The other week I had the pleasure of taking Katy Wolk-Stanley of The Non-Consumer Advocate, out for coffee. She lives in Portland, Oregon like me; we’re even both in Southeast! We talked about our shared passions for blogging and reducing consumption, and we decided to do guest posts for each other. Here is Katy writing:
I’ve been thinking lately about the concept of frugality. Is frugality buying a lot of clearance items, loading up the shopping cart at Goodwill, pinching pennies and then holding onto as much of your income as possible?
It’s kind of all of that, but pretty much none of that.
For me, frugality is about being wise, thoughtful and deliberate with my money.
This is something that’s taken me a long time to get to. I’ve certainly had my years of filling my cart at Goodwill and scooping up piles of clearance items. But mostly, these purchases have led to nothing more than a house full of clutter, and a mysteriously empty bank account.
Why am I broke, when I save so much money on everything I buy?
Joining The Compact (buy-nothing-new) in January of 2007 completely changed my mindset. I no longer have the compulsion to buy things just because they’re ”too cheap to pass up.“
My compulsion now is to get rid of stuff instead of accumulating it.
I spent much of 2007 decluttering my house. I donated to Goodwill 19 times, a few of which were minivan-filling trips. I could probably donate another 10 van loads before the house would develop anything close to an echo. (Which, now that I think about it might be taking things a tad too far.)
Which brings me to the term conscious frugality. To be mindful with one’s money without being miserly or blowing it on poorly made stuff that’s was never manufactured with longevity in mind.
To be willing to pay more sometimes from a locally owned business, to support businesses that you want to keep in your neighborhood, and to continue to give to charity even when your own budget is aching.
To me the concept of conscious frugality, (which I though I made up, but there’s a few references on google.) is about buying smart, buying used, buying local and sometimes just not buying at all.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”