When it comes to frugal living, winter weather deserves a little love. Sure, we all curse those snow and ice covered roads and frigid temperatures, but, when you really think it through, we can really learn a lot about a frugal lifestyle from such days. Consider the following as examples:
One of the basic tenets of frugal living is to minimize driving, along with the fuel consumption and many other expenses. A great way to do that is to consolidate trips and avoid the mindless practice of coming and going from home five, six, or more times in a day. With that in mind, think about those days when snow and ice cover the roads. It makes you think twice before firing up the car, truck, or, heaven forbid, the SUV and rambling on out, doesn’t it? It causes you to ask yourself, “Do I really need to drive those 8 roundtrip miles for those forgotten hamburger buns, or can we just tough it out tonight with leftovers?” It makes you plan ahead and ensure that if you do venture out, it will be for one, well-planned trip in which all of the day’s needs are taken care of. Better still, it prompts us to put off travel altogether until the roads have been cleared. Suddenly, we find that we make it through an entire week without visiting the pump.
This, you see, is the mindset you need to have year round.
Similarly, when the weather outside is frightful, we suddenly realize the wealth of simple entertainment options that abound within our own homes. Who needs to hit the movie theater, the bowling alley, the batting cage, or the golf course? Those board games in the closet and DVDs on the shelf will do just fine, thank you. Why drive across town to have lunch with a friend? Maybe eating in with the family you are seeing surprisingly less of would be a suitable alternative. Occasionally, we even lose electrical power, which forces us to read by candlelight or engage in other enjoyable simple living activities that modern society has caused us to forget. Nothing like a night of deep snow will make you appreciate the allure of a simple home fire. (And, of course, you will never pay for it because you already know how to find plenty of quality firewood free of charge, don’t you?)
I’ve written before about the folly of spending big money attending sporting events that are available for free on your television. Nothing like a nice arctic blast, complete with an ice and snow mixture, helps to hammer this point home a bit further.
Finally, being snowed in is a good way to remind ourselves just how unnecessary restaurants truly are. Think about the last time you were stormbound. Obviously you did not starve, and I suspect you even made it through the affair without substantial weight loss. Instead, you finally got around to opening and eating those frozen foods collecting frost in the freezer or those cans of Ravioli and Brunswick stew.
As I’ve explained before, the old adage “necessity is the mother of invention” applies with full force to the subject of practical frugal living. Winter weather is a necessity that we can learn from. Think about it the next time you are snowbound at home, and remember to put those adaptive practices to work on a regular basis.