Take, for instance, buying things at CVS. Now, most of you know that CVS has some great deals and if you stick to the deals, you can get lots of stuff for nothing - sometimes you can even make money shopping there. I have to admit that there are times I when I am trying to fit stopping at CVS into my life and I lament to myself how I just don't have the time or energy and who really cares if I get a stick of deodorant for free, anyway?! Fortunately, if I had to buy deodorant at full price, I could.
Fast forward to this holiday season. When we remodeled the den, I had room to organize my gift wrapping supplies in the den. In doing so, I cleared out all of our gift giving shelves in the utility room. There have been inexpensive things I have picked up over the past two years of frugality that I was just waiting to pass on to the right recipient. Some candles, some books, some toys, some craft supplies, some clothes - you name it.
When I cleared the area out, I vowed to make this year the year I used all that stuff or donated it to someone who could. The ending result is our gifts to teachers, coaches and sunday school leaders. After all that, we were still able to donate two bags and a box (shown above) to our church to use for fundraisers and donations to our local women's shelter. Walking by that huge pile for a couple of days before I made it to church that Sunday made me feel very happy, indeed. So happy, in fact, that I was motivated to also clean out my supplies of household medicines and toiletries, to add to the stash.
It is in these moments that I realize that while I can afford to buy deodorant, if I don't have to, I can either donate it or something else (with the money saved) to someone in need. Stockpiling our food and buying on sale allows us to donate a full bag of really tasty and good foods to our church the first week of every month, plus give generously to all the other food drives that come our way - schools, after school events, girl scouts, cub scouts, movie events that are free with donated food, our bank's drive, etc. That is SUCH a wonderful blessing that I don't doubt at all probably benefits me, more than it does the recipients of said food.
So, if you are looking for answers in search of why or why not to be frugal, consider this: When I carefully work living with less and getting good deals in a balanced way, I can spend less time working, give more to my community, show others how much they mean to me and instill values in my children. Of course, all in varying combinations, depending on my time and energy level, but when my motivation lags, I try to remember these incentives.
This post participates in Frugal Fridays at Life as MOM, head on over to read more frugal ideas than you could ever hope to implement!