When I first started my own adventures in frugal world it was simply a means to an end. I had a 3 month old and was in my last year of grad school and I did not want to work and put the kid in daycare for 40 hours a week.
So I started super couponing, selling things on ebay, half.com and craigslist, eating out less,buying mostly used...
I read lots of websites and blogs.... sometimes for hours to figure all the steals and deals! I shopped managers specials and clearance racks and stocked up on stuff when it was a good deal.
Slowly though I started to develop a different attitude towards frugalness. By not buying at all I can be frugal and by choosing high quality goods when I do need something I am being more frugal than by choosing cheapies that break in a month. By making do with what I have or finding a good quality used piece I can be frugal and better to the environment.
I then began to read about people who lived "simply", Followed the Compact, or who practised conscious frugality. These ideas make sense to me. Less stuff = more time and more money. Why do I need 25 shirts when 5-10 will do or why does my one year old need 30 different toys??
I started to think about Quality over Quantity.
Slowly I am removing the excess from our life. I still do stock up on some of the best deals (like free shampoo and free toilet paper) but only because we use those things every day. I also still do cut coupons but now I have a list of specific things we use and I watch for just those coupons.
I make meal plans and grocery lists according to the sale ads. We eat meatless 1-3 nights a week and we try to only eat out 1 night a week. I try to feed my family more whole foods and not as much processed foods. I started a garden with squash, basil, cucumbers and tomatoes. I gave up paper towels for the most part and use very basic cleaning supplies like vinegar and baking soda and bleach (one of my guilty pleasures). I try to not purchase plastic because it stays around for a million years and some studies have shown a link between several health issues and plastic. I hang most of our clothes up to dry. I replaced many of the regular bulbs in our house with CFLS. Hubs installed an aerator in the kitchen sink. We own an electric mower and weed eater and we have made a consious effort to reduce our food waste. I try not to go to the dollar store and I strive to buy things made in countries other than China.
Am I perfect?? No and I don't ever plan to be.