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I’ll be me. And you can be you.

This is something I’ve been thinking about lately, partly because of Gretchen Rubin’s writings, partly because of conversations with friends, partly because we’ve been on a Myers-Briggs kick around here (I’m an ISFJ), and probably because of some other things I’m not remembering right now!

Oh, and also because of our math and history conversations last week here on the blog.

story of the world

One of Gretchen Rubin’s mantras is, “Be Gretchen.” by which she means that she wants to give herself permission to be who she is without trying to be someone else.

(Just because her friend likes acupuncture doesn’t mean she has to like acupuncture and there’s no need to feel guilty about that.)

Of course, in order to adopt a “Be myself.” mantra, you have to know yourself, and the Myers-Briggs profiles have been making me think about that.

Realizing what makes me tick helps me do a better job of being myself and of creating a life that works for me.

I’ve always had kind of a “Do what works for you.” mentality, but learning more about my personality and other people’s personalities has solidified that way of thinking even more.

blooming forsythia

I like to stay home, and a friend likes to go out.

I recharge by being alone, others recharge by being around people.

I like quiet, others like noise.

None of these things are wrong and none of them are morally superior to the others.   They’re just different.

Of course, because I am me, all this ruminating has meandered over into the arena of frugality, as I’ve been thinking about how knowing yourself and being yourself can help you figure out how best to save money.

chalkboard menu in dining room

A friend of mine and I were discussing menu planning this weekend, and she was telling me how if she tries to plan ahead, she gets a mental block and takes forever figuring out what to make, whereas if she just thinks of ideas the day of, she can get the deciding and cooking done way faster.

I am the COMPLETE opposite.

If I don’t plan a menu, mental block hits.

And the closer I get to dinnertime without a plan, the less my brain functions, until I’m all, “I CAN’T COOK ANYTHING. I ONLY KNOW HOW TO MAKE TOAST. AAAAAAAHHH!”

So for me to function well, menu planning is really important.

For my friend, it’s important not to menu plan.

leftovers with a fried egg

And really, I think both ways are just fine.

I’m not better because I plan and she’s not better because she doesn’t plan. We’re just different and we’re doing what works for us.

If you approach frugality this way, I think you can make frugality a lot more enjoyable.

(Especially if you’re in a place where you have choices and saving every single penny isn’t necessary for survival.)

For instance, I like shopping thrift stores and clearance racks, buying second hand stuff online, baking bread, painting (furniture, walls, frames!), refashioning, using the library, and investing in long-lasting items (a long-run frugal strategy.)

homemade whole wheat sandwich bread

I do not like couponing, keeping my heat at 60 degrees, or line-drying my laundry.

(I did manage to do all three of those things when it was necessary for survival, but I dropped them when we got a little more budget wiggle room.)

There are frugal people who hate shopping at thrift stores, but love line-drying their laundry.


And there are frugal people who hate baking but love couponing.

I used to feel vaguely guilty for my lack of love for line-drying, but I’m at peace with it now. I save money and resources in a lot of other ways, and giving up line-drying has increased my life happiness significantly.

If you’re feeling guilty because thrifting doesn’t blow your hair back, or because you haven’t the smallest desire to bake your own bread, give yourself that same grace.

It’s ok.   Really, it is.

We don’t all have to be good at the same things, and we don’t all have to love the same things.

(No one can possibly be good at everything and love everything!)

The important thing is to live within your means and manage your money responsibly, and there are a zillion ways to do that well.


What does you being you look like when it comes to frugality?

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Brooke Hart

Sunday 9th of April 2017

I have spent most of my life trying to fill the expectations of others . Sadly they may have been disappointed and I was way to busy to be happy . One day I walked away and changed every aspect of my life. Times are simple and there are very few worries. The house and car are paid for. Our living expenses low. All our needs and most of our wants are met. I certainly don't live the life I left, but my stress is non existent. The simple life has no worries. Frugality I have down pat . Each day I try to judge no one and be gentle to myself.


Monday 4th of May 2015

Man, this is totally what I've been mentally grappling with in my head and on my blog this week. I'm such a systems person and I'm just owning it now. Yes, people may think I'm a weirdo for having so much planned out and my routines so structured. But, if it makes me feel like I've got a handle on things, then I gotta just let go of what others think. I'm the only one who has to live in this household, with these people and this to do list. I'm an INFJ, by the way... :-)


Monday 4th of May 2015

Yes. To some people, it looks like we're being control freaks when we plan things out. But really, it's about organizing our lives in ways that work for us. Some people need structure and others don't, and it's smart to embrace who you are and build a life that works well for you!


Saturday 2nd of May 2015

Gosh, I love this post! We are blessed to be in a place that we do not need to stretch every penny but even when we were in heavy debt payoff mode (I'm looking at you, student loans), there were some things that just boggled my mind. I remember reading a post on a frugal website suggesting you cut your child's milk with half water and make your own contact lens solution. It was good for me to read because it made me stop and really evaluate our goals and how much we were willing to do to meet those. This isn't so much about frugality but motherhood/life. Things I just don't do:

- Scrapbooking. I *love* looking at the scrapbooks my friends have created. I, however, absolutely despise scrapbooking. I've tried traditional and I've tried digital and I dislike both. I do enjoy blogging and Instagram, however, so my kids will be receiving books that I have printed from my Instagram account or blog each year. - The gym. When I was single I went to the gym several times a week. I never enjoyed it. I finally realized my "thing" is walking and thankfully it's an exercise I can (hopefully) do for the rest of my life. And I don't have to pay for it! - Air conditioning. I will go without food before I swelter in my own house. I can say this confidently because I lived off one loaf of bread and peanut butter in college several times but always had the thermostat on a comfortable (to me) setting. - Time consuming meals during the week. Both my husband and I work full time and I used to feel a lot of guilt if I didn't have these great, perfectly balanced sit-down meals with the family. I'm trying really hard to let go of that and focus instead on spending less time cooking and more time visiting with my kids. Applesauce with quesadillas and canned beans has become a perfectly acceptable quick meal in our house. :-) - Messy crafts. I get a lot of flak from other moms about this but I just don't do or allow messy crafts inside the house. It sends me into orbit which makes the entire family miserable. Our kids are welcome to get dirty and make a mess outside but there will be no painting, play-doh, glitter crafts etc. in the house.

I used to worry my kids would look at their friends' moms and think, gosh, Mom doesn't do A, B, C. But then I realized that all of us have our sweet spots. My kids won't have adorable scrapbooks, glitter art or many other crafty mementos but they are blessed with a mom who has excellent organizational skills, a true passion for education and life-long learning and loves them to the moon and back.


Saturday 2nd of May 2015

I appreciate your perspective here, Kristen. I haven't read your blog in a while, and am a huge student of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I used to read your blog regularly and would have guessed with great confidence that you would test as ISTJ. Interesting that you're an ISFJ. I think your high level of confidence (that you referenced regarding privilege) tripped me up on your T vs F. Most Fs are less certain of their choices than your posts in the past have revealed. It makes sense that your confidence stems from a happy and confidence-building childhood. Happy you're delving into Myers-Briggs and will look for future posts about it. Thanks!


Saturday 2nd of May 2015

What's interesting is that occasionally, a test will say I'm an F rather than a T. And usually I'm not heavily tilted toward one or the other (whereas every single time, I'm heavily I and J.)


Thursday 30th of April 2015

So very insightful. It's so easy to feel like you have to do everything. Before I became a mom, I was very settled into my own skin. Now that I have three other little lives depending on me, I sometimes fall into the trap of feeling like I need to do everything that's out there to give them the best chance. It's emotionally and financially draining to live that way. Really, I just need to enrich their lives in the ways that I am best at and happiest doing. Being the best version of myself is the way to be the best mom to them. I needed this reminder this morning. Thank you.

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