No, this is not an essay on all the things you must give up to pay off your credit cards, or--worse--because your job has evaporated. So, no, this is not about giving up Starbucks, especially the dreaded latte, meals out, vacations, nice clothes, whatever. It is about how, if you are frugal, you can give up lots of things you don't like to do.
The main one for us is summer teaching. Because we are frugal, we do not have to teach in the summer. As fairly senior people in the departmental hierarchy, we are "entitled" to summer courses, at least now and then. Summer classes have been cut in past years, and may be cut more in the new economic climate. Colleagues who depend on that money get a panicky look when they learn that they cannot count on summer employment.
My mother-in-law, who taught in a junior college, once pointed out that the greatest luxury for teachers was time. She was right. Yes, we could make a good hourly wage for summer teaching, especially on-line, where classes are limited in size and many students drop. But I don't have to justify anything. I don't feel like teaching in the summer.
On the trivial end, I have been saving money and participating in a fun community by swapping books on paperbackswap.com. But sometimes I just dread packing up books to send. I need to amass credits because Mr. FS has been stealing--err, transferring--book credits to CD credits on swapacd.com. Then we discovered that you can BUY credits, either from the site, or, a little cheaper, from swappers. We patronize a fellow who calls himself Crabby Doctor. Usually, I'll mail books, but sometimes I just don't feel like it.
Similarly, I have a bunch of stuff I could sell on eBay. I used to find that fun. No more. I hate it, in fact. So I gathered up all the stuff and will take it, first, to Buffalo Exchange. This is mainly to put some exchange credits in Miss Em's little hands. Also, it's fun to see what they will take.
Other things I hate doing include using grocery coupons (overrated as far as saving money goes, not to mention messy) and having yard sales (overrated as a way of making money). So I don't.
I guess that means that much of what I do is because I like it: I like cooking at home; I like nosing around thrift stores, and so forth.
To my mind, frugality is as much about NOT doing things you don't want to do as it is about deprivation, giving up things you want.
So here's to my summer, which will be spent visiting family on each coast and reading some of the books amassed through swapping and thrift stores.
Frugal Readers: what don't you do because you don't feel like it? And Frugal-in-the-Future Readers: what do you look forward to giving up?