Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On thrift

Daniel and I have gone from two paychecks to one in the last month. This is not as easy of thing as I thought. Granted, we do not have children  - just two needy dogs. And we've dropped some major expenses (like my twice/thrice weekly commute to Kalamazoo - oh the gas I burned, not to mention the Biggby's and Subway pit stops). But counting our pennies and really thinking about what we need versus what we want feels somehow new.
It's not that we were particularly big spenders before - in fact, we were able to save very well. But with family in another hemisphere, graduate school, and home ownership responsibilities, those savings were tapped then replenished more often that I'd like to think. And our "wants" generally meant decent wine, brunch at our favorite vegetarian cafe (Gaia), or seeing a movie at the cheap theater. It's easy to justify those because they're not caviar and cashmere, but they're still not essential, right?
So, in an effort to inspire myself and get some tips on how to really get the most out of our financial blessings, I grabbed this book off my new library's shelf (along with a couple really unremarkable ones). It's called Be Thrifty, and it's written in such a funny, light-hearted tone I found I was delighted to read it, and it's been super useful and practical... stuff like instructions on cutting hair and how to care for the items you own, plus great tips for go-to "workhorse" ingredients.

I've been thinking a lot about how the stories we hear/read and tell ourselves affect how we think about our own entitlements or decisions. As I've been reading more stories about people who look to be content with what they have and seek to be free above all else, I find myself (with joy!) thinking less about what I want materially and more about what I have to give and the shape my life can take. And thrift looks different for everyone (i.e. The Sartorialist recently was struck by the novel idea of paying someone to do your laundry - the newness is DOING laundry is the thing here, not farming it out... I'm trying to withhold judgment as best I can; everyone's gotta start somewhere!). So in the name of thrift... I cannot wait to take a few of my favorite pairs of shoes to this local find (found via my new friend's biking blog)...

photos via British Vogue, Whole Living, and Southern Spokes

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