Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Forever Frugal

I have had many people ask me WHY I am the way I am with money and things.  They ask if I have ALWAYS been frugal.  They ask if I am just CHEAP.  They ask how much WORK is it.
I guess they are all good questions.

I grew up the last of 6 children.  My family didn't have a lot of money by any means.  Daddy grew a huge garden, and poor Momma had to can and freeze it all!  Dad worked whatever hours were necessary to keep a job.  Mom often worked part time around the holidays to make Christmas money.
Mom sewed all of my clothes as a youngster, as she did with most of the kids and also for herself and even dad (shirts). 
She taught me how to sew, and I used that skill almost exclusively in junior high and high school, to make all my own clothes.
I can't remember ever getting a cooking or canning 'lesson', but I sure did learn a lot just helping.

Dad was really ahead of his times when it came to the garden.  He was a huge organic gardener, which wasn't a big thing back then.  I watched and learned.
Mom and Dad managed over the years to scrape together a small savings, and they started their own business - NEVER ONCE getting a loan.  They had a lawn and garden store, and I also spent many years working there.  As they established the store - they paid cash for everything at first, gradually earning the trust of the vendors, then going on a 30 day payment plan with them.

We were taught to work hard for what we wanted.  We were also taught early about the difference between WANTS  and  NEEDS.  Dad's favorite saying was "If a jobs worth doing, it' worth doing right the first time."  I have repeated that more times than I can remember at different jobs I have had.

I have to admit, that there was a period in time, where I thought I could have the world and all it's glitz and not worry about it.  Charge cards were wonderful - you got to bring things home and NOT spend any money at the moment!  Oh that tangled web we weave!!!!  I re-learned my lessons in life, the hard way.

G and I married, and we both came with debt.  We worked hard to get that gone.  He had already purchased the home we still live in, right before I met him. We knew that at some point in time, life might change for him health wise, so we worked hard to pay off large debt (home and the ONLY new auto either of us EVER had).  Yes, we do have  charge cards, one we use for most everything on a daily basis (as we get points to spend), and others for major emergencies.  We try very hard to keep those paid off monthly, as not to spend on interest.
We both worked, and saved all we could and had investments in 401K's and PERF.
I garden and can and freeze food.
I try to re-use everything I can, so as not to add to the waste in our environment and to stretch our  dollars.

I had never used a coupon till G and I married!  Can you believe that?  That process I learned from my mother-in-law.  Oh my Lord she was an extreme couponer years before anyone ever heard that phrase.  She got so much FREE stuff it wasn't funny.   She showed me the ropes, and I enjoyed years of getting FREE and almost free stuff.  That was before they changed all the coupon rules around here.
She also taught me all about 'yard sales' and thrift stores!  Where had they been all my life?

Because of her FREE purchases, we didn't buy ANY dish soap or cleaning products for the first few years we were married.  She was very generous with her stash!!!
We also DIDN'T buy bread, cookies, donuts, cakes, etc. for probably 6 or 7 years.  G had a friend who managed the Kroger store  by his work, and whenever stuff got to date - he would call the fellers and they would all go and load up their pick-up trucks with goodies, take it back and separate between all the workers.  That was a great perk of the job!!!!!!

Ok, there's a lot of my back ground of learning and being frugal.  There is no ONE reason for being frugal.  It seems it has been with me since birth (with a few minor setbacks).  It is a continual learning process.  I guarantee you there is not a day that goes by, that I don't learn something new.

So as to the WHYS;
  • It's a great way to get out of debt
  • It's a great way to STAY out of debt
  • It's the responsible thing to do (being a good steward of what you are given)
  • It's fun to see how far you can stretch a dollar
  • It's a good thing for the environment
  • It allows you to be generous both in items and tithes
  • You work hard for your money - use it wisely.  Don't just throw it away freely to others.
The reasons go on and on.  I love being frugal - it's a challenge, and it's a lifestyle. 
Be frugal NOT cheap.  There is a huge difference.  In my mind cheap means being stingy, miserly, hoarding ($), treating others and yourself without respect. 
Frugal means being a good steward of your finances and things.  It means being able to be generous with others.

Let's share our inspirations and ideas. 
There is much to be learned for all of us, from all of us.



  1. I also must have heard "If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing right" some where along the way as I think I have said that too! Nancy

    1. It sure is a good saying. So true.
      I try to remember that, and probably "hear" my dad say it every week!

  2. I came by my frugal ways naturally. My mother, out of necessity for years and then later because she is one very wise woman, taught me and also showed me by example how to stretch a dollar until it begged for mercy! ;) She sewed most of our clothing and has now honed those skills into making the most beautiful quilts and wall hangings. She does lots of them on commission and also generously donates them to fund raisers in her community. She is also a creative cook and I learned that lesson well from her. Thank goodness because when our kids were growing up, we had a housefull with them and all of their friends to feed. To this day I simply cannot figure out how to make small quantities of soups, stews, homemade mac and cheese, chili, etc. so I freeze lots of it for future meals when I make it and/or share with family and friends. We homeschooled for years so we had to live on just my husband's income. I learned to bake all of our breads, garden, can, dehydrate, etc. We also shopped at the thrift stores and garage sales for most of our clothing, toys, and household needs and wants. Now that it is just my hubby and I at home, we still do those things. I cringe when I think about having to pay full retail prices for anything! ;)

    1. Love your story!
      It seems that once something becomes ingrained in you - you can't stop.
      I am with you - I can't stand to pay full price for something.
      Thank you for sharing. Love it.

  3. I am similar, being frugal by necessity and now loving it for its simplicity and beauty