We spent a quiet weekend at home and I used the time to get some organizing done and prepare a few activities for next week. More specifically, I wanted to get things ready so that I could spend the week encouraging Adrian to use a pencil. So, I sharpened all 42 color pencils, put together some ruled and un-ruled paper, pulled out Aaron's unfinished coloring books and collected a few different colored pens from around the house just to make things interesting.
I also did something that made the following words flash like huge neon signs in my head "stingy, cheapskate, frugal, kiam-siap". I found one of Aaron's old alphabet writing exercise books - the kind that has the dotted lines. He had only completed the pages for A to K and there were only a few marks on the remaining pages. The book was in fantastic condition, not dog eared or teared in anyway, and the writing was all neatly done in pencil. So, why let it sit around or worse, throw it out? I ended up rubbing out all the pages that Aaron had already completed. It took much longer than I expected and I had sore fingers from doing it but I think its good enough for Adrian to try writing in.
As I was rubbing, I was thinking to myself how crazy it was to be doing it because I noticed that the book only cost $2.50. Isn't it a waste of my time? Couldn't I have done something more useful with my time? Who reuses exercise books?
Here's the definition of "frugal" according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
"characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources"
So, its true, I could have done something else with my ten minutes but at that moment, I just felt that it would be a waste of resources not to reuse that book. Its not just the money either. I did not like to see something that was still of use, get wasted. As I've grown older, I find that I make more frugal decisions - like mending and making clothes. These traits must have been passed down from my grandmother, to my mother and now to me.
I don't think I'm a miser who is tight fisted with money, I just like to spend it in a smart way. I also don't think I'm a hoarder (I suppose, they all say that), but I usually can find use for the things that I keep. Its not necessary for me to by the highest quality products because I think they will last a long time. I've always found that with care, most things do last. The money I save today, can be spent on something bigger tomorrow. And even when I come across that 'bigger' thing, there is always a decision that can be made on whether or not it is justified.