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Sometimes Being Frugal Costs Too Much

I have been trying not to write about this because it’s a bit weird. However, the thought keeps nagging me, so I am going to share it to hopefully regain that bit of space back in my brain.

I once had a discussion with my daughter-in-law about marital roles. She and my son received an extraordinary gift for their then three-month old son. When she and I were talking about writing a thank you card, she remarked “But I don’t know them. He (referring to my son) should write it.” I offhandedly remarked, you are his wife and the gift is for your son too, you can write it.” No sooner than the words left my mouth that I thought “What kind of sexist bull****” did I just say to her?” I immediately said, that’s not what I meant. I explained that in marriage or in a relationship, each partner has strengths and weaknesses. You have success as a couple when you can figure out individual strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes and learn to execute as a team.

The next day, as I was enjoying my Sunday NYT, I remembered our conversation. That is really what today’s blog is about. I was reading the wedding section about how couples now frequently meet online. The women are candid in their descriptions of what they are seeking. No more playing coy or holding back. Gender roles have changed through the years. So has the definition of family. My personal thoughts on those changed roles have been shaped in part by what I read, digest and believe to be true. The NYT pushes the envelope and challenges me to consider different opinions.

Through the years talking myself out of purchases had become second nature to me and resulted in my daily expenses remaining consistently manageable. A benefit of my frugal nature is that I don’t stress about bills which affords me the luxury of feeling financially stable. When I want to buy something, I immediately process whether it’s a purchase I should make by always asking myself: “Would you rather have that (i.e., the item or experience) or the money in your account?” It’s an old habit that I thought served me quite well. Until I realized that it really didn’t.

For years I wanted a subscription to the NY Times. For a really long time. I could afford the subscription years ago, but I always held back by rationalizing that I have other subscriptions, and this would just be another one. After all, I read a lot of articles online so, my propensity to keep the money in my account always won out. However, three years ago, keeping the money in my account lost out to actually subscribing.

That NY Times subscription is by far one of the best things I have ever done for myself. I love to read and, truth be told, fancy myself a writer of sorts. However, the writers and contributors at the NY Times are consistently the best of the best. I can’t tell you how many times I have read an article or opinion and excitedly squealed “That is soooo good!” Often after reading a piece, I close my eyes and sit in silence to allow myself time to reflect on what I read. My heart, at various times, seems to physically enlarge and collapse as I read. Sometimes my soul leaps and sometimes it grieves. Deeply. This happens over and over. It’s almost like I have eaten a meal that has to be savored. I don’t want the meal to end and I don’t want to rush.

What’s one thing you want to do but it feels like a frivolous splurge? My advice: Just do it. Let me tell you, money in the bank will never, ever top that. Go ahead: Treat yourself and Bon Appetit!

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