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Who Is More Frugal?

by Maegan Fox

I like things to have a place they live around the house. Hate having to move things out of the way, struggle to locate where things have been put, or have boxes/stuff lying around everywhere. Quite normal right. Well, my husband is a hoarder, comes from a family of hoarders, and will be a hoarder until the day he dies. We have a system to get around this, I declutter stuff in the house (to his annoyance) and he clutters in his storeroom/garage (to my annoyance). Usually works well.

Well this week I have to bless his great heart for his pack rat mentality. See we live on a gravel road that needs grading, and we hit a pothole and a gravel chip the size of Lake Michigan got embedded in our SUV’s front tire, causing a very, very large unfixable hole. Now these tires cost hundreds, and we don't have hundreds. But, hubby kept the old tires we replaced, and one of them wasn't particularly worn, matched the existing tires, and will last for months. Saved by a packrat! Grrrr...

So this begs the question, who is more frugal? Is it the person who doesn't have to buy things twice as they know where they have put it, who doesn't waste time searching for things, who doesn't need more room to store more stuff? Or is it the person who can nip into the garage and find a whatsit that will perfectly fix the whatchamacallit instead of the proper part, which costs megabucks? Okay, he might win this time, but will he be able to find it?

Maegan Fox is a SAHM in New Zealand who has been interested in frugality from her early years. Currently working through a property disaster with over a million dollars of debt she has outlined her journey in her blog at overamillionorbust.blogspot.com.



Gary said:

I tend to be a bit of a packrat. Think I get it from my Dad. He was a real avid DIYer. Also, could fix most anything. So I grew up salvaging knobs from old radios and other parts that the thought might come in handy later. Guess I've never gotten over that.

July 2, 2010 7:38 AM

HighOrderGuiltComplex said:

Great story momof2!  I like to throw things out but I have a friend that lives nearby that likes to hoard things.  So when I don't want keep something I just haul it to his house and he is happy to let it sit there for all time until someone might "need it" :-)

July 2, 2010 12:33 PM

cheapchic said:

Gary you gave me the bad case of guilt now to throw things out.

July 4, 2010 8:02 PM

haverwench said:

Amy Dacyczyn wrote about this issue in the Tightwad Gazette.  She said that a frugal person will make the best use of *all* resources, including money, time, and space.  The key is to balance these resources depending on how much you have of each.  So if you have a small house, being a packrat will throw your frugality out of balance by taking up lots of space (a scarce resource) to save only a little money.  If you have lots of room, it makes more sense to save stuff.  Likewise, if you are short on time, the stuff you save needs to be well organized so that you won't waste time looking for things.  If time is plentiful and money scarce, you can afford to save everything and hunt through it as needed.  You and your husband are both being frugal in different ways, and which way works better will depend on your particular circumstances.

July 5, 2010 8:34 PM

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