Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Unfashionable Frugality

I've been thinking a lot about saving money, especially in light of cloth diapering, and all the fun ways to do it. Repurposing items around the house can be fun. We're planting a vegetable garden this year--fun and we get to eat the harvest! I'm even considering baking bread.

There are many other ways of saving money that are harder to brag about. (And really, one should never be boastful about these things anyway, but if it's about sharing fun, what's the harm in that?) Like our dented, uncomfortable old Buick that's hard to move the car seat in and out of. It is by no means a "sweet ride," but it's paid off, it runs, and it saves us money. Same goes for the old manual transmission Ford Focus. It has relatively good gas mileage, gets us from Point A to Point B and, most importantly, it's paid off. The imaginary van I'm drooling over will have to wait for another year because we don't yet NEED another car, and we can get by on what we have, Joneses be darned.

Take also the stroller. I paid nothing for this stroller. My mom scored it at a garage sale and didn't ask me to pay her back. It also came with an infant carrier and two car bases for said carrier. We got a new car seat/carrier (actually a gift) for safety reasons, but it fits with this stroller. But they don't match! The stroller is scratched and dirty! And they don't match! The print is not completely to my taste!

But: Who cares? It works and it was free. We did not have to buy an expensive stroller so that I could push my baby around.

I read this post shared on my Google Reader yesterday. It is so very true. I don't have to listen to or worry about the people who would judge me for driving around an unattractive old car or pushing around an unattractive old stroller. The thing is, I don't hear anyone passing judgments. They might do so silently and I really can't care about that. What's harder to ignore is that voice in my head that says I'm not quite good enough if I don't have nice, clean, new gear. Is that because I might unfairly judge someone else in my exact situation? Or perhaps I'm too harsh on myself. It's not others who can't let go and for whom I'll never be good enough, it's me.

What I would add to The Simple Dollar is that it isn't You against The World. You don't need to imagine that everyone is judging you for driving a beater, for living in a tiny apartment, for not eating out on a regular basis. And you surely do not need to make excuses to them--or yourself!--for making wise decisions with your money. The end!

I resolve to do the same. My infant carrier and stroller do not match. No excuses necessary.

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