further thoughts from frugal mcdoogal

I hope I'm not preaching here, my intention is to share what we're working on personally. On that note, here are a few more thoughts on how not to spend:

Don't buy things because they're cheap. If you need something, but can't afford a well- designed lasting version, can you buy it used? Otherwise, you're throwing money into something that will be thrown away rather quickly in the bigger scheme of things. $30 bookcases come to mind...cheap bookcases rarely last.

Also mull over whether what you're buying can be fixed if it breaks. Is that $50 microwave a "disposable" product? Yes, $150 shoes may be a good investment if they can be repaired for $5.

DIY Wednesday at Design*Sponge; and while I'm not so keen on last weeks embroidered curtains (I think the font needs to be a bit more dynamic, otherwise it looks unfinished) Purl Soho's blog Purl Bee has more advanced tips on embroidery that could really take the project to the next level.

One of my favorite things to do is trade. Most often that happens with my oldest brother, who leads a similar lifestyle to my own. That means we have project materials laying around that get traded back and forth. But because we have different talents we can also trade those, helping each other out with skills that might otherwise require hiring someone or buying something.

As I've said before, a lot of these choices are also very ecological; but have you noticed they are also considered "luxury items"? I grow food without pesticides and chemical fertilizers--organic. I make dinner from scratch, with fresh noodles and no preservatives--all natural.
Even words like "recycled" and "handmade" have a certain expensive status behind them.

Today's giveaway is an easy one: What is something you make or do that is frugal and useful, but would otherwise be luxurious if you were to buy it?

Comment on today's post and I'll have 3 winners--2 will get a set of urchin prints (archival inks on watercolor paper, sealed with gel medium for extra richness of color and depth) and 1 commenter will get a super beachy gastropods poster!


Shanna said...

I garden and subscribe to a CSA and have been learning to cook over the last few years so that I can eat meals worthy of fancy restaurants, but never pay the prices.
Public library, making furniture, do a radio show so that I can hear new music without buying any of it, live in a house a ten minute walk from my house so I don't ever have to drive and can afford renting the place I do, etc.
I love these entries. I've been getting lots of great ideas!

Anonymous said...

Ooh, that's a good question....

I'd have to say clothes and accessories! There's no way I could afford to buy any of the well-made and custom pieces that are in my wardrobe if I didn't make them myself or trade with friends for them.

Anonymous said...

i don't have land to grow veggies on, but we have friends that have land and land and land. we have put together a wonderful garden that is rather large. it needed a fence, but there was no way we could afford one that was big enough to do the trick. we used old pallets a friend had that made a wonderfully beautiful and interesting fence. we've had to do a bunch of improvising like that with the garden, but it has been working out great.
with the inspiration from the garden, we have been cooking a lot more and walking to the farmer's market to get what we don't have.
we also live above our gallery, so i just have to go down the stairs to get to work(which is nice somedays, not so much others)

Funky Finds said...

i used to be very bad about buying stuff just b/c it was on sale. clothes i would never wear, stuff i'd never use...yet it was on sale so i just had to have it. too much clutter made me break that habit! jessica

Jamie Sue said...

I'm really trying to cook from scratch more. I'm not a great cook to begin with but it's blogs like yours (and About Orange) that make me feel guilty about not cooking... I mean you have to be just as busy as me and you still find the time. Repairing items instead of buying new has been a big saver and waiting on good stuff to get cheap is another. Funny you should mention $30 bookcases. I've been looking for a quality set for a LONG time and could never afford them. I was almost going to buy some WalMart junk when I decided to hold out a little longer. I ended up with not one, but three, used school bookcase (talk about durable!!) for FREE. :) Some people's trash/other people's treasure and all that jazz.

Chocolate and Steel said...

I compost my food scraps. Enriched soil like that is expensive to buy.

I don't have home but my friend that lives near by does so we freeze our food scraps and then drop them off 1 or 2 times a week when we are in the neighborhood. She uses the compost in her yard and we get a bit for our herbs in pots

Anonymous said...

I make my own kombucha!! It's $3.00-4.00 when you buy it at Whole Foods (per bottle!), and when I make it myself, it costs the same amount to make a few months worth of bottled kombucha. I'm addicted to the healthful stuff, so I'm really saving tons of money by brewing it myself.