Last week a friend gave me a fundraising toy catalogue to browse for Christmas and I made the mistake of giving it to the little fella to look at.
For the rest of the afternoon all he said was “I want that one. Mummy can we bring this one home.” For EVERY item in the catalogue.
And, because I didn’t have the sense to hide the darn thing, it was all he said the next day too until I was ready to flip out (believe me, I’ve learnt my lesson).
One particular toy the little fella was interested in was the toy petrol pump pictured above.
When he asked me for the millionth time if he could have it, instead of flipping out I took a deep breath and was inspired to say “You know what, we can make that.”
This is what we threw together:
Now don’t laugh.
It’s no work of art, I know. What it does have going for it is that it took me less than two minutes to make, which is important when you’ve got an impatient two year old and a baby who wants attention. And let’s be honest, a two year old isn’t interested in whether a toy is ‘pinnable’ he just wants to play with it already.
For the rest of the week (because yes, I still hadn’t hidden the catalogue), the little fella now asked “Can we make this? Can we make this?”
And I could say yes! yes we can. And truly, there were not many items that we couldn’t make ourselves, given a little ingenuity, a few boxes and a lot of cardboard toilet rolls.
In the end I’m glad I left him with that catalogue. It gave me an opportunity (albeit an accidental one) to downplay buying stuff and instead encourage creativity and ingenuity. Even if it’s me doing the creating at the moment, I’m hoping the habit will encourage his own creativity as he gets older.
Because, despite common perception, being frugal isn’t about deprivation or going without, it’s about meeting our needs and wants creatively. Frugality empowers us to say YES!, to have the things we want by finding creative solutions that don’t waste money or resources.
Creating things ourselves is the harder path to take but one that is much more satisfying. With a creative mind and a few boxes there are endless possibilities and little room for dissatisfaction.
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.