Random babbling on frugality

I have money on the mind, as I work pretty damn hard to stick with my budget. Of course my ole friend Murphy had to rear his head and already the budget seems like it will be derailed slightly. Now before you wonder if I fell victim to a wonderful sale or am sitting here in a coffee coma the answer is no.

Instead the sounds of a critter in my walls has me awaiting  the arrival of the exterminator. See, my house is old, over 120 years old and in Maine when the weather gets cold sometimes outside critters such as field mice like to move into homes. It appears they have decided to come back for a visit after being absent for a few years. Now I know some folks would opt to do, do it yourself pest control and yeah the Spousal Unit already offered to do that but there are few things that will make me part with my cash faster than the thought of pests in my house. Shit, I will give up coffee for good to ensure no pests in my house.

The other night I was cooking in the kitchen and thought I was hearing things when I had the hubster come in to see if he heard the same sound I  heard, sadly he did and having been down this road before, the only logical solution is my pest guy. So that is a couple hundred bucks out the window that is not in the original budget in fact I had planned to use that cash to get a deal on elder boy’s Thanksgiving ticket home but for me living in a house without mice or critters is a justifiable expense. Now I know there are folks who don’t feel the way I do but in fact find mice cute or I have gotten suggestions to get a cat to deal with the fall visitors. Well the way I look at it, in 5 years of living in this house this is only the second time I have needed to call my pest guy to deal with the fall visitors, hell that is cheaper than a cat.

Which also brings me to another thought regarding frugality, is it possible that one can be skirting the line of frugality and delving into poverty? Lately I have been on a tear reading blogs about others digging out of debt and learning to live frugal lives. In my search I found a blog from a family of four that lives on less than a $1000 a month! Now at first I was excited since I thought maybe I could learn something, but after a few readings I have to say for me maybe there is a point where frugality would just be too brutal.

Now this young family has a Papa who is a student and works making less than $8 an hour and the Mama stays home with the two kids and they are expecting a third child. I have to say I admire them and for a moment was wondering what was wrong with me since the truth is if the  Spousal Unit made so little the last thing we would be doing is having more kids. I feel heartless saying that and some of you may consider me a bitch, but its ok, I know I can be bitchy.

I think I was struck by the fact that this young family pays out over half their income for rent and basically their monthly grocery bill is less than what I spend in two weeks. The blogger calls their meals simple but having grown up at times where fruits and veggies were sparse when my Pops was in between gigs, any lifestyle choice that limits access to fresh fruit and veggies (no I didn’t say organic, I mean fresh) is not one I would pursue. I could go on about the choices of this family but that isn’t the point but I did find myself wondering is there a point when we can get too frugal? Or when frugality is a better word than saying one is living in poverty?

I struggle with these concepts as I strive to reduce my expenses and dig out of my debt hole, for me I think the issue of what I need to do ,is get a better handle on my needs versus wants. Lately there are times I feel poor but the reality is my basic bills are paid, I have a fridge full of good healthy food, even a spare freezer filled with food and I have a workable plan to get out of debt. My job is stable at the moment and the Spousal Unit though he is in a dying field is hanging on and working on plans for career change and hell we even have health insurance at the moment. So in some ways are lives are complete, I mean here I am feeling bad because I can’t go shopping for some new shoes when I have 30 pairs at least in a bag to give away to Goodwill! Only in America can one have basic needs met and still feel bad about themselves!

So clearly I have a lot more work to do when it comes to money but hey as I like to say, it’s all baby steps!

6 thoughts on “Random babbling on frugality”

  1. Great post . . . it helps me tremendously that I’ve traveled to Nigeria and Ghana. When I start to feel like I’m lacking because I can’t do certain things like go out to eat or have cable, it helps to know that simple things that we in America take for granted like internet access at home are really only available to the super wealthy over there.

    I too wonder how much is too much to give up in the name of frugality.

  2. Dee, I woulds love to hear what you think. Maybe I was too hard on that blogger since on the one hand I admire folks who can make do…at the same time there is a thin line between glamorizing poverty and living frugally IMO.

  3. If he makes less than $8/hr while a student that’s not frugal…that is poverty. Frugality would come if they maintain that lifestyle after schooling if he gets a pay increase….imo

  4. I don’t like mice running around my house, either, but it never occured to me to hire an exterminator. We just did a house inspection and figured out how they were getting into the house then sealed off that point and laid traps for the couple that got in–no more mice. My house is at least 120 years old also.

  5. One of the problems pest-wise is our attached barn (which is as large as a small house, and two stories tall). I’ve blocked off pretty much every access point into our living areas that I can find, using steel wool. But there is no way to pest-proof the barn entirely, and it connects to our house. Thus, mice can get into our walls and ceiling spaces, and might be able to find ways into the house that aren’t so easy to block off (or make new entry points) if we aren’t careful. So this is an area, much like with electrical work or serious plumbing problems, where I prefer an expert do the job. He has access to the poison bait stations and poison packs, and knowledge of where they are best placed.

    I’ve had mouse infestations at past residences a couple times, and standard traps available from stores don’t do it. There are enough smart and/or lucky mice that they will breed faster than I can catch them. At least that’s been my experience.

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