Friday, August 22, 2008

Frugality as a hip lifestyle choice

   So heres the nitty gritty kinda post that you might find on other blogs.  There are a lot of great blogs out there that provide great tips on saving money. Much of the information that I have gleaned has come from similar sources.  I am going to share the reason why I live frugally.  
     Well, at one point in my life I had to make a choice.  I could keep running on the hamster wheel and keep getting nowhere or I could sit in a corner and chew my cardboard toilet paper tube and take pride in the nest I had built. 

      Actually, I was a sick hamster.  I was diagnosed with MS when I was 29 years old.  I had been living a crazy life in retrospect.  I was working 32 hours on a busy maternity unit, working part time for a caterer, taking classes at the local University and oh, yeah, I was a single mother. There was one day when I woke my son at 5 am to get ready for work, dropped him off at his dad's house who would later take him to day care, where I would pick him up and get him to a babysitter so I could get to my class.  The baby sitter arrived early.  I think I spent about an hour and a half with him all day.   Most of that time trying to get him to someone else who would be taking care of him. It just wasn't worth it. He was 4 at the time.  A very tender age.

    There had to be a better way.  Back of the envelope figuring showed that most of the money I was bringing in went to providing the support I needed to live this hectic life.  Childcare, transportation, convenience foods were high on the list of places where my money was spent.  My housing was relatively inexpensive.  I dropped the school and the parttime job.  The hospital job was good, with great benefits. 

     This allowed me time to bake bread, grow a community garden plot, cook from scratch, read picture books on the front stoop, hang my laundry out to dry, learn to knit, play with legos on the living room floor, have dinner with the little guy every night he was not with his dad, go to the playground, get healthy, join a time dollar network, write poetry, publish a poem or two, spend time with friends, dream.

     In order to do this I had to write a list for the grocery store and stick to it. I had to buy whole ingredients, not food in packages.  I had to buy second hand clothes and thus develop my own personal style and not the off the rack, lack of imagination fashion. I spent good portions of my time at the public library. I watched my electricity use. I lived in a small city and walked whenever possible.  I grew all the veggies we ate in the summer. We ate less meat.  And out of all of this came a life with more meaning and more time with my son.  

Why would I live any differently?


Wendy said...

I love it! I wish it hadn't taken me so long to figure this out - that if I could slow down and limit my "outside" commitments, I'd actually have time to do things like bake bread and line-dry my clothes. I finally got it, but not before my two oldest were out on their own, and I missed most of their childhoods. What's worse, though, is that I missed the opportunity to teach them the lessons about frugality that it took me half a lifetime to learn.

Kudos to you for figuring it out young ;), and young enough in your son's life that he can learn from your more "thoughtful" lifestyle.

Fleecenik Farm said...

It's tough sometimes to get to this place. I think we are fed the message that we don't really have a choice. Super Mom can do it all. I just got to the point where I figured all that crazy work was not really getting me ahead. The 4 year old is now 15. He is homeschooled and one mellow dude.