cheap geeks, frugal geeks, penny pinching family,

On Being a Frugal Geek

Family GeekMom
cheap geeks, frugal geeks, penny pinching family,
Cheap geek confessions. (Morguefile)

There are plenty of assumptions about what geeks do. We own the most advanced technology. We see the latest movies, watch the newest series on subscription channels, play the most recently released video games. We’re into cosplay and wouldn’t miss Maker Faire. If we collect anything, it’s probably awesomely obscure and sure to gain in value.

All these interests cost money.

For a short time (very very short) I almost fit that stereotype. But stark economic realities made penny pinching essential. I assumed I could afford such geeky indulgences once I got past pricey milestones like college, marriage, and new babies. Didn’t happen. Turns out sick kids, unemployment, and falling down houses are also expensive. Instead, all these years I’ve been geeking out on frugality itself. I garden, preserve food, make homemade cheese, sew, repurpose, and concoct herbal remedies that look so vile my household prefers to stay healthy. I’ve advanced my career with little more than a not-so-new computer and a drive to research. My kids have been dragged to every free concert and science program available, and know area nature preserves like their own backyard. They’ve become Makers almost entirely out of necessity, turning scrap parts into geeky marvels. My entire family has a serious library addiction and because every one of us gets way into passions like forensics, turbocharger modifications, bagpipe playing, arachnid study, and advanced plasma welding techniques our dinner table conversations are strangely fascinating.

We’re geeks all right, just frugal geeks. Maybe you are too. Mainstream assumptions about geeks don’t define us. As you’ll notice, the GeekMom “about” page agrees,

Being a geek is a state of mind, and that state of mind leads us to intensely explore our interests and approach the world with endless curiosity. When we want to get involved in something cool, we get really involved. In other words, we get geeky about it.

I know the research shows that frugal living benefits kids. And I believe that living simply is good for the planet. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like a few standard geek perks, some day. More movies, newer gadgets, and the bucks to finally get to Maker Faire. While I’m dreaming, I’d like an invisible bike helmet too.

How does living frugally affect your geeky interests?

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4 thoughts on “On Being a Frugal Geek

  1. This is awesome, Laura!! I try to be as frugal as I can, when I can. Some of the same issues have put our family in that position. Also, the whole planet thing… I always feel so guilty about so much waste. I have to admit though, I could do A LOT better. I really WISH that I was more of a sewing geek or a garden geek… I just can’t seem to master either one. That said, I do have some rockin’ lettuce going right now. I hope I don’t jinx myself, but maybe this will be my year. 🙂

  2. This is great, Laura. Right there in the frugal boat with you. My son loves to build costumes. He peruses costume-making boards and sees all of these fabulous, Hollywood quality costumes that cost big bucks to make. Since we’re on a budget, instead of buying stock parts, he’s constantly searching the local thrift stores for parts that will work. I love teaching the lesson about being frugal AND the fact that he’s learning creative problem solving skills.

  3. YES. I’m glad you posted this– I get so tired of the “of COURSE the TRUE geeks see every movie in the theater/ buy all the latest gadgets/ go to all the cons/etc” stuff!

    Obviously I’m a library geek– the AMOUNT one can geek out about things cheaply with only a library card! Not only books on every subject, but DVDs of TV shows to marathon and music CDs to explore music and all sorts of databases– our library even has access to online continuing education classes!

  4. We just pick and choose what is most important to us. Movies come in 3 flavors for us…must see at a theater, will rent later, and who cares? For the must see movies, we go to the first showing on Sunday mornings. The crowd is small and the price is nearly half of a Saturday night ticket. We use the library often. We tend to buy the last generation of gadgets when we buy them at all. Amazing how the prices drop when the next gen gadget comes out. We go in on family ticket packs for the Makers Faire (or whatever event we want to see), or buy early. We eat homemade foods a lot, and only own 1 car. Those are the major things. The biggest money saver is that my kids are all adults now. LOL

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