The other day, I wore my new boots. I received many compliments, and, since my reputation precedes me, some questions: Did you get those at a thrift store? Uh no, from a fancy catalog, over $100, even on sale.
One of my students was shocked. How come you brought us recycled folders so we could save 25 cents, and then you spend $100? That doesn't quite make sense, since I didn't save the quarter: each of my students did. But it does make karmic sense: how come I'm so obsessed with recycling folders (even taking discards from other teachers) and then am willing to buy the occasional pricey item? I guess my thrift is both karmic and pragmatic. I just have all these pennywise habits and it would be too much work to change them.
Unlike many bloggers, who exhort us to attend to the big expenses and not to the little ones, I believe that all the little stuff adds up. The big expenses are often ones over which we have little control.
When I think about my summer expenses, I am relieved that I've been practicing the little frugalities.
ITEM: Each summer, we spend about $6000.00 visiting parents, one on the west coast, one on the east coast. These are not fancy vacations: we have 4 plane fares plus car rentals on each end. We will continue to pay for our children's tickets even after they finish college.
ITEM: This summer, we plan a trip to Nantes, which will probably cost around $5000.00
Those last two are built into our yearly budget, though we haven't been to Europe for a few years. $11,000 on teaching salaries necessitates taking a pennywise approach for the rest of the year.
ITEM: This summer Miss Em wants to go to Italy to study art history. Cost is $4300 plus airfare. She will get $2000 from the scholarship she got as a freshman. Still, very expensive.
When I set out these numbers, I am shocked. In truth, I can hardly see how we do it. Many people assume we receive handouts from our families. I suppose our parents would help out if we asked, but we don't.
When I set out the numbers, I am also happy. Isn't it amazing how all the little frugalities add up to big treats?
In fact, I already have my Walgreens shop for tomorrow all planned: I will be buying peanut butter, honey, and eggs. Check your paper tomorrow. All those items will be verrrrry cheap.
Have you saved for anything big with little frugalities?