Ever since I started this blog, I’ve sort of had this idea, due to being a Domestic Woman (willingly working part-time to dedicate time at home, no matter the marital status or having children/not) that I’m the only type of person to be doing this.
I do have friends, both offline and online who live this way, though in a broader sense, I never really thought other people would live this way of their own accord.
Simply because, in the Western society I live in, it’s just the norm. To go to work full-time, live on your own as soon as you can and (the current trend is) consuming/spending a lot for your enjoyment, stress relief or to keep up with trends. As some of you would know, I have been through this path, briefly, some years ago and I learned this lesson harshly.
Yet, just upon browsing the local bookstore and seeing some of the personal development books ( a guilty curiosity of mine, yes) I came across a title that amused me. The Art of Frugal Hedonism.
Now – I am a bit skeptical of ‘saving money’ manuals about scrimping and all that.
Though I live a simple life, if there’s anything I hate (yes, hate) is the mentality about scrimping on everything, being too cheap about all aspects of life. That’s called being a cheapskate and people like this not only scrimp on money, they scrimp on things that matter too, like sentiment and the people they love.
The key word is: priority.
Prioritise and spend on what you truly love, not passing fancies or meaningless things (like trends or stress spending, keeping up with the Joneses). The people you love. Scrimp and save on everything else, just not the top of your priorities.
For example: I used to roll my eyes when I’d do grocery shopping with my Dad for the week and he would make a fuss about the unit price for something. So what if this dishwashing liquid is 20c cheaper per 100ml than the other one? It’s 20c!
It’s not about the 20c, he says. He always scrimps on stuff like this.
It all comes together, we’ll enjoy in another way, he replies. When we go on holiday or when we go shopping properly (which we do three to four times a year, not every weekend).
This book, The Art of Frugal Hedonism, understood exactly that.
The idea that you have to be creative and save on the things that are not really important so you can be generous with the things you truly do want.
You also have to really think about what is unimportant, since we are raised in a very consumerist society that raises you to think that all the essentials we have are a basic need, when they’re not. Here are some of these things:
Do you really need a car?
Why not get a bike, a smaller car or try a car sharing service.
Do you just buy food when you’re out alone?
Why not pack your own in your bag.
Do you need a big or typical house?
Why not have less stuff and get a smaller one or live with someone else.
Despite knowing half the stuff in this book already (Asian Dad/family and Asian lifestyle, man) I did learn some new tips and ideas as well! Some of the advice didn’t exactly apply to me (it depends on how comfortable you are with more earthy things and what not) though the authors are more than happy for you to know you can pick and choose what works for you.
What’s best, I love the way this book explores the general idea, Domestic Woman or not, of saving the right way (while giving value to your priorities) if you want to work part-time and simply enjoy your life more with extra time.
I have to admit it, while I believe in someone being at home (if you’re not living by yourself, especially) is wonderful for a work-life balance and equality time, I never really applied it to someone just..wanting more time. Just anyone.
Well, why not?
It’s such a surprising idea from someone in the West who doesn’t come from a domestic background, though I still whole-heartedly agree with it and I want to encourage it.
So Domestic Women out there, grab this book and you’ll get some ideas about saving and prioritising, looking into the ideas behind spending and why people become truly vulnerable even to the most basic of financial standards.
For everyone else, grab this book too anyway, for the exact same reasons!