What do I have in my hand?

There’s been a change of attitude around here–a subtle one, but with far-reaching consequences. After being inspired by a Common Room post about using what you have instead of buying something new, I have found myself using that idea in many ways. For example, I volunteered to make a twin-size quilt for a local children’s home. In the past, I would have picked out my pattern, chosen my colors, and gone to buy new material, using what I had ONLY if it fit with my plans. Instead, I noticed that I had a huge bag of blue scraps, so I chose a pattern that uses all shades of blue scraps–thus I had a free quilt instead of spending $25-30, and it will be a lovely one. (The batting and backing were donated.)
Another place I have used this idea is in the kitchen. We’re trying to spend as little as possible this month, so before going to the grocery store, I made a list of items I already had in the pantry, and what I could make with them. I made another list of what was in the freezer, and what I could make using those items. In the past, I usually got out my recipes, and chose whatever I thought we would like to eat, and bought what those recipes required. This change has been good for me, because I don’t like leftovers, and I tend to let things languish in the freezer forever.
I’ve found that a lot of frugal living has more to do with attitude than just squeezing pennies. Our attitudes about spending money are formed from childhood, and we often do things automatically without asking ourselves, “Why?” For years, I have spent money pretty much the way my parents did, with the exception of investments, which they didn’t do. It has been interesting to challenge some of those ingrained ideas, and look for a better way.


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