A New View
by Betsy Sullivan
The type of frugality that my family and I practice we have labeled as creative frugality. Frugality is often seen negatively and associated with poverty or stinginess. Being creatively frugal, however, goes beyond simply not spending money. It is a way of life we think is more fun to live.
It is looking at life from a whole new perspective. Creative frugality is a never-ending treasure hunt, a challenge to one's imagination and a wonderful sense of freedom from having to earn a lot of money.
One aspect of creative frugality is in seeing things in a different light. In other words, using your imagination to see beyond the traditional uses for things. Some examples of this are listed below.
- A neighbor of ours saw old gutters as planters along a fence.
- Another neighbor saw an oil drum cut in half lengthwise as a barbecue pit.
- I saw a quohog (clam) shell that we had found at the beach as a soap dish in the bathroom.
- After being stymied for a few years, I finally saw an old, wooden, index-card file cabinet (missing two drawers) as a container for potatoes and onions. I set it upright on its back so that the openings were facing up and painted a farm scene on its side.
- My mother-in-law with her artistic eye saw a slice of watermelon when she looked at a wooden bowl that I had brought home from a yard sale. So I painted the outside green, the edge white and the inside red with black seeds.
- I saw a terra cotta wine holder as a vase for silk flowers.
- I saw an old drawer hung on the wall and used as a display case.
- I saw a wooden trivet as a display for miniatures.
- I saw an old, discarded, wooden box as a miniature room waiting to be painted and used to display doll house furniture.
- Some clever person saw old windows as frames for mirrors or pictures.
- Another clever person saw a printer's tray as a display case.
- I saw in a magazine a decorative tin used as a utensil holder in the kitchen.
- I have used wooden napkin holders as note pad holders , drilling a hole for a pencil. I have also used a wooden note pad holder as a napkin holder.
- I saw an old wooden shoe shine box as a storage place for audio cassette tapes.
- Many people see doors as perfect desk tops when placed on two small file cabinets.
- My mom saw a wooden cranberry scoop as a magazine rack.
- A friend of mine saw an old, fragile, wooden highchair as a plant stand.
Betsy Sullivan is a CPA and writes a bimonthly newsletter called "Balancing Act" that helps people save money and simplify their lives.
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