Thursday, 6 August 2009

Frugal?

Frugal is certainly something I am not. In fact, I am the opposite. I find it hard to resist the temptation of clothing and bags and shoes and and and....

I am not interested in designer merchandise, but I love pretty, girlie things - too many of them. I think this means that sometimes I don't appreciate what I have. I don't even always remember what I have. Disturbingly, the thrill of something new is a pick-me-up of the professional woman of my generation, and fills the void or dissatisfaction of various aspects of life - I see it every day. This can be analysed ad infinitum, but that's not what this blog entry is about.

I want to change. I want to manage my spending better. I don't want to be a slave to the material. I want to be responsible. What has brought on this desire to improve? Not one thing, I suppose, just moving on in my life. Let me tell you about my friend Sarah who has inspired me.

Sarah is great. She is 25 and got married to David at 24. She knows what it takes to make a marriage work. She knows how to compromise, give in, adapt. She is very mature. And I have seen her change in front of my very eyes. She used to love shopping, buying things, treating herself and now she is as careful with money as can be. What happened?

When David wanted to propose to Sarah, he was a graduate student at Yale and she was a law student in London. He didn't have savings with which to buy her a ring, and his accommodation charge included some compulsory meal tickets. He literally didn't eat beyond what was mandatory for him to pay for, so that he could save up to buy Sarah's ring.

He bought her a beautiful engagement ring from Tiffany's. It is dainty and perfect and beautiful, and a lasting and meaningful symbol of his love for his girl. He suffered for that ring. And his gesture made an impression on Sarah and has changed her. It has changed her for good. If he could sacrifice so much, who is she to spend frivolously?

She now sees everything she spends as taking away from their future. She thinks twice. She takes things back if she doesn't really need them. She has grown up and is able to look beyond her immediate desires and impulses and I want to learn to do the same.

So here is my pledge:

1. I will write down what I spend;

2. I will stop wasting money on lunch out and will make my own at home;

3. I will stop wandering into shops 'for the fun of it';

4. I will organise my clothes so I can see them and use them;

5. I will constantly ask myself if I need this - really - and what really matters to me.


Are you frugal? What are your tips for me? Please let me know! I need your help and would love to hear your thoughts!

PS: Has anyone read/seen 'Confessions of a Shopaholic'? I thought the book was fun and that the movie was awful!


2 comments:

Nadia said...

Do I consider myself frugal? Hmmm. No. However, I am really trying to be better about my spending habits. Its frustrating at times, but then I have to remember that I do not make loads of cash to be splurging all the time. So, I am saving up to buy this lovely handbag that I am dying to own. I figure this is a good way to start reigning in my spending habits. I say congrats to you on becoming a smart spender! And I agree with you regarding the Shopaholic series - I loved the books!!! and I hated the movie. Cheers!!!

Overdue said...

I used to think I was quite lucky because I loathe shopping. But the interweb has changed all that. I can spend substantial amounts on ebay on mouldy copies of Keats and not even notice.
I think the trick is to have a specific goal, a separate bank account for that goal, and online banking. It can get quite addictive watching the numbers go up daily, and knowing exactly how far you've got and how far there is to go. It's like dieting. There has to be an actual pair of skinny jeans waiting for you or you're sunk.