I liked this short little post from Frugal Chick called Oh How We Change. She found a list a that she made for herself a few years ago that listed things she would never give up. Turns out that she made the switch away from one of them a long time ago... and never even noticed!
Sometimes I think that is one of the sweetest things about a frugal lifestyle - finding better options (better = healthier, cheaper, more value, etc.) and not even missing the old stuff! I was thinking about this myself the other day, like Frugal Chick, in regards to food. There a number of convenience foods that I used to love that I simply don't eat any more. For example, I used to love Kraft Mac and Cheese. Not the powdered kind - the family kind with the foil envelope of cheese food that you squeeeeeeze out into the hot pasta and mix in. I loved it even as a kid! When I start craving comfort food, this is one of the things I think of. So, not too long ago I decided to buy a box, just to have around as a little treat to myself when I was feeling down. Sure enough, the day came when I was feeling down and the cupboards were bare, so I grabbed that trusty blue box. And you know what?
It wasn't the product's fault exactly, it was simply that my palette had changed. I love really good quality cheese and what they put in that stuff isn't exactly "gourmet." To me it tasted horrendously salty! I still love high quality restaurant or made at home mac and cheese, but I can't eat the blue box version anymore. Now when I am at home and need something to fit the bill I have my own recipe for comfort...
I have an easy recipe that calls for a cup of macaroni pasta, some lemon juice, a touch of butter, some garlic and Parmesan cheese. I can make it in 15 minutes. It still isn't exactly health food, but I know what all the ingredients in are - and how to pronounce them! Plus, if I had to go to the store today and buy everything for it (unusual since it is made with staples from my pantry, but bear with me) it would cost slightly more than the blue box of Kraft, however, I could make many, many more servings!
My point isn't to compare my cooking to store bought, though. (Since my cooking will win out nearly every time!) I just love that once you become frugal you find little things that change - and not only do you not miss the old stuff, you think the new stuff is better! So often "Frugal" gets this bad wrap of having to sacrafice, but it doesn't have to be that way at all. If there is one thing I hope people carry with them after this recession ends* and people are feeling like spending money again, it is these little things. People who are reconnecting with family because they turned off the cable, people enjoying home cooked meals over restaurants and store bought, people finding joy and pride in doing things themselves rather than hiring it done... these types of things are so valuable, and not just to the pocketbook. I hope these little lessons stick around.
* It really will end.
Photo by: Antonio Illardo