Thursday, October 22, 2015
Topics of Concern to the Frugal Bagel
Hello, I am the Frugal Bagel! Because I'm round, and... there's a hole in my head... I don't know, all the other titles were taken.
I've been reading so many blogs about personal finance, frugality, decluttering, minimalism, shopping bans, tidying, KonMari, eco-living, simplicity, Bea Johnson, zero waste, plastic-free, ethical consumerism, anti-consumerism, self-sufficiency and making your own pencil holder out of an old tin can that I thought it's high time I start one of my own. I want to share what I have learned and learn more. Get and give help as I work through this process of building a life that is simple, joyful, and aligned with my values.
I've tried blogging before, but I tend to take on projects that are highly specialized and formatted, and I lose interest. I intend for this blog to be more free-form and narrative and cover whatever topic or aspect I'm most interested in at the moment. For example:
I became interested in personal finance three years ago. I stumbled my way through buying a condo knowing nothing about money. I just trusted everything my broker told me. Luckily, it turned out okay! I like my house fine. But having a mortgage made me realize I needed to figure out this money thing. I read a ton of books (best picks: All Your Worth by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Tiyagi; Personal Finance for Dummies by Eric Tyson). I got You Need a Budget. I started contributing to my 401(k). I started paying attention. Which led me to...
There was a period about two years ago, when I was working from home, where I had frugality on lockdown. I learned to cook a bunch of new foods. I hung up a clothesline. I replaced lightbulbs. Lately, I've been backsliding. I work at the most conservative office I've ever worked, so I had to spend a bunch of money on nice clothes, and I eat out for lunch a lot and buy coffee. It's a lot harder to be frugal when you work in an office! There's improvement to be made here, and I hope this blog will help. Still, some of the habits stuck--I stopped buying books, for example, and continue to go to the library regularly. And I never need to buy Kleenex or anything, because...
I got into the Zero Waste movement in a big way after reading Bea Johnson's Zero Waste Home and Beth Terry's Plastic Free. For the most part, I've been backsliding there, too: I buy whatever groceries are expedient and don't bother to think about whether they're packaged in plastic. I did make some purchases in service of my Zero Waste Plastic Free lifestyle that I still use and love: soft flannel cloth baby wipes that I use instead of Kleenex, rags and washcloths that I use instead of paper towels, a stainless steel water bottle. But I do want my "non-wasting" to be about more than purchases; specifically, shouldn't it be about less purchasing? Which brings me to
This is probably my area of biggest aspiration and failure. I declutter a lot--I'm a Marie Kondo enthusiast, OBVIOUSLY--and I can talk at length about why Less Is More. But lately I've been feeling like, in practice, my decluttering is just leading to a revolving door of purchase/declutter/purchase. This is particularly where clothes are concerned. I want to be truly satisfied with less.
This isn't related to the above, I just like television.