I love this time of year. Sure, the holidays are busy (probably busier than ever for the Frugalwoods with their tiny new baby!), and that busyness can make them a bit stressful. But they’re also beautiful. From the smell of our Christmas tree in the living room to the amazing holiday display that our neighbor puts together every year and lights each night from mid-November through mid-January.
Down here in South Florida, the weather is nigh perfect most days. As a runner, this is my peak season–the time of year when I am trying to run faster over longer distances and I live for my early morning runs on the beach. I wait all year for these months.
While Mr. Frugalwoods and I enjoy/attempt to survive our very first month as parents to our daughter, Babywoods, I have a delightful slate of guest posts from my friends lined up for your reading pleasure. Today, please welcome the wonderful Mrs PoP from Planting Our Pennies!
By: Mrs PoP
In addition to the glorious weather (and the sandmen found on the beach!), there’s one other thing that arrives this time of year that puts an extra skip in my running–the annual Best of Bootie mashup album. What is that, you ask?
Well, it’s a free downloadable album (perfect for maintaining a $0 entertainment budget like the Frugalwoods!) that contains some of the best mashups of the year. For those of you that are still confused, a mashup is a song where a DJ or sound artist combines different songs together using audio-editing software to create an entirely new (and often much better) piece of music.
To me, a good mashup surprises and tingles the senses in a way that traditional pop (current and oldies), rap, and dance music just don’t. Listening to a new mashup album is energizing and invigorating and an absolute ton of fun–perfect for putting some pep in your step when you’re miles into a long run, but know you still have miles ahead of you.
Mashups can also bring divergent interests together, leaving something for everyone. For instance, I love singing along to Taylor Swift. Mr PoP prefers brooding while listening to Nine Inch Nails. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve grooved out together listening to this excellent mashup video of Taylor Swift’s Shake-It-Off and Nine Inch Nails’ The Perfect Drug. Seriously, try and watch it without smiling… even if you severely dislike one of those artists (which Mr PoP and I both do!).
What Does This Have To Do With Personal Finance?
I did mention the album was free, right? =)
Though we often forget it, each of our lives is the canvas for our very own mashups. And embracing them is a crucial ingredient in optimizing your own frugal lifestyle.
To Take A Very Tangible Example…
Let’s consider home décor. To those that hate it, sorry. But since we’re rounding the bend on a year-long remodeling project, this subject has been on my mind a lot as of late.
Poke around Houzz, Pinterest, or home décor books and magazines and you’ll find tons of beautifully decorated homes to serve as amazing inspiration. But go to recreate the looks exactly, and you’ll likely find yourself facing a huge bill. Instead, create your own “eclectic” look by taking different (preferably frugal) parts that you like from each style and mashing them together.
When we finish our own dining room décor, we’ll have a vintage radio (inherited from Mr PoP’s grandfather) and mis-matched vintage chairs (a mix of more hand-me-downs and two that were found on the side of the road–an amazing trash find!) around the dining room table we’ll have built ourselves (as of writing this, it’s not yet started!). This mashup of home décor will be more “us” AND more frugal than if we’d tried to recreate a look that seemed amazing in pictures.
To Get a Little More Existential
We’re not meant to live an existence that’s simply a carbon copy of another’s. Not only would the world be particularly boring if that were the case, but living a carbon copy life is HARD!
Think about it. We’ve all got unique circumstances that impact our lives in many (sometimes minuscule and sometimes large) ways from day to day. And these bits of unique circumstances compound (much like interest!) to form huge differences in the ways that each of our lives will look. Trying to live a carbon copy life will mean fighting those differences (even as they accumulate) day after day after day after day. Just imagining trying to live life that way is exhausting.
The life of the Frugalwoods folks sounds pretty idyllic sometimes, but I’d drive myself insane if I decided that in order to be that happy AND frugal I’d need to pull up our stakes in Florida, move to the tundra*, and swap out Kitty PoP for a hound. (In addition to this warm weather girl possibly dying of hypothermia, Kitty PoP would miss me.)
But that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from one another as we continually seek to optimize our lives for maximal happiness. It just means that we can’t be dogmatic about the application of everyone else’s happiness (and financial) optimizations to our own lives. Living life open to new ideas and willing to try new experiences will (like the music mashups) result in the mashup of your life being more interesting, and energizing.
And who knows, maybe we’ll live somewhere cold and have a pup someday. That door’s not closed forever, just not one I want to go through right now. Brrr!
*In my warm-weather universe, the tundra is basically any geography north of south Georgia. =)
Mrs PoP writes about money, happiness, and kittens at Planting Our Pennies, a repository for the financial journey and musings of both Mr and Mrs PoP, as well as the ever-adorable Kitty PoP. They’ve been documenting their financial progress, as they “plant their pennies” toward financial independence in Florida every month since 2012.