Previously, I’ve written about how I have found spring to be an extremely frugal season. That’s still true. However the truth is, that to be truly frugal (and to enjoy every season), one needs to live with, and enjoy each season and its own offerings. I’ve especially found this true as I work to be more frugal (I hate the word extreme), and to bring a little bit of simplicity and minimalism to my life.
There is an old saying about being able to have everything you want, just not at the same time. Living and partaking of the seasons is a great example. Generally when folks talk about taking advantage of the seasons to save money, they are talking about eating and cooking. Obviously that’s a large portion of our disposable budget and is generally good advice. But that’s just one aspect of using your location and the seasonal aspect to control the budget, and simplify life in general.
In my previous life, I spent seven years in Germany. Germans (and I suspect many Europeans) have a greater appreciation of the “now” than we do (for the most part) in my experience. Some of this I’m sure is economic, some has to do with environmental issues that we haven’t necessarily faced and some of it has to do with more people in a smaller space, and overall smaller homes. The end result is that when raspberry season arrives, every Gasthaus and restaurant will have menus based on the berries, as well as warm raspberries on ice cream for dessert. The menu may vary from restaurant to restaurant, but the ingredients will be similar. The same with Spargel (white asparagus). No matter what you order, asparagus will be the vegetable of choice with your meal. When it’s advent, there is no limit to the number of Christmas Markets one may visit, how many spiced wines one may drink or how many Christmas songs one may hear. However, Christmas is only for four weeks and after the day after Christmas, it’s on to another time, another season. To celebrate Christmas before the beginning of Advent would be blasphemy.
I live in Texas. While I cannot realistically open my windows and turn on my fans during the summer, there are other things that I can do. I deliberately dress like it is summer. This means casual clothing as well as extremely cool clothing. Everything else bars a sweater or two are put away. I keep the air as low as possible and try to spend a certain portion of my day outside. When I cook, I take advantage of outdoor cooking and salad opportunities as much as possible (both to keep the house cool and to save money). My shopping, be it at a store, grocery store or yard sale, consists of those things that will naturally be low cost or on sale. In the food department, this means I eat a lot of grilled and barbecued food and salads. My crockpot and rice cooker are left for other times. When I need culture or entertainment, I take advantage of what is free and available, first. Right now this means, art fairs, outdoor concerts, and Fourth of July celebrations. It also means exploring the bluebonnets and lavender, and taking a short drive to a free beach or lake.
In October, things will have changed. I’ll have kissed the raspberries, watermelons and blueberries good bye until next year. I’ll welcome pumpkins and my slow cooker with open arms. My entertainment choices will be fall dinners, pumpkin patches and visit the leaves. Summer clothes will (for the most part) be put away, and even in Texas it will be time to bring out sweaters and sweats. I’ll start reserving films at the library for those dark evenings and out will come popcorn and hot chocolate.
By allowing myself to appreciate and take advantage of what is available to me hear and how, I manage to both cut spending and simplify my life overall. Try it, you’ll like it!