Frugality and What It Means

frugality

[froo-gal-i-tee]

noun

1.

the quality of being frugal, or prudent in saving; the lack of wastefulness:

Many people who have lived through periods of economic deprivation develop lifelong habits of frugality and are almost never tempted by wasteful consumption.
Frugality is more than being cautious with the using of your resources.  Many people buy things because they are on sale, that’s a great price!, but then don’t use what they purchased.  This is not frugality.  This is wastefulness.
If you are thinking about purchasing a tool which you intend to use many times it is frugal to spend more money on the item and have it last for years and years, rather than buy the cheapest there is and have to keep replacing it.  I have a perfect, and personal, example of foolish frugality:
We have several children.  They are older now, but when they were younger we needed a couch.  Ours was old, worn out and just plain ugly.  There were not any second hand stores around us at that time, so our options were limited.  We ended up buying a couch from a furniture store which was moderately priced and, we thought, well made.  This couch lasted our family about 12 years.  That’s with it being used as a trampoline, a fort, a hospital bed following surgery, a sick bed for many a cold and ‘flu, and taking the general abuse from five kids, two adults and two dogs.
Given this was a moderately priced couch, made from sturdy wood and the fabric was a hearty poly-blend-I thought it wore extremely well given it’s abuse.  This was a good example of frugality.
After that couch wore out, we were forced to purchase something else.  Here’s where the foolish part of frugality comes in…I thought it would be a great idea to replace our couch with one from a second hand store.  While this would have been fine in normal circumstances, I happened to find a couch which held unspeakable odors which only became apparent when sitting in our nice warm living room.  It was not returnable to the second hand store we purchased it from, so it ended up in the burn pile behind the barn.  This was a perfect example of foolish frugality.  I bought a cheap couch just because it was cheap and close enough to the color I needed in our livingroom.  You would think I learned my lesson there wouldn’t you?
No.
Second hand couch number two turned out to have lived with cats, which my husband is deathly allergic to.
Burn pile yet again.
Couch number three was to large to get through the door.  That one was returned to the second hand store because I worked at that one and knew the policy before I bought the stupid thing.
This actually goes on…
Eventually I gave up and bought a moderately priced couch from a reputable furniture store.  It is not holding up as well as the first one, but it has taken plenty of abuse and continues to look good.  All in all, I think I ended up spending nearly 350.00 on various couches which did not work out, could not be returned and ended up as ashes.
That, my friends, is foolish frugality.  Had I considered all my options, perhaps found a couch at a second hand store which was well made and in excellent condition-which I have since done-and not been so determined to spend next to nothing on something that would take an incredible amount of abuse from our very large and boisterous family I would not have wasted a substantial amount of money.  It would have been better for me to recognize the need for quality construction in such an item and not be consumed with getting something as cheaply as possible.
Foolish frugality also plays a part in our art/craft materials.  It is not a bargain to buy something and then never use it.  It is not a bargain to buy something because you have to replace the one you cannot find because it’s lost somewhere in all your stuff.  It is not a bargain to buy something you think might work, but what you really want and need is something else entirely.  When you do that, you end up with a work room filled with stuff that isn’t quite right for what you want.

Limit the amount of supplies you have.  You will be a better artist, more creative and happier if you buy an art material or supply and focus on learning how to use it.  Buy a cheap set of watercolors and use them up.  Learn the behavior of watercolor and how it reacts on the paper.  Practice techniques and your skills will develop.  By the time you have used up that cheap set of watercolors you’ll be ready to move on to better quality materials, if you desire.

 

The same with acrylics, pastels, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, oil pastels, etc.  If you’re learning, buy a beginner set and use it up.  Get to know the properties of the medium and play with it.  Once you’ve used it up, you can get better quality stuff if you want.
That is frugality at it’s finest.  Buying what you need and using it up.  Don’t be a art supply hoarder, be an artist and use your stuff.
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