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My brother sent me a birthday card. The outside of the card showed a man dressed in a gray suit with pants which were about three inches too high which showed his white socks.
The man was holding a chicken. The outside of the card stated "In every family, there are a couple odd characters." On the inside of the card it stated, "Oh look, one of them is having a birthday!"
I deeply love my brother and he feels likewise towards me so I did not take any offense, however I thought that the card was rather odd until I began comparing myself to my family members and I am the odd ball in our family.
I am considered the odd ball in our family as I am frugal. My family cannot believe that I do not take elaborate vacations, that I have not traded in my eight year old car, that I do not buy things from the mall, that I do not buy the latest electronics, that I do not eat at expensive restaurants or buy expensive jewelry.
I am not interested in purchasing an expensive home and then furnishing it with new, expensive furniture. They roll their eyes whenever I tell them of my latest thrift shop find.
They think that my thrift store clothing and shoes are passe' and cannot believe that I could care less about what the latest fashions are as long as I am comfortable.
They were flabbergasted when I gave my television away, but I got sick of looking at all the commercials and allowing the television shows to suck up all of my off work time. I would much rather be reading.
I am content with what I have. I have a comfortable apartment, clean and comfortable clothes and a stable job. I really do not need a lot. I am happy. I am single, without children, but I have Joshua (my miniature Dachshund) who keeps me on my toes and keeps away loneliness.
I am proud of my frugality as it has enabled me to pay off $76,000 in debt in the past two and a half years and I only have two thousand to go until I am debt free! All of my family members are all deeply in debt. So yes I will be the odd ball and I will bear the title proudly!
By Tawnya from Dallas, TX
When I was in the sixth grade, short white leather boots, called go-go boots, were all the rage. All the cool girls got them immediately. Not-so-cool girls got them in rapid succession. In a short period of time, anybody who was anybody had a pair, except for me.
At the time, my father was out of work, and had been for some time. I could hear my parents talking at the kitchen table, when they thought I was asleep, about how they were on the verge of losing the house. I was afraid to ask for money when the ice cream truck came around, much less ask for money for an expensive pair of boots.
As rapidly as the boots rose to the height of fashion, they descended to the status of hopelessly passe. I never did get go-go boots, and I survived. Those boots shaped my view of spending for the rest of my life.
I learned that I was the same person, no matter what possessions I owned. At 11 years old, I decided to spend my money on things that would last. Anything that I thought would be a fad would have to be cheap.
I tend to buy conservative clothing and furniture in neutral colors. The color of the year would be purchased as a scarf, throw pillow or another accessory. If I had gotten those boots, I am sure that I would have forgotten all about them, as did many of my friends who had them.
I owe a lot to those boots. They kicked my feelings of extravagance to the curb!
Keepsakers in my Chitwood line: Camden County Missouri/Durango, Colorado Chitwoods
As I realize with some surprise that spring is here, I also realize that now is the time for deep spring cleaning. Deep spring cleaning is something I have seldom done. Oh, I rearrange things, clean under the furniture as I realize the dreaded dust bunnies have reproduced, you know, that sort of cleaning. But today as I was deciding which never worn clothing to give away, which clutter should be part of my clutter no more, which school things to finally part with after six years in retirement, which vacation pictures I should sort and keep or toss, which art should find a new home, all of these things, then I realized once again that I have that Chitwood gene, the keepsaker gene.
As I walk through our tiny Chitwood house, the one that was built the year I was born, I am amazed to see that there are common little things that have remained the same since the day we moved in. My childhood nightlight, a simple orange single bulb glow, though used almost every night for 70 years, has never needed to be replaced. The stopper in our bathtub, hard rubber, still keeps water in our cast iron tub. The lock on our back door probably predates the house by fifty years, but it still locks our back door every night. The porcelain kitchen sink still bears the many intertwining hairline crack marks left over from burning letters, an unfortunate circumstance that gave our lives a tumble a couple of lifetimes ago. The metal stoppers in those sinks are still the same ones we have always used. The strong wooden front door with three staggered windows is the same one that appears in 70 years of growing up photos for four generations of children. The kitchen table that was ancient when I was a child, the kitchen table that had massive legs was meant to be transformed into a rocking crib for a new baby, but that magnificent crib never transpired so the tables comforting presence is still part of the kitchen memories in our smallish kitchen and the baby for which the crib would have been fashioned is now a grandpa himself. The cupboards simple, not stylish were made by my mother, Tillie Chitwood's brother after the war and have never been updated. Simply varnished back then, still the same varnish today, no not even repainted. The pie cupboard on the back porch is the same one my father, Bud Chitwood lovingly spent hours repairing for my mother. It holds all kinds of household repair necessities at this stage of its life instead of the homemade pies, jellies, jams and relishes that it once held; pies and relishes made from Grandma Daisy's garden out back, and then followed by Tillie Chitwood's preserves in later years.
A couple of years ago, we decided to replace old mattresses just because we never had purchased new ones. To our surprise and to the utter astonishment of the new mattress crew who removed them, those old mattresses along with their springs in the Chitwood home had tags from 1926. Pretty comfortable all in all for so many years, dust mite people would be aghast but there was no scientific evidence about dust mites or purchasing new beds every six years back then. My father, Bud Chitwood, had placed a piece of plywood under each mattress in 1960 or so, sheets were changed once a week and mattresses were dutifully turned every few months. 1926 would be the year my grandparents moved to town from the ranch up the Animas Valley so it makes sense that they splurged on new beds. The old mantle clock from the Chitwood ranch still keeps perfect time, though the ranch, all 160 acres of it, third homestead up the Animas Valley in 1876, did not last three generations. The telephone landline which has remained the same all my life has not been replaced by a smartphone our phone number is still the same one I have had all my life.
Yes, we are keepsakers, we Durango Chitwoods, keepsaking is as much a part of some of us as the Chitwood name, from bathtub plugs to nightlights to telephone numbers. We still are retaining the old and searching for missing pieces of our past to present to the future. We are the keepsakers, the can't tossers who keep our own research energy alive.
What makes someone take up frugal habits? Being independent of "keeping up with the Jones'" as the saying puts it! Going along with the crowd or whatever is "in" at the moment seems to be an indication that one has no individuality!
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
By Pati Mishler
By Robyn Fed
Needless to say, in this economy we all need to get on board and be like you are. Again, needless to say, its the the few of us that become the leaders. The famous people who profess to be frugal, green, etc. are poked fun at but also leaders in their own zones (Bill Gates for example).
I garage sale purchase, most of my wardrobe, household items, etc. How many friends have binge bought to wish they had not? I have lots of Tupperware purchased for a buck or two, new clothing with hang tags, winter coats used 1 season. People call me with their 'needs' and I keep an eye out. Same thing, when I have the extras, I let people know. Right now extra garden veggies to trade out or find someone recently in hospital/long term medical issues, who love the garden stuff, gifted. Same thing when my immediate family goes fishing. We don't eat all fish, so they clean them and offer to elderly neighbors (mostly widows) who love it. Frugal! (07/24/2010)
By Grandma J
By Lois Schmidt
My sister competes with me to see who can get the best bargain on the reduced shelves in the supermarket, and she knows to go to the veg shop just before closing and she'll get all her stuff really cheap- I taught her that! My Dad has started going into charity shops, and was so chuffed to come home with a beautiful pair of smart shoes, in excellent condition, for less than £3!
On the other hand, my brother and his wife have a very good income, but constantly exceed it and worry about money problems. I think I'll stick to my low income and contented lifestyle! One question - what exactly is a thrift store? It's not a term I'm familiar with here in the UK! (07/25/2010)
By sally mazgaj
As you can tell I have not always been frugal in fact I just started changing my money ways and being responsible and frugal about two years ago. So i am so glad that god led me to this website as you all of you are an inspiration and a blessing to me. I have learned and continue to learn so much from each of you! May God Bless each and every one of you! (07/25/2010)
I can't earn a lot of money because I'm disabled, but I'm debt-free. When a beloved relative died, and I inherited money from her life insurance policy, the first thing I did was move to a small town and pay cash for a house, to eliminate a monthly rent/mortgage payment. It's just too stressful to be in debt, especially in these economic times. (07/25/2010)
When I suggested to a young friend that one way to cut expenses so that she could stay home would be to give up cable tv, you'd have thought I suggested she remove an arm! When did stuff become more important that family? It is sad, and I worry for the next generation of kids, who are subtly being taught the stuff is more important than they are. (07/27/2010)
By Cindy Scinto