Today I’m happy to share a guest post from my bloggy friend Carrie Willard.
One lovely Sunday morning, I had an epiphany. It happened in the car, on the way to the drugstore to buy razor blades. But truly, it wasn’t about razor blades. It was about finding the sweet spot with practical frugality while having a simpler, more peaceful life. It was also about valuing my time.
Razor blades are one of those things I really hate buying. I’m a classic under-buyer, and so I tend to put off these necessary purchases. And the cheapskate in me hates how pricey razors can be! So, on Sunday morning I spent about half an hour searching one of those coupon aggregator (more like aggravator) websites to find a “deal” so I could save a couple of bucks. And I did find a deal, but in order to be a true deal, I had to combine the coupon with the sale, which necessitated my searching through my coupon file. (I never did find the coupon.) Then, once I purchased said razors, I had to remember to actually USE the “bucks” printed on the receipt. (Which I often forget to do, or because I don’t need anything, the coupon expires.)
I’m a frugal type of gal, to be sure. But driving to the drugstore that day, I began grumbling to my husband. (Something I rarely do, so when I do it, I try to pay attention!) I realized that I had spent about 30 minutes of my life to save around $5.
Now–I’m not knocking couponing. I used coupons and played the “drugstore game” when I paid off my credit card debt several years ago. Back then I squirreled every bit of extra money I could nickel and dime out of my budget into paying my debts. But I’m no longer in that situation. At this stage of life, simplicity and creating routines that save time are more important to me.
Another fact struck me as I continued grumbling to my husband: He had no idea how much time I spent on this particular chore, and I wasn’t even buying the type of razors he prefers! Ostensibly I was going through this periodic hassle to be a good steward of our money, and (in my mind) a good homemaker. But as you know if you’ve ever done couponing, you can’t be loyal to a particular brand. You have to chase the sales in order to do it right. We rarely bought the razors my husband prefers, the ones that (in 20 years of shaving experience) are best on his very sensitive skin, because they rarely went on sale!
This onerous chore I had taken upon myself wasn’t really making anyone happy.
At that very moment, I decided to fire myself. I got on Amazon, set up a subscribe and save for razors (hubby’s preferred brand, for once), and I’ll never have to think about it again. Then I threw my coupon file in the trash can.
My takeaway points from this experience:
There are many things I could have done with that 30 minutes that would have brought me more happiness, as well as save or make me money.
• Some frugal activities are based on faulty assumptions. If nobody really appreciates it and it doesn’t make you happy, drop it!
• Frugal activities are sustainable when they’re fun, not stressful. There are many frugal things I really enjoy doing. Such as cooking a meal from scratch, or clothes shopping at my favorite thrift store. I need to focus on doing more of these things.
Have you ever dropped a frugal activity from your life and not looked back?
Carrie Willard is a mom of seven who blogs about natural parenting, homeschooling, simplicity and frugality. She’s become a grocery shopping whiz out of necessity and years of practice feeding a family of nine.