People think that living a frugal lifestyle is a lot of work, and frankly it is. It means doing stuff yourself that others hire out. Cooking, cleaning, hair coloring and probably some other tasks that I don’t even realize can be hired out. (Shoe organization?)
It would be sooo much easier to buy goods and services that I end up having to make/toil for myself, but those decisions come at a price. Choosing the convenience route simply costs more. Eating in restaurants and hiring out household jobs is fantastic, and makes sense for some families, but not for mine.
Take this morning as an example. My 17-year-old son has a weekly hour-and-a-half long 7 A.M. lifeguard meeting at the swimming pool. The drive takes twenty minutes, so it’s not worth going home during the actual meeting. Sometimes I sit in the car and read, other times I’ll go for a walk and then occasionally, I’ll sit in a coffee shop and sip coffee.
Today was a coffee shop day.
I slowly nursed my small non-fat latté, people watching and reading my library copy of Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior. I was also facing the pastry case. With three house guests, I knew it would be nice to bring home some yummy breakfast treats, but then I did the math and changed my mind. ($2 apiece X 7 people = too rich for my blood.) I even considered stopping at Safeway for less expensive options, but then I remembered that I possessed a bag of frozen blueberries scavenged from one of my mother’s guest cottages.
So I mixed up a double batch of oatmeal blueberry muffins, which not only sweetened my household’s air quality, but also allowed everyone to gorge on delicious treats.
Was it more work to make muffins from scratch instead of buying them from the bakery? Of course it was. But to buy two dozen fresh muffins would have cost $24, and to make them at home set me back maybe a dollar or so. (I grease the muffin tin instead if using paper cups) Yes, I have to clean the pans and spend maybe 15 minutes on prep time, but that can be done as part of my daily life.
Almost every day I put in the extra work that a truly frugal lifestyle requires. I cook from scratch, hang my laundry, fix up curbside finds, cut my husband’s hair, maintain my house and prepare my own hot caffeinated beverages. Would I enjoy hiring out these tasks? Yes, but also no. None of it is a ton of work, and the alternative income burden makes it worth every measure of sweat equity.
Sweat equity that invests in my frugal lifestyle.
Do you feel the extra work of frugality is worth your while? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”