My Frugal Life - Giving Back

I went out into the world and started supporting myself at age 15. At age 22, after a disastrous teenage marriage, I became a single mom and learned frugality out of necessity. I learned to swallow my pride and accept "handouts" to keep my child fed and clothed. I remarried at 25 and have now been married more than 20 years.


The main thing I have learned, I think, is compassion. While I grumble at the rising costs of gasoline, etc, I am not seriously in danger of becoming homeless or of going hungry... but so many others are. Perhaps because I was once there myself, I feel that I cannot turn my back on those in need.My Frugal Life

One thing that I feel passionate about is donating school supplies to families who cannot afford to buy them for their children. I vividly remember when my son (now almost 30) was starting kindergarten and I was barely scraping by as a newly single Mom. I literally burst into tears in the school supplies aisle of K-mart when I realized that there was NO WAY I could afford to buy the required supplies, even at that grade level, unless I skipped buying groceries or paying the rent.


I vowed then and there that once I got back on my feet, I would try to spare other Moms from having to experience that. So now I buy all the "loss leader" school supplies at all the stores for several weeks leading up to the start of school, and donate them to those in need.

I also purchase clearance items all year long and make up Christmas "goodie bags" which I deliver to our local County Home each December to the destitute, mostly elderly residents. I use coupons and my finely honed bargain hunting skills to fill a grocery sack with non-perishable food items, which I drop off at a local food pantry roughly once a month.

There's a quote I love from Mother Theresa: "Not all of us can do great things -- but all of us can do small things, with great love."

Lucky One from IN


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By edieparks (Guest Post)
August 14, 20060 found this helpful

What an inspiration you are to me. I have the same quote on my business card from Mother Theresa! I am a dog groomer. I will put my mind to this and make some phone calls. I have always been lucky to have a dollar in my pocket my entrire 48 years.
Good thoughts coming your way.
edie in KY

By Willem (Guest Post)
August 15, 20060 found this helpful

You have done yourself proud.

By UtahYogini (Guest Post)
August 15, 20060 found this helpful

I enjoyed reading your story. You are a loving spirit --something the world needs many more of.

Thanks so much for the quote from Mother Theresa. I will share it with my yoga students.

By Lucky One (Guest Post)
August 15, 20060 found this helpful

So far for this school year, I have a paper grocery sack that is bursting at the seams with folders, notebook paper, pencils, pens, spiral notebooks, erasers, crayons, etc. It's probably close to $40 worth of stuff, and I think I have spent maybe $7, by buying the loss leaders at each store (like crayons for .03 at Staples a couple weeks ago).


I plan to drop it off tomorrow at the elementary school I pass every day on my way to work, which is also the school in my area with the highest percentage of kids in the free lunch program (meaning financial need).

By Gepe (Guest Post)
August 16, 20060 found this helpful

You are a TERRIFIC person! I know you had hard times and now you can help someone else. This is what life is all about! I'm an artist and also have health problems, I was poor off and on as a child. I know my parents did their best, thats all you can do. If more people thought about others like YOU, this world would be a much better place! I give you a lot of credit for being so careing and loving! Every summer I donate art supplies to the school for homeless children. If we all helped a little a lot can be done! Mother Theresa is so right, what an angel!


Best Wishes to you :)

August 16, 20061 found this helpful

This has made you the person you are today.
As Follows: Loving, Caring & Sharing.

By Lucky One (Guest Post)
August 17, 20060 found this helpful

Thank you all for your comments. It seems to me that so many people think "I'm not rich, the little bit I can do wouldn't help" -- but if you put together that "little bit" from enough people, it CAN help. And if by telling my story, I influence a few people to do something similar in their own neighborhoods, then the idea will spread like ripples in a pond.

August 17, 20060 found this helpful

God will surely bless you now and in the hereafter---"in as much as you do unto the least of them , you do it unto Me"


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August 18, 20060 found this helpful

I wish there were many more like you! I do not have kids but buy those school supplies each year faithfully for those who can't buy. I can't imagine how you must have felt yet you made a sad moment positive in looking to future to help others. God Bless you.


Thank you for that quote. I am posting it in my kitchen.


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