I will do most anything to save a few dollars. Hell, I’ll do anything to just save a few cents! But that doesn’t mean that I’m not also spending money left and right.
Does my obsessive thriftiness layered with spendy behavior make me a hypocrite?
Because when I am intensely frugal with the stuff that doesn’t matter, then the money is there for the stuff that does matter. I like to think of it as two steps backwards, one step forward. Take last week as an example.
Here’s what I did to save/earn money:
- We spent three days/two nights at the beach. We stayed at a friend’s $65/night cabin that’s cheap but requires us to put up with some grubbiness and a bat or two.
- I made sun tea using tea bags that no one will drink as hot tea, yet are pleased to drink when it’s presented as iced tea.
- I did multiple loads of laundry using my hand-me-down and unattractive washing machine and hung everything to dry on the clothesline.
- I assembled last night’s hasty dinner using homemade pesto, spelunked frozen shrimp and dried Trader Joe’s tortellini.
- I put together four Craigslist listings to sell thrifted finds.
- I put together two eBay listings to sell additional second hand finds.
- I walked or biked for most of my errands.
- I read a library copy of Walden on Wheels.
- I cut my husband’s hair.
- I picked up at least four pennies from various locales.
- I fed the neighbor’s cats, (which helps to foster a close neighborhood community) and nibbled (with permission) from her vegetable garden.
- I helped my mother clean one of her guest cottages, and brought home a bag of food that the previous tenants had left behind.
- I made waffles to use up the last of the gleaned 2% milk and most of a container of soy milk.
Here’s how I spent money:
- I made the switch from a regular to a smart cell phone. It’s my husband’s hand-me-down iPhone, and will cost us an extra $25 per month. However, there’s no contract, and I plan on using it to support my reselling and the GPS function. (Eugene’s geography and road closures threw me for a loop!)
- I paid $90 for my teenage sons to attend the three-day Kumoricon convention. (Anime, manga, cosplay event.) I had originally planned on paying half, but I felt that the price was actually super reasonable, so I ate the entire cost.
- I handed each kid a twenty dollar bill. I told them it was for food, but I know they’ll spend it on junk.
- I bought a pack of ping-pong balls so my older son could make a necklace that looked like it was strung with eyeballs.
- We splurged on a delicious seafood dinner after checking out of the cabin.
- My husband stopped by Costco after dropping the kids at Kumoricon today. He filled the car with cheap gasoline and bought a tremendous amount of food. I have no idea how much he spent, (probably pretty high) but it was all real food, none of it convenience food and supports our goal of brought-from-home work and school lunches.
- Watched cable TV, which we have because my husband and younger son are unapologetic soccer super fans. It’s almost all my son talks about, and is deeply important to him.
Even though we have no current debt beyond our mortgage, our older son will starting college next fall. This means I am
maniacally intelligently putting extra money toward this goal. But that doesn’t mean that we’re holding back from what is important in the here and now.
I’m picking up pennies, cleaning up after strangers and cutting my husband’s hair so that we won’t have to scrimp when it comes to the important stuff, like education and food.
Two steps backwards, one step forward.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”