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Here's my 2 bits: Sometimes people will tell you it's not worth your time to do various things to be thrifty and frugal. However, whether any given activity is worth it is entirely up to the individual. If you go about frugality with the attitude that your tasks are entertaining to you, or that your work will be good exercise, your whole attitude changes.
Maybe you would rather build your own deck or sew your own dress while listening to the radio than veg out at an expensive movie. Maybe you actually love to cook and it is good therapy for you at the same time. Cleaning your own house can be marvelous exercise, performed at your own pace. Keeping your activities in a positive light really helps. Also be yourself. Don't let our consumerism society change you or make you feel lowly for the things you do.
I thank God for being raised up poorer than dirt. I learned so much from watching how Mama would cope. I can get a meal with very little money and sew and fix most things when they break or find a substitute. We were taught to use things up, reuse them, barter them and just in general how to save money. I never felt like I was missing very much. Being poor is not all that bad if you know how to make do.
I know a lot of my friends, we are all poor, are a whole lot happier than Hollywood, who has everything given to them. I actually feel sorry for "rich" folks. They never know the satisfaction of making things with your own hands. "Poor and happy" can go together very well. So take heart if you are poor and just learn everything you can. Learn a new skill every year. Learn to garden even if it is in pots. Learn to sew. Learn to really cook frugally. Learn to decorate from books or videos. Learn to make jewelry or sharpen up skills you already have and sell your wares. Learn to use tools if you are a woman. Start with an electric drill. My favorite gift was one of those drill sets. I am never at the mercy of waiting for a man to do it. LOL I have one, but he is always going to get to it tomorrow. So I learned how to use an electric drill and screwdriver. They come together in a kit. Learn.
Sure, a person could live in an expensive home with fine furnishings, but when twelve hour shifts all week support this lifestyle, it makes one wonder. Is it worth it? The choice of a smaller house and a shorter work day seems to allow more time to enjoy that which we've been working for.
Ask yourself a few questions. Could you live without your cell phone (or at least with less of it) if it meant coming home in time for dinner each night? If you said no to weekend overtime, could you say no to something costly each month? If you answer "yes" to either question you need to shift your priorities to saving time by saving money.
Plan ahead to save time later. So much time is wasted because of poor planning. Try to group errands together and strategically plan your route to save driving time. Likewise, avoid the grocery store during the most crowded time of day because you need dinner supplies. Instead, plan the weekly meals ahead of time and make one well-planned trip.
If necessary, schedule free time into your week. It sounds rash and a bit over-controlling, but like any type of savings, it needs to become a habit. Mark Sundays as "booked" and spend them at home doing something enjoyable. Build in an hour of "cool down" time after work. It's revitalizing and fulfilling to have this time each day.
You are right on the money-or should I say on time. You are talking about the very thing my husband and I began living about 2 years ago. It took us a little while to reverse the damage and to reprogram ourselves but life is so good now. No we don't have the big house anymore (but why would an older couple need a big house?), our vehicles are older and not near as much money in savings but you know what....we leave today for 5 days at the beach together. Before there was no way I could have taken 5 days off with my husband. Before it always worked out that he would have a few days off and I couldn't and the other way around. Here is a toast from me to you! This is the good life!
To me, thriftiness is not just about saving money. It's about making the best use of the resources you have. For me, one of my most precious resources is TIME.
Cooking recipes usually date from the time people did not have to save on energy. Many recipes advise to put eggs, or rice or pasta in the water only once it is boiling to cook them. You can put eggs or rice or pasta or potatoes in the cold water and then start heating it.
Time is money, or so goes the cliche. There's merit to that well-known phrase and many others. A person can't buy time, another cliche, so why not save it as the greatest resource? After all, if you worry about the business at hand, in due time you'll have time to waste.