Friday, July 2, 2010

When frugality stops being flashy

Five years ago, I had just gotten engaged, quit my job, and moved halfway across the country to be near my honey. It was the first time I had really had any major life change so dramatic (but not seemingly, the last time), and I was riding quite the natural high. At the same time, I suddenly had a ton of time and not a ton of money. Although I had some money coming in, I was majorly committed to finding ways to make my savings stretch and last.

So I started doing research. I went online and read every frugal blog I could find. I read Dollar Stretcher every week. I checked out The Tightwad Gazette from the library and read it cover to cover. I baked my own bread and made my own ketchup and salad dressing. I unplugged my chargers and turned off my water heater during the day. I was on a mission and it was all so very exciting.

But here I am now, all these years later, trying to remember where I found that love. Frugal people are still awesome and I love reading inspirational writing on frugality, but when I read tips I feel like "Yeah, yeah, been there, done that." I have had to discard things that don't work for us (hubby doesn't like sandwiches on homemade bread), and have become very routine about the things that do work for us. In a lot of ways, I have already achieved the simple quiet life that was my goal: I can afford to stay home for a while, and we really only spend money on things that matter to us.

But I want that thrill back.

It's not that I'm going to fall off the wagon and stop being frugal just because it's boring. I know what my efforts have accomplished, and in all honesty most frugal things I do are just easier than their counterparts. It's just that when I was filled with glee over each new frugal discovery it was easier to keep making more discoveries, to keep learning and connecting. I wanted to tell the world about what I was doing, to teach and to help other people; now it just seems so obvious to me that I don't bother.

But when I think about some of my younger friends who are just getting married, I realize that they don't know what I know, that for them these things are still hard and different - and perhaps a little bit exciting. So perhaps the best way to regain the frugal love is to teach it, to see other people's joy as their lives get simpler and better. Because I think that would be quite the thrill for me.

For more frugal inspiration, check out Frugal Friday at Life as Mom.


Noelle said...

Great thoughts. I often find rejuvination in sharing/teaching the things I love!!