Day 28

Mrs. Frugalwoods addresses areas of frugality that are very important to realize, and to practice.  After all, practice makes perfect!  And, new habits need to be practiced to become part of our regular, daily behavior.

  1. Frugality isn’t about depriving yourself–it’s about being strategic with your resources.
  2. Another element of strategic frugality is substitution. There are plenty of free or cheap alternatives to stuff we commonly pay for.
  3. Frugality entails creativity and strategy. But if done correctly, it doesn’t entail deprivation or miserliness.

Let’s begin with #1:  Being strategic with your resources.  Resources are what you have on hand.  This includes money, food, what you have lying around the house, and your imagination.  Mrs. Frugalwoods points out that she and her husband hacked a seltzer system so they could avoid costs and environmental debris.  Good for them!  This required some thinking and planning, and probably purchasing a thing or two.  Now they have seltzer on tap.  Last weekend we had a bread-baking party.  We needed cradles to raise the sourdough baguettes in, so Mr. 182 took a mailing tube we had, and made 4 cradles for the bread, held together with tape.  Lined with parchment paper, the cardboard was undamaged, and the cradles are ready for the next batch of  bread.  I was really impressed!   We could have spent money, but we didn’t – we spent a bit of thinking time, and a bit of time putting things together.

We don’t need everything we want, and when we do want something, how much will it cost for how badly we want it?  #2:  Another element of strategic frugality is substitution. There are plenty of free or cheap alternatives to stuff we commonly pay for.  There are times when something cheap or free can do the trick.   The Frugalwoods have date nights at home rather than go out and spend.  That is their “cheap alternative”!  Here, we do much of the same.  We take walks, cook together, watch TV, or whatever.  Our lives are pretty dull as far as entertainment goes – no off-Broadway shows here, and rarely a trip to the movies.  Hobbies are also great ways to socialize.  For example, Mr. 182 brews beer, and has joined brew clubs, built equipment alone and with friends.  The same with his rocket hobby.  These provide social connections outside of the house.  I have friends with whom I do photography, hiking, writing, and the like.

Finally, the one which says it all.  #3:  Frugality entails creativity and strategy. But if done correctly, it doesn’t entail deprivation or miserliness.  Creative and strategic thinking are a lot of fun – how to do it this way or that way?  If this doesn’t work, what might?  I love this kind of thinking because it solves problems and makes one realize so many things.  Beginning at the point of “How can we do this without spending money?” is a great creative trigger, and it is amazing how fun it is, what it leads to, and how rewarding self-reliance becomes.

Even without thinking about costs, the mere act of creating something you can use, or something which simply pleases you, brings about a sense of satisfaction that buying a pre-made item never does.