Today’s mantra: Once we get past the debilitating position of trying to define ourselves by our things, we can express gratitude for what we have instead of anguish over what we don’t have.
Today’s action: Look around you and list everything you’re thankful for.
I like that Liz has us think about gratitude today after the last 2 days were spent thinking about insourcing and what we’re spending money on to impress people. I think gratitude is a big part of both those things. I talked about some of the things I get self-conscious about and the best cure for those insecurities is gratitude. When I’m thankful for the things I have then I’m not fretting that they’re not good enough.
Likewise, the more I insource and put hard work into things I own, the more I appreciate them and am grateful for them. No, they may still not be in fashion or the best quality, but I appreciate the time that’s gone into them and I’m proud of my hard work and frugality.
I also really like the article Liz linked to in today’s email. I think it’s not hard in today’s society to always want the newest this or the best that. With the internet, you can see all the options you never even knew existed before. And though you shouldn’t always just settle for the cheapest item, sometimes the best choice is whatever you already have on hand- or what someone else generously gives you.
When I was 15 and learning to drive, I desperately wanted a VW bug. But you know what my dad bought me? A white ‘92 Honda Accord from a grandpa who lived around the corner from us. Now this car was decidedly not a cute VW bug, but I found that I didn’t care. I loved that car! And I appreciated that my dad generously bought it for me. I detailed it almost every Saturday and made great memories in it for 9 years.
Was it my dream car?
Did it fulfill my needs?
Was the price right?
Sometimes that’s all that matters.
Along those same lines, when you are thinking about making a purchase and trying to decide whether or not to go with the higher quality, higher priced version, my co-worker shared a philosophy that I just love. Buy the least expensive option, and then if you actually use the item enough to break it, then buy a higher quality one.
I love this philosophy because I tend to get excited about new projects I want to pursue and think I should buy a top of the line item. But almost inevitably, I don’t end up using it that much. And as one of my college roommates lovingly pointed out to me, I’m not very good at finishing my projects. This philosophy helps me to know when to go high-dollar. And you know what? I’ve very rarely needed to.
Being okay with things not being perfect, and being grateful for the things we already own, is an important step in our frugality journey. It helps us to overcome the consumeristic need to always need the latest and greatest thing.
What things are you grateful for in your life? What have you done to foster an attitude of gratitude?