Finances,  Frugality

Frugality is Not Enough

As I write this my home looks like there was an explosion in a clothing factory. I’ve spent the past few days washing laundry in my bathtub to save a bit more money this month. It is times like this when I dream of owning a washer and a dryer; it would be absolute heaven not to have to drag a heavy cart to the laundromat or wash things out by hand.

After I rinsed out the last round I sat down and priced some simple, small washing machines. I could probably buy one next month but if I did so my investment goals would suffer. Do I really want to delay my financial freedom for this? I asked myself. Every hundred dollars I invest brings me an hours’ wage closer so can’t it wait?

Yes, it can.

I know I could go to the laundromat; I’ve enough money in my pocket to pay for it easily enough but I’ve gotten to the point where my dream has become real to me. I’ve realized that I can really, truly achieve financial freedom through investments. Unfortunately, my income is so low that, in order to achieve my freedom, some sacrifices must be made. I am literally stealing from my present in order to finance my future.

This has caused me to realize that frugality is not enough. When your income drops below a certain amount immense sacrifices have to be made if an emergency arises or you would like to acquire something that would make life better.

I am tired of living at that level of forced sacrifice. It’s time to make some changes.

What do you sacrifice when you want to save money? Please share your stories in the comments below.

6 Comments

  • Karen

    For me the biggest sacrifice I chose to make was working long hours at a job I didn’t like because I was tired of being so poor. For me I had to combine frugality with higher paying jobs in order to get anywhere. I often worked more than one job just to get ahead. It wasn’t fun but I t.tracked my progress to stay motivated. I like how you have figured an hour of freedom for every $100 invested.

    • Annie

      Thanks, Karen! I’m exploring both the option of finding a full-time job along with different ways to revitalize my book sales. At the moment I believe my best bet is to focus on improving this website since it is the primary way that readers discover my books. The hours will be long as I research and experiment but it is something I can work on now, with what I have, as I search for a full-time job within walking distance. In fact, I strongly suspect that the long-term payout might be better in the end.

      And, as always, frugality will allow me to stretch every dollar as I strive to reach my goal.

  • Sheila

    Do you have any used appliance places near by? We have 2 or 3 in the area and they deliver. Washing clothing by hand is hard! I have had times where I did not have a dryer and that was not so hard as when I did not have a washer. Laundromats are expensive. Around here it costs $5 per load to run. Plus getting the clothing there… Some things can be delayed, others affect your standard of living, I would say that not having a washer is something I would make the money for and be willing to see as a necessity, to get by. I understand you are eager to get your investments up, but you also have to take care of yourself! : ) Look into if you can get a used washer delivered and see if that works, also “put the word out” and ask around, you never know, someone may have one they are willing to give away that works.

    • Annie

      Hi Sheila. Used washers–used appliances in general–have increased in price to the point where I can’t justify purchasing them. Sometimes one can run across a good deal but one has to be very careful. It’s not a bargain if it falls apart less than six months after purchase unless you paid peanuts for it.

      I ran into this issue when I first moved here. Ancient, used refrigerators were selling at a higher price point than a brand-new, half-size “dorm” refrigerator. In fact, the last used portable washer I ran across was on sale for over $200, and even full-sized washers in were selling used for around $150. Used items don’t come with a guarantee, so unless I stumble upon one that I am pretty certain will last long enough to recoup the savings, I can’t justify them.

      I AM looking around at used ones. Actually, I’ve been looking around for a used washer for close to two years now. I just can’t justify paying those prices for a machine that might not last two months, much less two years. I suspect the higher prices are due to the fact that used items have increased in popularity in this area. If I find a good used one you can bet your buttons I’ll scoop it up but until then I’ll have to make do while I work out a solution.

      There is one type of washing machine selling online with two tubs. You wash in one tub, then shift your laundry to the next tub to rinse and spin. They sell for about the cost of a used washer in this area. They require more work, and you have to make sure to select one that has a water pump, but I can purchase one of those for less than a used washer costs in this area. I am seriously considering the purchase but I want to do more research on them before I commit.

  • EcoCatLady

    Do you have Freecycle in your area? I’m always amazed at people giving away washers and driers just to have somebody willing to haul them off. It’s always worth checking, or even posting a “wanted” post on the off chance that someone has one they want to get rid of. Seriously, I just got a $2400 sleep number bed off of freecycle. The couple getting rid of it was delighted that I hauled it off for them, and I got to try out the concept without spending a bunch of money.

    If that doesn’t pan out, there are low tech options that make hand washing easier. I have a laundry plunger that makes hand washing sooo much easier. The one I have is called the Breathing Mobile Washer – I think I paid about $20 for it. They also make manual washers that are sort of a cylinder with a crank. I think one’s called the Wonder Wash, and another the EcoWash. They cost around $50. They’re designed for small stuff so you can’t do bedding etc, but they’re much more affordable than a real machine.

    But more to the point, I totally get where you’re coming from. Frugality works, but only to a point. Before I checked out of society so to speak, I worked what amounted to 2 full time jobs for a few years – living off of only a small fraction of what I made in order to save up a big cushion before I made the leap.

  • Alex

    I got a portable washer two years ago off Amazon for less than $100. It works great for two people and fits next to the sink in the kitchen. They have smaller ones, but this one has a separate spin cycle to get out the water before the rinse and after. I put mine on a dolly and roll it over to the back door to drain(gravity hose). Everything gets line dried outside or on a rolling rack inside. We got rid of our stove and just use a convection/microwave oven. I hand wash the dishes. I think this as low as we can go as far as cutting down on appliance, electric, and water expenses in the kitchen.

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