Thursday, February 19, 2009

On frugality, etc.

A recent conversation with a friend motivated me to think about blog posts – specifically those with the theme of (economic) frugality – and I’ve decided to pen some of those thoughts here… To get right to the point – I’ve noticed that pride can be a common thread among frugal bloggers; there can be the attitude: “If you don’t major in savings like I do, you aren’t doing things right.”

A few examples might include:

  • If you bought [fill in the blank] (a new car seat, new furniture, etc.) for your baby, then you weren’t frugal! After all, I didn’t spend a cent on that item – my parents gave me a blank check for that need! (But maybe my parents aren’t in a financial position to do the same…)

But this same attitude can be noted in any person passionate about her convictions:

  • If you don’t [fill in the blank] (let your baby cry herself to sleep – like I do with mine!), then you’re doing something wrong! (But maybe my child is in pain due to a digestive issue that I don’t advertise…)

You get the picture – these are scenarios where we think of ourselves, our opinions, our ways of doing things, etc. more highly than we ought to think…

In reality, the terms savings and frugality encompass more than finances. What about time? What about simplicity of life? What about personal relationships? What about serving God and others? Shouldn’t we fans of frugality take care to communicate that (economic) frugality is not the only virtue in the world – and, perhaps more specifically, that frugality is beautiful when combined with generosity? (What ideas do you have for sharing all that extra Colgate Total toothpaste you’ve been stockpiling, courtesy of CVS?) Otherwise, we risk coming across as grabbing all we can for ourselves. Is frugality merely part of a life that seeks to glorify God first and foremost in every area? Or is it a consuming passion that drives life and enslaves?

Couponing can become addictive (especially if you already tend to be competitive – like I do... Ahem!) How much time do you spend combing through blogs, trying to find free and almost-free deals? You may be proud of your status as a “SAHM” – but do your children become an interruption when you’re playing the savings game? Do they know that they’ll always be able to find you squinting at the computer screen?

My single friends who work all day every day outside their homes may not have the same liberties to read blogs, clip and match coupons, and run to drugstores to get all this “free stuff” – many of them, in their free time, are focusing on being more involved in church ministries than I’m able to be because I’m a wife and mom. What am I communicating to them?

Humility would become us, my sisters!

For related thoughts on these topics, see posts here, here, here, and here.

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