Pride Without Prejudice

by Katy on February 1, 2016 · 14 comments

The following is a reprint of a previously published post. Enjoy!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

I’m just now finishing up reading my long awaited library copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. It has all the subdued strong emotion of Jane Austen’s original classic, but with “ultraviolent zombie mayhem.”

A perfect combination.

The book got me started thinking about pride, and the role it plays in my life. Pride is utterly important as well as being a complete barrier to my non-consumer lifestyle.

For example, I take a lot of pride in my home. I am very deliberate in how it is presented, both decoratively and as a place of welcome. This is not to say that I am a Katy tidy-mouse, but I do want the house to impress. The satisfaction in being able to pull together a somewhat sophisticated decor on a dime is prideful. I am aware that being willing to live in a home with a hodge-podge of free furnishings and belongings would be much more practical and inexpensive.

But I have too much pride for that.

On the other hand, I do a lot of things that others would consider beneath them. My mother owns a couple of guest cottages here in Portland, and I frequently assume the role of cleaning lady between tenants. Usually I do this for free, but she paid me this last time as she knows I am saving for my son’s upcoming class trip to Japan.

I have no problem lending a hand with housekeeping duties, and my favorite part is gleaning all the leftover food that people leave behind. And I’m not just talking about sealed goods either. This last cleaning gig provided me with:

  • Most of a half-gallon of fat free milk
  • An avocado
  • A peach
  • Most of a jar of organic blackberry jam
  • Most of a package of frozen vegetarian chicken nuggets
  • Most of a package of organic tater-tots

Keep in mind that these foodstuffs are from people my mother knows, and that despite being a nurse I am about the least germ-a-phobic person I know.

I also sorted through the somewhat moist recycling bin for returnable bottles and cans. I was able to pull out five dollar’s worth to trade in at my local Safeway.

I am willing to do what others might consider beneath them. I will reach under the Coinstar machine if I see a dime, and I will paw through recyclables to make $5. And if a tenant shows up early to find me scrubbing out a toilet, I keep it to myself that I’m a labor and delivery nurse, not a Merry Maid.

Not so prideful.

Much of what is necessary to live a frugal life is near to impossible if one is unwilling to let go of prideful notions. Buying used, accepting hand-me-downs and being willing to say no to expensive family traditions can be a difficult step for many people.

To live a life without pride would be a difficult life indeed, but a life with excessive pride can lead to living beyond your means and an inability to make changes when an economic downturn occurs.

So take note Mr. Darcy, just make sure to keep an eye out for zombies, a.k.a., the manky dreadfuls.

Is pride keeping you or someone you love from living within your means? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

A. Marie February 1, 2016 at 12:04 pm

As Mr. Darcy himself says early in the original P&P, “Where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation.” Of course, this is a lesson he himself has to learn in the course of the novel–but we do also learn that there is true pride and false pride. (Full disclosure: Life Member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, at your service.)


Katy February 1, 2016 at 12:24 pm

Will you be seeing this movie?


A. Marie February 1, 2016 at 12:29 pm

Probably not–less because I’m a JA purist (several JASNA friends in NYC have seen it in previews and said it’s less bad than they were expecting) than because I have zero personal tolerance for blood and gore in the cinema.


Marilyn February 1, 2016 at 4:15 pm

Hmmm…this is one I have to think about. I suppose the temptation to “keep up with the Joneses” is a form of pride (or at least an an effort not to lose face). If so, it is something I have to watch out for. I have to remind myself now and then to take pride in having savings for retirement, rather than the latest home improvements or electronic gadgets which all of the neighbors seem to have.


AnnW February 1, 2016 at 4:38 pm

But, you can be very proud that all of these actions have provided a rich life for your boys, with ….how many trips to Japan? I think anyone can say that they haven’t lacked much. That’s the way to do it!


Isabelle February 1, 2016 at 4:48 pm

I won tickets to go see the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies on Wednesday! Didn’t even know it’s from a book (the Zombies part)

So… Am I a proud person… hmm… I recognize myself in your post actually. I also take pride in my (still new to me after 6 months) home. I keep it tidy and good looking because it makes me happy. And then I’ll bend down to pick up cans (when no one is looking) and I get all excited about free food! So, I don’t know. I link this to being frugal more than being proud. And I think we can be both without it colliding. So, no, my proudness does not affect my monetary goals.


Mariana February 1, 2016 at 6:10 pm

I can somewhat relate.
Whenever my office orders breakfast / lunch I am the one ‘cleaning’ up and taking all leftovers home. Even if that means collecting 1 container of hummus out of 7 different trays. 😉


Carla February 1, 2016 at 6:54 pm

Love it! and so close to my heart. I have always said that no job is beneath me. Partly because I’ve come through some pretty rough situations where that was the only option, and partly because I want to save my money and use it for things that matter. So I have had no qualms in dressing my kids with free clothing from clothing exchanges, feeding the family on pretty much only scratch-and-dent groceries while saving money so we could repair the chimney or buy a car in cash. My kids have always been stylish (we always get lots of compliments!), we eat well and we slowly reach our goals.

The one thing I learned the hard way is that sanity is not worth the savings in money! But it’s a hard trade-off. When our second was born I had a great maternity leave (Canada: 93% of my salary for a year) so my usually stay-at-home husband went back to work and we didn’t touch his salary, it went directly to RRSPs and a down-payment. We finally were able to buy a house in a great location but later I realised that my struggles adjusting were actually post-partum depression which took a while to deal with. So for child #3, he didn’t go back to work, we both stayed home, lived within my salary and his part-time consultant work and we all fared better for it.


JD February 2, 2016 at 8:35 am

Wow, pride can be a real problem for me. I’m not one to keep up with the Joneses and never was, but I was (am) prone to pride in myself. I find life knocks it out of me on a regular basis, though. Whatever my pride assures me that I will or won’t do or be a certain way, life finds a way to prove my pride wrong!


Ruby February 2, 2016 at 8:53 am

I think some people confuse pride, as in the modern sense that it’s a bad thing because it goes before a fall, with the feeling of satisfaction with having done a good job. And there’s nothing wrong in having pride in a tidy appearance or keeping a neat, well-functioning home, especially if you can manage both while living within your means and saving for the future.

I used to work with a couple of people who took absolute glee in bragging that they never cleaned their houses and they honestly seemed to compete to see who could have the messiest car. It was like some kind of perverted pride in flaunting the conventional that still boggles my mind. Why dishonor yourself, and the many hours you spend working to pay for such expensive things as a home and cars, if you aren’t going to take proper care of them?


janine February 2, 2016 at 9:52 am

Great post and much to think about!
I take pride in my nice home in a good neighborhood. Tradeoff is high taxes and the time it takes for upkeep.
I gladly traded a need to practice frugality for the opportunity to retire early and be in control of my own time.
We drive old crappy cars but take pride in being able to converse knowledgeably about our travels around the world.
Hand-me down clothes and used furnishings are OK and provide uniqueness and interest in our lives.
It is much easier to write a check and get what you need (want) but better for the environment to practice eco- awareness and frugality.
Have a close friend who is very conscious of status and possessions . It feels as though she is condemning me for not having as many material possession or valuing them as much as she does. This makes me uncomfortable because of our differing values. Tradeoffs everywhere.


Lesley February 2, 2016 at 10:11 am

Not to offend any of the Merry Maids out there!


Vickie February 2, 2016 at 11:38 am

The older I get the least prideful I am about anything. My house is full of hand-me-downs and antiques – in perfectly good shape.
I’m not one for a lot of change, so I have no problem with out of date furniture, dishes, clothes etc.
This coming from a woman whose husband owns a furniture store. hahaha!

I’m proud of the people in my life, but could careless about “stuff.”


Stephanie February 2, 2016 at 7:49 pm

Our daughter was just commenting last weekend how she loves our home and our “stuff” because it all has a history behind it.


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