March 1, 2011

Life Lesson: Look for Quality No Matter the Price

One lesson I've learned during my 5+ years of living simply is that free or cheap sounds great at first -- recycle, reuse, etc. -- but this is not always true. 

There's something to be said for quality. 

When I first began this lifestyle, it was all about keeping a budget and appreciating things that I had ignored in the past.  Smell the roses sort of thing.

I learned some great life lessons from this.  The beauty of the sun rising over my back yard as the birds begin to sing.  DollarTree is a great place to buy onion powder, hair clips, and gift bags.  You can bring coffee into the San Antonio Public Library. 

I also learned from some mistakes.  Buying a cheap bookcase may seem like a great idea - but those cheapo bookshelves can't take the weight, and they'll break after a year or two.  Flip flops are fun and don't cost much: but I loved them into plantar facsiitis, a very painful (very) foot problem. 

Over time, I've learned to balance being frugal and living simply with being wise about what I buy or make or use.  This takes many forms. 

  1. I only have so much time given to me by God, so I'm not wasting it on bad writing.  I read quality books or magazines or newspapers - covering a wide gamut of genres, etc. 
  2. I have researched and learned a great appreciation for older products, when things were made to last or to be refurbished and reused.  Buying old kitchenware at a garage sale doesn't bring just a great bargain, it also provides you with a better quality mixing bowl/garlic press/ pastry cutter than what you can buy new.  Just pick your sale carefully, and estate sales are better for this sort of thing.
  3. Ditto for older furniture.  If it's really funky, then spray it white and call it Shabby Chic.  It's amazing how something sprayed solid white (or I suppose black would work as well) blends into your room.  Take a piece of sandpaper to it, and get that distressed look if you want.
  4. Don't use coupons just for the sake of coupons.  Buy quality food for your family.  Too often, coupons offer you a great deal on something that you would never have bought in the first place -- and it's something filled with chemicals.  Ewww.
  5. I also look for quality in relationships. Life is short, and living a simple life means being observant and appreciative of those around you.  I like to think of the people I know as all being part of a big zoo:  some are giraffes, some are chimps, some are puppies.  I try and avoid the snakes, of course.  All of us with gifts and talents, flaws and faults.  Living a simple life may mean a small social circle but it's a better quality of living now. 
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