Monday, August 25, 2014

Ikea and Me: Frugal, and then real Frugal....

It was Sunday Dinner, and I mentioned I might want input on doing some work in the kitchen.  Instantly the party came to life.  Ideas, suggestions, colors, products I'd never heard off -- they all came flying at me. Knowing I am frugal, they said "hold on, work in a kitchen is always one of the two places to invest, the other is a bathroom."

Invest?  What are we talking about here?  My idea was to paint some walls, put up a board of the Paris skyline, and hang a drawing I "won" at a silent auction of a rooster.

Oh, $20,000 maybe $30,000.  You'll need floors, new cupboards, new appliances, maybe knock down a wall.

At this point you could have knocked me down with a feather.  And my husband knew it, but kept silted. He'd have no problem with this expenditure, and would agree with Sunday Villagers, kitchens are the best place to spend remodel dollars.  But he knows me, and knows me well.  The more they gave me ideas, the more I retreated.  That is just way too much money!

When I balked they offered up Ikea as an alternative.  Noting they were all seated, I said to brace yourself, I have never been to Ikea.  Over my life I have ordered fewer than 5 things from the catalog.

They were silent for a minute, and then said "find an accent pillow, work from there with the colors and style."

There is frugal.  That means you do a lot yourself, you buy smart, you turn trash into treasures, and you love Ikea.  Sunday Villagers are this type of frugal.  What they can do with discarded furniture amazes me -- I love it.  But, it isn't my kind of frugal.

No, I'm a bit more extreme.  Instead of shopping smart, I just do not shop for the most part.  I'd rather do without and leave the money in my investment account.  I find comfort in access to cash, just in case.  Most likely a byproduct of being raised by parents who hovered at the poverty line.  High school educations, manual labor jobs, with the persistent threat of evaporating - that feeling is hard to wash away from ones reptilian brain.  Not spending money as a young person allowed me to squirrel away money and be the first in my family to go to college.  And I kept on going, earning a Masters and then law degree.  Graduation brought with it great opportunities, a lot of letters after my name, and $97,000 in student debt.  And not spending money was a key feature in erasing that debt.

Retired long ago, the debit is gone.  The savings have grown, but I'd rather see them increase than diver $30,000 into a kitchen that functions just fine.  So for now, talk of $30,000 kitchen refresher is set aside.  I think I'll just give the one I have a good cleaning.  It has all I need -- fridge, stove, sink, storage, and my little family seated at the table, together.

Our fridge -- it keeps items cool, displays preschool art.  What more does one need?

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