What is frugality? Is it sitting freezing in the dark? Is it buying a $400 pair of shoes instead of the $1000 pair you really want?
To me, frugality is all about making an inventory of what you already have, before you go out and buy something else. It’s about being imaginative in sourcing materials. It’s about looking at something and having the confidence to know that it can be turned into something else, with a little effort and the right tools. It’s about asking, “if you don’t need that, can I have it?”.
Do you check your fridge and freezer before you go shopping? I now have my mobile in my hand and make a shopping list on that while standing in front of the cupboard and fridge. It’s easy to see then how much flour is left, or whether you really need cucumbers. Most of the time, my list is shorter because of this little exercise.
The other thing that often happens is that you will say to yourself “Oh yeah, I have that tin of tuna, all I need is some tomato paste, and I can make that meal that the boys love”. So because you are making the list, the key ingredient goes on, and the meal happens.
I’m in a medieval group, and costumes are compulsory. So I could go out and buy $200/metre silk or wool felt, but I choose to buy sheets and blankets from the op shop and use them to create something extraordinary. The amazing thing is that the things I create are always much better because of that unpredictable element. My cloak has an edging which was a pattern in one of the blankets I chose. It’s unique and therefore much complimented.
My kitchen crockery all tells a story. I still have a couple of pieces of my wedding china left, a plain white set purchased for me by a dear friend. The rest is various patterns in blue and white, purchased as required or given to me by friends and family.
I’m now adding various green items, due to my current house, but I only add as required, and very rarely impulse buy. Currently I’m looking out for saucepans or casserole dishes in enamelled cast iron, as they last forever and hold the heat. Every now and then I look at what’s on offer in the kitchenware shops and it all seems overpriced, poorly designed and poorly constructed. But then again, that’s the point, isn’t it? So it will break after 5 years of use and then you will have to buy another. That’s how the throw away society works.
Well I’m a witch. That means I don’t buy into the consumerist nonsense. That means I take responsibility for my actions, which includes my purchases. That means I abhor waste.
Which brings me back to frugality – it’s as simple as making a shopping list.
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