I’m a thrifty person by nature and quite proud of it. I have become so good at budgeting and saving money, that I have blogged about it and taught classes. Yet I occasionally come across people who scoff at thrift, and would never buy reduced items or be seen in an Op-shop. I believe that by reducing, re-using, re-gifting and recycling we are not only showing respect for our planet, but we’re saving our money for more meaningful purposes.
Lori Blatzheim, the founder of the first Thrift Club in America, has this to say about thrift:
"The word ‘thrift’ can’t be replaced. For one thing, the root of the word ‘thrift’ is to ‘thrive,’ and ‘to thrive’ perfectly captures what the thrift ethic is about. While many people erroneously associate thrift with being miserly, cheap, or stingy; look up ‘thrift’ in the dictionary and you’ll see that it is more accurately described as prosperity, thriving, healthy and vigorous growth - careful management (especially of money), and gainful employment."
Thrift is not simply a money saving strategy - it’s a broad term that encompasses the wise use of all resources: health, time, money, and environment included. Thrift is a way of life, an ethic, a philosophy that enables ordinary people to be generous and to live the good life.’
Kudos to Lori - Isn’t it about time we got out of the mind-set that people who shop at opportunity stores and look for bargains on the reduced stock shelf need to be pitied, or that families who grow their own vegetables or ride bicycles everywhere must be hippies? (Yes, I’ve heard that one a few times.)
Image courtesy of nzgirl.co.nz
I say they should be admired for their wisdom and practicality. You can argue until you turn blue that thrift is damaging to the economy, but the way I see it, while I may save ten dollars at the supermarket checkout; the person behind me probably more than makes up for it. That’s their lifestyle choice. Thrift is my choice.
Living within my means makes me a happier person and helps me to sleep at night, knowing I’m not carrying huge amounts of debt or driving a car I don’t own; knowing that I’m leaving a minimal carbon footprint, and knowing I have a good work/life balance with time to spend doing what I love.
Image courtesy of kickofjoy.com
For those who practice thrift because they have no choice in order to survive on a low income, I applaud you too. I’m tired of hearing stories of people who say they can’t afford to live on their income, yet they drink, smoke, own big houses and petrol-guzzling cars - as well as play with their latest electronic gadgets, and buy takeaway junk food on a regular basis.
Practicing real and sensible thrift does not mean compromising on a good life, good health and a nice home. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Thrifty people in general eat more natural foods, get more exercise, treat their belongings with respect and care; and spend more quality time with their family. Sounds like a pretty good life to me.