washingtonpost.com  > Business > Columnists > The Color of Money
Color of Money

Frugality Is Next to Simplicity

By Michelle Singletary
Sunday, September 12, 2004; Page F01

I'm a fraud.

I mistakenly thought I was frugal. I joke that my kids have only two pairs of shoes. (Why do they need more? They have only one pair of feet.) I have trouble telling the difference between the baby pictures of my two daughters because I dressed the younger one in the same outfits as her older sister. (They're five years apart, by the way.) I buy and drive used cars until they need to be pushed off the road.

I thought I was living a simple life -- until I moved.

_____Live Online_____
Michelle Singletary hosts bi-weekly discussions on personal finance issues, such as love and money and kids and finances.
Join The Color of Money Book Club
Pay by the Due Date -- Your Credit Score Will Thank You (The Washington Post, Sep 9, 2004)
Read Michelle's Past Columns
_____Your Money_____
Plan Your Budget
Calculate Your Net Worth
Mutual Funds Report
Personal Finance Report
Track Your Portfolio
Calculate Currency Conversion
_____Investing Columns_____
Washington Investing
The Color of Money
Cash Flow
The Week in Stocks
Personal Finance Special Report

The movers had to make two trips in a moving van the size of a tractor-trailer before my house was empty.

Every closet and corner of my house was stuffed with stuff -- some of which I hadn't used in years.

"Please tell me that's it," one of the movers asked near the end of a 10-hour day of packing.

Well, my move reformed me. I realize now I need to work harder at simplifying my life. I need to get rid of stuff. I need to buy less.

If you want to join me in this simplicity movement, then read September's Color of Money Book Club selection: "Nothing's Too Small to Make a Difference," by Wanda Urbanska and Frank Levering (John F. Blair, $21.95), published last month.

In their quest to simplify their lives, Urbanska and Levering left Los Angeles in 1986 and moved to Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains just north of Mount Airy, N.C., to manage Frank's family orchard.

The authors are part of a network of simplicity advocates who are trying to get all of us to slow down and lessen the environmental impact of our consumption-oriented lifestyle.

CONTINUED    1 2 3    Next >

© 2004 The Washington Post Company