OK, let’s talk about frugality. About the “use it up, ware it out, make it do” kind of frugality.
I grew up on one of the last mixed crop, pretty much self sufficient small farms in the U.S. before the rediscovery of the concept in the 1970s by organic farmers. My parents were married pre-WWII at the end of the depression. I was a “get through the diaphram, past the spermacide, damn the menopausal signs, I don’t care if you finished your family of four boys a decade ago” fifth child born to parents in their 40s. Scary, huh? So I pretty much grew up on my own as my parents were already worn out from a lifetime of hardscrabble existence and challenges of raising a family during hard times. I didn’t know that though. I was just a kid. Born at the tippy-top of the bell curve of the post World War II baby boom as the phenomenon was known until the term Baby Boomer was born in the late 1970s I shared by birth month with the likes of Sid Vicious, Scott Adams (Dilbert), Caroline Kennedy, Steve Buscemi, Susan Powter, and Siouxsie Sioux.
My rather unique demographic situation allows me to see and to some extent to understand cultural proclivities a bit further back in time than most of my peers, and I am a bit more aware of potential, and in progress, cultural tangents because of my following of and respect of pop culture as well as my constant monitoring of techno divas. I basically feel like I have a pretty good handle on late 19th Century all the way to the bleeding edge of today.
My furniture doesn’t match. I mix antiques and street art. I have never had so much money that I wanted to buy a dress that cost more than $200. I would much rather have terrabytes of storage than terra nova fashion.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love stuff. I have to fight a compulsion toward collection all the time, although I think it has as much to do with my mother’s insistence that things couldn’t be thrown out because, “We might need it some day” more than any likelihood of me being a hoarder. My mom saved fabric and the ladies at the little country church she attended would cut and sew them and have them woven into rag rugs that were absolutely beautiful to my eyes. Still are. I saved a couple with red stripes to bring out at Christmas.
I’ve had old painted storage shelves refinished professionally to find a walnut, punched tin, pie safe first used by my great, great Aunt Kit in the late 1800s. It is beautiful and useful.
I also find that putting something I really cannot find a use for, such as cabinets from the early 60s that I removed from my kitchen, on the curb will attract the attention of someone who has a use for it, and more impressively, the person who has a use for will nearly always come to the door and ask if it is alright to take it.
So, anyway, to get to the point (something I am horrible at doing) of this post, I have noticed that so much of the frugality that is so trendy at the moment, centers on discounts….. but that requires shopping. Of course all the frugal bloggers have to write about something… and advertisers who pay lots of bloggers for advertising space on blogs have to sell stuff. But, let’s think about this deeply for a day or two: true frugality requires NOT shopping, not buying stuff, not perpetuating the myth of needless need.
Use it up, ware it out, make it do.