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Being frugal isn’t about saving money

Being frugal isn’t about saving money

At least not for me. While I know that some of the dictionary definitions for “frugal” do refer to expenses, for me that isn’t the point. (I do like to save money, but saving money isn’t the reason I do many things that might be thought of as frugal.) For me being frugal is often about having less of an impact on the environment, or just plain not being able to stand seeing things wasted.

Take packaging for example. Suppose that despite searching for an alternative that doesn’t come with a lot of packaging, I buy something that comes in a box. I’ll get it home, and then open the box and evaluate it. Is it something I could reuse? Is it the right size to save for Christmas presents or things I may need to mail? Is it sturdy enough to store things in? If the answers to those are yes, I’ll save the box for future use.

It’s something of a joke at Christmas and birthdays that gifts from me come in mysterious boxes that have nothing to do with their contents. and that I’ll usually ask for the box back afterwards. One box spent probably 25 years floating around my family. (It was a Miller & Paine box, if anyone remembers that department store.) It finally bit the dust this year, becoming too worn out to reuse, and I was a little bit sad to see it go.

If the box doesn’t meet the reuse criteria, I’ll give it to our dog. He has a GREAT time bounding around the house with it, and then eventually settling down to shred it into small strips. Once he’s done shredding it, I’ll pick up the pieces and put them in the recycling. We get the double bonus of having a cheap dog toy and having the box broken down for us for recycling.

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