Frugality in the Age of Excess

20111226-125531.jpg Last night in bed Kara looks at my pathetically hammered headphones (thanks kids!) that I had temporarily fixed with Gorilla Tape (think duct tape on steroids) and commented that she should've gotten me some new ones for Christmas. I told her, with a boyish twinkle in my eye she's familiar with, "Oh, no! Thanks, but I'm glad you didn't because I have plans for these." She knows me well enough to know that if anyone can fix something and make something last that I can.

There's an old pioneer saying I've always admired that goes as follows:

Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."

The modern-day version being:

Reuse. Repurpose. Recycle."

Thus, this morning in 10 minutes with a few rivets and a saved bracket from a prior project I not only have very sturdy and highly functional headphones (saved from the landfill, and money saved in my pocket) I also have a simple and enjoyable, "Cool! Look what I did!" sense of pride.

Then there's Kara. No one can find a deal like Kara. She is one of the most well-dressed (read: smokin' hot!) people I know. She stays fashionable and current. Always lovely. She wears nice clothes of fine quality. She can walk out of pricey Banana Republic with a an excited gleam in her own eye for some ridiculously awesome deal she found: She wears $300 outfits for which she's paid $30. How does she do this? She has a careful eye for great fashion, high quality and awesome deals combined with the patience and contentment to wait for just the right moment to pounce. "Instant gratification" is not in her vocabulary. "Wisdom," "ingenuity" and "cleverness" are though.

Speaking of which, she is one of the most contented people I know. She's said many times, "I can have it all, just not all at once." This is good, because for most of our marriage it was tiiiight financially.

To further illustrate her resourcefulness, one of our grad school friends, who were also as dirt poor as we were, had near-to-nothing left in their cupboard. She asked Kara to come over to help her figure out dinner because, "Kara can make something out of nothing!" It's true. No matter how poor we've been we've always eaten extremely well.

As a team, we've taken pride in our ability to figure things out. In our house, you frequently hear the above quotes above along with the following:

Make the best with what you've got."

The fine art of 'making do'."


Necessity is the mother of invention."

For us, individually and as a couple, frugality, contentment and creativity have done a lot to strengthen not only our characters but also our marriage.

In the age of excess we live in there is still (fortunately) plenty of room for, and plenty need of, frugality.

Q: What correlates do you see in this frugal/resourceful principle in regards to your relationships with partner and children? Give your answer below...