Being frugal has always been part of my life. My Mom had a chronic illness and had to stay at home. Our family lived on what my father made at a non-union factory job. We definitely used it up, wore it out or did without.
When I got married I continued to be frugal. I worked nights part time so I could be home with the kids. Clothes were second hand, homemade or altered to fit. Stretching dollars became a game. The kids learned early that they could have expensive clothes, toys, etc. if their father worked hours away from our country home. They chose to have him around.
Now that the recession has hit we are making it. We don't have to give up what we never needed in the first place. Our kids are grown. The house is paid off. We don't have a fancy TV or expensive cars. The closets are not filled with designer clothes. We can sleep at night.
We continue to be frugal so the recession is nothing that shocking to our budget. I feel for those who had to keep up with the Joneses and now are losing the roofs over their heads. It's a hard lesson learned.
Pat from PA
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I totally agree with you. While I was growing up my parents had to be frugal since my father was a blue-collar worker. Also times were tough when my husband and I got married, and we never believed in living up with the Joneses. We owned three 3-bdr. homes in our lifetime and last year we sold our last house. We are now living in a 2-bdr. apartment and we are happy as two larks. We don't have the continuous upkeep on a house, and we don't have to cut grass or even shovel snow. We can come and go as we please.
We sold most of our household furniture. We have a small portable TV and a vehicle that's a gas-miser. We live a simple life, and we're very content.
Matthew 16: 26: What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
I lived similarly, and raised my kids that way, as well as a few of my grandchildren, but I feel sorry for people who don't even know what we mean. Yes there's the shock factor going on, but what of the small children and the
younger parents who don't have any idea where to start.
There has been such a spin on credit, debt, etc these last couple of decades, people only know they can't afford something when they run out of money.
There is a mentality that equates living small with failure. If you live in a small house- or even a medium size house- it is a starter home or a retirement home. You're on your way in or your way out. I choose not to spend my life acquiring and taking care of material possessions I don't need and which do not add meaning to my existence.
That's the key. You can sleep at night! It says it all!
It is very difficult to not be stressed when you have to worry about making the bills (I'm seeing this in my family). Yet some don't have a problem with just pulling out the plastic for any old thing (I know because I've done it).
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