Frugal Living Sparks Debate
31 Days of Cheap Tricks began with a bit of controversy, or perhaps questioning more adequately describes the Facebook chatter. It caught me off guard, because I didn’t expect frugal living to stir debate.
My goal throughout this series has been to help you live for less.
Frugality is not controversial. How can it be? It’s personal and it looks different for each of us.
I hope I helped you explore ways to reign in your spending by putting an end to impulse shopping, and I certainly wanted to give you a few Cheap Tricks for everyday living. I consider cheap date night ideas and tips for thrift store shopping practical; however, the first post of this series was on making do with what we have.
Do you remember it?
I absolutely believe this is the number one way we can save money.
We live in a world where we think every need we have should be met. We are deserving, entitled, and might I even say coddled? We are treated and we treat ourselves in an overindulgent way.
It’s not bad to need.
Let me say that again. It’s not bad to need!
I know I didn’t mince my words, but I never once thought they would offend or be misunderstood.
That’s the thing with blogging, or writing in general. All of us opinionated people put our ideas and thoughts into cyberspace and people read them. We don’t get a second chance to explain or make people see things from our point of view. The words are in black and white and people read them in shades of red, gray, yellow, and pink.
Here’s where the disconnect happened.
I wanted to make the concept of “making do” real, practical for everyday life.
How many times do you run to the store for milk or bread or eggs in one week?
If you run out of any of those items, will you die of starvation before your next regularly scheduled grocery shopping trip?
My friends, it’s very doubtful.
Your kids can eat dry cereal for two days in a row and live to tell the tale. Maybe it will even become a story as big as a legend one day – like the one our parents tell us about walking miles uphill to school in the snow with only plastic bags covering their shoes.
It was just an example.
If running out of milk is a natural disaster in your house, by all means, buy a cow and keep her in your backyard.
We choose to make do.
What about the children?
Someone read through my post and became concerned that living in this (extreme?) frugal way would negatively impact her children. They would think they were poor and possibly become worried over lack of necessities, soggy Cheerios, and the like.
I really try to see both sides of the story. I’m wrong sometimes. I’ve eaten crow a time or ten and it never tastes good, but I can woman up and admit when I’m wrong.
So I thought about it. I thought about how we live.
By “normal” American standards, my family certainly doesn’t live in overabundance. According to world standards, we have enough, too much. Not every country is as wealthy as ours (blanket statement).
Is going without milk or other necessities negatively impacting my children?
I asked them.
My son said, “Well, I don’t even think about it. We’ve always lived this way.”
“Do you think we’re poor?” I asked.
“No. We’re definitely not poor. Plus we have a lot more than a lot of other people around here.”
Perhaps that comes from living in a not-so-wealthy community. It gives us a good dose of perspective. We have enough. We have too much at times. We have more than enough to be grateful for. We have so much, we can give some of it away.
So, while making do is a regular part of our lives, my children know they will have what they need, even if they are forced to wait to see their needs fulfilled.
The Impact on My Children
I will say that this lifestyle choice has made them sensitive to excess. They notice abundance. I’m not necessarily saying they notice it in a bad way. They just acknowledge it and know that while it’s nice, it’s not necessary.
I’m careful to remind them we all make our own choices for how we live. The things we all want and need and choose are different. It’s good for other people to live differently than we do. We’ve simply made a choice to live for less for this time in our lives.
Last weekend we attended an American Girl Doll Fashion Show. They sold cute little girly things at this event and my mom gave my daughter ten dollars to spend. At first she chose a pair of Christmas earrings. She carried them around until she saw a bright purple crocheted headband.
The earrings were $2.99 and the headband $6.99. She put the earrings back. My mom saw and offered to give her the extra money for the tax, but she said, “No, that’s ok. I really want the headband.”
If she took my mom up on her offer, I would never have given it a second thought. I probably would have taken the money, but my daughter chose to stick within her budget and get what she wanted most.
I don’t think that way of living is going to negatively impact my children.
Is it possible I’m wrong and fifteen years from now I’ll be eating crow? Yes, of course, but that’s a chance I’m willing to take.
It’s wise for children as well as adults to learn to live within their budget.
At eleven, my daughter wants to be a surgeon. I realize that decision will change forty-two times by the age of eighteen, but if she wants to go to medical school (or any other type of specialized training), there will difficult decisions in her future. She’ll have to make hard choices. The earrings vs. the headband are practice for when it’s concert tickets vs. medical books.
I most certainly do not believe everyone who reads this blog should worry about money or feel bad about spending it.
Buy all the milk you want!
If it’s your desire and you have the financial means, live in opulence. I will be happy for you. I will celebrate your life with you.
This series is specifically for those who want or need to live for less.
If you need a Cheap Trick or twenty-five, click on the image below and you will be taken to the home page of money saving mania.
If you’re worried your low-income or desire to live on less is messing with your children’s psyche, talk to them. Find out what’s going on their head, but I can almost guarantee they don’t lose sleep over the empty milk carton.
How does your spending or lack of spending impact your children?
Have you thought about it?