It started with a plunger. A few days into the new year, I noticed our guest toilet was draining a little slowly. Considering the previous owners thought nothing of using the heating vents, the gas fireplace, and the bathroom sinks as garbage disposals, this fact didn’t really surprise me. In fact, like any former Girl Scout, I was prepared.
OK, fine. I wasn’t a Girl Scout. I was a Brownie. For one year. But I had the sash and sold some cookies, so it totally counts. It turns out, I also wasn’t prepared. Riddle me this: When is a plunger not really a plunger?
I like to get all sorts of frugal up in here—even if it means being a little awkward from time to time. I’m also an idiot incapable of learning. To make a long morning short, I’ll paraphrase Mr. P: I can no longer buy the cheapest plugger I can find unless I want to put my hands in the doody water myself.
Now that we are the proud owners of the top-of-the-line plunger that came highly recommended by not one, but two workers at the local hardware store, I figure this is as good of a time as any to come clean about the other things I won’t be penny-pinching over this year.
As near as I can tell, the purpose of money is to maximize time. Time to do what you want when you want with whomever you want. For many people, that freedom isn’t truly unlocked until traditional retirement age. While Mr. P and I still have quite a ways to go before we even consider leaving the workforce, there are plenty of ways that we can trade a bit of money for time now.
If you follow me on Twitter, you know I am madly in love with our cleaning service. But now that I’m split between working full time and raising a baby, I’m willing to spend a bit more in other areas of my life to keep more hours in my day. Whether that means shopping at a single grocery store instead of hitting up two or three throughout the week or spending less time hunting down bargains, I’m OK with that trade-off.
Here’s the thing: Every fall, I decide that I’m not going to spend any more money on our backyard garden. Then, deep in the throes of winter, I decide that I am going to redo all the things. What can I say? There’s nothing quite like daydreaming about homegrown tomatoes to chase the winter blues away. I suppose a vacation would do the trick, but work with what you got, I always say.
In addition to putting some money into our garden, I know that some of our funds will go towards hobbies like fishing and swim lessons. I’m also planning on throwing a little bit more money in this sweet little hobby o’ mine. I’m not totally sure what that will look like yet, but I’m trying to stay open to possibilities.
I know, I know. I stand by my thoughts: If you’re really decluttering well, you don’t need to buy more things to get organized. Less is still more. But the closet in HP’s room is not even close to kid-friendly, and I’m not just talking about the fact that my wedding dress is still hanging in the corner. We will probably end up dropping close to $100 to buy additional closet configuration kit to both maximize the space and keep things within his reach when he gets older.
But that’s it. As tempting as it was to purchase new storage bins that would be coordinated to get rid of the mishmash that is currently containing our Christmas decor in the basement, I refrained. The lights don’t care if some bins are clear and others are red, so why should I?
That’s right. I’m still going to buy gifts for people and throw HP a first birthday party all the while claiming to be a money-minded individual. Sue me. All hope is not lost, though. I’ve sworn off Pinterest for party planning assistance. Fool me once, convince me to hang a $200 piece of fabric from the ceiling at my wedding. Fool me twice, Mr. P will surely put the kibosh on my plans. I’m also still planning on using rewards and money earned through various apps to cover the cost of Christmas.
In addition to celebrating little milestones within our family, we also plan to celebrate the fact that we are in a position to help others by increasing our giving more this year. It’s one thing to talk the talk, but it is something entirely different to actually follow through with a donation, be it time or money.
No, we aren’t installing a composting toilet. Between the plunger incident and all the poopy diapers we change, I’m not focusing on anything else brown when it comes to going green. It is also true that frugality and environmentalism are likely bedfellows. However, there are a few things that we need to spring for it we are going to keep doing our eco-duty. (Doody.)
I plan to purchase a few more reusable bags since ours are starting to look less like bags and more like Swiss cheese. We also want to invest in some durable lunch transporting systems. As much as there will always be a soft spot in my frugal heart for repurposed sour cream containers, Mr. P needs something with a little more structural integrity to support his hollow leg tapeworm metabolism.
There’s no doubt about it. This year is going to be another frugal year where we save and stretch as many dollars as we can. But in the interest of health, happiness, and fewer poop jokes, we are also going to spend a little bit more.
So Tell Me…What do you plan to spend money on this year?