Are you falling down the frugality rabbit-hole?
This is a guest post written by Forest Parks who writes on frugal living, minimalism, lifestyle, finance and more over at FrugalZeitgeist.com.
In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.
The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.
-Alice in Wonderland: Lewis Carroll.
In the first page of Lewis Carroll’s classic, Alice in Wonderland, Alice’s curiosity sweeps her into a strange new world. She goes in without hesitation because of a curiosity to follow a rabbit holding a clock watch. The imagery can be read a million ways and the book is full of interesting things like this but the phrase itself “fallen down the rabbit-hole” has come to signify a few things in everyday speech.
Some people interpret it as getting yourself into a mess you can’t get out of, others getting obsessive and involved in an ever more complex but detached reality. I find pretty much all interpretations lend themselves to the ‘very deep well’ of frugality and minimalism that I tend to find myself slowly falling down.
In this post I wanted to talk about my journey into the rabbit-hole and then open the floor to you to ask the crucial question. Have you fallen down the frugality rabbit-hole?
Like most people, my early twenties were full of bad money-management. I had a good job but made darn well sure that no matter what pay-raise I gained it sure as hell wasn’t going to cover my expenses. I purchased DVDs and CDs like pic’n'mix, and consumed beer like, well like a 20-something consumes beer. I drank a lot! Don’t worry this isn’t a story of reaching alcohol rock bottom and then seeing the light, luckily my drinking never went so far out of control that it became a ‘problem’ but my personal debt did.
I could go on about how the debt wasn’t all my fault (see my post Me, My Debt and I if you are interested). The fact remains that I had the means to not get into debt and I didn’t use them…..
…. Skip forward a few more years. I ended up in Quebec, Canada (moved from the UK). I was broke and working in a kitchen on minimum wage. If anyone had to embrace frugality quickly it was little old me.
I embraced it quickly and found out that I could in-fact do just fine on minimum wage. It wasn’t very long before I was actually finding pleasure in cutting back and being frugal. Of course with the frugality and living in a small space came the inevitable trap of minimalism. When the frug-min hybrid started to breed that was probably the point that my slow decent down the well really began.
After a while you find yourself nickel-and-diming every purchase, picking up each and every object and finding an excuse why you don’t need it anymore. Before long you have almost nothing to your name and spend almost nothing either. Oddly that feels rather good!
I have gotten to the point that I have one large suit-case and one backpack. Most of my life lives in the digital-world and my bag houses clothing and a few small items. I find myself agonizing over which of the minuscule amount of items I own I can get rid of. I’m getting more and more sucked into making my own everything! Washing my hair in baking powder and vinegar and next planning to make my own under-arm deodorant. My cargo-pants have literally become a practice sewing kit with the amount of tears I have sewed up!
When I get to the bottom of the well I have no-idea what world will show itself to me but for now I am content. Am I crazy already?
So, now, what about you?
I knew I had probably lost some touch with the average persons’ reality when a close family friend told my partner that I was “extreme” in my ways. Something I never considered before. It took a small comment from the outside world to realize that I was different now.
Us frugal types relish the idea of cutting back one more expense, having one less thing to pay out. We like the effort of making do and using our brain to do things without extra consumption. Is this you?
Are you finding that the grip of frugality and its inevitable minimalism is capturing you and what is the world around you saying about it? Also, what do you think about it? Are you going too far?
Please share your thoughts and thanks a million for reading.
retirebyforty> Personally, I haven’t gone down the frug-min hybrid rabbit-hole yet. I like to have fun on the frugal as much as anyone, but I think splurging once in a while is ok if you can afford it. Once I leave my full time job, I might have to follow Forest and embrace extreme frugality.
photo from the movie – Alice in Wonderland