Slow Down and Save Money

Slow and Steady

Speed in general is expensive. DSL costs more than dial up and jet fuel costs more than hay. But it is not just speed itself that is expensive. It is the attitude we develop as our lives speed up. It is the take-out dinner because cooking something takes too long, driving when we could walk, and filling our lives with one event after another most of which are spending occasions.

In fact that last item may be the key. The more cluttered our time is the less things we can do ourselves, which is almost always the more frugal choice. But it’s not just the cost of the event itself, though that is a consideration. It is the frantic quality that descends when we cram in more things to do than we can possibly accomplish comfortably.

Something interesting happens when we are forced by economic circumstances to slow down. When I first set out on this path I had been running at top speed for years. But now I had barely enough to pay bills and buy a few groceries. After I bought food there was no money left to go anywhere else, and at any rate driving anywhere but home would be a waste of precious fuel. So, I would go home. At first days seemed very long. There were chores, preparing food and other DYI projects, but when those things were done there seemed to be nothing to do. I wouldn’t go out unless I was going to work or buying my few supplies.

At times I would be at home for days at a time. I once saw a documentary on hummingbirds that explained how the bird’s metabolism was is so high that they go into a state of torpor when they sleep. This is a sort of mini-hibernation where all their bodily functions slow down to a crawl. That is what I felt like after awhile.

Though this process felt very uncomfortable at the time it eventually led to a wonderful discovery. I started to look around. I walked down to the Laguna a half mile from my house, past a pastoral landscape that changed with the season. I watched the birds in the backyard. In the evenings there was time to listen to music, sit by the fire and watch Netflix. The occasional beer at the local pub was a great treat.

These days I actually have a small surplus, but I have no intention of speeding back up again. As soon as you change your perception of time one of the true benefits of frugality becomes apparent. And that is true even if you have plenty of money.

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2 Responses

  1. Annabel, this is a great essay/article–I think you’re best to date. Great perspective. Thanks for sharing and reminding us.

    Heidi

  2. I haven’t checked in here for some time because I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are really great quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend. 🙂

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