Okay, so I can hardly claim to be living a frugal life when I’ve been at this thing for two days, but I’m pretty sure there’s a saying out there that suggests it’s good to start out the way you intend to be. Or do. Or something. I’m too lazy to google it, and anyway, I don’t really like quotes.
To contradict myself, I would now like to share a quote that comes from Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (it’s on Netflix, you should watch it).
Love people and use things, because the opposite never works.
I know. Deep. But it’s true, don’t you think? We should spend more time loving each other, truly being with each other, than looking out for things, stuff, that we think will make us “happy”. I mean, how exactly will a new candle, or an expensive bottle of perfume, or a 10th over-sized coffee mug impact our lives in the long run? After the thrill of the new has worn off, is that purchase going to become a treasured memory? Or is that item going to become just one more thing you need to dust…
I’ve been looking at my house differently today. Even after 100 days of Sh*t Sorting towards the end of 2016, I can still see junk everywhere. Thanks to Christmas (and my overwhelming urge to Buy All The Things in the lead up to the holidays) we’ve added new junk to the old junk. To my left is a window through which I can see our back yard, and it’s a mess. A jumble of faded plastic contraptions my kids have been programmed to believe they need. To my right is a drawer in which there are two phone covers, neither of which have been removed from their original packaging. I bought them because I had a new phone. I bought them because they were cheap. But all I’ve ended up with is unnecessary clutter and $11 less in my bank account. Wasted money is not a bargain.
It’s not easy to change overnight. In fact, I can honestly say I haven’t really changed at all, because this morning I ran into a friend who mentioned that perhaps she’ll go out on the town to celebrate her birthday this weekend. Immediately I said I would come. Music! Drinks! Fun! But that all equals money, and I’m not supposed to be spending money. And then I came home and tinted my own eyebrows so I wouldn’t have to pay someone to do it for me. But as soon as I looked in the mirror I thought, Oh I’ll have to go and get them threaded now.
For whatever reason, Go and spend money (even when I’m actively working towards not spending money), seems to be my first reaction to everything.
Being the first week back at school, my daughters are all fired up about their new stationary, and how cool everyone else’s books look. They want me to cover their books. They want me to take them to the shops so we can pick out rolls of sticky plastic to spread over the cardboard jackets of their exercise books, because everyone reckons this will help protect their work. But will it? What difference will it make? I could spend the money, buy the junk, waste hours attempting to apply it smoothly… How much enjoyment would my children actually take from it? How long would the thrill truly last?
I’ve told the kids about Frugal February, about our attempts to spend less, save more, be content with our lot. And they’re okay with it. If you want decorated books, I told them, just find some pictures you like and I’ll help you paste them onto the covers. They seemed happy with that. They are happy with that. Children, it would seem, really understand that money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness.
– Fern xxx
Another great way to save money is to prepare your own foods rather than buying pre-packaged stuff as much as possible. Check out this video for a few tasty, cost-effective lunch ideas.