Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Frugal Is Making Do With What You Have

Far too often writing about a frugal life centers on the "great buy".  Sure, finding an item for 80% off is a savings, but in our frugal home we aim to avoid the buy altogether.  Recent example, my lunch bag.  Taking my lunch to work rather than buying food out flows naturally from a frugal path.  But recently I noticed that the lunch bag I used was a bit too small to carry a lunch, snack and thermos of coffee.

My mind first thought of Target. I would be able to find something there that would be more appropriate. And the cost would be off-set by me no longer walking to the mall to supplement when hunger struck.  As I mulled over the idea I thought, wait, not Target, get something used at a Thrift Store!  It would be a fraction of the cost!  The problem, I have no immediate plans to drive to one of the thrift stores.  And working in a trip with my work and family schedule is not easy.  Finally my eyes settled on the kitchen counter and frugal inspiration took hold.  I will literally brown bag it!

A new lunch bag secured.  Last year it was a gift bag from a local coffee shop, carrying a delightful holiday gift from a former employee.  I had used it to store Valentine's Day decorations, and it was recently pulled from the closed when the kids and I took down winter holiday decorations and put up hearts other pink things.  Sitting empty on the counter it was perfect for my lunch needs.  No cost, no trip to the store, and an entirely new use for all those random gift bags that find their way into my life during the course of a year.It Gift bags are relatively sturdy, and come with a handle.  My old bag was insulated, which was useful back when I used it at the law school (yes, I have had it since 1998) when I did not have access to refrigeration. But now I go from the house to the office where I have a dorm fridge, so keeping items cool is not an issue.

And that is a glimpse into our frugal world.  Challenge the common perception that something on sale is a smart buy.  The smart option is when you can avoid the buy all together.  Pause, think outside the box, and challenge the cultural norm.

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