Friday, June 09, 2006

The Common Room on frugalities

Our friend the Deputy Headmistress has posted some good advice on living within your means, as well as several links to her previous posts on frugal living. (The comments are worthwhile reading too.) The DHM mentions the idea of entitlement--feeling that you just deserve whatever it is, you've gone long enough without it, so you're entitled to have it. If you're Polly Pepper stuffing the leaks in your woodstove with paper, that's one thing; but most of us (now) in North America, except maybe those who remember the Depression, have never been that badly off, no matter how tough we think we have it. Mary Ann Cahill's book The Heart Has its Own Reasons has a story in it by someone who remembered her own mother, in post-war England, selling her wedding ring to buy food for her children. That sounds pretty extreme in itself, and then you realize there are still people in some parts of the world even more desperate than that for food, housing and clean water. We really have so much here.

(I've posted previously about the Treehouse approach to frugality (the last time was here).)

1 comment:

Krakovianka said...

There is no such thing as a poor American, and I suppose that applies pretty much to Canadians as well. In what other part of the world do "poor" people have running water, hot water, electricity, television (including cable, VCR's, and DVD players, automobiles, adequate food, clothing, and shelter? Most "poor" people I know have all or most of those things. If they could be transplanted intact to most parts of the world, they would be viewed as wealthy.

Considered on a global scale, North Americans are rich, and the riches spill over so that even the "poor" people have abundance. Because of garage sales and thrift stores (which represent the fact that rich people have so much stuff they can afford to virtually give it away), it is possible to acquire luxuries for very little.

By comparison, I know that some folks are richer than others, and "poor" rich people don't really have so much disposable income that they can buy anything they like. However, I think we would do well to adjust our understanding of what "rich" and "poor" actually mean, because the Bible has a lot to say to "rich" people, and I think every American (and Canadian?) ought to pay attention. :-)