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Thursday, January 14, 2010

When Frugality and Spending Money Collide

Yesterday I spent a boatload of money. And I don't regret it, not one bit.
You see, even when you're trying to save money however you can, sometimes you need to spend money as well. Spending money to save money, or just spending money to improve your life and help you out in the long run.

Yesterday my friend was at a bulk baking supply store. I wrote in a previous post that whole wheat flour costs about a dollar a pound, but white flour is only 35 cents a pound. Although I care about the health of my family, I have a hard time justifying paying twice as much to get the healthier product.
In this baking supply store they sold white flour for about 38 cents a pound- 3 cents a pound more than I can buy it in my local grocery, but the whole wheat flour was only 46 cents a pound, less than half of what I pay for it locally.
You can betcha that I stocked up on that- I bought 25 pounds of whole wheat flour- that is 11 dollars on whole wheat flour alone. But at that unbelievable price, it was worth spending 11 dollars on flour alone. If I hadn't spent 11 dollars at one go, I would have spent 22 dollars if I would have gotten whole wheat flour at the usual price, and only 11 dollars over the same period of time if I would have gotten the inferior quality of flour. It was worth paying that money at one go for cheap, healthy food.
I am also buying oatmeal and chocolate chips in bulk because of better prices.

I also bought myself a crock pot yesterday. I had read up on under1000.blogspot.com that using an oven for a shorter time uses more electricity than cooking something for a long time in a crock pot. Though I'm not willing to go as far as she is in terms of baking everything in a crock pot instead of an oven to save money on electricity, I am willing to try out using a crock pot for more things and hopefully it'll help us save some money on electricity. I noticed my electricity went up when I started making things like bread at home, so hopefully I will start making my bread in the crock pot and save money that way.

The last thing I spent money on is probably something some of you would consider a waste of money. I bought 3 books from the used bookstore. We don't have libraries in English with much of a selection in my country, so if I want books I need to either buy new or second hand.
I bought these books and don't consider them a waste of money, rather an investment. When I buy books about marriage or childcare or education, I consider them an investment in bettering our lives. If I were getting novels (OK, I bought one, so that was a tiny little bit of wasted money) then that would be wasted money, because they'd just be read and then ignored. However, books to help better our lives are worth more money because they make our lives worth living. I don't consider it a lack of frugality to buy books that help improve our lives.
The books I got are as follows:
Genius Denied. This is a book about gifted children and helping them develop their full potential. As the mother of a gifted child who I plan to homeschool, I want to ensure that I help him become the person he is meant to become. I think this book can help me homeschool my son better.
Emotional Intelligence. This is a book that explains emotional intelligence (EQ) as opposed to IQ and gives tips and advice to how to improve a child's EQ. Again, because my son is gifted I want to help him develop well emotionally as well, as I am aware that EQ and IQ don't necessarily correlate.
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Nuff said. (OK, maybe not. I don't plan on following the crying it out mentioned in the book but I have heard that it has plenty of other good advice.)
What your mother couldn't tell you and your father didn't know. I don't know much about what this book is about, but as its by the author of Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus, I'm sure it'll be great. I consider books on strengthening marriage and relationships to be a worthwhile frugal investment.
So yes, I did spend a decent amount of money on four books. But as they will better my life (hopefully) I consider buying them to be a smart, frugal choice.

Frugal doesn't always mean don't spend a cent. It means spending money when necessary to better your life or to save more money in the long run.

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