A lot of my motivation for being less consumeristic is not entirely about reducing our budget, but also being more environment conscious. I’m not a fan of chemicals. I like to make my own lotion out of shea and cocoa butter, and I am a proponent of real food. Now, some of this saves us money, some of it not so much. So, it’s a balancing act. But, I think we all have values and beliefs that don’t always work together. I struggle with a lot of choices– especially as a working mom. Sometimes buying pre-made food for my family is easier, but not cheaper… and often I still do it. I am not perfect. And that is OK.
As I have gotten older, I am beginning to see that life isn’t some mountain to climb – only reaching the peak with some intricate and difficult climbing techniques and a laser focus; but instead it’s a hike along the ridge, balancing in the middle slowly heading up to that peak. Often, I veer off the path – looking for some special flower, or trying to get a better view. And going off trail is ok. I think the key is not to head too far off trail – and end up deep in the valley below – peering back up at the ridge and realizing it will be an insurmountable effort to climb my way back up again. So, yeah – I may occasionally stop at Starbucks, or I may buy my kids some of those sugar-laden fruit snacks. I just try not to feel bad about it. I don’t buy Starbucks daily or even weekly, and I check the nutrition on those nasty fruit snacks to pick out the healthiest version. For me, the key is balance – to not be so hard on myself for compromising on my ideals. I find that forgiving myself for those little missteps, keeps me on track with my goals more than chastising myself.
Sometimes, my attempts at being chemical-free and frugal don’t always work out well. Like my attempt at going shampoo free for a year. Baking soda and apple cider vinegar. It made me feel good about myself, and my hair looked as good as it did when using real shampoo. It saved some money, and reduced my exposure to chemicals. But – it disgusted Mr. SSC. I learned he hates the smell of vinegar. oops. Fortunately, my hair smelled fine when it was dry – but I also don’t typically use a hair dryer, and then I smelled like vinegar for hours. So, I bought essential oils – for my ‘shampoo’ and for vinegar cleaning solution (rosemary was great!). Still, it didn’t entirely mask the smell – but Mr. SSC’s complaining lessened. And now we have found a happy medium… I alternate shampoo and the vinegar, and for cleaning, we’ve found some products that don’t make me feel like I am introducing toxins to our home just to get rid of a little dirt. But, our happy median isn’t the frugal choice – it’s a balance of our ideals.
I would love to hear if you have some opposing values! Do you have a hobby or ideals that laughs at your attempts to save money?