Frugality Is Not A Contest

by Nicki on November 9, 2009

in My Thoughts

At the end of this week I’m headed to a Women’s Retreat where I’m going to be teaching a workshop about family frugality. I’ve spent quite a bit of time preparing and determining what information should fill my 75-minute time slot – which of course, has led to a lot of reflection.

I put together a lengthy list of tips and ideas to help families spend less money. To be honest, the list is a little overwhelming. At first, I felt a little hypocritical suggesting ideas that I don’t personally use and giving people tips in areas where I find myself slacking. I felt – unqualified. I got to thinking about what I write about on my blog and tried to narrow in on what my point is. My tag line sums up the focus of my blog – “Using Domestic Arts To Live A Simple, Frugal Life.” But it’s the reason I write it that I needed to come back to – it’s because I’m learning to live a simple, frugal life.

Being a frugal blogger, it’s easy to feel unqualified or less-than when I read all the cool ideas other people have implemented. I think – why can’t I do that? Sometimes I try something and it just sticks – it works for us. Other times – not so much. But here’s what I have to remember – THAT’S OK! It’s really foolish how we label ourselves sometimes. It’s actually very crippling. My point is not to be as frugal as possible at all costs. That’s not it at all. My point is to do the best I can with what I have in a way that works for my family. That’s what I’m going to teach at my workshop.

I have readers from all walks of life, all different ages, from all over the world (how lucky am I!!). The families that are affected by what I write here vary greatly. I don’t expect every person that reads my posts to try every single thing I mention. Why should I expect that of myself? What I attempt to do is give hope that life can be full and wonderful and content when you don’t have much and to toss a few ideas out there of some things I’ve found helpful. If you’ve been helped or touched by even one of them then I am grateful and consider my efforts 100% worth it. I want to pour something good and positive into your life. All of that is why I do what I do here. I hope that’s what you take from this blog – what you can use. I hope that’s what they’ll take from my workshop – a few ideas to help their families.

Frugality is not a contest – it’s a tool. It’s a tool that helps me be a stay-at-home mom and a tool to help us get out of debt. I’ve learned a lot about this tool and its wide array of functions and capabilities but I’ve also learned that I’m not required to use all of them, only the ones I need. You don’t win a prize if you do more ‘frugal’ things than all your friends and there isn’t a plaque for the wall if you use the most coupons. I can tell you what there IS thoughcontentment when you find that balance. When you find things that work for your family and help you accomplish goals that are important to you – that’s where the prize is.

Why I do what I do – We had a family day on Saturday. David, Chloe and I just spent the entire day together. We ran errands and went to a bunch of different places – all the while we let Chloe use our camera. David and I laughed and laughed later on when we downloaded the pictures. Her perspective is so interesting that we think we’ll give her the camera more often. To illustrate, see the picture below. It’s a picture she captured of me in Walmart. Go ahead, laugh. It’s ok :)

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 FrugalMaman November 9, 2009 at 10:45 am

First of all, congratulations on speaking at the retreat. Obviously others consider you an expert in this area and that itself is an accomplishment. It’s very honest of you to admit that you don’t follow all of your own advice. Your frankness is what makes your blog so approachable. It’s not much fun to read about a Ms.Perfect to learn all the ways she is better than us. Personalizing the quest for a simple life and putting into perspective is something you do very well.

As I look about my house right now, the living room strewn with toys, the kitchen full of last nights dirty dishes and pots and pans, my life may not look simple. On the other hand, I’m not stressed about it. I’m not hurrying to do everything at once. I’m not cursing the kids for leaving their things lying around. I’m not cursing myself for not getting to the dishes last night. Instead, I’m reading some of my favourite blogs (and commenting), hanging the laundry on the line (in November!!!), enjoying the precious sunshine, and sipping a cup of locally roasted coffee. That is simple. Were I to hold a magnifying glass to every aspect of my life, I would spot failings absolutely everywhere, but that is the antithesis of simple living, isn’t it? It’s about wanting less and being content with what you have. I can do that.

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2 Kathy Dunton November 14, 2009 at 8:08 pm

I attended your workshop on Family Frugality & Stewardship workshop on Friday. So much information. I really enjoyed it. You needed more time. I had not looked at my watch once and was disappointed when it was over. Great Job!! I am looking forward to reading your blog.

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3 Kathy Tilton November 15, 2009 at 6:40 pm

I was at the Friday workshop also, I mixed your laundry soap!! I have not used it yet but am looking forward to it! I just want to say Thank YOU so much, I walked away with a lot of information and have started implementing some of that info. I planned my menu and made a list… printed some coupons from your resource list and went shopping. I used the suggestion from the lady who suggested making your own hamburger! I bought a couple of roasts that were on sale WAY cheaper than any hamburger and pulled out my grinding attachment that came with my Kitchenaid mixer and I have to say WOW! Why didn’t I do that sooner!!! what fantastic ground round was produced! High quality lean hamburger! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! for doing that workshop! What a huge blessing to me because I walked away with my thinking changed!

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