Back to My Frugal Roots

It’s been an amazing Memorial weekend here in Wisconsin. It’s been sunny and in the low 70’s. Perfect for gardening and grilling. My husband hung the hammock yesterday afternoon and I decided to start using it this year while reading the frugal zealot Amy Dacyczyn. I was looking for a recipe for a project I want to do but her thoughts on using coupons is what caught my attention.

My husband was doing his usual daily read of my blog when he turned to me and said what has been on my mind for a few days (honey, that’s proof that our minds are in sync): “It just seems that lately all you write about is coupon related.” I guess the truth had to come from the person that loves me most.

It was one sentence in the Tightwad Gazette that caught my eye this weekend: “Even when these items are near free, I seriously question these purchases because of the environmental issue of the excess trash created.” I can’t find the post right now but a while ago I touched on this a little. On that post I talked about how a couponer’s favorite wording of a coupon is when it is good on any item and then you can use it on the smallest possible size available to lower your out of pocket expense. What I failed to question back then is how “green” this attitude is. I also tried to touch on this when I asked if free makes us more wasteful.

I don’t know that what I am trying to say is that couponing and being frugal are mutually exclusive. They both have the ultimate goal of lowering household expenses. But I do think that some of the “deals” out there go against what I ultimately think frugality encompasses: maximization of the resources available to us and minimization of waste. Flipping through the book I remembered how much Amy goes on about finding alternate uses for items we would usually consider waste: egg cartons, milk jugs, bread bags. Two days ago my husband asked me if I was going to be washing the Ziploc bag where the homemade frozen waffles had been stored and I said no, while the thought of “I can get that for free there’s no point” crossed my mind. I don’t think that was a very frugal attitude.

I don’t think I will stop talking about using coupons and some of the deals entirely, specially if I think they are outstanding and would help someone save a lot of money. But I will be taking it down a couple (or three) notches. I want to go back to talking about being a better money manager. The latest focus of this blog is an actual reflection of the focus in our household finances. I have been very lenient on our budget management, not as “on the ball” as I tend to be. So I guess this will be the summer of going back to my frugal roots. Care to stay for the ride?

On a good note: my garden is planted (picture coming) and my youngest will be six months old in a little over a week, so a 6 month update on our baby expenses is in order.