I grew up in a very frugal home. Although both of my parents worked, they were both very frugal and cost cutting. We kids didn't get what we wanted all the time, and we knew not to bug our parents at the store to buy a toy or candy. That is just the way it was. My parents doubled up on mortgage and car payments, usually paying them in half the time and we always seemed to have a new car in the driveway.
I brought this mindset into adult life. Early married life was rough. We were pretty poor. I learned how to reuse and make do. I learned to use half of the detergent, half the meat required, (If we had any meat in the house at all.) My parents did not rescue me. They knew the value of struggle and I am so grateful for that. It taught us self-reliance and independence. There were times when the only times we had meat to eat was when my husband would go hunting, shooting a squirrel or rabbit. We would feel fat and happy if he brought home a deer.
Most everyone in the community we settled in were poor also, so we learned to barter and haggle prices. We found a farmer who would sell his home grown eggs for next to nothing, and we had a lot of egg dishes. The same farmer grew asparagus, green pepper, tomatoes, and many other vegetable items. We couldn't always afford even roadside produce, but we worked on a barter system where I'd work the produce stand for free food. It worked great. I also got free produce when they would be too ripe to be sold. I canned a lot of tomatoes after cutting overripe areas off. I was great in the winter when you could do meatless spaghetti sauce and have it taste like you just picked the tomatoes.
I remember one morning, I was feeling sorry for myself and in my self-pity complained to myself about yet again only having homemade biscuits and homemade jelly. God whispered to me that there are those out there who have plenty, are wealthy and want nothing, but would on this morning give anything for homemade biscuits and homemade blueberry jam. I felt so lucky and provided for after that, and I never forgot about that moment in time. I learned to grab the small blessings and be grateful for whatever I have at that moment.
These days, we have much, but even so, I cannot stop my frugal ways. I have an aversion to wasting anything. I don't use paper towels. I take old T-shirts, cut them up and wash them when they are dirty. Paper towels will never shadow my counters. I refuse to use another tree because I was too lazy to cut, use, then wash a rag.
Most of my friends think I am eccentric. My family thinks it's normal and we congratulate each other when we come up with a new frugal idea. I think we are competitive with each other over our ideas.
By Diane from Saint Joseph, MI
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Good for you and who cares what your friends may think. They may be in debt and have trouble sleeping at night while you sleep like a baby. I'm not quite that frugal but I'm trying real hard. I can't break the paper towel habit because my water bill is high although I water my plants with dishwater and take VERY short showers. I'm trying to eat less meat and do a lot of shopping at the thrift stores. I've cut out snacking between meals; don't need those anyway.
I love the part about God whispering to you about your homemade biscuits and jelly. That's beautiful. And I have to admit while I am not wealthy, they sound delicious & I would like some! I think it's great that you know how to make those things (as I do not but would like to learn!)
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