Friday, January 25, 2008

Frugal Friday?

I had a post all in mind that I was going to do in honor of Frugal Friday, even though I am the most computer-illiterate of bloggers and I don't know how to do links or list my favorite blogs in my sidebar or anything.

There is a blogger called "Rocks in My Dryer", and you will have to Google search her if you want to read her, because of my lack of linking skills. She hosts Frugal Fridays and Works For Me Wednesdays (among other things), places where bloggers post tips for things like saving money, using coupons, cleaning, cooking, etc.

I had planned to post some thoughts on Frugal Friday this morning, but last night I ended up in the ER with Shawn for five hours while he waited to get five stitches in his lip, and we did not arrive home until 4 a.m. I will write more about said adventure another time. Maybe he will even allow me to post a photo of his Frankesteinian face. But right now, I am totally trashed.

I did just want to say this about frugality. Assuming I am able to express myself, and forgive me if I have a writing impediment today.

Concerning frugality--I think it is possible to allow frugality to become miserliness. It is important to realize that it is not always about saving every single penny you can save. Sometimes spending money can be an act of grace which is good for people around you and the local economy. In the movie, "Hello Dolly," Dolly quotes her late husband Ephraim Levi as saying, "Money is like manure. It doesn't do any good until you spread it around." There is a little truth in that.

I am all for frugality when it helps us reduce our trade with China. I am all for not buying trashy plastic toys and crud. I am all for not getting rid of perfectly good stuff and replacing it with stuff that is just different because you were bored with your old stuff.

But I think if we never eat out, never go to a symphony concert, never get our hair done by a professional, we are missing the point. If you need to do this in order, for instance, for a mom to be able to afford to stay home with her children, then OK, live that way. But if God has provided enough for you, it is OK to support the local economy and local businesses by occasionally ordering a pizza, hiring help with the house cleaning, or getting a good haircut. The people who offer those goods and services need to make a living, too. By not supporting them, we may be choosing to live selfishly.

Sometimes Christian people can get kind of holier-than-thou about saving money when they could be bestowing kindnesses and furrowing a mission field if they would just step out into the local economy a little bit.

One shouldn't be wasteful and one should never spend money one doesn't have. But if God gives you an abundance, then as you write out your check to foreign missions, don't forget that He might also have a really nice ministry for you right down the street at the local bagel bakery.

1 comment:

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Ruth, I really appreciate this perspective. It is easy to get caught up in frugality for its own sake, and your post was a good reminder not to do that. I also really like the idea that we have our own little economic mission field right here in town.