For those of us who aren’t in the uppermost income bracket, we sometimes have to make choices about how we spend our money. Being frugal is not being “cheap,” it’s about making choices so that you have more of something else.
The Frugal Goddess explains the meaning of being frugal…
I have heard from a number of people that they just don’t like the word “frugal”. It seems to conjure up images of reusing tea bags and saving hundreds of empty boxes. But neither of these things are what frugality is really about. It is not cheapness or hoarding. Or even clipping coupons necessarily, though that would be frugal if you were going to buy that item anyhow and the coupon price really was the best deal.
The opposite of frugality is waste, not luxury. It is about getting the maximum out of available resources. For the poor frugality is a necessity. But that doesn’t mean it is only for the poor. In fact, being wasteful can make us poorer, and conserving our resources (frugality) can make us richer. Except for the new high tech millionaires every rich person you can name is either frugal or has an ancestor that was. The one who made the fortune.
The best model for frugality is nature herself. She wastes nothing, and yet is exquisitely abundant. And considering the shape the environment is in the new frugality is essential to restoring the balance of nature with the least pain to humankind.
Frugal is the new green.
So are you living a simple life and practicing frugality – not being wasteful of your resources?
Have you had a garage or yard sale recently? Or maybe you’re clearing out the basement, closets and garage in preparation for one. Think of all the time you spend getting ready for one. The organizing, labeling, hanging and sitting all day and how much did you make?
If you make a $100 on your childrens’ toys and a few pieces of furniture, you probably think it was worth spending two or three days in the heat watching people drive in and out of your driveway. I once thought so too.
The last time I had a garage sale was 5 years ago, before my family moved from the deserts of Arizona to the east coast. I spent 3 days under the cover of my carport in 120 degrees selling every piece of furniture that my friends didn’t take as well as another friend’s furniture. I think I made $200 bucks, which didn’t even cover my gas to drive nearly 2,000 miles across country. And I still had furniture left as well as other household items. I didn’t use a moving van or service to ship our things back east either.
I ended up donating about $900 worth of furniture and household items to a local charity, which picked up all my items at no cost to me, and I wrote it off on my tax return along with all my moving expenses. It was a heavy burden lifted from me, but it was a better financial move than trying to sell the stuff again or just having it hauled away. The charity I donated nearly new furniture to helped disadvantaged families who either lost their belongings to a fire, other disaster or were putting their lives together after being homeless and living in a shelter. I knew I was helping several families with my generous donation and it didn’t cost me or them a thing.
Since 2009, tax payers can now write off individual items they donate to charity that includes a set amount for each item depending on its condition (new, slightly used, or fair condition). According to the IRS, “Charitable contributions are deductible only if you itemize deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A” Read the tax guidelines on the IRS’s website, Topic 506 Contributions. I kept a record of every piece of clothing, appliance and CD that I contributed to a charity like the Salvation Army and DAV, and asked for a receipt every time I dropped off items. According to my tax return for 2009, I had $500 worth of charitable donations!
Save yourself time; donate your garage sale items to a worthy cause – it’s good for the environment and it helps others in need.
I found this quote eloquently posed on my Google homepage…
“A poet ought not pick from nature’s pocket. Let him borrow, and so borrow as to repay by the very act of borrowing. Examine nature accurately, but write from recollection, and trust more more to the imagination than the memory.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
I believe this holds true for writing as well.