Monday, June 28, 2010

Frugal Yes, Simple No

I'm a frugal person. I live beneath my means (and more), I make things last as long as they can, I buy mindfully and I look for new and better ways to do things. However, I don't live simply and I am certainly not a minimalist. For many people, these things seem to go hand in hand. But for me, being frugal is being able to live as bountifully as possible on as little income as possible.

A minimalist will have five tops in their closet, one for each day of the week. I on the other hand will have ten tops, all bought at yard sales and thrift stores, for half the price of the single shirt. These are generalizations, but you see the point. My goal is to have the things, the comfort if you will, for minimal expense. I'm willing to expend effort as needed to meet that goal.

One year, when my daughter was six, I was perusing a neighborhood yard sale. A mother with daughters who must have been seven or so had three large blankets full of size 6X clothes. Many of them were Sears mix and match styles (what us old folk had before garanamals and gymboree). She was more interested in getting rid of them than the cost, so for twenty bucks I got a huge deal. My child had so many clothes, I could wait two weeks or more to do her laundry!! A minimalist would clean out most of those clothes. but I got the clothes for a song, I had a place to put them, and she wore them.

Also, in my opinion, before one eliminates an item or items, one should consider the replacement cost. Now that I'm a widow with one at home child, I use a small crock pot. In fact, that's all I used for a year. I seriously considered eliminating my large pot.  However, in the past couple of weeks I have done two potlucks and had a request to make a large Boston butt.  All of these situations require a large pot. I cannot tell you how thankful I am that I kept my seven quart crock pot. If I'd followed the six month rule it would be gone, and there I would have been.

Now, I'm not advocating hoarding or keeping items one doesn't have room for. I've recently decided that I'm not buying any more bookshelves, and that means some books must go. I acknowledge that one needs a place for everything and that one needs to be able to find everything. Beyond that though, we each make our personal decisions. Personally, I'll be the gal with the dishes for Christmas, Easter, summer and fall (mostly bought at yard sales or on deep discount of course)!

1 comment:

  1. I agree that the "six month rule" (I can guess what that is) is meant to be broken. I just cleaned out the kitchen, also. I hardly use my crock pot but I will use it again, so it stays. I have been ruthless with mugs and extra bread pans that I truly will not use. It's all about assessing what will be used and what is just there... because it's there. I have a small kitchen and no room for extras.

    I have growing boys and I outfit them (and myself too!) in some of the finest labels for a dollar or two per item by shopping at yard sales. Thankfully my 18-year-old is now the one who is crazy about yard sales (I never was but he dragged me into it and I've been cleaning up). The down side is that he makes me get up very early on Saturday mornings just to go find some pathetic selections of old magazines no one wanted a decade ago sometimes (trash, in other words.) Oh well, you win some, you lose some! Last weekend we got a brand-new 6x9 persian-style rug for $25 so that was a "win." And I've replaced some terrible baking pans with brand-new sturdy ones at $2 each (see my blog for photos).

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