Picture of an automobile I could realistically imagine J trying to talk me into buying/restoring courtesy of the unfortunately-named Fornax.
It is full spring now, which means J and I have been hit with the home improvement bug. We have been planting some perennials in the garden, removing some of the ugly pavers left over from the previous owners' landscaping attempts, weeding and fencing in the strawberry patch in the hopes that we'll actually get to eat some of them this year rather than just having the happiest rabbits in the greater Lafayette area, painting the picnic table in our back yard, and pruning hedges. We've also got plans to paint the exterior of the house this summer and finally get to work on the downstairs bathroom, which has been on the back burner for about a year and a half.
I was mentioning all of this work to my mother when she suggested now might be a good time to fix the foot moulding in the upstairs hallway.
You see, back when we moved into our house in 2010, we pulled up the upstairs carpet and refinished the lovely hardwood floors underneath. Unfortunately, at some point in our home's history, the original foot mouldings were spirited away, possibly to make room for the world's ugliest Pepto Bismol pink carpeting which we gleefully ripped out. While the company that handled the floor refinishing could have easily made new floor moulding to match our gorgeous floors, it would have put us over the budget we'd set aside for it. So, we let it be.
Other than the time I dropped an earring that got lodged in the space between the floorboards and the wall because there was no foot moulding to cover such a gap and thereby prevent such an earring loss, I haven't given a single thought to our missing flooring pieces in the last three years. (We were able to get the earring out with a pair of tweezers and some patience, and then soaked the earring in a 100% alcohol solution to kill whatever crawlies it might have picked up during its short floor-bound incarceration. So no harm, no foul.)
While J and I could certainly have the floor fixed at any time--we just need to set the money aside--it doesn't bother us enough to bother with. We have other places we want to spend our money (like on our garden) and other places we need to spend our money (like on our exterior paint), so we just let little things slide.
And that, I've realized, might just be the reason why we are able to live as far below our means as we do. For instance, J drives a 20-year old Volvo 240 station wagon for which he receives a great deal of ribbing from friends, co-workers, and family. But the car runs great, has the Volvo level of safety, and J is happy to do the work on it. Even though J's boss teased him about the giant blue brick recently when J drove a group to lunch, we ultimately know that it doesn't matter in the slightest what other people think of the car. It's an inexpensive (and fun) car to own, and it fits our needs. (J's boss also found himself reluctantly impressed with the car by the time he'd ridden in it).
In addition, I'm still wearing the same maternity tops that I bought three years ago that are getting a tad worse for the wear. While it would be lovely to have some clothes that don't have tiny stains on them, I also know that I don't have to look professional (or even pulled together) at any point during my day, so I save my money for other issues. I'm happy to wear out my clothes until they've fallen below even my unfastidious standards of what constitutes something you can wear in public.
You, too, can pare down your list of necessities to a much more affordable tally if you simply lower your standards!
For me and J, floor moulding, a car built in this Millennium, and clothing free of stains/holes are simply luxuries that we consider completely unnecessary. Our lives wouldn't be appreciably better with those things, so we do without them.
What do you do without/consider a want rather than a need/no longer consider as standard, in your quest for frugality? What kinds of teasing do you get from others who just want you to fix the dang floor!?