On DIYing, frugality, and myths about frugal people
|Image source: My friend's IG|
Why I DIY
I'm a DIYer. You probably are, too, which is why you're reading this blog! Thank you! I love to DIY my home projects and wardrobe because...
- DIY projects are empowering! The DIY trend is a growing movement, and it's no wonder. Learning to make, or remake, things by hand gives me the confidence--and self-sufficiency--to create whatever I need or want.
- Saving money is nice, as is conserving resources, and reducing waste. Restyling my wardrobe lets me shop my closet instead of relegating ill-fitting or dated fashions to the trash bin.
- Style is all about self-expression. I can make own trends by adding a unique touch to what I wear and put in my home, and show off looks that I love.
On the frugality article
I've been money-conscious since before I had money. In high school I saved up my allowance and, rather than spending it on my lunches like was my parents' intention, I spent it on clothes and makeup and brought my lunches from home. I was always aware of my account balance, and rarely did I overdraw. I didn't open credit cards or spend beyond my means, through high school, college, grad school, and beyond. I always had a big savings account and was able to pay for most of grad school and then the down payment on our house.
So when I read the article, some of the points really resonated with me. Here are the big seven, and see what I mean--
These made a lot of sense to me. For a long time I would have said yes, I'm frugal by choice. I could have decided to spend more and save less, sure. I was happy buying less and deciding not to buy fun things I saw in stores or on Amazon. I didn't mind spending five times as long shopping for something at a discount, instead of paying full price the first place I saw it. But, I also didn't spend every hour of every day worrying about the cost of things, and have never filled my wallet with more coupons than it could hold. I also have been pretty happy with my ability to dress for the season and year, and am a very skilled thrift store shopper--meaning, I can do it fast, efficiently, effectively, and come out with better stuff than I would if I shopped at the mall. Also, all of this stuff came relatively easy for me.
But do I want to be frugal?
If I had read this article when I was a poor graduate student, I would have high-fived myself in the mirror. This all sounds great, right?! Even when I started this blog, I worked part-time at not-great jobs, and saving money and knowing how to shop at Goodwill and the bulk foods section was a serious pro to me.
But now, a few years later, we have a little more money to work with and I wonder about the time I put into shopping for a good deal. I've spent way too much time trying to buy shoes this fall. Partly it's because I don't want to pay full price at Nordstrom, but partly it's because the right thing just isn't out there.
Looking at this list of myths, my thoughts are 1) Frugality doesn't have to mean denying yourself things, and can be enjoyable. Go me! and 2) Frugality means putting a lot of thought into things. That sounds hard.
Time is money, they say. I think if I'm taking time away from more important things to shop at the farther-away, cheaper store, or continually looking for an even better deal, it'd be a shame. But then I think about the levels of frugality, and the larger benefits that may occur over my life if I continue some of this attitude. Not only will I save money, but I'll help the planet and maybe inspire others. Like the last part of the article says, "We can all help fight misconceptions about frugality since we're all examples of stereotypes that don't fit in some way or another. Maybe the larger social trend of moderation is here to stay. If so, let's help shed the thinking that has marginalized thrift and popularized excess."
Thinking about our culture's demand for more stuff really bums me out. Even with DIYs--do I really need all those homemade, crafty decorations? Really? It's just more plastic and fabric and glue to store, so I need a bigger house and more electricity and gas to heat it.
Have you seen The Story of Stuff? It's a little video that came out in 2007, way before widespread recycling and Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. I haven't watched the whole in years but if you have a moment, check it out. A good reminder that cheap stuff isn't always good.
What about you? What are your feelings on the balance between saving and relaxing? ;) Do you make goals for spending, saving, and DIYing?