October 2008 - Posts - Workin' It
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Workin' It

"Workin' It" is the blog for working parents who are committed to the frugal lifestyle. This blog addresses some of the issues working families face in keeping their lifestyle frugal, including childcare, work expenses, and the constant trade off between time and cost. The author and her husband, both law school graduates, work full-time; the author has a law firm, and dear husband a property management business. They also have an eight month old. Despite all that we have on our plates, we're still committed to living life frugally.

October 2008 - Posts

  • Hey, Kooky!

    Looking over my past few posts, a few words keep popping up:

     "Because it's hard."

    I wonder if perhaps I overstate the case. After all, the basic skills required to be financially fit (assuming, of course, that we don't fall into some sort of crazy hyperinflationary spiral) can and often are successfully taught to ten year olds with elementary math skills. There's nothing hard about writing out a budget, about comparing outgo to income and looking for leaks.

     The hard part is the discipline.

    It's not hard to write out a budget, but it can be incredibly hard to turn down a night on the town because you know the budget can't sustain it.  Comparing income and outgo is a simple enough exercise; seeking ways to increase the former and decrease the latter on a regular basis is a committment, plain and simple. Looking for leaks is mere detective work; plugging those leaks requires vigilance.

    This, I think is both the part of frugality that fascinates me, and where I see the convergence between the frugal life and the working life. Anyone can put in their eight hours; barring stupid luck, only someone who's willing to put the passion and the work into their career can excel. Similarly, anyone can spend money; barring stupid luck, only those who are willing to passion and work into their financial health can excel.

     Let's face it, folks. It's not just a bunch of skills. It's a lifestyle, an overarching set of values that doesn't abide spending resources (money, time, work, love) in foolish or wasteful ways. And that's the real reason frugal folks, career-minded folks, folks dedicated to having a SAHP with their kids, religious folks, artists or anyone else with a passion that guides them is seen as "kooky." To be frugal is to be guided by a passion for using our resources wisely, and that passion affects a thousand little decisions that others just don't think about at all. "Consumerism" encompasses one set of values, and those values, currently, are the cultural norm. Frugality encompasses a competing set of values.

     Thinking about it, it's not an overstatement to say it's "hard" to be frugal: it requires bucking the cultural norm, taking a more thoughtful, more difficult way when immediate gratification is there for the having. It requires, in short, the maturity and the strength of character to be "weird" when weird is right. If that's "kooky," honey, call me a kook!

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