There's something to be said for quality.
When I first began this lifestyle, it was all about keeping a budget and appreciating things that I had ignored in the past. Smell the roses sort of thing.
I learned some great life lessons from this. The beauty of the sun rising over my back yard as the birds begin to sing. DollarTree is a great place to buy onion powder, hair clips, and gift bags. You can bring coffee into the San Antonio Public Library.
I also learned from some mistakes. Buying a cheap bookcase may seem like a great idea - but those cheapo bookshelves can't take the weight, and they'll break after a year or two. Flip flops are fun and don't cost much: but I loved them into plantar facsiitis, a very painful (very) foot problem.
Over time, I've learned to balance being frugal and living simply with being wise about what I buy or make or use. This takes many forms.
- I only have so much time given to me by God, so I'm not wasting it on bad writing. I read quality books or magazines or newspapers - covering a wide gamut of genres, etc.
- I have researched and learned a great appreciation for older products, when things were made to last or to be refurbished and reused. Buying old kitchenware at a garage sale doesn't bring just a great bargain, it also provides you with a better quality mixing bowl/garlic press/ pastry cutter than what you can buy new. Just pick your sale carefully, and estate sales are better for this sort of thing.
- Ditto for older furniture. If it's really funky, then spray it white and call it Shabby Chic. It's amazing how something sprayed solid white (or I suppose black would work as well) blends into your room. Take a piece of sandpaper to it, and get that distressed look if you want.
- Don't use coupons just for the sake of coupons. Buy quality food for your family. Too often, coupons offer you a great deal on something that you would never have bought in the first place -- and it's something filled with chemicals. Ewww.
- I also look for quality in relationships. Life is short, and living a simple life means being observant and appreciative of those around you. I like to think of the people I know as all being part of a big zoo: some are giraffes, some are chimps, some are puppies. I try and avoid the snakes, of course. All of us with gifts and talents, flaws and faults. Living a simple life may mean a small social circle but it's a better quality of living now.