I was thinking today about the luxury of frugality. In particular we have three garden beds out of which we have harvested quite a lot of rocket, lots of tomatoes, accidentally fed friends daikon radish leaves for some time (thought it was cress),some dried up corn and picked some beautiful sweet peas. We do also have a variety of herbs that we use regularly.
However, the beds were about $400 each from a wonderful company called Patch from Scratch. They arrived while we were at work and when we came home there they were all lined up and filled with organic soil. While this is lovely and we really enjoy having them it is going to take many years to actually start making any sort of profit from the garden. Also the stuff we have grown can be bought really cheaply all summer from the nice van that parked up the road. Hmm the budget doesn’t really add up.
Another example is that I like to knit, (I know, I know I’m trendy..) and more specifically I like to knit dishcloths with pretty patterns on them for friends. However I like eco -yarns and organic cotton and bamboo which makes the wool really expensive. You can buy a good old absorbent dishcloth in the super market for around $2.00. Not really frugal living…
In case you can’t see it, it’s a frog. So here I am making uneconomical, not particularly absorbent dish cloths for my friends and harvesting produce that probably costs twice that from the supermarket after all the costs are accounted for in my garden.
But, and I like to think this is a big but, I love doing it and the knitting feels like a little labour of love. Picking your own sweetpeas is heavenly and it just feels darn good and possibly a bit self-righteous to be harvesting your own food. So in the meantime I’ll keep going and let you know if the budget starts to look better.
I am just learning the ropes with the website and am not sure why I am telling you this as no one will have read it yet… However, my intentions are several-fold; to write, and publish poetry, to write the story of my son and I going to the Pyrenees for six months when he was eleven and to record my attempt to be more frugal and to live more simply.
This is day 2 and yes, I did the yoga. I wonder if i can keep up the routine. I moved a cupboard from one room to another and when I cleared it out there was actually nothing in there that I wanted or needed to keep. I think maybe half the stuff in the house is like that.
Part of my inspiration came from a blog called downtoearth.com written by an Australian woman about being more frugal. I was fortunate to take myself to France and Germany last year and was disheartened by the duty free shopping. Skinny, bored girls selling ridiculously over-priced handbags and perfumes where the packaging is most of the price. It helped me move further away from collecting stuff.
I’m middle class and hardly living the simple life right now but if I make an effort to grow my own vegetables and cut down on buying things I don’t need then maybe its a tiny contribution to the planet. I don’t have a mortgage but I can see already I’ll need some income for the big ticket items. My car is leaking oil right now for example. I also left the oven on very high grill with the door shut and came back to the sound of a jet engine in my kitchen. It still seems to work for the moment although it is still noisier than it was.
I was interested that colleagues couldn’t believe i just want to be at home and I was told many times that I was far too social and would need more of a challenge. We’ll see.
Yoga on TV check,
Technology set up, check,
Trying to set up web site- ongoing
Beetroot from garden cooked, check
small cleaning job, check
I have been thinking of giving up full-time work for about two years. I have convinced myself it is possible to live more simply, be more frugal and become more creative with more time on my hands.
I’m a little bit anxious and know it could all turn to custard and my nice fat salary will be sorely missed. I might be very lonely and miss the fun of collegiality.
Then again, I might be more creative, write more, be kinder to the planet and myself. I hope you will join me on this little experiment and contribute your own experiences.
Fluffy George is the name of my childhood bear and he features at the top of the page. Like me he has been around a while and is well-worn. My mother darned his forehead after I left him to dry leaning up against the fireguard. The painting of F George is by Sam Mahon, a NZ artist but I still have the real FG and will add a photo forthwith.