To me, frugality is not about always getting the cheapest option or depriving yourself of the “finer” things in life. Ours is decidedly a life of abundance, and our frugality is a natural companion to that. By being frugal in our everyday life, we save lots of money. By not going out for dinner every week, we can invest in things that increase our happiness like, say, the safety to leave an employer in the pursuit of a new adventure or a kitchen machine.
We have both wanted one of these for a long time. While we lived abroad, they were certainly not an option, as they would be far too big and heavy to lug on the plane home with us. So we waited, and dreamed.
When we moved back to Norway, a kitchen machine was high on our list, and I was terribly specific. I wanted a stainless steel bowl and a glass blender. I know enough about plastic to wish to decrease its contact with my food. I also wanted the engine to be more than 1 500W, for those heavy bread doughs.
We also wanted it to be customisable, with blenders, food processors, mixers and cutters all running off the same, sturdy engine. I want as few engines as possible in my kitchen, and the few I have, I want to be able to repair.
In short, I wanted a Kenwood, and not just any Kenwood at that, but a Kenwood Chef XL. It comes with 10 year engine warranty, a 1 700W engine, and you can buy spare parts for it. This was the dream machine for me. As dream machines often do though, it also carried a hefty pricetag, and we balk at spending money at the best of times.
But this machine was high on our list, and we knew the odds of finding one used was slim at best. Instead, we did what any frugal weirdo would. We did a lot of research online and made sure we had an understanding of the models and price ranges we were looking at.
But back to the economic side of things. So, Mr. E. and I had agreed that this purchase would be a great improvement to our life and happiness, and so it would be a worthwhile place to sink money into. Neither of us have hair-on-fire debt (student loans in Norway are currently at a ridiculous 2 % interest rate), and we have no dependants. The thing we had to figure out now, was how to acquire one as cheaply as we possibly could, within a reasonable time frame (about half a year). We signed up for newsletters, scoured shops online, and waited.
Within just a few weeks of signing up, an email plinged into my inbox one day, announcing a 40% off on the kind of machine we wanted, but including tons of extra addons. We had not really planned on buying all that extra kit (a blender, a food processor, a grinder, a citrus press, several different mixers and a chopper were all part of the deal), but the pricetag for the machine plus all the swag was as much as we would have paid for the machine alone at full price. We jumped on it and got free shipping thrown in on top.
We can now make hummus again! Homemade pesto is suddenly a 5 minute job! Soups and stews can be blended to perfect, velvety smoothness and veggie burgers are easy as pie. The higher degree of insourcing means we are baking breads, rolls and just about anything else with gleeful excitement.
The point of this post is not to encourage people to spend heavy dough on kitchen machines. Whether or not you need one will be heavily dependant on your own lifestyle and choices. For us, the increase in convenience and happiness from this purchase is already paying dividends.
If you know you really want something, and it will significantly increase your happiness in the long run, how do you know it is worth it? For us, we have a list of “wants” where we write down any non-grocery item that we intend to acquire. An item has to be on said list for at least 72 hours before any purchase is made, unless we find it ridiculously cheap used or even free. In the case of the Kenwood, we had wanted one for years, so we knew the desire was not just a whim, and that we would not forget it in a week or a month.
Currently, the list still boasts what would be considered essential by most. For instance, we are still looking for a cheap, used vacuum cleaner. A mop and dustpan currently serve as our floor-cleaning of choice, but it would be nice to acquire a hoover before winter, as it will become a bit more arduous to beat the carpet outside once the snow sets in. Still, we manage.
Again, it is obvious that the frugal weirdo’s biggest ally is time. If you have time to look for something, you will most certainly find it used, free or on sale. If you need to have it yesterday, your options are much more limited. By planning ahead and saving for bigger purchases so that you can pay cash, you avoid credit card interest and added stress. Do you really need that item right now, or can it wait until next month? Can it wait three months? Is your life really improved through the acquisition of it?
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