Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fulfillment Frugality and Assigning Price Tags

The sign in the bakery where I ate lunch today said that flour costs were skyrocketing because of the increased agricultural demand for corn-based ethanol.

The other day at the grocery store, while buying fruit, I overheard a gentleman joke that he thought he could grow rich just by planting a nectarine tree, given their outrageous price.

I watch the price tags of these items as an interested learner. If there is any value in being frugal, then I need to learn that which is worth its high price tag and that which should best be ignored. This is hard for me because I tend to just buy things and not worry about their cost.

In contemplation of economic frugality, which is of minimal interest to me, I have found myself expanding my thoughts of price tags to the consideration of life at large. Specifically I have coined a phrase in my mind: "fulfillment frugality."

"Fulfillment frugality" is simply a statement of my observation that the people who are most fulfilled in this life have something in common - they know the pursuits of life that are worth a high price and those that are worth a cheap price.

It seems like people who have figured out life put a really expensive price tag on relationships. They pour their time, energy, devotion and investments into friendships, community, harmony with the land, family, hard work and development of character.

These same fulfilled people, however, put a cheap price tag on the pursuit of wealth, vanities, the accumulation of possessions and personal glorification.

In other words, people who are fulfilled in the way they live life, are frugal. They have simply learned what is worth a high price tag in life and what is best assigned a cheap one.

This assignment of value often gets so disordered. Entropy would have us buy cheap relationships and expensive vanities only to arrive at the end of our days completely bankrupt of fulfillment.

In avoidance of this end, we must learn to properly assign price tags and practice the virtue of frugality.