my Pre-Frugal life

This week, I made a “huge” purchase on a new work bag. It’s the biggest one I’ve made since buying a pair of $300 boots in February. Pre-Frugal Jane wouldn’t have batted an eye at the purchase; it’s heavily discounted (bless the Surprise Kate Spade sale), cute, and will be frequently used. Current Jane has a perfectly useable and only slightly worn work bag and debated over the purchase for hours.

The purchase got me thinking; what has changed about my spending habits since I switched into a frugal mindset? What things do I miss?

I’ve generally had frugal tendencies through my life, but the changes I’ve made in the past year have drastically affected my spending habits. When I look back to my pre-NYC, pre-frugal lifestyle, I feel like I used to throw money at everything!

Okay, that’s not exactly true, but these “habits” used to cost me a couple hundred a month:

Buying lunch

Old Jane used to go out for lunch at least three days a week. Old Jane gained a lot of weight.

I like that I’m eating healthier by bringing my lunch (almost) every day, but I miss eating out. It gave me an excuse to leave the office, more opportunities to socialize with co-workers, and also, yummy food. Yes, I can still do all those things, but it’s a lot harder. Many of my co-workers go out to lunch every day. I’ve rejected enough lunch offers over the past few months that I don’t get asked anymore. ๐Ÿ˜ž

I know I’m saving money and reducing calories by bringing lunch, so I have no regrets over this new lifestyle change, but that doesn’t stop me from missing it.

Going to the movies

Old Jane liked going to the movies, but only for matinee showings (there’s some inherent frugality in my genes, I suppose). Current Jane doesn’t like going to the movies at all.

I don’t know what caused this, exactly. Maybe it’s because I’ve never felt the need to be the first to watch any movies; almost everything I want to watch will be on HBO/Netflix/Redbox eventually. I still enjoy going to the movies; Ian frequently suggests it as a date night experience because he loves the movie theater. What I miss is not feeling guilty about going. The only way to combat it is to go on Tuesdays; when I local theater offers $6 tickets all day. It’s cheap, but if it completely erased that money-spending guilt, we’d be going every week (and we definitely don’t).

Buying books

I’ve recommended choosing your local library over a bookstore in the past, but my dream one day is to have a personal library.

Okay, it doesn’t have to be Beauty and The Beast big, but a cozy room lined with shelves and multiple reading nooks would be ideal (no TVs allowed!).

I’m in no rush as I’m not about to settle down in one place, but Old Jane used to have a box of books. Where are those books now? Gathering dust in my parents’ home, waiting for the day that I can rescue them. I currently have a single shelf in my bedroom that holds all my books, and IT’S NOT ENOUGH. I miss being able to reread my favorites at any time. Technically I could go and check them out from the library, but it’s not the same. It sucks to not buy books, but it wasn’t a hard decision to make. One day, I’ll make it rain at my local bookstore and finally stock up.

Shopping aka Retail Therapy

This sounds like a catch-all, but Old Jane used to partake in clothing shopping quite frequently. I’d buy dresses I thought I needed for work. I also have a huge weakness for Kate Spade products. I don’t know how it started, but I’ve definitely spent more than a thousand dollars there over the past few years. It wasn’t all for me, I promise! Last year, I spent a fair chunk of change buying many of my femaleย friends Kate Spade gifts (mostly jewelry and small accessories; I’m not that loaded, people). I think my reasoning at the time had to do with being in New York, making more money, and wanting to stay connected with everyone I had moved away from. Plus, it’s super fun to receive designer gifts. (At least that’s how it works in my head.)

Point is, shopping really adds up, especially if you have expensive tastes. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ

Do I miss having new, pretty, fancy things? Yes. Would I rather keep that money in my pocket? Also yes.

Nowadays, I’ve cut out almost all of clothes and luxury shopping. I’m not afraid to spend money. My $300 Frye boots should last me a decade. I used to spend $60 every 1-2 years on winter boots that would just fall apart after one season. No more of that, please. That said, I haven’t found as many reasons to spend money lately, so although I’ll spend more on individual items, overall, I’m spending less. It’s really nice; I highly recommend shopping this way.

What’s next?

Well, I’ve made a big purchase, so it’s time to sell some old stuff to balance things out a bit. I’ve got some purses that will be listed on eBay soon enough, and a few dresses I never wear, too. I don’t regret my purchase, and I know I’ll be able to get my money’s worth out of it. Getting rid of older items will help reduce the number of things I own, and hopefully put some money back into my pocket. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Overall, there’s nothing from my pre-frugal life that I would keep, given the choice. This lifestyle is one that have no regrets over. Sure, to other people it may sometimes look like I’m giving up a lot, but I promise that’s not the case.

I’m not the only one who has experienced this, right? Anyone else have pre-frugal behaviors that are no longer appealing?


  1. It sounds like you’ve made some great habits in your frugal journey! There’s definitely things I don’t miss (too much food going to waste in the fridge from lack of meal prep planning one of the biggest ones), but I think it’s also important to remember that it’s YOUR journey, and if you want to buy a beautiful new bag, treat yo’ self ๐Ÿ˜› Sounds like you will have made some hefty savings even from the changes you’ve already made!

    1. Author

      Food waste is definitely something I still deal with! I get all these ideas about fun things to cook, but then don’t follow through… it’s a work in progress, haha.
      I still think I treat myself too much, so it’s probably better to err towards delayed gratification, but I won’t beat myself over this purchase too much ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. I’m so with you on the change in shopping habits. I used to go to the mall or TJMaxx or Marshalls so frequently and buy cheap(er) items that wouldn’t hold up for a long time. Now I spend more for higher quality items, but buy less frequently, especially when it comes to my shoes!

    1. Author

      I’m still such a sucker for TJ Maxx/Marshalls… I only buy skincare/grooming products there now though. Where else would I find cheap shampoo with argan oil and charcoal face masks? ๐Ÿ˜€
      For everything else, I’ve definitely shifted towards a “buy it once, buy it good” mentality.

  3. Hehe, TJ Maxx is where I’ve gotten so many Korean face mask packs for cheap!

    I think “restraint” is part of my personality, but I definitely used to make dumber shopping purchases. Like, buying things I wouldn’t wear, etc. But I think everyone does that every now and then.

    $15 movie tickets is highway robbery. I only go if I have a discount ticket.

    One thing I do now when I feel guilty about a new purchase is sell some stuff. Like, the one in, one out policy. Looks like you’ve got that in progress.

    1. Author

      I’ve tried to sell things in the past with very little success, so fingers crossed! I’m hoping that my old purses will have some more interest than the dresses I tried to sell in the past. Either that, or I just need to expect way less money for them.

  4. Ahhhh I think about this SO often! I don’t know if it’s that I miss particular things about pre-frugal life so much as the carefree attitude I used to have when I bought a book or went for drinks or rented a car to go away for the weekend. I really didn’t think about money, like, ever when making those purchases. Which is a huge problem, of course. You put it so well – it’s not that I regret my decisions or lifestyle now, but I can’t help but miss those carefree days justttt a little bit. Especially when there are moments now where I feel like I have gone too far to the other extreme because even basic purchases that I actually need give me pause. Finding a happy frugal middle ground is still a work in progress ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for the insightful post.

    1. Author

      Thanks for stopping by, Kate. Oh, to be young and clueless again… I’m definitely glad to be where I am today, but like you said, it’s nice to be carefree ๐Ÿ™‚

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