I was once asked how I could call Home-Ec 101 a frugal site when overall money isn’t mentioned. The short answer? I believe life skills are some of the most underutilized assets of the general population.
Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
This is the mantra of the frugal mindset, and I believe it applies.
This goes far beyond extending the life of your carpet or getting the mold out of the shower.
There are psychological aspects in play. Many of us perceive clean as newer, better, even shiny! Growing up, we had a joke that clean cars drove better. It is a familiar phenomenon; as humans, there are only so many things we can take in at once, and we rely on general impressions. Walking into a home littered with dirty dishes, laundry, and scattered items does nothing for our general mood or impression of the place—perhaps most significantly when it’s our own home.
Who wouldn’t want to go out and escape a pigsty? Going out usually involves spending at least some money.
Going out is fine when it’s a choice rather than an avoidance tactic.
Organization—and I’m not talking about the going out and buying fancy boxes kind—helps a person avoid late fees and replacement costs.
Ok, but. . .
Simply keeping an item wearable by removing a stain or by not ruining a delicate item gives a person the ability to keep a little more money in their pocket.
Buying underwear because nothing is clean is the antithesis of frugality.
Heather, I’ve seen other websites with cheaper recipes. How can you call your method frugal?
Learning to cook is a process. I strongly believe a series of successes in the kitchen will give a person confidence and potentially a desire to try again.
I want to meet cooks where they are. Some people grow up believing stirring a boxed mix together is cooking, and my goal isn’t to create feelings of guilt or shame. Instead, I want to introduce people to the pleasure of preparing enjoyable food.
Using convenience food because it is convenient is one thing; relying completely on them can be expensive long term. I get excited when someone decides to try their hand at a dish instead of opening a box or ordering out. I get emails from people who are just finding their legs in the kitchen. It absolutely makes my day when someone sends an email to say, I made my girlfriend dinner, and she loved it!
Nutritionally I’m trying to broaden my palate. It’s hard to be healthy—over time—with a three-vegetable rotation, but if you’re a three-vegetable reader, that’s ok, too. I’m just saying it’s your starting point.
Economically and ecologically
I believe it makes sense to take advantage of seasonal and local products when it is possible. I see this as frugality in the broadest sense of the term; it’s making an informed choice to purchase the most beneficial product rather than the one offered at the lowest immediate cost. There can be long-term financial impacts caused by short-term savings. Supporting a local farmer keeps money in the local economy, including the local tax system, which supports local schools. Long term, that can impact other companies’ willingness to invest in the area, and an educated workforce is important.*
For the TL;DR crowd, here’s the takeaway.
Self-sufficiency, both as an individual and as a community, saves money.
Are we on the same page now?
*I say this living in an area and culture that needs to place a higher value on education and technology. It’s depressing to watch the best and the brightest leave for higher ground. In no way do I blame them. It’s just a sad sight to see. There are pockets of people fighting the current, but too often, they feel like the exception.
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