Saturday, May 23, 2009

Recession Ponderings - Even more frugal myths about spending

My frugal ponderings today actually began a couple months ago when two of my favorite frugal bloggers responded to negative comments about their paying professionals for major household maintenance projects. So, two frugal myths would be... hiring professionals is never frugal.... and... house and car maintenance is not necessary when we're on a budget.

We do keep a tight budget (on an Excel spread sheet) and all of our maintenance projects since we've lived here were decided ahead of time, written on our Priority List, and paid for with the paychecks made from our twice a semester bookstore checks.

Our current project can be accomplished with a slim budget and by my hubby (with a little moi' help). The last couple of projects required hiring professionals (for instance, when hubby paid to have the deck sealed by a professional rather then risking a serious allergic reaction to the chemicals needed for the project).

Also, not necessarily the "lowest bidders" but those recommended by friends and the family who used to own our house. (there is a great line in the movie Armageddon where the shuttle is taking off and one of the crew reminds the others it was built by the lowest bidder.)

We were very glad to have hired a professional to install our antennae, even though people told us we could do it ourselves. As it turned out, it took him a few hours to make the installation as the wiring running into the house had been corroded and needed a repair or it wouldn't have worked even with the new antennae.

We wouldn't have known where to look, much less make a repair. He also replaced the old booster box (necessary since we have a ranch style house and live in a forest area) and installed the new required converter box.

There are many reasons I love Edith Schaffer's writings but one of the most important is... as a missionary wife on a tight budget, she gave me the permission to live surrounded by beauty and "good things" and teaches me how she did it with little.

She also wrote about those times they decided to invest in memories by spending money (as when they took all the family to a special concert). She is a wonderful portrait of one who is frugal and still lives well.

Sigh... I think I'm all pondered out again. I need a cup of tea and a beautiful book to recharge the pondering part of the brain. :)

Frugal Myths Part 1... here.

Frugal Myths Part 2... here.


Cheryl (Copper's Wife) said...

I, too, have learned so much from Edith Schaeffer's books. She was, for me and through her books, a true Titus 2 woman when I saw no others in my life.

Packrat said...

Thank you! I just wish I could get my husband to understand this concept. He always says "I'll do it." Well, if either never gets started, or (if started) finished, or is done as a "lick and a promise".

Echoes From the Hill said...

I definitely think it is wise to hire a pro for jobs you can't do, or don't know how to do. We bought two houses in South Texas that were wired by "do-it-yourself" people. What a mess! It is amazing that one didn't burn down. We had to rewire the entire house, on one, and the second floor addition on the other.

scrappy quilter said...

This is one I totally agree with. There are times when we need professional help. There are also times when we need to do something that costs more than what most frugal people would spend.

We went on a lifelong dream trip several years ago. We rented a motorhome rather than use a tent. It was a trip we will always remember. We had fun, the kids remember it and although it wasn't frugal to rent a motorhome, for our family it was exactly what we needed to do.

I think frugality boils down to each family doing what they feel is best for them. We save in one area so we can do something in another area. I love that about frugality.

We will always have to be frugal...we like you live on a fixed income. Yet there will be times when we aren't frugal and I for one won't feel a bit guilty about it. It's what is best for our family.

Vee said...

My pastor always preached (literally) about buying classic quality because it would ultimately prove to be the wisest and most frugal thing. His wife still wears her classic woolen suits, etc. Unfortunately, I have not kept my youthful figure. I do better buying clothing on the cheap.

Yes, there's a lot to be said against going with the lowest bidder.

Thanks for the excellent posts on this topic.

Bernideen said...

Barter - that's how I get things sometimes. When I was a younger homemaker I sewed so I traded with those who could paint, etc. Also, always be willing to learn more!

Sherry said...

Off-topic, but I'm doing a Hymn Project this summer ---just because I want to. You can read more about it at this address on my blog:

But basically, I'm asking you to send me a list of your ten favorite hymns. List these hymns in your order of preference. So your #1 hymn would be the one you feel is the best, and so on. I will be giving your first choice 10 points, your second choice 9 points, and so on. Submit your list to me at sherryDOTearlyATgmailDOTcom. Write “Hymn Survey” in the subject line.

If you like, you can submit a justification for each hymn. Or you can send me a link to an audio or video version online. Include the name of the hymn’s author or lyricist and the composer of the melody you prefer if at all possible, especially if you think I might be unfamiliar with your particular hymn. At the beginning of June I will tally up the totals, and I will pull from the submitted pieces why one reader or another liked a particular hymn (naming the reader, of course). That way we’ll be able to hear from a whole bunch of people why they love one hymn or another. I will then count down from 100 to 1 on my blog over the course of the summer the top choices of what folks feel the best hymns of all time are.

Manuela@Pleasures of Homemaking said...

Good points! We just hired painters to paint our house even though it was suggested to us to get some scaffolding and do it ourselves (um I don't think so). Maybe if I had a Ranch style house but not a 2 story that's on a slope. We don't shy away from learning a new skill but sometimes you've got to know when to pay for help.


Niki RuralWritings said...

I've enjoyed this series of posts, Brenda. So many excellent points.

jules said...

This is a great post. My DH and I were just talking about the economy last night. We save up our money and sometimes hire professionals to do jobs for us that we could probably do ourselves, but let's face it, we're maturing now, and sometimes it's just a better decision to have The Man come do the job in one or two days rather than us spend all our free time (after working all day) AND all our weekends for months to do the job ourselves, and be so tired we can't move to boot (example: our fence project - since February 1!). We are stimulating the local economy too, as The Man has money now to pay his workers, who in turn spend that money on goods and services of their own. We're just the people the economic folks hate. We only spend money on things we need, or if we spend money on things we want, it's money we've saved for a specific purpose, we research our options, and we always shop for the best quality and deal, not necessarily the cheapest price. We watch where our money goes, we save what we can, and we always look for good deals. We DO NOT spend willy-nilly as the government wants us to do, going into debt. Who ever heard of spending to get out of debt? sheech.

Great post!