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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Frugal by Chance

I just realized that I am frugal by chance.

What does that mean? I was planning to write about how I am frugal by choice. And that is a good thing, especially because it is easier than being frugal by necessity, as so many are in these difficult economic times.

But then I realized that it is hardly a choice. There's just a lot of stuff I don't want. One of Miss Em's college application essays was on her unlikely invitation to a debutante luncheon and ball. She began by saying that it was, indeed, unlikely, because her family was "resolutely eccentric." And it is true, as Duchesse remarked in response to a post by Mr. FS, that our eccentricity is perhaps a bit ostentatious.

With that eccentricity comes a long list of stuff I don't want. I never wanted an engagement ring, and don't have one. I never wanted a wedding, and had a quickie at the court house in Richmond, Indiana. I never wanted china or silver, and don't have either.

I once had a discussion with two women my age and one was complaining that her new home did not have room for a hutch in the dining room. This was evidently an intolerable situation. I said that I didn't have a hutch and that that was OK because I didn't have fine china to display. They looked at me with pity.

My mother may be used to me by now, but I think she wanted me to want all the above items. I can't help it. It is my nature. I am frugal by chance. Please accept me as I am.

So, Readers: Are you frugal by necessity, by choice, or by chance?


Someone said...

Then you and I are long-lost twins...I know we non-consumerists are rare, but we exist. (I almost became a professor myself - would I be correct in predicting that we'd find a higher percentage of non-consumerists in academia?)

When you posted your list of not-wants, it mirrored part of my own. I have/had no:

- engagement ring (didn't have one from the ex-h either)

- big wedding (first one was more so, but of course, it was more my mother's interest than mine. This time we had a short private pagan ceremony and a simple cookout "reception.")

- formal silver service

I only have "china" because my mother (sound familiar...) sent us some as a wedding gift.

We do have a hutch (the china is too big for it!), but it is part of a vintage mid-century Modern Scandinavian
dining room set that suits our (eccentric) taste. Mainly, it holds my husband's extensive tea collection and a variety of dried peppers brought to us from Mexico.

For decades, I did not own a couch, and I/we haven't watched TV for years, except for some select commercial-free films and series on Netflix.

Hmm. I also got invited to be a deb way back when, but...didn't go.

Yep...some of us don't want what we're "supposed to" want. How frustrating for the marketers of mass culture (and mothers) eh?

Tanya said...

Ummm. Yes. To both.

It is *necessary* for me to be frugal, as I work for a university and am not yet a professor... and still have my PhD to go. But even when my boyfriend was working for a law firm, I suggested that I not wear his ginormous sparkly heirloom engagement ring and instead let his little brother have it, since he's more traditional than either of us are. That suggestion didn't go over so well, though :)

Duchesse said...

Did I say that to Mr FS? I sound too blunt to myself!

There's a difference between frugality and living simply, though the two are often found in the same person.

I have a friend, Bev, who owns only (estimate) 4 glasses, if she has a a party she calls me to bring some. But her glasses are Waterford. She has one gorgeous green Italian bag. Her lingerie is exquisite, but think she only has a few pieces.

She does not want a 'stuff' but is a true aesthete (and eccentric)- no car but art. Is she frugal b/c she does not buy a lot of stuff she does not want?

Over the Cubicle Wall said...

I'm not sure myself. Some of each maybe? Stuff doesn't do it for me for the most part, so I am thankful that I am not in a position to have to be frugal while I still really wanted not to be.

Anonymous said...

By chance - I was a kid who couldn't think of anything to request from Santa. As long as I had a library card, I was happy, and I've been quite consistent in that regard over the years.