This summer my family is doing a No Spend Challenge to boost our savings (we’re buying a house in February).
Books are a line item in the budget. For reals. So I’m always on the lookout for ways to feed my information addiction on the cheap.
This morning I checked my email to find a notification from PaperBackSwap. It said that my “wish list request” had been granted. A shiny, new-to-me copy of The Tightwad Gazette is on its way to my home. (I already have volumes II and III, but not the first.) FREE.
Well, technically I had to pay around $3 shipping for a book I mailed to another member in the PBS system, which earned me one credit. I can then turn around and use that credit to redeem a book.
But still. I didn’t have to go scouring used bookstores to look for it, wasting gas and stressing myself out schlepping young kids around who would rather stay home and play. (And I’ve seen this book for $10 in used bookstores.)
I get an out-sized thrilled every time this happens.
My modus operandi when I want a book is to first check my library’s website to see if it’s in the system. If yes, I put it on hold. Sometimes I have to wait only days for it to be sent to my local branch, other times (if it’s a popular, new bestseller) months.
If the book isn’t available at my library, I then head to PaperBackSwap and place it on my Wish List. I have received many books this way through the years, even beautiful, hardcover cookbooks that cost $30 new. Eventually someone will put it into the PBS system and I’ll be notified so that I can request it.
But it takes patience.
Which got me to thinking about how important this quality is to a frugal lifestyle.
Patience is crucial to frugality.
We live in a fast-food, instant, me-first society. Things that used to take hours (for example, cooking a meal) now take seconds (microwave dinners). Our parents bought starter homes and upgraded as their family grew. Our generation buys McMansions as newlyweds. People used to save cash (and remember layaway?) for things they wanted, instead of swiping a credit card.
The effects of all this instant gratification are quite obvious.
The lack of a real food culture in the States means we can eat anywhere, anytime. No need to endure feeling hungry waiting for the next proper meal! Has that affected our health any?
Patience means not only waiting for good things to come your way, but being content with a less-than-perfect solution in the meantime.
My dishwasher is currently on the fritz.
We’ve tried all the usual things to fix it, including looking up some solutions online, but none have worked. Since the dishwasher belongs to our landlord, he’ll eventually get around to calling a repairman.
In the meantime, I’ve stepped off the hedonic treadmill. Doing this makes me ever more appreciative of modern labor-saving appliances.
It’s also good training for when we buy our home. If something breaks, it’s on us to fix it. That may mean waiting to save money for repairs.
This is one reason why simplifying one’s life is also crucial to a frugal lifestyle.
And usually, it’s the type of spending that doesn’t align with your values.
“I’m all stressed out at the moment, so I put another $100 in my investment account.“
– Said noone, ever.