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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Active or passive frugality

When some people think of living frugal they think of hanging laundry, making their own soap, cooking from scratch, scrounging building materials to re-use, canning a year's worth of foods from a garden, repairing their own plumbing, or using plastic grocery bags for crafts, and stuff like that.  For busy folks this sounds like way too much work and far too much time.  Doing stuff like that is called active frugality.  It's not for everyone.

Actually, living frugally is more about what you don't do.  It's about giving up extravagance in favor of acquiring more.  Huh?  Ok, it's more like giving up the daily trip to McDonalds so you can buy a new computer.  It's about giving up a weekly trip to have your nails done so you have the money to go on a vacation.  Passive frugality is about giving up something because there is a greater goal. 

Living frugally should be a combination of both passive and active frugal things.  If you enjoy cooking then cooking from scratch will be easy to do.  But, if you cringe at the thought of picking something from the trash then why would you even consider dumpster diving?  If you love to garden but hate to sew clothes from scratch then stay with the gardening.  Leave the sewing to someone who enjoys it much more. 

Frugal living doesn't have to mean giving up your home to move into an old school bus and wear patched pants.  Frugal living is more about living the life WE want to live without the stress of keeping up with the Jones' live style.  Frugal living is a philosophy of less waste in a throw-stuff-away society. 

I do many types of crafts because I enjoy doing them.  At the same time my crafts are intended to help my budget.  If I create a rug from some scrap fabrics it's because; 1) I need a rug, 2) I don't want to pay for one, and 3) I enjoy making rugs.   True, when my kids were small, I crafted things because I had a major financial difficulty..... no money beyond rent and utilities.  No money meant I either begged for what I needed or made it myself.   I hated begging so I started crafting.  Cratfing gave me bartering power.  For example;  when I needed a refrigerator, I made a quilt and went bartering. 

As you decide on what frugality means to you... think about the stuff you already do and add to it a little at a time.  Add only what you are comfortable doing.  Get rid of the excess stuff that doesn't truly make you happy.  If carrying a high interest rate balance on a credit card causes you great stress; then why keep it?  If you are not worried about money but are concerned with the future of our planet then maybe consider giving up just one throw away item?  Later you could try something else that saves money.   

Frugal living is a life style we choose to live.  Not one that society forces on us.  Even Oprah, with all her wealth, will tell you she saves the little artificial sweetner packets from restaurants.  It's true!  I saw her tell about it on her show a long time ago. 

You see what I'm getting at?  Frugal living is..... living within your means and ignoring those who tell you to spend, spend, spend.


TOBY said...

Very well said ma'am.

Anita Estes said...

Hi Toby, where ya been so long? Maybe you've been very busy like me?