This might sound like the opposite of sound frugal shopping advice, but stay with me.
Sometimes we save money by finding a way to make something ourselves that we might otherwise purchase at a store. This can backfire, though, if in your mind you are always trying to duplicate and then compare the two products.
For example, you might decide to save money by making your own large coffee at home, rather than paying $3.00 to $5.00 for a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop. Perhaps you have a favorite flavor or style at the coffee shop and no matter how hard you've tried, you just can't duplicate the flavor. Now is the time to stop comparing. Create your own delicious coffee (or even a tea or other beverage) that you really enjoy. Be creative. Search for good coffee recipes and be willing to experiment. Stop trying to exactly duplicate the coffee shop recipe. Save the coffee shop coffee as a special treat . Don't allow your own brewed coffee to be a poor substitute. It's not a Fat Dollar savings if you feel deprived and like you are having "second best."
This money saving tips works for nearly everything that you choose to change or let go. For example, I like to save money by refrigerating leftover oatmeal and then reheating it as a snack or for eating the next morning for breakfast (it can even be used in baking, such as in muffins, but that is for another money saving article). When I reheat the oatmeal, I stir in milk or cream to add the needed moisture for reheating. This makes the resulting oatmeal richer and creamier than the original. Instead of feeling resentful that my "frugal" oatmeal is not the same in texture and taste as the original, I honor the difference. I look forward to the change.
You may have fun trying to duplicate something, such as experimenting with a recipe from your favorite restaurant. As long as it is fun and interesting, keep experimenting. But if you find that you are feeling a sense of loss or having second-best, then instead of trying to duplicate something, strive to make the new item or experience even better. Sometimes this is done by completely leaving behind the old and embracing something new and different.
Think of it another way: Does it ever really work when you are constantly comparing your current husband/boyfriend to a former one? When you do that, you are the one who loses. You don't really appreciate the man you are with, because you are always finding ways in which he does or does not meet the characteristics and habits of the former one. What a sad way to miss out on the rich and deep experience of growing closer to and enjoying all the unique aspects of a person in your life. How would you feel if you knew that everything you did was compared to an old girlfriend and would be "good enough" only if it met or exceeded her ways? You'd feel pretty devalued, right? Now, how would you feel if your man was totally enchanted by, interested in, and attracted to that whole mixture of things that make you totally you? So enchanted that he hardly remembered that he'd ever had another woman? Big difference.
Now transfer that thought to all your new experiences .... and think of them as new experiences instead of "substitutes" or "doing without."
Learning to let go of wanting exact duplicates and celebrating and learning to love new items, foods, and experiences will allow you to greatly expand your joy in living a frugal life. Now that's The Fat Dollar way.
Article by Patti Tokar Canton
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and rakratchada torsap
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The Fat Dollar Ideas
In the Kitchen - grocery shopping, cooking, planning ... get some Fat Dollar Ideas
Vitamins and Fruit Juice - save $63.87 a year and 20,440 calories
In the Home - tips and ideas to save money in your home
Make Your Own Shampoo and Rinse - Herbal or Plain
Microwave Muffins - Worth the Energy Savings? - the experiment and the recipe
Self-Employment - The Fat Dollar will give you support and ideas to increase your income and still let you live a joyful life
Manage Your Money - Tips for managing your Fat Dollars
Bartering Online or Offline - To fatten up your dollars
Fat Dollar recommends Simply Free Stuff site - Free samples and products
Books to help you save money and regain control of your Fat Dollars
Save Grocery Money Books - free bonus cookbook with purchase