With the state of the economy providing plenty of fodder for the evening news frugality is getting a lot of attention. CNN recently did a story on The Economides: America’s Cheapest Family.
For those looking to pinch a few pennies and increase their savings, is jumping feet first into a completely frugal lifestyle best? How well would, “Hey honey, I’m going to cook everything from scratch, hang all my clothes out to dry, reuse gray water in my garden, raise sheep to mow my lawn, and use their wool to knit all our clothes” go over in your house? Also, would your zoning laws even allow the last few? I know there are those who can and do manage extremely frugal lifestyles, but the reality of our pampered culture is many may not adjust well to the workload that accompanies such an endeavor.
What good is planning to make everything from scratch if thirty pounds of whole wheat flour go rancid in the pantry while the vegetables from the CSA slowly liquefy in the fridge? What good are fifty cans of tuna bought for pennies if no one will eat it?
What if instead forcing yourself and possibly dragging reluctant family members along for the ride small, quiet changes were made? Rather than saying, “That’s it! No more restaurants ever!” You suggest, “Let’s have a pizza night, you can choose the toppings.” Instead of going out for breakfast, learn to make pancakes at home. Mr. Heather decided some time ago that he was going to master pancakes, now one lazy morning a week* we hang out in our pjs, drink our coffee, and indulge in cakey goodness. Small traditions and practices can replace expensive habits without a feeling of deprivation if they are approached in a positive manner.
Like Meredith, do you embrace cheerful frugality or do you consider the practice just one more thing that must be done to survive?
*For those keeping count, pancakes and pizza are our two consistent meals. With nineteen other meals to plan for, I can manage these two culinary ruts.