If you haven’t been reading her recent series on Extreme Frugality, I’d recommend you make a beeline over to Days to Come. Jeana has been taking a good, hard look at our concepts of frugality, our priorities, how far we’re willing to take it, and what it looks like in every day life. When she shared this guest post with me, it hit me right where I was at.
Guest Post by Jeana
I recently saw a news article about how people are more likely to buy lottery tickets when they feel poor. The connection was not to their actual income, only to how they felt about their income. I’ve learned from experience, though, that my situation is almost always better in reality than what my feelings tell me it is. Careful planning and preparation are important for many reasons, and one of them is because it helps me to know where we really stand.
The other day I set out to plan meals for the coming week, and the outlook seemed grim. I had had some unexpected expenses, my grocery fund was very low and it was still a week before payday; not to mention that payday was going to be half the usual, and I also had to plan meals for our coming vacation. (Payday here refers to my babysitting income, which is also my grocery budget; not to my husband’s paycheck.) Looking around, I didn’t see much in the pantry, and I wondered how I was going to make do. I got to work.
First, I took stock of what I had and discovered some things I had forgotten about. I had more than I thought I had. Then I started making out a meal plan, and discovered that what I had would stretch further than I thought. My daughters and I turned out some homemade goodies made from scratch–bread, granola bars and banana bread, and my husband and sons came home from a camping trip with some unexpected blessings: summer sausage his uncle had made, a flat of farm fresh eggs his stepmother had given him, and a huge watermelon from his dad. Two days later, I found myself planning carefully to use up the abundance of food we had before it went bad!
This principle applies to other areas too. I rarely feel like I have “nothing to wear” when the laundry and ironing are caught up. I “need” fewer things when my home is organized and I know where everything is. When my housework is caught up and my home is fairly clean, I have a better sense of well-being and less occasion of depression, so I don’t get so many urges to spend money I don’t have to help myself feel better.
Planning and preparation help me know the truth of my situation, and staying caught up on my housework improves my actual situation. For those inevitable times when one or all of these fall behind, though, it’s good to remember that my feelings are not reliable indicators of the truth. The truth is usually much better.
Jeana is a homemaking, homeschooling, thrifting (her words), amazing, funny, and wise mom of four (my words). She can be found alternatively causing me to think deep thoughts and laugh out loud at her blog, Days to Come.
Frugal Fridays are hosted by Biblical Womanhood