There is nothing fun about having chronic insomnia, but it does provide me with plenty of quiet time in the middle of the night to read and watch TV. One of my favorite things to do is scroll mindlessly through Youtube, looking for videos on cooking, couponing, gardening, and saving money.
Because I’ve been into the frugal lifestyle since 2008, most of the tips aren’t new, but I do enjoy seeing how other families live, especially the ones who are extreme.
What is the difference between frugality and being a miser? Choosing to suffer when there’s no need.
One lady I watched seems to revel in misery. She and her husband downsized from a 3,300 Sq. foot Tri-Level outside of Dallas into the woods of Northern Idaho. Totally off grid, she uses a wood cook stove, has no bathroom, no electricity and lives in a shed converted into a tiny house with 4 kids.
She gave an inside tour that showed a remarkable lack of furniture (3 of the kids share a small mattress) and only a single radio that runs on batteries for entertainment. They did have a computer and camera, but must visit the library for WiFi.
In storage, she showed off reusable muffin liners, fabric Ziplocs, cloth diapers, homemade potions crafted from herbs, and a 5-year supply of emergency food rations with some scary looking canned meats. By the time she got to the reusable cloth toilet paper, I quit watching. (Added bonus: she does the wash by hand and air-dries, even in winter!!!)
Why, oh, why would anyone spend a single minute of their life reusing toilet paper? That isn’t penny-wise; it’s pound foolish! Not to mention gross, unnecessary, and probably not sanitary.
Toilet paper is on sale 52 weeks per year. By using coupons and rebates, it’s super cheap. As for cloth diapers? You’ve got to be kidding me. I have more Huggies, Pampers, and Seventh Generation in my stockpile than I could ever use—even if I had triplets on the way.
I tried canning food. The jam and pears were yummy. Will I do it regularly, standing over a stove, during the hottest part of the summer, boiling tomatoes to make pasta sauce that retails for $1.00 a jar? NO, it’s not worth it.
Saving money can become a dangerous obsession. I choose to save in most areas so that I can splurge in others. What I want is the lowest-priced Coach purse, not a stained and torn potato sack that I made for free!
The point is this: Saving is good, but not at the expense of quality of life. Moderation is key. Every family will have a different budget, with different goals. That’s fine. Just don’t sacrifice your time, peace of mind, and happiness for a nickel.