Thursday, May 21, 2009

cheer up, it may never happen

They were talking to a dude on TOTN today who writes the "Extreme Frugality" column for Gourmet, and of course there were all sorts of nutbars calling in talking about how they wash their clothes in buckets and freeze their past-due milk. From what I heard, Carter's mission (he's the aforementioned dude) is for their family to live within $41,000 a year, after years of spending and acquiring and generally digging themselves into obscene debt. With all of their other financial obligations, that means $550 a week. It got me to thinking about my own life, what fat there is in my own budget to be trimmed, and if I'm made of the kind of stuff that it takes to excise all of it.

I do a lot of things that probably save us money, but the fact that I just said "probably save" should tip you off to the fact that cost savings are not my primary concern. I grow a garden because I'm transfixed by the alchemy of seeds becoming food, and I cook a lot of what we eat from scratch because I'm a hella good cook, and I want to have more say-so over what goes into my family's tummies. No one really says, "We seem to spend a lot of money on soap and peanut butter. I don't think we have any choice but to start making our own."

Could our family do what their family is doing? Could we live with extreme frugality? Something that makes me think that Carter is missing the point a little is the fact that he's buying Odwalla juices from the scratch and dent grocery store. Who cares if they're only 47 cents apiece? If he were really taking no prisoners, fruit juice would have to go. It's absolutely a luxury item. And that's where I think I would fail--my luxury items. I try to imagine a life without Testun, or Endangered Species chocolate. Without a new half bushel of peaches on the counter every week in August and September. Without boots! Oh gracious, without boots.

Well, hopefully I'll never have to find out if I'm truly made of pioneer stock. Because I suspect I'm not. Try to give me a half cup of pinata paste for breakfast, and you're going to have a problem.


highdeekay said...

I only caught part of it but share some of your thoughts. Provident living can be a luxury all its own (does that even make sense? It does in my own pea-brain). If it is drudgery then I think you are missing the point.