Tuesday, February 9, 2010
On Thinking Frugally
I was invited to a Superbowl Party which was pot luck. I don't like football much, but the ads are fun and I really like my friend, Pat, who asked me to the party. She has an amazing old house on a peninsula surrounded by a beautiful creek. They have added a great room to the house with a large stone fireplace, which is where we watch the game. It has been a neighborhood tradition for many years.
I was completely stumped on what to bring and so let it go until the last minute. I was going to buy something after church, but was totally uninspired on even that. Finally I decided to buy two Subway foot longs and slice them into individual pieces. I was musing aloud to my husband and we both thought that surely we must be able to come up with something that cost less than $12.
Finally it came to me. Hummus; a great Middle-Eastern dip made from chick peas. I had all the ingredients in the house. Chick peas or garbanzo beans, as some people call them, are a staple at our house. I sliced up some flat bread, arranged some celery and carrots on a platter and I was done. For no additional outlay of cash.
Frugality is a mindset that has to undergird everything that we do in order to be practiced successfully. There is always a way to do things less expensively, more efficiently, and in a more timely manner. I slip in and out of this mindset.
However, I find that when I look at it as if it is a game, rather than a grim necessity, I am much more willing to remain in the frugal zone. Thinking "I can't buy that" is not fun. Thinking, "I'd like to bake some bread" is fun. Getting a used book on Amazon for next to nothing is fun. Planning a special meal for after church is fun. Thinking that you can't afford to go out to lunch is bleak. Finding bargains at Goodwill involves the thrill of the chase and is great fun. Re-arranging things you already have in wonderful new ways is fun and is a way that I express my individuality. Anyone can hire a decorator, spend a fortune, and have a beautiful home. But it isn't creative and it doesn't use intelligence.
The women I admire, my heroines, Debra @ "As I See It Now," Judy @ "Anybody Home," "Manuela @ "The Pleasures of Homemaking and Kim @ "Daisy Cottage" all have created gorgeous homes using elbow grease, creativity, thrifted finds, and panache. Alex @ "Living Without Money" created amazing artwork (very Pottery Barn looking) by printing black and white shots of local landmarks. Frugality: it is smart, it is creative, it is "green," and it is beautiful.
pic courtesy of the recipe exchange