Friday, April 11, 2008

Challenge yourself

Our family lives frugally because it is necessary for living the way we want to live. ( It is important for our family that I be a stay at home, homeshooling mom. We also don't like the idea of being deeply in debt.) Everybody gets to make choices about how they want to live and that is the choice we have made. As a result of that choice I am blessed with having what I think (at least for me) is the greatest job on earth!! (I love the variety and creativity that we can use with the job of homemaking! Also getting the blessing of being with and serving those I love the most is so neat!)

Anyway with our choice to be frugal that could either be done with a feeling of "I'll do this but I wish we could have more..." or it can be done with a cheerful attitude and we can have fun with the challenge. I think most of us enjoy some kinds of challenges. Many people like playing games (cards, board games or athletic sports) all of which present us with a challenge. That is the fun of playing to see if we can meet that challenge and do well.

I have gotten to the point that I really truly enjoy the challenge of living frugally. In fact I love making a game of it to see if I can just go a step farther in living frugally. I sometimes will challenge myself in an area for just a certain amount of time. For instance a year ago in March I was getting frustrated with not having room enough in my dresser and closet for all of my clothes. As I was trying to figure out how to make everything fit I told myself "This is silly, I don't need to buy any clothes (whether new or used) until I wear out some of the ones that I have." So I decided that I would set a goal to not buy any clothes for the whole year. I did have to relent once because last summer when we flew out to Oregon for Ken's sisters weddings our bag of dress shoes got lost at the airport. (We did eventually get it back but not until we were ready to go home). I had only tennis shoes and thought it best that I get something else for the wedding. Other than that I have not bought anything. (I was given a few hand me downs however) One year like that really went quite well and I decided I could do it for a longer period of time so I decided to do it for 2008 as well. As we were getting ready for the new year we realized that the kids drawers were also overflowing so they decided to join the challenge for the year of 2008. (We did buy Jonathan a winter coat for next year when they went on cheap clearance but that is all so far.) It has been very fun to see how creative we can be with what we have. We are trying to take care of the clothes we have, mending them if they need it and carefully treating the stains. We also have worn some clothes out which has made more room in our drawers. The benefits for us has been: Less mess(in our drawers and rooms), less shopping time, less money spent and also the fun of the challenge.

Some of my other challenges that I am working on are:
  • Cutting our grocery costs down without sacrificing healthfulness.
  • Giving gifts that are homemade, or gotten pretty much free from my Walgreens shopping or ones that I already have in my gifts boxes (as they were overflowing too.)

Some of the ones I am considering are:

  • Riding bikes to church or on errands once a week or so. (I am already pretty careful on how often I drive around, this is something that I think would be fun to do to make our gas consumption go lower yet.)
  • Trying to eat just(or nearly so) local foods for a month. This would mean mostly eating from our garden and all completely from scratch foods. I think this could be economical but even if it is not I think it would be fun to try for the environmental reasons and health reasons and just because it sounds like a fun challenge. :-)
  • Trying to greatly reduce our electricty use for a month or so to see if it would cost much less. (We have already switched pretty much everything to florescent light bulbs.)

Do you ever make up challenges for yourself to make living frugally more fun? I would love to hear your ideas.

For more frugal ideas visit Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.


Ellen said...

One of my new challenges is using cloth rather than TP and not buying anything (other than essentials). I already use cloth towels, dishrags and napkins. I'd like to make the switch to handkerchiefs. Yours look soft and cute. Where did you get them, or did you make them? Thanks for any advice!

Anonymous said...

This is a really good post. I too am loving the "game" of saving money. Currently I am really focused on the grocery budget. I would also like to make an extra payment a year on my student loans to reduce that debt quicker. Thanks for the post!


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