Debbie left a comment on this post about frugal living that I’d like to share because it was very encouraging to me. We are not crazy just because we don’t live the typical American-consumer lifestyle!
These are truly remarkable adjustments you have made. The added bonus is that should we reach a point when we MUST live without these conveniences we take for granted, it will not be the same shock to your family that it will to most.
I am currently visiting my son and family in Japan where the cost of living is through the roof and they are forced to be frugal. Last month this family’s water bill alone was $300 – JUST WATER. They think twice about long showers, extra laundry etc. Power and propane fuel is unbelievably high. I notice that they don’t dispense paper napkins, towels, etc. at home or in restaurants. We have come to rely so much on disposable everything and we waste so much in overpackaging – another reason to do more from scratch.
In Japan, they carry their groceries to the car, bus or train in reusable containers because they have to pay extra for a plastic or paper bag. Wouldn’t it be wise to start this before we have to pay for the luxury?
My son does the laundry and he hangs the clothes, often strung in bedrooms, kitchen and anywhere they can mount a rod or hang a plastic hanger. With lots of rain here, (and snow in winter in this part of Japan) they often don’t have the option of hanging outside. But, when they can there is plenty of support since everyone here is in the same boat – no snooty neighbors or ridiculous restrictive covenants that force unnecessary expenditures.
Where I live incineration is against the law due to air quality concerns. I remember having these in the 50s and early 60s. It really cuts down on garbage. The local restrictions can make it hard at times but in this valley we do need to make changes for the good of the community.
You probably use ceiling fans. I have installed these in two bedrooms as well as the living room and find them to be very helpful and cost very little. (Be sure they are switched the right direction depending on the season). How quickly we forget that we managed without A/C in the past – even in the car driving through the desert to Disneyland. I have no doubt that some places are worse than others without A/C or central heating. Here in northern Japan where climate is similar to Salt Lake where I live, only individual rooms are heated in winter when they are in use – thus the sliding walls and window coverings (paper, rice weave, bamboo, etc.). The children are very good at knowing to keep the rooms closed to conserve the energy and not let heat escape in winter. The same in summer but they only use A/C rarely in a single room. They have also learned that huge homes are not “needs.” There is much we could learn from different cultures.
I guess my suggestion is just to consider all we take for granted and realize much of it is habit; not necessity. (emphasis mine)
Frugal living is simply good stewardship in action, and is one of the ways we seek to honor God. It won’t look the same in every family and household, but we all need to live within our means and make the most of the blessings God grants us.