The satisfaction of Frugalistic Synergy
The other day, I happened to be going past a Target and decided to go in to get some Cumin (one of my favorite spices). As I rounded the kitchen gadgets corner on my way to the spice aisle, a stand mixer caught my eye. I do quite a bit of baking and stand mixer sounds like quite a luxury.
Anyway, the strange thing was that instead of trying to figure out how to afford it while playing with the store model, my brain did the opposite. I suddenly screamed “I don’t need this stuff! There’s nothing you have that I want!!!!” (in my head of course). And I walked out of the kitchen gadgets aisle feeling empowered and ready to take on the world.
I guess once you consciously work on frugality for 3-6 months, you get so good at it that your body does it for you!
After picking up the cumin I’d come for, I took a loop, long-ways, around the store. I stopped at everything that I’d ever be remotely interested in having. A 70 in TV, an Ab Roller, chocolate, touch screen gloves, a new table… And instead of desiring more and more stuff, my mind just laughed at the silly impulses I used to have.
A wise fellow once taught me to exercise my frugality muscle and I would become stronger at rejecting the purchase of unnecessary stuff.
My muscle has grown to the point that it’s just a game now. I enjoy looking at new gadgets knowing that I will walk away without the faintest hint of a desire to actually throw down my hard earned cash for it.
I’ve realized now that different aspects of frugality have started to synergize to yield more than the sum of each separate activity. This stuff is happening without me even knowing about it!
Consider, if you will, my commute to work each day. It’s pretty crazy because I live an unreasonable distance form work (30 miles). Because driving takes about at hour, is awful for the environment, and costs more, I take the train almost every day now.
The only thing is that I don’t live super close to the train. When I agreed to live in my apartment, I figured I could take the bus to the 1.3 miles to the train station each day ($2/each way).
Since the weather was nice, I started walking the 1.3 miles to and from the train station each day. Initially it was difficult and my body had to get used to hauling a my backpack with laptop each day. Every once in a while I “cheated” and drove to work because I was lazy.
As time passed, I developed a routine. I’d listen to NPR on the walk to the train, then check out some blogs and read my library book on the train ride. It’s quite an enjoyable way to pass an hour or so.
Subtle changes started taking place.
- I “cheated” less because I enjoyed reading on the train (which I can’t do if I drive)
- I never started using the bus even once it got cold, windy and snowy (so I don’t have to pay bus fair)
- I’m able to accomplish my goal of 10,000 steps per day just through this walk
- My body got stronger from doing the 1.3 mile walk each day, so it gets easier and easier
I can’t explain it, but each of these activities combined to be greater than the sum of their parts. Now I like my morning commute so much, I get a little grumpy if I ever have to drive. It’s one of the bets parts of my day even if it’s snowing and 7 degrees outside.
Not only am I in good shape, but I keep learning more and more from NPR and the library books I read. It’s like an endless cycle of prosperity!
I'm a twenty-something engineer writing about frugality, sustainability, and stick-to-itiveness!