Category Archives: Frugality

My little slice of heaven.

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The view from my new balcony might not be quite as impressive as the last, but at least it’s all mine.

To frugality and beyond.

There’s nothing like an interstate move for ridding oneself of pesky savings. My accounts were mercilessly savaged over the past month, and while many of the expenses were unavoidable (like relocating my stuff and paying for motels until I could find a flat-share), I’ve also been guilty of swanning about in “holiday” mode, dropping cash thoughtlessly on meals out and expensive drinking sessions. But the time has come to get real: with no incoming cash flow I have adjust my spending habits or face the unthinkable: returning to the land of suspicious moles and cashed-up bogans with my tail between my legs.

With a Coles and a fruit & veg market within walking distance of the flat, I’ve got no excuse for spending more than $5-10 on meals. Reducing my alcohol intake will also help me get leaner and fitter, which is another one of my goals. I’ve also taken to carrying around my own water bottle everywhere I go, which saves me around $5 every time I leave the house (yes, I drink a LOT of water. My body needs something other than caffeine to dilute the alcohol).

And while I’m still relatively new to the art of living with less, I’ve learned that minimalism and frugality are total BFF’s. Saving money on essentials is great, but not buying non-essentials is better (not only for your finances but also the environment; it’s not all about you, k?).

Unsurprisingly, the blogosphere has been a massive source of inspiration on my journey toward a more frugal existence. And while I’ve benefited from the advice of others who’ve embarked on a similar journey, I’ve had to remind myself that just like minimalism, frugality means different things to everybody. Priorities differ. My definition of a “non-essential” item is not going to be the same as another person’s, so comparing my own spending habits to theirs is counter-productive. Was it frugal to spend $50 last week on terrarium supplies, when that money could have gone towards a more comfortable retirement? Not if that was my immediate goal (and without any children to finance my increasing number of eccentricities, it probably should be).

Nonetheless, if my most pressing desire was to personalise my living space with something that brings me joy, should investing in an object that fulfils that goal be considered wasteful?  And if I were able to procure that object at a fraction of the cost of buying it ready-made from a store, would that not in fact be an act of frugality?

Or to put it another way; if buying pretty shit on a budget is how you roll then I say own it, bishes. Just don’t pay retail.

Terr2

Terrarium #2. Just two miniature toadstools and a plastic deer away from perfection.

Gardens under glass.

Last week I felt the need to personalise my new room, but the last thing I wanted to do was clutter up the space with more “stuff”. Cue the terrarium! Gardens under glass are all the rage in Melbourne, and while they do fall under the category of “stuff”, they serve the added purpose of filtering the air as well as providing a source of natural beauty. They also take up minimal space, depending on their size.

After visiting a few florists and nurseries to scoff heartily at their $100+ price tags, I decided to DIY. I bought a set of secondhand glass cookie jars, bags of potting mix and charcoal, some rocks (my inner scrooge revolted fiercely at this) and three plants specifically recommended for terrariums. While I do love the look of cacti and succulents, I decided to avoid using them after reading this article. My total outlay was $50. The result? Erm, I’ll let you judge for yourself.

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In my defense, manoeuvring plants and rocks into position through a small hole is harder than it looks. While I continue to work on creating something pinworthy, here are some examples of terrariums at their most artistically arranged and lush to inspire you.

lifehack

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For those who find jars of nothing but foliage frighteningly dull: delightful miniature scenes can be created with the addition of moss and figurines.

westelm

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tardis

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ewok

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*repeats mantra “creativity is not a competition”…*