I dove back in to the Tightwad Gazette this week. I started with the third, but I’m realizing that I’m going to have to go back and read all three. They are just chock full of tidbits and ideas. While the prices are hilarious (the last book was published in 1996, when you could find pasta on sale for $0.33 per pound), the tips and strategies are eternal. What I’m realizing though is that being thrifty on her scale is a full-time job. I can be thrifty on a lesser scale and not save quite as much though. She set out to buy a turn of the century farmhouse and raise 6 kids on her husband’s $30,000 a year Navy salary. She managed it. Then she wrote about it. I don’t need a turn of the century farmhouse, and I am not going to have 6 kids. I can afford to be a little more lax than she was.
I talked about needing to do a stuff fast. That’s going to happen. We have everything we need right now to live a comfortable life. I don’t need to buy any more stuff (besides the occasional Marvel movie that comes out on BluRay, of course). I just need to figure out how to remember that when I see the latest doohickey in the store. For years, when I needed something to do, I went to Target or the like and wandered around. Invariably I ended up walking out with at least one or two things that I didn’t know I wanted until I saw them on the shelf. It becomes a matter of retraining. I love to write. From now on I can just bring a notebook with me wherever I go. That way all I have to do is sit on a bench or in my car and write when I’m bored. Or bring a book to read everywhere. For some people it’s knitting or sewing, for me it’s reading and writing.
I guess really what needs to happen is for me to quit being a spendthrift. Despite my good intentions, I still see shopping as a sport. I like getting a good deal, but saving money isn’t the focus of my shopping. I still go into a store to buy whatever I want and then, if I happen to save money, I feel virtuous. I see a sale and I end up buying more to save more. Ridiculous. That’s sport shopping with a gloss on it. Back to meal planning and thrift shopping. It sounds like I think that’s a chore, but I don’t. Thrift shopping is fun because it takes a lot of work to find good things but, I almost always come away with something that I really love. It’s a whole day of shopping (with the same results) for a lot less money and without having to go from store to store and mall to mall. Meal planning takes the last minute out of dinners. The kids alternate between pasta, microwaved chicken planks, or grilled cheese because we haven’t even thought about dinner until 6:00. That’s got to change.
I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things. It’s easier this time than it was when I was trying to do this all from scratch.