Day 1: Frugal Living Challenge
Today’s goal is Redefining Fugality.
You can read Andrea’s full post here. She has put together a nice goal sheet in this post that you can download and create a Challenge Binder, with the date, your goal, and a place for you to record your strategy for reaching that goal. That is the format that I will use, but I think pushing myself to do this on my blog has two incentives beyond a Frugal Living exercise. 1, it saves paper. I’m cheap like that. 2, more importantly, it forces me to be accountable to A LOT of people. Nothing is more embarrassing to me than having anyone think I cannot be responsible for what I set out to do. So there!
On to the exercise.
Daily Goal: Reflect upon your thoughts surrounding frugality. What are some misconceptions that you will need to overcome? How has materialism and useless spending held you in bondage?
Me: Before I started down the path of Frugality, I don’t think I really even was conscious of it as a lifestyle choice. I knew people would ‘spend less’ because they had less. I grew up in a middle-middle class family. I knew how vastly different I was from the ‘rich’ kids I went to school with.
I think, if anything, at first I thought it was a choice to live as uncomfortably as possible as a form of self-punishment. In college I learned of the ancient Ascetics like Siddhartha who survived for a while on one grain of rice per day before his Enlightenment and subsequent transformation into the Buddha. Or John the Baptist, living with little to cover his body, in caves in the desert. NO. WAY. MAN! If that was the way of growing as a human, give me a pizza and call me unenlightened!
As an adult, when the environment became important to me (that really came about when I became a mother), I realized that my commitment to conservation went hand-in-hand with a simple lifestyle. In her post, Andrea gives us a list of things that frugality is:
- sharing with one another
- living life in balance
- finding happiness in the way things are
- being a good steward of our time, money, earth, energy, and possessions
- simple living
- nothing wasted or unused
That really is what it has boiled down to be -for me at least. Stewardship is probably the most important aspect to me. I have learned the freedom that simple living brings. Living with less does NOT mean doing without. It is getting rid of all the CRAP we just don’t need. It is a mindset that frees us from forced consumerism and materialism. And it feels GOOD! I have done a lot of household purging in the last year and I’m starting to see the real benefits of it. It is a slow process- it sounds so cliché, but it’s true- no major change can happen overnight.
There are things that I need to overcome still, like not letting go of things ‘because they retain more value to me sitting here than I could possibly recoup by selling it’. That is a struggle with some of the things I encounter as I move through my home. And I still struggle with the thought of “but I might need this one day. And if I get rid of it now, I will have to go out and buy a new one! That is wasteful!” That is a hard one for me. My home is slowly becoming uncluttered, so I know I am making progress. I know I have a better sense of ‘enough’. I have control (mostly) on impulse buying and only purchase what I need ‘new’ if I can’t make it at home with satisfactory results.
I have come a long way, but have a long way to go still.