This is part of a new series of blog posts on frugality, which will be a regular feature of my blog.
My husband and I recently celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary. To celebrate, we headed out to dinner. One of the things we like to do together that has fallen by the wayside after kids is shopping. We love decorating our home. So we headed to some of my favorite places that sell home items.
We spent a good three hours. Guess what we came home with? A coffee spoon. No, I’m not kidding.
It’s an odd thing, this frugality. We weren’t being stingy, let me add. It wasn’t like I had drawn our purse strings tight. We weren’t walking around saying, “No, no, no…” It was fun truly appreciating some things in the stores; we had fun looking around, but we didn’t want to own everything we appreciated. It was a great feeling to know that if we liked something, we could buy it. We didn’t need to deny ourselves.
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons. – T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
But there was also something else: a deep strain of satisfaction, of contentedness, if you will, that made grabbing for the next shiny object not that necessary. I believe when it comes to frugality, this is one many miss.
We truly are content where we are.
This is not to say that we don’t dream. But there are two kinds of dreams – ones that are just fun and others attached to a plan. Our financial dreams get to sink their teeth in plans – we budget meticulously, I’m always on the lookout for inexpensive homeschool supplies, ideas and books, I love libraries, sales, thrift stores and clearance racks of the bigger stores.
This is where perhaps my love of video games and frugality intertwine. By accepting and reminding myself that I am okay whether I buy that next big thing or not, that I am content at any given moment, I can treat our budget as a game.
Gamification (and frugality) begins in contentment.