My Frugal Life: Of Misers and Motherhood

October 21, 2011

A pile of shredded paperHis independent publisher's stomach turned wrong-side-out and I, a freelance journalist, turned a flip, when my father shared the title of his self published book "The Miser's Muniment." In the mid eighties, with freewheeling credit within the reach of practically everyone, hardly anyone was interested in reading about misers. In addition, who would understand what the word "muniment" meant or even be willing to look it up?


So to appease we less literate moderns, he defined the word in his introduction. A muniment is an old English word, derived from Latin, meaning a defense, or a fortification protected by walls. In law, muniment means a writing by which rights are defended.

At the time of his writing, the walls of libraries were covered, floor to ceiling with the efforts and thoughts of dreamers. But there was scant little to educate a young person on how to go out into the world and gather his food from the supermarket, seek his shelter at the real estate office and select his wheels from the General Motors showroom.

He claimed young people were being sent out into the modern jungle without the skills they needed to survive. As a wife and mother, I have sought to warn against the TV huckster "deals" that have caught the attention of my husband and sons. I am careful to go through the mail, shredding all the credit card offers, that my family can ill afford.


As far back as the 1870's, when a general income tax was being debated in American politics, it was pointed out that 90 percent of the nation's wealth was concentrated in the hands of less than 10 percent of the population, mostly located in the Northeastern, industrialized states. The obvious answer was to tax the top 10 percent, and redistribute the wealth among the 90 percent. There was an alternative, however, that no one seemed to consider. That is, to allow the ten percent to keep their moldy old money and educate the clueless 90 percent about how to hang onto theirs.

Now, over a century later, with only scant economic improvement across the board, it has been discussed that democracy itself might have to be squelched in order to bring more equality into the economic system. Democracy does not have to die. Capitalism does not have to be dissolved. The nation can stand on the same foundation that Thomas Jefferson envisioned that it would have to stand upon - public education.


That is why, I, the daughter of a miser and a mother of sons who I seek to economically educate, am excited to be a part of ThrifyFun!

By Vivian P.

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