Frugal to a Fault?

Sometimes I think life would be simpler if I wasn’t so frugal.

Don’t get me wrong. I think we are to be good stewards of our money and possessions–and by nature, I don’t think I could be not frugal even if I tried–but I have to admit… sometimes frugality complicates things!

Amy at Raising Arrows recently wrote a great post on frugality, and after reading it, I got to thinking about how frugal I am. Sometimes my frugality simplifies things…

  • I do my best to not have to throw away leftovers. I always try to cook just enough food for supper to feed all of us leftovers the next day for lunch. This serves a few purposes: 1) I can send Travis to work with a hot, healthy lunch so that 2) he doesn’t have to waste money eating out, and 3) I don’t have to cook lunch for myself and the kids.
  • I wash and reuse plastic baggies of all sizes. (Yes, Amy. I do it, too! :-)) And I also save the foil and saran wrap that I use for baking and storing my homemade bread. This way, I not only ward off wastefulness; but I also ensure there’s always the perfect size baggie/sheet of foil/length of saran wrap handy and waiting in the drawer.

 
…but other times it complicates things….

  • I have a hard time getting rid of excess toys. Thanks to Abel, I recently had some success with this. Generally, though, I’m more apt to fill another storage tub or to create new spaces to house toys than I am to just get rid of them. While in one way I’m being frugal by making the most of what we have (in hopes of not “needing” to buy more), in another way I’m complicating things by keeping clutter.
  • I have a hard time giving up on my old clothes. (Wait…. Is that frugality or denial??..) I don’t buy any super trendy clothing–in fact, I don’t buy much clothing, period–so I feel like the things in my closet stay wearable for a few years. (Right now I’m wearing a t-shirt from college and a pair of jeans from the Christmas before I was married which, after five years of wear, have only just now developed a hole in one knee.) Still, I wish there were some hard and fast rule as to how long an article of clothing should be allowed to remain in a woman’s closet… or how many times it should be allowed to cycle in and out of a storage tub. Can anyone help me? Because my frugality is battling with my fashion sense and with my space! :-)

 
Because my frugality tends to show up more in the area of not throwing things away than in the area of buying things cheap (although I try to do that, too, when appropriate), I have to periodically do a heart check on myself–to examine my motives for hanging on to toys that don’t get played with all that much or clothes that haven’t been worn in a couple years. I have to make sure that I’m placing my security not in the amount of stuff I have available in storage but in the God who provides for all my needs.

So, while I once again mull this over, I think I’ll go warm up some leftovers. :-)

3 Comments

  1. You are right…we can be frugal to a fault! I’m pretty good at getting rid of things to bless others, but I do have a hard time w/ the children’s clothes since I know how quickly they can ruin things! Good thoughts!
    Amy

  2. busymomof10 says:

    Interesting Post!

    Do you have a hard time with balancing your frugality and your new nutritional goals?? That is a huge struggle for me! It is ingrained in me to look for and purchase the cheapest item. Today I agonized over whether to buy the regular butter or the organic butter, which was $1 more per package on sale. I went with the organice butter. Then I agonized over whether to buy the organic, cage-free eggs or the regular eggs. The organic was over $2 more a dozen, and my family easily eats two dozen eggs for one breakfast if we all have eggs. I bought the regular store brand. How do I balance my necessary frugality with wanting to eat healthier?? Any suggestions???

  3. Angela says:

    I understand your dilemma with trying to balance careful spending with nutritious eating. Isn’t it a shame that it has to cost more to eat healthy?!

    We are just beginning our fourth month of incorporating organic and whole foods into our diet. The first couple months as I was beginning to get my pantry restocked with healthier items, I had to write out my eating/cooking goals for the month in order to help me see where I should draw the line on organic/whole foods shopping. (Overhauling a pantry all at once would get expensive!) A few months in, now that I feel like I’ve been able to stock up on most of the staples that I would like to have on hand, I’ve been able to slowly start pushing that line back, adding a few more organic items to the grocery cart now than when I first started. It also helps that we’ve been able to buy some items in bulk (which I’m sure you already do with a family of 12!), freeing up money to stock up on something else or to try something new the next month.

    While our diet is still not 100% whole, organic foods (and probably never will be!), I feel good about what I am feeding my family; and I have seen health benefits, as well!

    I’m sure you are doing a great job of discerning what is most important for your family’s diet. I think you just have to keep doing as much as you can do, because that’s better than not doing any at all! :-)