Comments About "Conscious Frugality"

by Katy on February 7, 2009 · 1 comment

I love writing this blog, but what I find most interesting are the comments. And the comments from yesterday’s blog about conscious frugality are well thought out and worth a read, so I’ve included a few below.

From Penny:

The message that always comes across (ad nauseum) in the media is that we, as “consumers,”are mandated to fulfill our pre-determined destinies by rabidly buying “products,” in order to somehow reach our whole.

What bothers me the most is how the solution for EVERY problem in our society is sold as a simple need to “buy” more.

If you want to lose weight, buy these nutrition bars. If you want to save money on car expenses, buy a new car. If you want to save money on groceries, buy your groceries at their store. In order to save more money, buy this financial program for your computer. Yikes!

It’s why I love the Non-Consumer Advocate site so much. 😀

Like so many other readers, my purchases are saved for, are always done very thoughtfully, never made in haste, and then enjoyed for many years. Partly for the challenge and creativity, I try to find a way to re-purpose anything and everything that enters my home.

Our children lovingly poke fun at me sometimes because I use up or wear out nearly everything–I still have the laundry basket that I bought after my son was first born (he’s now 6′6″ tall and 28 years old!) and still regularly use a nifty set of four folding tray tables that my daughter would use in combination with a blanket to make a play fort out of (she’s now 30 and the mother of my sweet granddaughter that loves playing Barbies on them!).

The way I look at it, making careful acquisition decisions in the first place and then taking care of what you have pays you back many times over in both freedom from debt and the unsatisfying gerbil wheel of consumerism.

What the money I’ve saved over the years has “bought” for me is time–with my family, for myself, and for others. Because I only had to work part-time to support my lifestyle, and ultimately was able to retire at 47, I have been able to volunteer, travel, grow some of my own food, kindle and maintain meaningful friendships, take better care of my health, learn new skills, and know peace.


From Marianne:

Boy, is this one hard to explain. Perhaps it is giving yourself the time to discover what is really important to you, and you realize how little material goods satisfy the soul. Perhaps it is being overly cynical about what society is trying to sell you. (I often think this is the case in my situation…) Perhaps it comes from realizing that your children need true stability and this is part of how you give it to them. For us, frugality is just a small part of the picture. We are highly aggressive about what enters our home (this extends to people, phone calls, & not just things), we do not allow any member of our family to be “available” 24 hours per day. (My husband is a foreman, the one that the buck stops at, and even his work knows that he leaves his cell phone in the truck when he gets home. If there is an emergency, the control room knows our home number. Otherwise, he would be receiving calls from people all evening wanting to do business.)

Home is sanctuary to our family, a place to keep the world at bay. Home is where you are always loved, even if there is trouble. If it doesn’t add to the functioning and wellbeing of “home”, it doesn’t come in. We find that in sticking to this mandate, a lot of our money is spent on experiences rather than shopping. While these experiences may not be cheap, we would rather that than something sitting on the mantle collecting dust…


From Alison:

What an insightful post! Well done!

My thoughts on conscious frugality are very closely aligned with yours. I’ve recently begun doing more reading about simple living and frugality, and have committed myself to the following, which I think are examples of conscious frugality:

1. Only buying things that I think will truly improve my quality of life.
2. Only buying things that are of good quality, so they will last a long time.
3. Buying things used, when possible.
4. Buying from local shops, when possible. (Yesterday I had a double-whammy – I bought a dozen used-but-in-excellent-condition cloth diapers from a locally-owned consignment shop in my neighbourhood. They are too small for my daughter, but I am putting them aside for baby #2 when the time comes.)
5. Trying to buy things that are made in Canada.
6. Trying to buy things with appropriate packaging.

I also need to share a related anecdote: Last night my husband and I were watching a movie with friends that we had recorded from TV using our PVR. As we started to fast-forward through the commercials, one of our friends mockingly pleaded/whined, “But wait! How will we know what we need?” 🙂 So true… I can think of many things I own for which I never would have perceived a need if it weren’t for advertising.

Thank you to everyone who reads and also comments on the blog. I think I get just as much input and inspiration, (if not more) from you guys as you do from me. Keep up the great comments, and don’t forget to put in your two cents for The Non-Consumer Advocate book club.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Anne Laufe February 18, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Hi Katy! I’ve been enjoying your blog! I’m working on an article for Metro Parent Magazine about simple living families, and would like to interview you. Would that be okay? Is there a good time for me to call you tomorrow or Friday?
P.S. Would you send me your phone #?


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