Thursday, December 9, 2010

Frugal? Don't Apologize

How often I hear an apologetic or guilty tone invoked when uttering the words, "I'm frugal." Do people who live beyond their means and spend lavishly do this? Say it boldly, world, "I'm frugal." That doesn't mean don't travel, don't dine out, don't shop ever. I may dine out, but I'll bring my reusable takeout containers for leftovers (to cut down on packaging waste, but also food waste, which is essentially financial waste), and I may order water with lemon as a beverage to cut down the bill. I will travel, but will look for inexpensive accommodations that offer breakfast to take care of one of my daily meals.

Frugality to me is about not wasting, using what you have as much as possible, and being respectful of your hard earned money. It is an undervalued virtue. Save for winning the lottery or discovering a long lost Great Uncle Hans in Switzerland has bequeathed me a fortune, I don't think I'll ever have a large bank account. Having known what it's like to be unemployed, I take money matters very seriously. Even if I had a lot of money, I'd still enjoy frugal living.

Here are some frugal delights I've been savoring as of late:

Holiday entertainment from the library: books, magazines, CD's, films. Favorite films to watch each year: Elf, Home Alone, White Christmas, and though not technically a holiday film, The Sound of Music. Like Julie Andrews, one of "My Favorite Things" too is "silver white winters that melt into springs."

Writing Christmas cards while listening to holiday music. I picked up an assortment of cards from the C.A.T.S Resale Shop, for just 10 cents each.

Candles, 20 cents each, also from C.A.T.S. Resale. I adore candles, especially in fall and winter, and acquire most of them through thrift shops.

Cozy dinners at home - this one mushroom gnocchi. The pretty blue plate? Thrifted, of course.

Home baked goodies from the church bake sale: brownies to share, 25 cents each, raspberry jam, $4, I passed on to someone who will love it, and granola, $3. Check out Cate's Homemade Gifts on Liberal Simplicities.

Taking in holiday lights. We haven't had a good snow in northern New Jersey yet for a real snowman, but this cheerful lit up version greeted me on a brisk night's walk.

Our new freecycle shelf at work, which I started next to the book swap my co-worker started. Someone left this EO rose and chamomile scented lotion (a $9 value), which I immediately scooped up.

In January, I'll be co-hosting a winter clothing swap at work (I'm a proud frugalista), and we'll be including unwanted holiday gifts to give them a happy, grateful home, and for some frugal fun when everyone's credit card bills will be arriving.

Don't feel deprived - feel emboldened by frugal living.


Cate said...

Oh, that mushroom gnocchi is MOUTHWATERING! And I love the beautiful blue plate. I'm a sucker for blue and white china.

Like you, I wear the term "frugal" proudly; I view it as a mark of my financial responsibility. I have everything I want, yet I'm not in debt and don't even have a credit card. How much better can it be?

Thanks for linking me. :-)

Catherine @ The Vegan Good Life said...

It was - and it was just a store bought version (I'm forgetting the brand - blue package) enhanced with mushrooms, thyme and Pecorino cheese. My boyfriend is a chef but rarely likes to cook since he does it all day for work, but treated me to this yummy (and frugal) meal. Same here on the china - it reminds me of childhood meals at my grandparents' house in Switzerland.

Good for you! We should all be more financially empowered and proud of it. Thanks for all your frugal ideals and thoughtful posts.

Chessbuff said...

Frugality is being wise with one's expenditure, not to live like an ascetic. Some haven't realized that there is joy and pleasure in simple living, and in simple things. Downloading an ebook for $8would bring me great pleasure this Christmas.

Catherine @ The Vegan Good Life said...

I hope you get that delightful pleasure of a good book. Food feeds the body and soul, and books feed the mind and imagination. Merry Christmas.

Gillian said...

I love this! I am definitely frugal when I need to be, I love being thrifty! It makes you appreciate things so much more and is a great way to be creative! Love all of your ideas here!

Catherine @ The Vegan Good Life said...

Thanks Gillian! All those yummy meals I see on your blog are completely frugal - as are your holiday ideas - nothing beats homemade granola (or homemade anything!) Agreed about the creativity.