I love being frugal. My own mother, in fact, teases me about being miserly. Once I had to pay more than I had planned to for shoes (that proceeded to provide many years of service, mind you) and consequently felt ill. Mom had felt my forehead and chuckled, “Wow! I think getting those shoes gave you a fever.” And the shoes weren’t even that spendy.
If I have expensive things at all, they were all just given to me. I suppose it’s a blessing to have shopaholic aunts and cousins. They buy me things I otherwise wouldn’t even consider getting. I personally dislike trends and the latest in high technology, most probably because everybody else wants them and, sooner or later, gets them (including myself, but you should’ve seen the fight I put up, lol). I’m not keen on having what everybody else has. It’s probably a defensive reaction that dates back to my youth when wealthy classmates would always have the latest of everything and even if we could afford the same, my Dad didn’t (doesn’t) believe in catering to materialistic whims. Thus, knowing that it was pointless to covet, I just conditioned myself to think that I really didn’t want them. Now, it has become a knee-jerk reaction. I don’t mind being adverse to trends, although I do regret the superior attitude I display sometimes because I can get downright hoity-toity about being above wanting the popular desires (as thought that stops me from being common, hah! lol). Anyway, my tastes run along the lines of whimsical and quirky (my euphemism for downright weird), so I’m not really compelled to have the latest, which are usually modern and streamlined and, well, cold (although Husband can get really cozy cuddling up to his iPod). If I must (as though I was being begged to) spend a lot, I would rather do it on travel. When Marguerite was a newborn and Husband would mouth about getting her all sorts of gadgets (his way of telling me that he was going ahead and buying them for himself), I would answer back for the baby, “I’d much rather go to
It’s not just talk, my claims of frugality. Would you believe that I’ve never bought a cell phone my entire life? I still use a Nokia 6210, which is a hand-me-down from Husband (it has been with me for five years now I believe. I used my Mom’s hand-me-downs prior to this one), which was a hand-me-down from his sister (it still has her neoprint at the back, lol). I brandish the piece of “antiquity” rather proudly. I have no fear of having it snatched from my hands when walking mugger-infested city streets. That’s not to say I wouldn’t miss it if I did lose it, because I would. We go back a long way.:)
My Mom also thinks I can get a little ridiculous about all the conservation I do. When I was living by myself up in the mountains, she would come to visit me and remark at my practice of not turning on the light until it’s pitch black outside or (remember, I lived alone) not closing the bathroom door when I’m inside just so I wouldn’t have to turn on the light. I would also unplug everything when not in use because, hey, it adds up.
Besides the fact that I get to save money or conserve a little in the way of natural resources, I really like having an economical turn of mind because there’s the constant challenge to spend less. As with most of things in life, it’s another avenue for creativity. I’m always wanting to make, instead of buy. I subscribe so much to the concept of Do-It-Yourself that I’ve got projects lined up until my twilight years.
Despite the manic penny-pinching, I do believe in treats. For example, Marguerite gets many high quality and expensive things, but they’re really more practical in the long run and have good resale value. Also when I travel, along with eating ironed (my only means of toasting or grilling) camembert and mortadella sandwiches and staying in hostels, I also make sure to dine in style at least once and also have enough to buy something a little crazy. Needless to say, I’m also pretty compulsive when it comes to books.