Trying to Find a Frugal Balance

Today was a challenging day. To try and save money, my wife and I purchased some cheaper diapers. We go through a lot of diapers as we have two little ones in size 4. If the new, cheaper diapers worked out it would have saved us a few hundred dollars over the year. They fit the little ones perfectly and for the first night it was okay, then the diaper rash happened. The first time the rashes happened we assumed it was normal diaper rash. We dutifully applied butt paste and hoped for the best with frequent changing. Hope in one hand and crap in the other. My one-year-old son received the worst of it and it looked like his bottom was dragged against sandpaper. My two-year-old daughter’s rump was slightly better but still caused some more than average agitation.

These issues led to frequent crying, fits, and general rage from the little ones. We promptly got the more expensive diapers, some extra strength medicated butt cream and crossed our fingers. Today is the first day on the more expensive diapers and hope for an overnight miracle.

The First Lesson

Approaching minimalism, for me, was like a golden light from on high. It showed the way to amassing a small fortune by shedding the weight of “things” from my life and becoming more virtuous and meaningful. Realistically, we all have lives to lead, and my life requires being frugal when possible and practical when it’s not.

Watching my children suffer at the hands of my frugalness helped me wake up and see that not all that’s minimal (and frugal) is gold. Frugal diapers lead to a stressful day for our entire family. So the real lesson is that minimalism is not about being frugal. Minimalism is about being purposeful with what you buy and being mindful of the consequences.

The Second Lesson

It’s perfectly okay to be frugal and a minimalist. The two lifestyles jive very well together but let my story be a warning. If something goes wrong, it’s not the end of the world, you’re just smarter than you were yesterday. It’s important to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Minimalism is a process and even 10 long years into that process–things can change. 

Moving Forward

I’m still looking for ways to save money; we’ve cut back on dining out, drive-thru coffee, and meal prep for 99% of our meals. I look for the best deals for things I need and I find that I “want” very little outside of tasty food that is too expensive for my life. Again, find what works for you and yours and accept that this minimalist lifestyle we’ve chosen is very much a work-in-progress.

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