But being frugal is not about seeing a bunch of awesome and popular things that you desperately want, and then having enough discipline to deprive yourself of them. Rather, it’s more of a state of mind where you really don’t want the things as much in the first place. The frugal guy or gal is a very tough critic for any new “must have” products, and shopping habits are governed by patience, a quest for utility, and a focus on value. If you took a top 10 list of most desired gadgets and offered me them all for free, I might actually decline. In terms of material possessions, I have pretty much everything I need to make me happy.
But there is one major drawback to being frugal. You’re a major buzzkill to shop for when your birthday or Christmas rolls around. Your family knows you’re a hardy critic when analyzing the real need and usefulness of an item, and you’re probably going to look at anything they buy you with a raised eyebrow.
But I just celebrated a birthday, and I got one of the awesomest gifts ever. What in the world could it be, this gift for the man who has everything?
My Prized 25 Pound Asset
One of the greatest assets any of us have is time, and spending it with others is its best use by far. This makes it hard, though, when you face losing one who is close to you, and you realize how short shared time with loved ones can be.
One of my family members unfortunately has very few years of life left. He’s not terminally ill, though, or even in bad health. He’s a dog, a Welsh Corgi named Bamble.
When Bamble was a very young dog, we punted a soccer ball once and it instantly clicked in his head. The ball was a sheep he needed to herd. He loved it more than almost anything else – more than walks, more than squeaky toys, more than eating, sleeping, or breathing. We’d have to stop and hide the ball to get him to drink and rest. It was great to see the joy he felt when he played, and it was incredibly fun to play with him.
But after a short while, he started to bite. Seems that Welsh Corgis can tend to do that when herding – they give a little nip to a sheep to get it to go where they want. He’d rip a few parts of the ball loose, and that’d give him a great grip to bite some more. After a while he’d pierce the bladder and bring me back a sad, squashed thing that looked like leftovers from a great white shark. I tried long and hard to train him out of it, but after scores of destroyed soccer balls and a lot of frustration (plus some major angst when he ate my son’s soccer ball), I decided we had to stop.
But ever in my mind, I thought how nice it’d be to play with him again. Even though we stopped long ago, any mention of “soccer” still makes his ears perk up and a look of hope fill his eyes. He’ll be 10 in January, so I know his window of good health is shutting.
What I really needed was a soccer ball that could somehow withstand Bamble’s punishment.
What Do Conflict Zones and Corgis Have In Common?
It turns out that a rugged soccer ball is handy for more than just a sharp toothed Corgi. Soccer (or football / futbol as it’s known everywhere else) is the most global sport, and it’s played everywhere, including very poor and troubled parts of the world. The problem is a traditional soccer ball doesn’t last long at all in a really tough environment. Thorns, rocks, and other harsh conditions can kill a ball in minutes. Just like Bamble. Despite gajillions of balls donated each year to areas of need, there is always a shortage. Countless girls and guys around the world would be made so much happier if they just had a simple ball to play with, but they don’t.
So an entrepreneur was inspired to create the One World Futbol:
“One World Futbol inventor Tim Jahnigen was inspired to create the ball after watching news footage of kids in Darfur playing a soccer game using a ball of trash tied up with twine. At that moment, Tim realized there was a global need for a nearly indestructible ball that could withstand the harsh conditions faced by youth living in refugee camps, disaster areas and other disadvantaged communities. He set out to design a ball that played like a “real futbol,” but would never wear out, never go flat, never need a pump.”
You had me at nearly indestructible.
And it was this magical ball that was handed to me by my beloved missus on my birthday.
The best thing was that as soon as I said I could play soccer with Bamble with it, he shot out of bed (where he spends much of his time nowadays) and looked like the soccer dog of old. He knew something exciting was happening, and we looked at each other like a couple of little kids on Christmas morning.
Wake Up the Echoes
As I learned more about my awesome new gift, the excitement grew. A ball that could survive being run over by a truck, or being mauled by a lion, should be able to work with my little Welsh Corgi, right?
Comparing it to the very early days of Bamble’s love affair with soccer, he doesn’t seem to have lost a step.
It’s awesome to play with him and see him filled with so much joy. The most wonderful thing is that I don’t get frustrated about him biting it. Even if I could afford to buy a brand new traditional ball every week, watching him destroy it would be painfully annoying and take a lot of the enjoyment away. With this ball, I don’t care. I still try to train him not to bite, but it’s a minor and positive part of our carefree soccer fun.
How Can a Frugal Person Enjoy a $40 Soccer Ball?
Frugal is not about being cheap. It’s about avoiding waste and getting huge value from everything you purchase.
Frugal can be mistaken for cheap because the behaviors overlap – cheap people are loath to buy anything, and frugal people only buy things that give great value. Once you get rid of things that you don’t really need, or you’re not going to use, or you’re buying to impress other people, you’re left with a pretty short list. Things like fancy electronics, high-end cars, and designer clothes all drop off very quickly.
Since time, especially with loved ones, is such a precious asset, anything that enhances it flies right through whatever filters a frugal person might have. If you want to be frugal, and get the very most out of whatever you spend, buy things that bring you together with friends and make your shared time special. Things like a board game, a bottle of wine (remember you need to share), a sports league, travel. Or an indestructible soccer ball.
I thought I had everything I needed. But this gift allows me to do something I love with my dog in his final years, and to this very frugal person, that’s priceless.
One nice thing about the One World Futbol is that they donate a ball to some disadvantaged area for every one that is purchased. It’s great to think that there’s a bunch of kids kicking around a ball made possible by the gift that I (and Bamble) received, and they’ll likely have it for a very long time.
But no matter how harsh the conditions they’re facing, I’ll bet their ball looks a bit better than mine.