Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hippy-dippy frugality

I read a lot of "frugality blogs" and I learn a lot, use some of it, and reject a whole heck of a lot of what they have to say. A woman today wrote about setting a timer for her showers; she's proud to have cut them down from 10 minutes to 5. She's shooting to get it down to 3 minutes. I read a lot about how and when people find time to clip coupons, how they cut their own hair at home, and how they visit four grocery stores each week to maximize the bargains.

I do have the luxury of being able to buy what I need. I try to be frugal and smart with our money, but we don't have to pinch every penny until it hurts. I know that some people are very close to the bone.

But for people somewhere in the middle, I just say this: please consider the cost of your precious time. To spend three hours making bread, which you can buy for $3, seems like a losing proposition. If you love making bread, it's worth every second. To save a couple of bucks? I won't do it.

Here's an example: my husband drinks 2 or 3 beers a night. It costs us about $15 a week. This is the ultimate in luxury purchases. That said, I'd never ask him to give it up. He works hard, spends time with his kids, and indulges very little. Let him have his beer.

It's hard, when you're trying to stay in the "frugal mindset", to remember to be sane and balanced about money. To remember that the point of it all is to create a happy, safe life for everyone; not to die with money in the bank. I tend to err a bit too much on the frugality side; my husband a little too much on the spendy side. We're lucky to have a built-in system of "checks and balances". Knowing what he's thinking makes me consider the time and money-worthiness of some of my projects; knowing that I'm going to see the credit card bill makes him do the same.

What kinds of balanced choices are you making these days? Any suggestions to share?


Libby said...

I won't make him stop buying ps3 crap, and he never mentions how many pairs of shoes I have.

Does that count. ; )

Michelle Trif said...

DH has a coffee habit. He loves himself some Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks a few times a week. It is his guilty pleasure - really his only one - and I have to remind myself of that. He is, however, mindful of his purchases and has started buying Starbucks and DD cards. He puts $15 on each month and when it's gone it's gone (and time for me to make some Folgers) He knows he can't have too much Starbucks when we are on a Folgers kind of budget.
I manage the finances for the most part and he knows I will see every purchase when the credit card statements come in. It keeps him in check.