Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Wednesday, A frugal lifestyle memories

 As you all know I love to read financial blogs and watch money saving vlogs.  I find them interesting, even though they all say the same things.  Most of the lists are already things I do or know.

I remember reading Amy Dacycyn? years ago that wrote the Tightwad Gazette.  I was surprised to find that there were not many things that she did to save money that I was  not already doing.   There were also things that she did to save money that I would never do.  Such as send a bag of popcorn as a snack for your child's lunch.  She showed a picture of her child's typical lunch and I did the mental calorie count and it was not enough calories to keep a growing child from becoming hungry especially if the breakfast was oatmeal.  I bet her kids were all skinny.  I am frugal but I am not a tightwad.

My mother in law is a tightwad. She never made enough food to feed her growing kids, she served burned and inedible food. She dressed them in horrible clothes, that made them hate going to school.  But she also made sure they had lessons and encouraged them in their talents. Hubs was and still is an excellent musician and his teachers were the best the music school had to offer.  The tuxedo he wore was an embarrassing moth eaten mess.  It was one of the first things I destroyed when we got married. She still does things that make her life so much harder and she has money.  But they are habits. She has a really hard time spending any money, it is painful for her. I do not want to be like that.

I also don't want to go back to living like I was when we were deep in debt. I was and have always been frugal in some ways, but also very bad at managing my money. Actually we never had any to manage.  When we had so much debt all I did was work, work, work, at every job that would bring in a chunk of money.  Always chasing the next 1000 dollars to get ahead of the monster.  I was afraid to open the mail. We were constantly behind and playing catch up.  Christmas and vacations made me ill.  The stress was awful. 

 I remember years and years of writing out the budget every month and then tallying the bills and even without gas of groceries in the budget we would be $700.00 a month in the red.  No gas money and no grocery money.  Thank goodness for my Sissie, who dressed me and the girls.  She paid for the girls braces, summer camps, and many extras. I learned to make a silk purse out of a sows ear.

What if the Credit card was declined?  What if the car broke down? What if there was a major home repair?  What if? What if?

We always took the kids to the Oregon coast every year.  We stayed in the most awful hotel for 17 years straight.  We had a small kitchenette and cooked all meals there.  We did nothing touristy.  We could not afford it.  But the kids loved it, longs walks, bike rides and fresh seafood.  They never knew how stressful this time of year was for me.  Hubs always got 3 paychecks in July and I had to keep that vacation the price of one of those paychecks.It is hard to keep a week long vacation under $800.00 for a family of 5 but we did it. Things are so much better now. Boy did I develop habits to save money, but still anything we could not afford was put on a payment plan or a charge card.

Two things I would not charge, were groceries and gas. I knew these were never ending expenses and I just found a way to pay for them.  Now we use the CC for gas to pay at the pump, but it is paid off every month.

We always had a huge garden and we lived off that in the summer.  I cooked so much from scratch. It wasn't that we never went to McDonalds or out to pizza, it was just rare. I made all the girls prom dresses.  If I could make it, recover, it, paint it, I did.

I love to read The Prudent homemaker.  She has this theory that you can always find someway to cut your budget more.  I certainly learned that.

My daughter's always laughed at me, because when parents were dropping off snacks and dinners  at after school activities,  I would come in with a loaf of warm bread and peanut butter.  Or a large batch of homemade cookies.  Or a sheet cake.  I did not have $5-6.00 for after school snacks.  But I could make a batch of snickerdoodles for .50. 

 I also was known to bring a wrapped plate of food containing whatever we had for dinner down to the high school for Hubs(he was in the pit) and whatever child was in the show.  Example: (pork chop, baked potato, home canned green beans and a homemade roll, some kind of homemade dessert)  I would keep it hot in a food warming container.  The girls never complained as other kids were jealous, and they usually were able to share whatever snack I brought down for the evening.  I was always looking for a way to do something cheaper.

I sometimes wonder, if I finally had money if I could really relax and spend it.  We certainly have enough.  We have more than enough.  But I do want to be debt free.  I don't want the worry or the hassle of extra bills. DO you think I will ever achieve this?  Have any of you achieved this?  Do you feel financially comfortable? Is it easy or hard for you to spend money?

Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.