Frugality (aka “Being Weird”)

Several posts on this blog mention money or budgeting, so I think I should explain a few things.  Lovey and I are Dave Ramsey disciples; we’ve even coordinated a couple Financial Peace University classes through our church.  Our biggest financial accomplishments in four years of marriage have been paying off our car early, fully funding our emergency fund, and putting Lovey through school on a “cash flow” plan—meaning we used real money instead of debt.

In some ways our lifestyle looks pretty normal, but in other ways we operate a bit differently from many of our peers.  We’re 100% okay with that.

We’re following 7 Baby Steps on the road to Financial Peace.  (Check here for class information—it’s everything you never imagined financial training could be, I promise.)

Thankfully, when we married we already had a solid basis for applying Dave’s principles.  Neither of us had debt.  Thanks to a lifetime of experience, I was already a fearless thrift store shopper.  (I like to think my style sense has progressed since the days when I thought a polyester red-polka-dotted blouse looked “edgy” with skater shoes…but that’s for the critics to decide.)

Neither that dorky younger me nor the less-outwardly-nerdy older me ever imagined that the green revolution would make thrift shopping a borderline cool activity.  Nice that other people have finally admitted that buying  things used offers a slew of benefits.  For example, I much prefer the slight cringe of breaking a plate that cost $0.25 {used} to the disappointment and guilt of breaking one that cost $30.00 {new}.  Spending less money on something helps me avoid unhealthy emotional attachment to it.  More on that in a minute.  Another thrifting benefit: I love the assurance that my jeans, already washed numerous times, will never shrink the first time I wash them.  And so on.

Of course not everything is secondhand.  For truly new things, we’ve learned to exercise “power over purchase,” maintaining the ability to walk away from potential purchases until a true deal becomes available.  Hubby recently scouted 37″ LCD screens because he wanted the coolest computer monitor known to man–and got it for a good price after lots of hunting!  We economize on grocery shopping, home decorating, eating out, going on vacation, and whatever else we can think of.  While onlookers may see our behavior as ridiculous, smug, Spartan, or otherwise unappealing, here’s what I wish they knew:

-We are free!  Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”  We have no interest in being anyone’s slaves.  Each month we decide where our money goes.

-Regularly discussing our finances has improved our communication.  One thing Dave Ramsey points out in Financial Peace University is that when spouses agree on their budget, they are agreeing on their priorities.  Since we stopped winging it and started seriously planning the destination of every dollar we bring home, we’ve unified our vision for our life together.

-We own our stuff—not vice versa.  I’ve struggled a bit with learning how to crawl out from under my stuff.  I like pretty things: clothes, shoes, and jewelry; attractive serving dishes; books; etc.  But I realized that I was buying for emotional reasons—it made me happy to have new things.  (But they only stay “new” for so long).  When we moved into our current apartment and lost square footage, I got serious about paring down, as you’ve surely noticed if you’ve read this blog for long.

Here are some of my favorite money-wise bloggers:

Rachel at Small Notebook inspired me to start curating a wardrobe that gets more mileage out of fewer, more carefully chosen pieces.

Sherry & John at Young House Love encouraged me to start looking for new ways to use things I already have before rushing out to buy something I don’t really need.  Check out their original door desk (below), which inspired mine (here).

Image used with permission.  Property of John & Sherry Petersik at younghouselove.com.

Words of Williams reminded me that frugality can be fresh.

Image used with permission.  Property of Kelsey & Eric Williams at wordsofwilliams.com.

One of the Financial Peace University slogans is, “Normal is broke—be weird.”  Rest assured any weirdness you find here is intentional.  Look into it for yourself and see what you think!

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: