The Disservice of Having Everything at Your Fingertips

by Katy on April 26, 2017 · 21 comments

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

It was sure a lot more fun and satisfying to fix up this old mirror than it would have been to buy one online. And yes, the antique dresser was a curbside find.

  • Dinner out without ever having to worry about the bill.
  • This season’s hip new clothing without the slightest inclination to look at the price tag.
  • turnkey house where your only project is where to place your gorgeous furniture?

Sounds great, right?


As dreamlike as it sounds to have access to everything you want at your fingertips, I feel like the reality of a limited budget sparks creativity and imagination that would otherwise lay dormant. 

Because the cost of taking four adults out for dinner, (Yup, teenage boys eat as much, if not much, much more than an adult) is staggering, so I end up having to cook at home. However, this doesn’t translate into frozen Costco lasagnas, as I like to prepare what I actually enjoy eating.

Take last night as an example. I’ve been craving Vietnamese salad rolls all week, (probably due to the fact that I spent an afternoon cleaning one of my mother’s guest cottages, and basking in the aromas of the divine Jade Teahouse and Patisserie, the *best* restaurant, Vietnamese or otherwise in town.) So instead of wallowing in the sentiment of “Poor me,” I found a recipe online and whipped up a huge batch of salad rolls for the family. And no, they were not as pretty as Jade’s, but for the first time in my life I got to gorge on a delicacy, which before had always been an appetizer.

Such a luxury, and frankly, pretty damned satisfying. And now, I have a new skill! Some might even go so far as to call it self improvement. 

The harsh reality of not being able to buy the things you want, whether it’s a certain type of food, a decor item or the services of a professional can force you into learning new skills. And then, if your financial situation takes a nosedive, you already know how to fend for yourself. But you know . . . in style.

It’s a good thing that I wasn’t born an heiress. What a travesty that would have been. 😉

Agree, disagree? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.


{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Vickey April 26, 2017 at 10:11 am

Agree! The thrill of solving a problem using creativity and what’s at hand goes deeper and lasts longer than the shopping high ever did. I speak as one who used to believe Nirvana was just one more mall trip away.
Signed, Reformed Shopaholic (and glad of it!)


Bee April 26, 2017 at 11:14 am

I agree completely! Creativity brings authenticity and joy to life.


gepee April 26, 2017 at 11:16 am

I think the best is the way I experienced as a child. My parents had enough money, but they still were cautious in spending and loved doing things themselves. So as a child I learned sewing, cooking, baking and all sorts of DIY – it was very important for my father that I shouldn’t only do “girly” things.
It was a very safe feeling, because on the one hand I learned how much I am able to do myself, and on the other hand I always knew that in a real bad crisis and if all else failed there would be enough money to hire someone. That still is my dream situation.
At the moment I am not so well off but very glad that I can do so much myself and so save for the things I really really can’t do myself.


Suzanne April 26, 2017 at 11:43 am

gepee, I am glad you can do so much, too. As Vicky said, there is a certain “thrill” to solving your own problems. Creativity does give meaning and joy to life. I think it brings freedom, too-you have more options. I like that my house does not look like anyone else’s. And I really enjoy being able to fix things.
I think we are so lucky to have the internet, which is like having a master teacher of so many skills. I am thinking spring rolls for dinner soon!


MW April 26, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Dang it, I just got the menu planned for next week, and now I want spring rolls. . . Maybe I can cobble together some for lunches this weekend.


Sarah April 26, 2017 at 12:37 pm

This might only tangentially be relevant but in the times that I am feeling flush, I tend to find I spend even less on my shopping trips because I convince myself that even though I can afford it, I don’t really need it. Then I know the stuff I’m buying is stuff that really makes me happy.


Denise April 26, 2017 at 1:25 pm

Gosh, that is so, so true for me too, Sarah. Your comment has just made me realise this – and that the obverse is true for me too: when I feel deprived, (less money, too little time), I get a spoiled and misplaced sense of entitlement to splurge. I have just had an “aha” moment. Many thanks for that insight.

And tell me who is the white fluffy cutie-paw in your photo?


Mariana April 26, 2017 at 12:53 pm

I am actually making your chicken adobo recipe tonight 🙂
Cooking rocks! (and saves $$)


K D April 26, 2017 at 1:22 pm

I love the challenge of not paying a lot for most things. I am usually disappointed with eating out. The quality of the food for what you pay seems disproportionate.

I like being able to do things for myself and learning new things.

My parents had no extra money when I was growing up and even though we have more discretionary income we tend not to spend much of it, preferring a generally simpler life.

Your blog, and a few others, help keep me grounded to the way I want to live.


Marilyn April 26, 2017 at 2:03 pm

I do agree! Aside from the savings, it’s just plain more fun to be creative than it is to spend money. By the way, I like that antique dresser. Can’t believe someone was going to dump it.


MommaL April 26, 2017 at 2:27 pm

I completely agree. Creating gives us a feeling of accomplishment.
My DH knows a family who came into great wealth . Ten years later, they are all bored and in therapy. They seem lost. They didn’t invest in any projects or anything, they just live, eat what they want, wear what they want, buy what they want.


Roberta April 26, 2017 at 6:35 pm

Does anyone else remember Frontier House? There was a really wealthy family on there, and I remember the boy being really happy when they were on the frontier, but the whole family was unhappy when they went back to their regular life. Working and having to put forth the effort was really rewarding to them.


Alexandra April 27, 2017 at 8:31 am

I do! I remember being profoundly sad for the kids on the show. They all were SOOO excited to go to school on the frontier. they loved being needed and worthwhile. When they got back, it was “go play”. Nothing they did mattered. Worth watching again. I believe on Netflix.


Teresa April 26, 2017 at 9:27 pm

Love eating my own cooking! I made a delicious dutch apple pie for about 75 cents yesterday… crock-potted the corned beef that was in the freezer & it will become Reuben sandwiches later this week. Yesterday I made enchiladas from stuff that was laying around in the fridge. Tomorrow I will be fixing my purse with a $9 leather repair kit instead of buying a new one for $100+. My old car has new tires as of Yesterday — expensive but not as expensive as a new car! And I have enough $ left over to replace the broken toilet seat with a “bidet seat” that will save toilet paper and leave me feeling fresh as a daisy. lol. Being without $ is helping me find new and creative ways to save.


Rhonda April 27, 2017 at 5:08 am

I totally agree.I started out doing a lot of these things because our financial situation forced it. But I really came to enjoy it (most of the time). I like the feeling that I can handle a lot of things myself if need be. And I like the challenge of finding a way to make do, or upcycle something, or fix something myself. And some of my most enjoyable hobbies have grown out of wanting to do it myself instead of just go out and buy it.


Vickie April 27, 2017 at 7:40 am

Yes, I think I was blessed to be born to a lower-middle class family with parents who were born during the Great Depression. They taught me to be thankful and frugal. My Dad was the master of DIY. My Mom was the ultimate garage sale Queen – which was HUGE during the 60s & 70s given urban and suburban sprawl. My Dad could fix almost anything – he always attempted to fix things himself and if he decided it wasn’t something he could or should handle, he’d find a neighbor who worked in the field, that he could hire or have them refer him to a professional.


susanna d April 27, 2017 at 8:32 am

Agree, agree, AGREE!

Along with the fact that I think that what I cook at home is actually better than most restaurant meals, I get the sweetest little cheap thrill from playing “How much would this meal cost at a restaurant?” Last year I did our anniversary meal as a copycat of what we could have had at a semi-pricey nearby restaurant: 2 grass-fed beef filets ($3.69); half a pound of jumbo shrimp (super sale priced at $5 per pound, so $2.50), sauteed baby bella mushrooms ($1.50), salad of fresh greens from the garden (free greens), and fresh broccoli (again, free from the garden). A bit of homemade cocktail sauce, and homemade vinaigrette for the salad – $1 max. $8.69, total. Served in our screen room (because mosquitoes are evil any time but especially in July) with a beautiful view of the woods and water – I can’t ask for better ambiance.

And like I said, on top of all this abundance was the opportunity for additional entertainment – to play a quick round of ” how much this would have cost at a nearby restaurant” (a quick look at the online menu suggests $87, including tax and tip – just in case you’re curious).

A turnkey house? I’ve never had one of those. Because despite what some home buying shows want you to believe, yes you CAN live with things like brown floral linoleum flooring (in way less than perfect condition) until you save the money to pay cash to redo the floors yourself. I’m speaking from experience and I’m talking a time frame of YEARS. And we’ve gotten pretty good at hardwood floor installation (among many other home improvement skills ) along the way.

New, hip clothing? I’ll let my 15 year old (but still in great shape) Dansko clogs be my answer to that…


tia April 27, 2017 at 11:08 am

really? Personally I don’t relish challenge. I would be quite fine with never having to learn how to change a tire, change the oil and filters, paint walls and cabinets, install tile and carpet, I wish you didn’t have to dismantle a fridge to clean the muck bin. So many things I know how to do I would just as soon be ignorant of. I love taking walks but don’t want it to be a hazardous obstacle course. After the pipes have burst and I’ve wrestles with the flooding and wrenching and installing my thoughts aren’t “I’m so proud of myself”…. my thoughts are God, I hope I never have to endure that again.
I guess I’m just a glass half empty kinda gal, so please bring me another with crushed ice and an umbrella thank you very much.


Vickey April 27, 2017 at 1:14 pm

XD. Ok, so no thrill, no joy. Perhaps a sense of grim satisfaction and the comfort of knowing that if you have to you can?


Stargirl April 28, 2017 at 7:14 pm

When I have the energy, I do feel satisfied in saving money. But with various debilitating health conditions, it’s easier to order online than to chase down deals at stores or sift through multiple thrift shops.


Mary May 13, 2017 at 10:22 am

I would love for the first and last to happen. Going out without having to worry about the bill? Having a turnkey house that isn’t a goddang sink hole fixer upper? Yes PLEASE!!!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: