My Frugal Life: Appreciate What You Have

My entire life I have lived with not having an over-abundance of anything. My mother was a single mom of 3 during the 70's when the state did not bother going after deadbeat dads who did not pay child support. I remember being 7-8 years of age and having only 3 stuffed dolls, a jump rope, and an old laundry basket to play with. My sister and brother were older than I, so they were not home much for me to have someone to play with.


As I got older and moved on my own, I did not own a car and walked everywhere. I did want the convenience of owning a car but not the expense. I bought my first beater car at age 22 for $750 and kept it for 3 years.

At the present time, I am married with 2 children. We seldom have extra money to go out with, so I try to instill in my children to be grateful for what we do have. We have a house (with a mortgage) and cars to take us where we need to go, so we don't have to walk in 100 degree heat or a foot of snow like I did when I was a teenager. I teach my children to be happy we have a roof over our heads and plenty of food on the table.

We live frugally by making homemade products; from laundry detergent to seasonings for food. We rent movies, get them free from the library, or wait until they are on TV to watch them. I have my children help me look through coupons and cut out what we use. I teach them to check prices on items before buying.


I love a good box of chocolates now and then, so during the holidays I will pick up a few boxes when they are less than 50% off and stash them away and they will last 6-8 months if stored well. Of course, I buy clearance or marked down items.

I, myself, have joined different website boards to find new ways to save money by like-minded people and so thankful to have found many!

I lead by example for my children to learn and live by frugality and that it isn't a "bad" thing to be frugal when you have everything you need while receiving a few wants now and then also.

By LisaE from WI

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February 23, 20110 found this helpful

You have put things into perspective very well. My mother having been taught how to be frugal and take care of what you have passed it forward to her children.


One never knows for how long one will need to be tight economically these days and there's people out there that could use your advice. Well said.

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February 23, 20110 found this helpful

I applaud you for teaching by example. Too many people get into horrible debt trying to "keep up with the Joneses" as they say and that does not send the right signals to their children. Thus begins the cycle of getting it now and worrying about it later. I am betting that you spend more quality time with your kids by doing this also. Good for you!

Although my family was "comfortable" there were NO extravagances. Both parents grew up in the Depression, but my father was the saver and my mother was the "spend it today, you may not have it tomorrow" person. Thankfully, my father reigned the home. There was friction to be sure, but we never were without.


I was left as caretaker for my younger sister after abuse split the family, my mother shortly later passing away. I was armed with frugal values and a good work ethic. We didn't have much, but we did not go without. Sure there was the one week where the dogs ate popcorn, but we did, too. We survived.

Dial time forward. I am married to a man that makes a wonderful living, but now that I am a homebody I still "make do". I cook our meals, shop the bargain bins, save laundry until I have full loads, do all of our landscaping, etc, etc. My husband pretty much has to ask for a "date" where we go out for a drink and dinner. He used to be an activity junkie....and, winds up he just wanted to do that to please me. So, now after dinner we snuggle on the couch and enjoy each other. He has saluted me for the increase in our bank accounts and knows that it has come from concessions. But, HAPPY? We're the ones that they call the happiest couple they know.


Good for you and your family. Blessings to you!

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February 23, 20111 found this helpful

I raised 4 children by myself with no child support also-Oldest born in 65 youngest born in 75. Times were hard but not impossible. We always had plenty to eat and a roof over our heads because I bought my own house in 67. Sometimes I worried that one of the utilities would get turned off before payday got here,but I think it only happened once.
I never did make my own laundry detergent but always bought mine on sale with coupons..Back then I also did a lot of rebating and got extra money that way.
I too check a lot of the freebie sites, but now that I am retired living by myself most of them don't help me a lot because most of them are women with several children, and their samples and articles don't really pertain to the elderly.


I had to laugh when I read about your chocolates. Wen my kids were little they usually didn't eat the solid chocolate bunnies in their Easter baskets so I would put them in the freezer and then just chop them up when they wanted some chocolate.Some years we still had some of them in the freezer the next Easter,but the chocolate was still good.
There are so many thing people can do with out if they were just willing to wait for things. The way the economy is today you would think more people would do the frugal things to make life a little easier, but they don't seem to know how to do that.My income is very small now and I would rather keep my money in my wallet instead of giving it to someone else, so I do a lot of frugal things that I don't really have to, but I don't suffer from wanting anything either. Guess we have all learned the good way of living and enjoy our lives much more than the ones who go so far in debt just to have the things they want now.

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February 26, 20110 found this helpful

We all have to make choices about what we're willing to give up in order to have something else. My family wouldn't even know how to live any other way. We're not rich by a long shot, but we are able to have the necessities and some of the "wants" just by deciding what to choose.

Since we've always lived that way no matter what our circumstances, it comes as no great shock to our lifestyle when we have to cut back for anything.

Thank you for sharing your very well-written story with us.


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February 27, 20111 found this helpful

Thank you all for your kind words, had I known my story would have been receieved so well, I would have written more about my and my family's life.

I do try hard to teach by example with my cchildren. Too many parents are the do-what-I-say-not-what-I-do type which I do not beleive in. I know I am doing something right when my teenage daughter will say something about what she wants to buy but doesn't because she can't believe the "price" on it;-

Regarding my box of "good chocolate".....I have tried so hard to like the lesser-priced brands but they don't even taste like chocolate to so a great deal on a name brand box is what I look for.....yes, I could do without it but yet sometimes I need that chocolately goodness to keep me from getting too cranky times;))

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February 27, 20110 found this helpful

Well-written story. Your children are lucky to have someone to watch and learn from. Money issues will most likely be here for most people and the younger the better to learn what is a need vs. want, which the latter can always wait to be had.

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February 11, 20142 found this helpful

I have lived through times of plenty and lean times, too. Now is a lean time and I am struggling financially. I regularly remind myself that "Being broke is a cash flow problem. Being poor is a state of mind". That little adage has helped me "hang in there" many, many times.

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February 11, 20140 found this helpful

I appreciate your story. I wish we would all learn gratitude and to live within our means. Hugs to you for sharing.

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February 11, 20141 found this helpful

This wonderful story reminded me of just how much importance we tend to place on material possessions and a great song called "You can't take it with you when you go" sung by well known Irish singer.
Tom McBride.

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February 12, 20140 found this helpful

This is an awesome post. I too have lived quite frugally, growing up and as an adult. It is so wonderful to hear of someone else speaking on appreciation and contentment within your means. Now that my husband and I are on a fixed income, I find it a joy, not a burden. Our 12 year old daughter is learning the same thing, contentment, a precious commodity in today's world. A bonus from this comes with imagination, amazing the things you can do with so little with just a bit of imagination. We are not impoverished, but rather empowered! Kudos to the author of this post!

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February 12, 20140 found this helpful

This is so well said. You are a wise mom. I am a senior and as I look around these days, I notice how foolish it is to get all wrapped up in the newest gadgets. Life is a lot simpler, if a person would just enjoy the basics and love life that way. A roof over your head, food in the pantry, good family and friends, a place to worship, (if this is your belief) and a means of getting from "a to b", is all you need. Life these days is as complicated as you want it. :)

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February 12, 20140 found this helpful

"it isn't a "bad" thing to be frugal when you have everything you need"

LisaE from WI
This is beautiful and very true. It should be included in a book of quotes for prosperity. Thank you

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October 22, 20170 found this helpful

Be careful blaming the state and / or "deadbeat" Dads. Many cases of so called deadbeat Dads are a case of "Malicious Moms" that refused to allow Dads to be a part of childrens lives. The state automatically gave custody to mothers with no regard for fathers needs or rights. So fathers became nothing but a check in the mail. What did they think his reaction would or should be.

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