Extreme Frugality: Attitude

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

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  1. Excellent post. I don’t worry about things as much if I just focus on gratitude for what we have TODAY. We always have enough.

  2. WOW! Excellent post! I’m going to have my dh read this. He’s always worrying. To some extent I can understand why – we have my school loans and some debt left from his unemployment prior to our marriage to pay off, we didn’t get as much from the sale of the house he had co-owned with his brother as we’d hoped, and the results of my maternity leave really ate into what was left – but I keep reminding him we are to trust in the Lord, and that He will provide. He may not provide a mansion, or even our own house with land (we rent in a 1000 sf apartment, and we have 5 children), but He will provide for our needs.

  3. This is echoing exactly how I have been feeling. The laundry has been out of control and I find the urge to shop for clothes when nothing is clean. If I spent an hour folding and washing instead of shopping, I could save so much.

    Excellent post!

  4. This is a great post. I love the part about not feeling like you need something new to wear if the laundry is caught up. It is so true. I’ve heard a lot about how planning for meals can save a lot of money, but this post goes beyond that with a lot of new things to think about. Thanks for sharing!

  5. You are so right. When I feel like we are running low in the pantry and I am trying to be “creative”, I think of all the women who would love to get creative with what I DO have in my pantry.

    I have reading your blog for awhile and I really enjoy it.

  6. I have found some really great recipes
    by googling what ingredients I have on hand .
    My favorite is one egg banana bread .
    In the past I would have run to the store
    for the missing items ,
    but I am really enjoying the challenge
    and creativity of making do .

  7. Thank you for this. I remind myself of what I do have every day and try to stop thinking of what I don’t have and you’ve opened up a new perspective on the point. Sometimes we don’t see the blessing in front of us for what it is.

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