As frugalitarians, we often sacrifice and make do. You know the frugal mantra “use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without.” While on the frugal path, you might want to take notice and occasionally accept that “it’s time” to replace an item or purchase something new. There’s “no shame” in buying new items as needed.
Why is it that there sometimes seems to be guilt associated with it? Here’s a gentle nudge. It’s time. Sometimes purchasing a new item will lift your spirits, improve your frugal outlook, and help keep you on the frugal wagon. Sometimes the tightwad belt is on too tight and it’s time to loosen it a notch. It’s ok. Really.
*When is the last time you got a haircut?
*Are you still using the same hairbrush since the 80′s?
*How used is your toothbrush?
*How worn out are your shoes?
*Please go through your underwear drawer.
*How many pairs of pants are you making do with? How many shirts?
*How worn is your wallet or purse?
*Are you making do with banged up rusted pans and half melted spatulas?
*How old is your pillow?
*How are your bath towels? Is it time to put some of these into the rag pile?
I rarely spend money, but have decided that in order to have balance (read: live a little), I have got to learn that it’s OK for me to do so. I have lived as a minimalist for over eight years and recently I was in deep thought about whether my approach toward frugality was actually a healthy one. How can I advocate frugality well, if I’m an extremist in many areas? Being a seasoned frugalite, I tend to delay spending a little too long.
As an example, I’ve been living with this incredibly cheap $10 two slice toaster for years. It toasts. The problem is the frustration that it brings whenever I need to make toast. The lever is stubborn and doesn’t always want to stay pressed down. It often takes several attempts before it finally works. I have been making do with this for years. In the back of my mind, I’d think “it’s time” to get a new toaster, but I wouldn’t because the toaster was still working.
Wellll, guess who got a new 4 slice toaster this weekend? I haven’t been this excited about a purchase in a long time. Should I feel this giddy? I feel like I just purchased a brand new car. It was time. Weekend breakfasts will no doubt be less frustrating for me.
How do I know I’ve taken frugality to an extreme? When I get a new toaster and the old one is in such poor condition that I wonder if it has the potential to catch fire. It still works, and my spouse asks me if it’s ok to throw it away, or if I have plans on saving it for my son, who is seven years old, to use when he goes to college. (jokingly) The mental ping pong went on for a few minutes and I let go. I had to stop thinking whether I could use any parts in the future or if I should keep it as a backup. It was time. R.I.P. old toaster.
My point is that sometimes it’s ok to loosen that tightwad belt. There has to be balance. Don’t ignore caring for yourself or putting off simple purchases that can really cut frustration or time in your day. It’s not worth it! Life is short. Please live it and enjoy it. Allow some flexibility in your frugality. Reward yourself for your frugal efforts.
If you are down to one pair of work pants and they are ripping, yes you CAN tape them, patch them, and mend them, but acknowledge that it might be time to get a new pair. It’s time.
Some of you radical frugalites know what I mean. Maybe you have a gift certificate that was given to you. You head to the store. You can’t even think of something to buy for yourself. Maybe just once instead of debating a purchase to the point of putting an item in the cart, back on the shelf, in the cart, and back on the shelf…maybe it’s time to keep it in the cart for a change.
Each person is an adult and capable of making their own decisions. We’re all at different levels of frugality. For me, somehow I think the world won’t come crashing down, if I finally spend a buck on a new spatula.
Share with me something that you’ve been making do with for a long time or something that “it’s time” for you to break down and purchase.
If you’ve recently bought something after making do for a while, tell me what it is and how you feel now.
When do you accept that “it’s time”?