Friday, June 5, 2009

Because I wanted to live deliberately

I turned my ketchup bottles upside down because I wanted to live deliberately. Hmm, somehow it doesn't have the same ring to it as what Thoreau said.

There are two kinds of frugality and finance blogs out there that I know of. One of them goes into details about things like how to make your own laundry detergent, substitute cheaper ingredients into recipes, and hang your laundry. The other type likes to insult writers of the first type. Lives for it in fact. Gets most of its juice from saying just how wrong those frugal writers are.

"Why are you spending time counting the number of grinds on the pepper shaker? Tearing paper towels in half? It's a waste of your time and brainpower! Do you know how much more money you could make/save by [insert topic of blog here]?? How can you guys be so stupid as to think it matters whether you get the last ketchup out of the bottle???????"

The thing is, they don't get it. They're totally missing the point.

People don't cut their toothpaste tubes open to save the 5 cents on toothpaste. We don't spin our laundry an extra time before putting it into the dryer because we think this will make us millionaires. Frugal folks are, for the most part, just trying to see what we can get away with, how to get by with the least possible stuff. For some of us, it's simply an exercise in austerity, for some it's an issue of stewardship and ecology, for some it's part of a larger budget plan.

But the point of frugal blogs is to remind us that the individual frugal choices matter. Doing more with less makes us aware of what we have, makes us focus on all of our decisions more. It's about being connected to the food we eat and the products we buy. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.

Thoreau would be so proud.


Tia @ Tia Saving Cents said...

Well written! I am often called a frugal blog and I scratch my head. I am not a blog about frugality at all...I am a blog about shopping to save! I have not run across any blogs who frugal slam and I am sorry to hear they are out there (though I am not surprised). In the end being frugal, shopping smart, or mindlessly buying whatever whenever is a life choice and one we all make daily. There is plenty of space, both web wise and life wise for all of us. We don't need to put others down.

Anonymous said...

You nailed it! And I love seeing Henry brought into the discussion. Absolutely right: Economy is not about spending money, it's about choosing how to spend time. Thanks for making the connection for me.

Meg said...


Though I am working hard to pay off debt, I find that money is rarely the main motivator for me these days. There is also pride from being resourceful, pride from knowing that I'm part of the solution instead of the problem, and pride that I can change my habits and become a better person. That's a whole lot better motivation for frugality than being ashamed of being in debt!

And for so many things where people ask, "Why?" I can't help but think, "Why not?!"

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

Here, here!

Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship said...

Yes, thank you! Making the best of every choice is part of my philosophy of life, even if it doesn't save me ton of money. Every step to conservation is seen by God, I believe. He's keeping track, even if the budget doesn't.

Anonymous said...

To me it matters to get the last bit out of the ketchup-bottle or the tube of toothpaste. Not for the money, but I really don't like to waste it. I mean, I paid for that stuff, I want to enjoy it!

Saver Queen said...

I agree. For me it's all three. Being frugal is a fun challenge, it's environmentally friendly, and in my case, necessary (we are two people are living on one income). It's about living consciously, and not taking things for granted. It's about having respect for financial and ecological resources. I much prefer it to the thoughtless, wasteful, throw-it away culture.

It's also about spending where my values are. I want to make sure these things are aligned. If I don't care about something, why should I spend more money on it than I have to?

Meg - I agree. It's not about "why" it's about "why not".

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