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Interview With Frugal Living Expert: Taya From

I had the privledge of speaking with Taya from Simply Frugal this week, and she addressed some frugal living questions that myself and some of you all have been wondering about.

Here’s what Taya had to say:

1. How long have you been living a frugal lifestyle?
I would say I’ve been living the frugal lifestyle since just after we got married in September 2007. About four years I guess!

2. What was the moment in your life that really sparked your interest in frugal living?
The moment in my life that really got me going on frugal living was January 2008, when I decided to do a No Spend Challenge. I had been reading several other blog authors that were undergoing this “major” feat and was inspired to challenge myself. I realized, that while I had accumulated no debt, I had no idea where my money was going. I was really good at buying things on sale, later to have no use for the items in a short period of time. What a waste!

So, for the month of January, I challenged myself to not spend a dime. However, I did allow spending money for groceries and bills. The first week was so hard! I never realized how much I ventured into town “just to have a look”. The No Spend Challenge, forced me to get creative with my time, rather than spending my hours shopping away. I think I managed to paint our bedroom and get a bunch of organizing projects out of the way.

By the time the last week of January came around, I was finding it so much easier to stay out of unnecessary stores. I realized there was a freedom in knowing where money was being spent and seeing some savings! Needless to say, the No Spend Challenge impacted my life from then on. It’s way more fun to see my bank account grow rather then spending it on useless “junk” that takes up room in our already small home!

(Here are a couple of links about the No spend Challenge: an article I wrote for The Yummy Mummy Club and a series I did on a second No Spend Challenge I did in March of 2010.

3. What does your husband think about all of your money saving ideas. Does it drive him crazy, or is he really frugal as well?
My husband loves hearing any of my money saving stories! Each time I get home from the grocery store, he never fails to ask what I managed to get free that time!

It definitely doesn’t drive him crazy since he’s actually the original frugal one in our family. He’s always been good with money and I figured that once we got married, life would be much more peaceful if I came along side him and his view of money.

4. Can you tell us your #1 tip for living frugally, without sacrificing quality of life?
Hmm, I’d have to say my number one tip would be to enjoy the outdoors. My husband and I love to go on hikes and walks on trails surrounding our town. We figure it’s a great way to not spend a dime on entertainment! Oh, picnics at the beach during the summer are also mandatory. 🙂 Taking our walks or hikes has helped me to slow down and appreciate life and time with my husband, while excising at the same time!

5. Many people experience “frugal living burnout” when they first attempt frugal living. What advice would you give those people?
My advice would be to factor some indulgences into your budget. Whether it be a coffee from a local cafe once a week, or a pedicure once a month – it’s important to allow yourself some “rewards” for working so hard at getting a grip on those finances! After all, what’s the point in saving money if we don’t feel like we have the freedom to spend it?

6. Is there anything that you like to splurge on? How do you know when it’s okay to splurge a little?
Before my No Spend Challenge in 2008, I used to splurge on everything . But now, I really enjoy a Grande Vanilla Latte from Starbucks. Simple, I know, but it doesn’t take space in my closets or make a huge dent in my bank account!

We’ve got a good handle of our money and always have money in case of emergencies. So, if we feel as though we’d like to get something, we do. Mind you, we’re definitely not big spenders and tend to “buy” things through for free, using Swagbucks credits or wait until a really good sale comes along. We tend to be researchers as well, so we know were getting the most bang for our buck on an item we’re splurging on.

I should also mention, that sometimes it takes me a while to convince myself to buy something. I’ve learned about myself that I’ll most likely be happier in the long run if I don’t purchase an item unless I have a use for it right away or I won’t mind taking care of it.

7. If you suddenly came into a large sum of money, would you still continue to live a frugal lifestyle, or would you cut yourself some slack?
I’m pretty sure we would still continue to live the frugal lifestyle if we came into a large sum of money. I imagine we would invest that money (or most of it) into something like real estate. If I were to cut myself some slack, I’d probably start carrying around a $50 purse rather than a $10 one. 🙂

8. What is one mistake you notice people making when they are attempting frugal living?
Taking advantage of every single deal/sale/coupon that comes around. I realize that essentially, they are saving money, but they’re also spending unnecessary cash driving around, paying taxes on the products or buying something for $0.50 when they’ve already got 20 at home (that $0.50 still adds up!). They need to know that there will always be another sale that comes along.

9. What is your favourite frugal meal?
Mine would be stir-fry. It’s a great way to use up vegetables that are nearing the end of their life! I think my husband would say it’s my sesame chicken or BBQ pork chops made in the slow cooker, served with steamed veggies and rice or potatoes!

10. Can you please let everyone know more about Simply Frugal?
When I chose Simply Frugal as a name, I thought it was a very fitting name for what I wanted to portray on the website. I wanted to make it simple for readers to find money saving deals and coupons that were useful to them. As well, in an effort to live a more simple life in my own life, I wanted to give practical ideas for saving money without adding more stress to life. If you’d like, you can read a bit more about Simply Frugal right here.

Thank you so much to Taya for taking the time to answer our frugal living questions!

Be sure to visit Taya over at Simply Frugal for more of her frugal living tips and tricks.


  1. Carrie

    Great interview – keep up the great woek!!!

  2. MK

    I love how she says if she came into a large sum of money she would splurge on a $50 purse.

  3. SavingMentor

    I love Simply Frugal. I just wish I had enough hours in the day to keep up with all the great frugality and personal finance websites there out there!

    I find sometimes I have to make the choice between reading about doing and actually doing the stuff I read about. I think if I’m going to get anything done I, unfortunately, have to start reading a little less while taking what I already know and applying it!

    Great story of how you began living the frugal life Taya!

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