Having fallen off the frugal bandwagon in December and January, it is proving much harder to claw our way back on than I anticipated. Foolishly I thought it would just be a case of flicking a switch and all would be how things were back in November. But, as I think I mumbled on about last time, being frugal actually involves some work. Well, it turns out I was right. I’ve been using the excuse that February is Birthday Month, and is therefore bound to have some un-frugalness going on, but I realised the other day that actually I have become lax in the way I am operating, and no birthdays are to blame at all.
The 4 year old had a great day and was chuffed with her new running kit (Daddy less so as she made him go for a run in the morning to test it out. Serves him right for going out the night before), and with her £2 torch from Wilko (backfired a bit as now she apparently can’t sleep without it on but, strangely, it keeps her awake….she’s going to get a nasty shock when the batteries run out and she realises that we are currently experiencing a planet wide battery shortage….) and a few other bits and bobs. Not a specifically frugal birthday but definitely not a break-the-bank one either. It was after popping into the village shop that I had my moment of clarity. I’d gone in for a £1 bottle of milk and came out after spending £4. Now, I know that doesn’t sound like much, but in our frugal hey day I wouldn’t have spent the extra money. I got two packets of chocolate mini rolls because they were on offer and a packet of mini eggs. The rolls were on offer so I got two – my justification was the offer (frugal) and the fact that I never get them but the kids love them. If I’d had my proper frugal head on I’d have remembered that I had a cupboard full of biscuits that have been ignored in favour of birthday cake. And why did I get two?! Mini eggs are my Kryptonite. I’m not sure I would have resisted even when being uber frugal but still, I did not need them. I thought I was being frugal by shopping the offers but, no, it was all fake frugalness.
See how easy it is to slip up even when it could be passed off as saving money? If you don’t need it don’t buy it.
I fell into this trap again when I recently went into the village charity shop. I quickly went in to do a last minute rummage for any decent birthday presents before the 4 year olds big day. Nothing there. I should have walked out then. Instead I thought I’d have a quick peruse of the clothes since I was child free, for once. I came out with a jumper. No. Should not have brought it. It is the same as most of my other jumpers. I have too many, I did not need another. Why did I buy it? It was Crew, I thought £5 was fairly reasonable and it’s from a charity shop so that’s ok isn’t it? I didn’t need it so it is not ok (I don’t even like it that much, there’s nothing special about it, I just thought I shouldn’t miss the chance…plonker).
My mentality was ‘think of how much money I’m saving by not buying a brand new jumper and not buying full price mini rolls’. In reality I saved £0, and spent £8 more than I needed to. I need to sort my head out and return to the proper frugal mentality of ‘Don’t spend money’. It is very easy to slip up like this but equally as simple not to – just don’t. It’s like I said to Mr. B when he was telling me about the half marathon he’s just run;
‘I walked a bit but I shouldn’t have done*’ He admitted.
‘Why did you then?’ said I.
‘Because I just did, it was up a hill’.
‘Well next time just don’t’.
‘It doesn’t work like that’ he protested.
‘Yes it does. It’s all in your head. Just don’t walk.’ I said, helpfully.
*Disclaimer preempting Mr. B’s probable objection: He did very well. Not much walking involved at all. Honest.