Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Alpha and Omega of Consumerism

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, but I NEED a Kitchen!

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we just have to buy something new. If nobody ever did, the world would be a very, very sad place, indeed. For a start, there would be no jobs for anyone because we were all making do, mending and producing/growing our own. I applaude those who have the wherewithal to oil the wheels of industry on a daily basis, but they are the opposite extreme from us frugalers. One might go as far as suggest that we can't live without one another - it's like the alpha and omega of consumerism. We help reduce their carbon footprints and lower the national averages across many spectrums, and I certainly don't mean intelligence! The spending habits of some simply beggar belief!
For many, buying new isn't an option. This may not necessarily be down to a lack of finances, it is possible that it's entirely down to a lifestyle choice. Given the freedom of choice and limitless cash reserves, I'd have a completely eco-friendly, warm, self-sustainable home with the capability to generate its own renewable energy , a permacultured garden that produced sufficient food to sustain the household and a readily available source of good firewood, coppiced annually from my own woodland. This, however, is not the real world of frugal living, or at least not as far as Frugaldom is concerned. Indeed, few I know can afford such luxuries.
Back in the real word, differentiating between needs and wants has never been so focused!
  • I need a basic kitchen for food storage, meal preparation and cleaning up (dishes, laundry etc).
  • I want a spacious, well-laid out, solid wood, cosy, all singing, all dancing, farmhouse style kitchen complete with solid-fuel range, separate utility room and laundry etc, etc, etc... you get the dream scenario picture.
Kitchen Creation Goes Into Full Swing!
It's been 17 months since we moved into Thrift Cottage and our second Christmas here is looming on the horizon. This Christmas, however, we'll be watertight and have properly fitting windows, and hopefully a kitchen...
The relevant room is about 8' x 15' and now contains the two salvaged kitchen units ( single and a double, both without doors), a piece of salvaged worktop and the basic essential white goods and appliances.
No amount of asking has resulted in being offered any old kitchen units, although a frugaler friend offered a selection of wooden doors. (Thanks, JB.) There were hopes for saving the old kitchen sink here, but close inspection dictates otherwise - it's badly rusted on the underside, the clips have corroded, the wrong mixer tap has been fitted and it doesn't have correctly fitting waste pipes, so it all needs replacing. With this in mind, when you see a bargain, you need to act fast. He who hesistates is lost in the bargain buying stakes, that's for sure!
Having spotted my prey - a herd of unsuspecting flatpack kitchen cabinets, complete with doors, handles and worktops - I pounced. Success! There's even a new kitchen sink among my recent catches and the first of the cabinets have arrived - from Argos!
Flatpacks are now being put together and, instead of costing an estimated £4,000 to have a new kitchen delivered and fitted, I should be able to complete this entire project for about one fifth of that amount and be happy with the end result. A kitchen is a basic necessity and it's one that is needed on a daily basis, practically every day of our lives. I feel it was the frugal thing to do in purchasing some fresh, clean new units.
The salvaged units without doors have the curtains from previous kitchen hanging across them and I do have the missing knob off the cooker - it was simply removed to remind me of which ring doesn't work. I spied my 'ideal' cooker, in lieu of the solid-fuel range that I'd have loved, but, at around £899, it's price tag is less than tempting. Besides, I've still the flooring, window dressings, tiling and painting to do! For now, we have the last of the magnolia trade paint on the walls and 3 boxes of rehomed tiles waiting to go along the back wall to provide a splashback.
Believe it or not, the above is all very exciting in the world of frugaldom. There's a deep sense of satisfaction comes from each challenge successfully met, regardless of how small that challenge might be to others.
To find out more about any of the associated frugal living or working challenges being planned for 2013, join us online at http://frugaldom.myfreeforum.org where you can take part in the conversations, share your own hints and tips or just enjoy being with like-minded individuals who think striving for debt and mortgage free living while reducing, reusing and recycling are the right things to do. It isn't self-imposed poverty, it's a means to an end and a lifestyle most of us grow to love, regardless of bank balances.


  1. well done you, can't wait to see the finished room.


  2. Thanks, Gill. It'll be a while before it's finished but I'll be happy with 'serviceable in time for Christmas 2012'. :)

  3. You've managed so well with just the basics for so long it will be wonderul to see you with a fully functioning, working kitchen again.

    I've been in a similar situation in the past, down to a single cold tap jutting out from aplasterless wall, with no units and no table, each and every step in the direction of a 'real' kitchen was wonderful.

    Sometimes it's good to go so back to basics it makes us appreciate what we do eventually end up with.

    Well done you for managing without complaint for all this time.

    Sue xx

  4. Thanks, Sue, although I'd be extremely frugal with the truth if I said I'd never complained about it, especially when looking at how much extra food shopping costs when you haven't anywhere to prepare it all from scratch. Still, you know how good it feels with each step closer to completion, so you'll understand my mounting excitement with each new piece of work surface that appears. :)

    Hope all is well with you and I will take the time to catch up with blog soon.

  5. "Alpha and omega of consumerism" - what a terrific phrase! If it weren't for all the people who bought clothes, hardly wore them, then gave them to the charity shop, I would not be able to afford to dress as well as I do! Thank you, alpha consumers!

  6. I feel your pain at trying to bring all this together - in our world it's a bathroom that we're trying to get to grips with sorting at the moment. So many different bits that all need dragging together though, and a tighter than tight budget!

  7. Thank you for your comments. :)

    Robyn, the bathroom (showerroom) here will get completed one day, I'm just not sure when. It has everything needed to make it serviceable, so it'll 'do' for now. I hope your bathroom situation is one that still allows for use of existing facilities? Doing without running water was the biggest trial here. LOL

  8. Apologies for allowing a spammer to get through, guess that's the risk we take when allowing comments, but he's gone now. :)


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