28 July 2006

Frugality is...

I promise I'm going to get to the point after the story about garbage.

Before we moved to the Frugal Farm, we lived in a subdivision. It was a pretty nice subdivision. None of the homes were too extravagent but they were custom homes full of nice families, not a cookie-cutter subdivision full of newlyweds, know what I mean? We were on the young end, since our kids were 6 weeks old and 21 months old. My closest neighbor (there was an empty lot between us) was Michele and her kids were almost exactly the same age as mine. We had a lot of the same values, so we could talk about garbage together.

Garbage, you say? Yes, garbage. Garbage day was Monday, and Michele would put one 32 gallon can at her curb. We would put one 32 gallon can at our curb. And all of the other neighbors would put out 3, 4, or even 5 cans. We wondered how on earth these other families were making so much trash. Until we got to know them better, and then we knew. They were the kind of people (not that I'm judging them, or saying what's right or wrong or whatever, but it's my blog so my way is the right way, 'kay?) that would buy stuff. What kind of stuff? Just stuff. Toys for their kids every time they went shopping. Lots of clothes. Convenience foods that come in big packages. Plastic stuff that breaks. Stuff they probably didn't need, and then eventually threw away.

(and yes, I recycle and break down cardboard boxes, and I compost, which does make the volume of trash less--but I wasn't cloth diapering yet so I threw away a lot of diapers with 2 kids in sposies)

Michele was even better than me at not buying stuff; their house had no clutter whatsoever. She didn't recycle or compost either. Just had less trash than me.

(Have you reading Not Buying It by Judith Levine? If you can look past the extremely liberal views and her rants from when Bush won the election, there are some good ideas. She goes a year without buying anything that isn't a necessity, and they are defined in the book)


At the Frugal Farm we pay for the amount of trash we want the truck to take away. So we pay for the lowest option, which is one 32 gallon can. If we clean out the garage and have some extra trash one week, we can buy a sticker for $1 from the trash company and put it on the bag and they'll take it away too. Otherwise they leave it, and they will. Once I put out a cardboard box that wasn't broken down. The recycling man didn't take it since it wasn't broken down and neither did the trash guys. The next week I flattened it and didn't have a bit of trouble.

You waded through all this trash talk and now you have finally reached the part where I am going to get to the point.

Yesterday I went shopping at one of my favorite stores and as usual, I cruised past end caps to check out the clearance merchandise. Back in the toy section, I found this toy. It was a knitting machine and bejeweler. It was marked down from $16 to less than $4. I grabbed it. "Frugalgirl1 would LOVE this!" I thought. But then I thought again. It's probably a piece of crap. It probably doesn't work very well, and she'd just be frustrated. I should just teach her to knit with needles instead. Plus it's a big piece of plastic. Where the heck am I going to put it? With the upcoming addition to the Frugal Farmhouse, we're tearing down the family room and therefore shrinking our living space. There's no way I should add another toy.

So I put it back.

Even though it was a screamin' deal, and could have possibly been a fun thing to have, the cons outweighed the pros this time.

And that is what frugality is.


Lena said...

Good choice!! I bought a knitting machine for Sarah's birthday and it is frustrating and annoying and we've used it twice. Ugh. Yeah, I got her an Easy Bake Oven too. She's not getting much use out of her creative Christmas presents...


Anonymous said...

I need to read that book. I'm not the frugal woman I wish I was.