More thrifty thoughts
Monday, February 04, 2013
Just read PEACE AND PLENTY by Sarah Ban Breathnach - the author of SIMPLE ABUNDANCE and the others in that series. It's about "Finding your Path to Financial Security" - which she wandered into after a period of millionaire living and a disastrous divorce.
I don't know that I have ever been as financially secure as Breathnach (or as she calls herself SBB for short, as I recall....) Although I have had windfalls - bits of inheritance and so on. One I used to heal myself - which I don't regret ever....funded a hiatus of a year on a lovely beach when I was really at my wits end - & paid some bills. I always tell myself that it was MUCH cheaper than going to an expensive mental health clinic!
At that time, I splurged a bit, just to find out what it felt like, and surprisingly, I found myself spending more $ on things I would otherwise acquire frugally! And with no more enjoyment. Actually, the thrifty hunt is much more FUN.
Apparently SBB didn't concur, and tried living very high on a Downtown Abbey hog.....We all have fantasies, but they are, in the end, so hard to live with. I admire splash, but I realize that I prefer a comfy home that is not too demanding on the inhabitants! I do like the things I have, but they were all bargains & if they disappeared somehow, I would just go & collect another set & have a good time doing it!
It's made me think of thrift and good living - SBB's book - which is curiously personal - She says somewhere that the origin of "thrift" is thriving - with which I heartily concur - and I look around and see that I/we thrive. There is a great satisfaction in that. I have failings that you can drive trucks through - my allergies which make me a rotten housewife, for one - but I have managed to put together a comfortable home - a haven. And when I draw back, I am proud of that. On a middle class income, my husband and I have put together a nice middle class life.
Now, in L.A., , or should I say Hollywood, that may seem paltry - but although we remain bohemian, we have our comforts - cable TV (On an ancient TV set) - Netflicks on a used game console, a FAX machine I got through a community exchange, a very old caller I.D. box that was given out with the service years ago and still works. - Cell phones that come with the contract & aren't too fancy - Health insurance with the Kaiser HMO down the street & insurance (Life, etc.) We have Soc. Security and a pension coming due to Hubby's years of teaching. Who knew we would be so secure? I've inherited $ from my parents' house - which goes toward retirement & a bit for a used car - I remember someone scoffing at my generic eBook reader, which was another bargain - but I retorted that no one would steal it! And I got it cheap because I wanted to see what the whole eBook thing was about. Turns out I still do better to buy bargain books, which I can then turn in to my used bookstore for credit for MORE books.
Of course, there are many more examples. I sit at our recycled MAC from Hubby's brother, which because it has nothing ON it, is quite fast....The rest of the files sit on our old hard drive - and, you know, I don't NEED them very much.....I suppose it was a kind of clutter....I am currently wearing old jeans I put elastic on the waist, so they wouldn't fall down - & a tshirt I got for $1 at the 99 Cent Store! But I am dressed like the proverbial L.A. Child, - so it doesn't matter - not for my current life or neighborhood. And it's not like I don't have my fancy duds to put on when it DOES. ( and that runs to evening wear....)
So what is this? A meditation on having enough. On thriving - from a bit of frugality and control. Habits of control that make me say , I can't afford that (although every once in a while I find a bargain & I DO, which makes it all the more fun....)
It's a philosophy of life that I do want to share - hence my blog. Sometimes I wonder if I have anything terribly new to say on the subject. But we all have our own slants on reality. And I suppose my life as a thrifty actress in Hollywood is an unusual one. I have thrived (& recently got $150 off my back union dues because the 2 unions came together & there was an amnesty of some sort...) But I do this sort of thing on a daily basis - put the cans out for the locals to recycle - and say a prayer of gratitude that somehow I have managed to find and maintain my budget haven here in Hollywood. My father always feared that I would end up living in a cardboard box - his version of the bag lady nightmare, I suppose - but instead I have a happy marriage and a snug home, and art besides when I will....And I feel a great sense of accomplishment. There!