Spending, frugality, and time

I previously wrote about conscious spending as it relates to frugality. I consider myself a conscious spender, but I don’t consider myself frugal. I also listed different reasons why I might choose to be frugal someday, such as having children or working part time.

Thinking about conscious spending vs. frugality got me wondering what I would be willing to trade for a more frugal lifestyle. I’m fairly certain I would exchange spending for more time. Meaning, if I could have more time to myself, I would live more frugally.

Working full time means the bulk of my energy is spent each day at my job. My boss relies on me, the people I supervise rely on me, the department relies on me, and to some extent the organization relies on me. Working full time in this capacity means that I have the money to responsibly buy certain conveniences and little-luxuries that I might not otherwise purchase, such as:

  • Convenient food. We eat out once or twice a week, and sometimes get take-out. I try to cook from scratch and pack lunches most days, but I don’t bake our own bread or grow our own vegetables.
  • Personal care. I go to the salon every other month, and it’s not particularly cheap. And, while I save on many every-day items, I do buy a few pricier items like my favorite perfume and certain skincare products.
  • Work clothes. I need to look polished and professional. Even though I don’t need expensive conservative suits, I still need to invest a bit on good clothing.
  • Pet care. We take our sweet little dog to the groomer every 8 weeks or so. He gets a bath, his nails trimmed and, most importantly, a haircut. I do brush and bathe him between visits, but I haven’t wanted to bother learning to cut his hair.
  • Work lunches. From time to time I go out for lunch with colleagues. Sometimes I treat people on their birthday, or when I really appreciate something they’ve done to help me. It’s an un-frugal expense that I am comfortable with.

Even so, I have changed many of my spending habits and my husband and I do follow a budget. We’re fairly careful. We just make sure we keep our spending within a limit that allows us to also save and pay down debt.

I’m at work forty hours a week. The rest of my time is when I get all the household work done, share meals and time with my husband, visit with friends, write this blog, create things for my home, cook, go to concerts, and enjoy Portland. If I were to make more frugal choices, it would mean sacrificing time I spend doing those things I love. Whereas, if I didn’t work full time, I would have extra hours to do things like bake bread, clip coupons, give the dog a haircut, and scope out the best deals. Working full time means I am willing to pay for certain conveniences, whereas if I worked part-time or stayed home with children full time, I would have more time to devote  to frugal practices.

Are you frugal because you do have the time? If you don’t consider yourself particularly frugal, would you be willing to live more frugally in exchange for more time?

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