My most humble opinion is that frugality is best when it’s either: something your born with, or something you learn. Now, if that sounds like I’m pretty much stating the obvious then you’re probably missing that frugality is also something that can be forced on you. ‘Being poor’ is really just enforced frugality.
The kind of frugality I think we’re driving at here is the sort where you could afford to buy a stonking great Ford, but don’t. And why? Either because you know your mother would frown, or because you know that the petrol will cost too much (and it’s bad for the environment anyway).
When writing to this site I really want to outline and build a philosophy of being frugal. Not because of tight-fistedness, but because of a conscious decision to buy less junk, and to make more sense out of what it is that we all do; constantly consume.
So let’s start by stating that we all have to consume, and consumption is what drives the modern economy. If you live in a city then you have no option but to purchase goods and services from other people. And in doing so, you enrich others, as they enrich you by purchasing what you offer. Not exactly rocket science.
But who says that we have to purchase what the market offers? The market is always growing, changing, and evolving, but it isn’t always smart. Sometimes it offers you cheap stuff that looks like a bargain, but you’re actually doing yourself and others around you a disservice by spending your cash on it. Worse! Some people buy crap with money borrowed from Australian banks… In other words, they borrow from another country to buy crap from a further country, and offset that purchase with the value of a good or service they haven’t even provided yet.
And the last paragraph is the last of the economics you’ll hear from me. Because I’m not very good at it.
I do have common sense however. And buying crap that I only believe I need is something to be avoided.
My contribution to this blog will centre on consumption. Do I really need all the stuff I’m surrounding myself with? Do I need to pay someone else to do something that I could easily do, or learn to do, myself?
My own observation about current New Zealand society is that we’re moving away from No.8 wire thinking and forgetting how to do really simple things. Simple things like cook a healthy meal. Instead we pay someone else (often an Australian), to make a pre-packaged meal that we have to use a specific appliance (a microwave) to “prepare”. Now right there is a whole lot of spending that you don’t need to do. You don’t need a microwave to cook things when most if not all houses have a stove (so why buy one?), and you don’t need to pay someone else to cook for you (because it’s easy, even for time-poor people).
At the heart of all this writing will be a philosophy of a simple life. A life that can be full of gadgets, games and gourmet food, but a conscious life, one where I know what I’m consuming, where it’s come from, and where it goes to when I no longer need it. It won’t be perfect, but then neither are you or I.