Greetings from T (Teerific!)
Today marks the beginning of National Creative Frugality Week (January 22-28, 2006). Who knew?
Lately, I've been thinking about how to live well with my resources. Some of the wisest people I know are very skilled at this, and I'd like to learn from them. I have skills related to scrimping, pinching and doing without. But I'd like to live a bit more creatively--to not only cut costs, but to also be comfortable. I admire people I know (H, for example), who seem to do this well.
I thought about this recently when I discovered a black leather recliner for only $120. It would look really nice in the corner of the living room. When I went to pick it up, though, the store was out of stock. I've got a rain check now, and I'm trying to decide whether or not I should use it. I've put a lot of thought into this so far:
On the one hand, it would look great and felt really comfortable. Once I paint my living room coffee table and end tables black (frugal!), it would really tie the room together well. I picked up some inexpensive-yet-beautiful art over the Christmas holiday, and one of the paintings would look really nice next to a black recliner. A friend of mine is crocheting a beautiful afghan that would look wonderful draped over the chair.
On the other hand, I just spent $160 on an upcoming mini-vacation to a writer's conference, and maybe $120 would be a nice addition to my savings account instead.
A friend has a great chair that won't fit in her apartment, but it would look OK in that space. It's a very wrong color for my color scheme, though, and a nice cover for it (frugal!) might cost at least $120. And when she needs to borrow her chair back, I've got a cover for a chair I don't own (not frugal). Finally, I only have one bottom, and it's usually content in the corner of the couch. I'm hoping to entertain more, but does that mean I need a recliner right now?
Does anyone else go in circles about this kind of thing trying to save money (OK, spend wisely in this case)? H and I once had an adventure where we rescued a couch from the side of the road in Carlos, her aging car. We pulled out the old stuffing, washed the cushions, Febreezed, restuffed, and worked really hard to get the Doggy Smell out of the couch--with limited success. (Talk about a Whiff of Woof!) We were both relieved a few weeks later when another friend gave me The Couch of Provision, from which I'm blogging now. Although I'm grateful to have had a place to sit, at least in that case I don't think ultra-frugal was the way to go. I've had similar missteps at the grocery store doing things like buying large, cheap bags of dried beans (half a pound still in the cupboard!) and falling for buy-one-get-one-free produce. Can't tell you how much "free" food has spoiled in my refrigerator. Not Frugal.
In any case, I'd love to hear what you think about the chair. And here are a couple of promising resources I've found when it comes to my quest:
Creative Frugality: "The Creative Frugality Inspiration Station," this site's the difference between being frugal and being cheap, offers practical ways to cut back on expenses, and includes links to related resources.
The Grocery Game: This money-saving "game" combines sales lists and coupons to help you save money on groceries--without spending hours clipping coupons. It looks like it's worth a try.
What are your tips for living well on less? How do you live frugally without being stingy? Please share your comments and feel free to link to related websites.