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When is Enough Enough?

A friend of mine, for as long as I can remember, would say, "A loaf of bread costs what it costs, and you can eat only so much bread. Why would you buy more bread then you could ever use?". In my younger years I would chuckle to myself. She had gotten married at a young age, and had children shortly thereafter. Budgeting was a necessity, and trust me, she went through some tough financial times. Me? I was in my early twenties at the time, and well, was not at all budget focused. It was more fun spending money as soon as it came in, and trust me, during those years I was earning just enough to get by, maybe. If I had a bit left over, out I went.
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Of course my friend's statement was somewhat rhetorical. With freezers and canning, etc., stocking up is not a bad thing, especially when something is on special. The other part of that is being able to budget in ways that allows you to take advantage of sale items as they occur. The more important underlying message of her statement was to be content with what you have; family, friends, love. Food on the table doesn't have to be high end expensive meals; the best meals I've had involve low-cost meals that take a bit of planning, but are tasty; legume based soups, chili, you get the idea.

I did eventually crack down and became much more focused on thrifty living. I even drove my mom nuts.

"Where did you get that outfit?"

"The thrift store."

"You bought how much chicken backs and necks for soup stock?"

She would shake her head, wondering how of her five children, I was the one who ended up taking her (and my friend's) lessons to heart.

I am not special. I did grow up though. I matured, and realized that I truly enjoyed the challenge of not racking up consumer debt after I had paid it all off. I have a wonderful husband, who is like-minded when it comes to thrifty living. I have been able to take early retirement last year, just before my 56th birthday. We do not live in a fancy home, but what we have is comfortable, and suits are needs. And we eat simple but lovely meals.

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February 24, 20161 found this helpful

Good thoughts you're sharing, here. There has to be a starting point and some people never find it. Those living from paycheck to paycheck will never get ahead.

If you have to, start slowly...or maybe with just one item. An example would be a favorite canned food. If it's on sale and you can afford to, buy enough to last you til it comes on sale again. Over time, you could keep adding non perishable goods this way til you get to the point you never pay full price for non perishables, again.

This same simple method works well with other items, as well. I think a good rule for beginners at the 'frugal game' would be, where practical, to never pay full price for any item if it can be avoided.

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People in other countries look at our wastefulness and shake their heads. We can become more conservative on our own or in time we will have no choice. Make a choice while you can.

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April 3, 20161 found this helpful

I like to have a couple of the food items we use all the time, such as butter, almond milk, juice, on hand so if we run out, it doesn't require a trip (7 miles round trip) to the store. However, you can be penny-wise and pound foolish. One of my neighbors was like that. Years ago, we were walking one morning and she told me that she'd bought "20 pounds of bananas" the day before. There were only 3 in her family. I asked her how in the world they could eat 20 pounds of bananas before they went bad.

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Long story short--she made banana bread with walnuts, gave us one for Christmas, I bit down on a walnut hull, had to have not one, but two root canals on that tooth, and eventually had to have it pulled and a titanium implant put in.

Her 20 pounds of bananas cost me thousands in dental work. But, I never told her.

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