As my frequent readers know, I’m all into saving money and time. But sometimes my super frugal, efficient self gets in the way of my higher values of being generous and loving others. For example:

Saving $ – Sometimes we have to spend in order to save. We’ve had solar panels on our house since 2018. It was expensive. We haven’t recouped our full cost yet, but most months we don’t pay any electricity. Eventually the savings will outweigh the installation cost. More importantly, we are investing in clean energy which is our small step to reducing pollution that harms the health of our community. Choosing quality over cheap can be a hard choice, especially if funds are limited, but it’s worth thinking long range. Unfortunately, for the truly economically poor among us, it’s not a choice some people can afford to make. If you can, be grateful AND generous.

Saving Time – I like to multi-task. I feel so much more productive. BUT, for my spiritual wellbeing, I’ve been trying to be more present to the person or immediate task in front of me. This may mean not thinking of what I want to say next, but truly listening to the person in front of me. During Covid, since there aren’t many people physically “in front of me” I’m trying to train myself to pay attention to the simple tasks of getting dressed, eating food, exercising…It doesn’t directly save any time, but I become more present to my daily life rather than cramming more info and tasks into a shorter time.

Saving Lives – Sometimes I fantasize that I should join the Peace Corps, become a missionary in a foreign land, or at least volunteer at a local homeless shelter. I do periodically prepare meals for the local Catholic Worker home guests, but Covid precautions have kept me from directly eating with the guests. I partially justify this by saying, “I’m saving planet earth by working to reduce Single-Use-Plastics (SUPs).” Fine, but my actions are not very dramatic. Besides, although said in jest, it still sounds like I need to let go of pride. A simpler, more modest, but still life-saving action I’ve started to take is to give blood. I’ve got enough to spare and for someone it may be the difference between life and death.

What has helped you save $, time, or a life?