This time we are going to talk a little bit about stewardship of time and finances, which takes us to one of the biggest buzz words in the blog world: frugality.
Frugality, to me can be summed up in these words from an old New England proverb: Use it up, Wear it Out, Make Do or Do Without. It is a mindset that says, I will find a way to make the most of what I have and wear a smile too.
An hundred years ago, no one had to tell a housewife to be frugal. Frugality was a part of life, very survival for some. You used what you had, you made do or you simply lived without. When was the last time we reused something rather than buy new? When did we do without something rather than going to the nearest store and buying something new? We are so used to consuming that we have forgotten the roots of frugality. We feel like we are being frugal by only spending $20 on a $100 sweater. We forget that sometimes we could do without the new sweater. Now I'm not saying that you didn't get a great deal and only you know if you really needed that sweater, but my point is that some times frugality means you make do with what you already have. And let's face it, dear friends, we have plenty!
For those of you who maybe short on ideas of how to practically make this a part of your lifestyle, here are just a few ideas to get you started thinking:
Re-purpose those old towels as burp rags, cut up old blankets and make dolly blankets, turn old pillowcases into nightgowns, old button up shirts into dresses/jumpers.
Find ways to use less disposable products: try cloth diapers (or be really brave and make your own), cloth menstrual pads, sandwich bags, even something as simple as using a hanky instead of tissues.
Some times frugality also means we do without. Our grandmothers did without almost every modern convenience we take for granted, all while raising several more children. For example of what this might look like, my dishwasher broke today. Now I could call someone to repair it and spend the money or I may decide that I really don't need it and wash my dishes by hand. I did it growing up, I have the skills, there is nothing stopping me from taking this as a sign and saving not only the money on the repair bill but also all that hot water that won't have to be heated to clean my dishes, which I could do in less than half the time. There things we can do without. Does it make it easier to not have to wash dishes by hand with three little ones under foot? Yes. Can I live without it? Also yes!
Now if you are looking for ways to save money on groceries or diapers or find freebies of various kinds, there are many great articles already written and I don't need to re-write them. My favorite site for those kinds of posts is Money Saving Mom but there are plenty of others. Just do a quick search and you'll see what I mean.
What I thought I would do instead is share a few posts that I have really enjoyed recently, that share a little different take on frugality.
This one speaks for itself, 3 Ways You Can Save Money Without Changing Your Spending. Anything that saves you money, without having to spend any, is a blessing!
For a bit of historical perspective and encouragement, I love this one, Despairing over Household Allowance. Sometimes we get tunnel vision, thinking we live in such difficult times but you can see examples all throughout history of women dealing with similar or even worse economic situations and smiling through it!
Of course, the best place to find DIY projects and new ways to reuse and re-purpose what you already have, is Pinterest. If you haven't found this gem yet, you'll thank me later. :D You can find my pins here.
A little bit of time spent deciding what things you need to change in your home to make these kinds of adjustments, and a little research on how to make it happen, will go a long way to making a great difference in how you run your home.
Just remember that what ever you do to use it up, wear it out, make do or do without, is for a purpose. The more frugal we are with our resources, the better stewards we are being of what we have and the more we will have to use for what God would have us to use it for. We are not good stewards if we use frugality as a means to waste resources or spoil ourselves. We do it to serve the Lord and others. This is probably the most important part in living a frugal lifestyle. Know why you are being frugal. If you are doing it because everyone else is doing it, chances are you will just waste your time and money on something else. You must have a goal, a vision for what to do with every excess you have. You must have a plan to reinvest it in something of real worth. Otherwise you could find yourself, when the Master returns, with only one talent and no excuse. Let's be stewards with a plan for maximizing our investments for the best possible return.