Thrifty Living

Growing Up in a Frugal Household

I am by no means an actual expert on thrifty living…but I grew up in a thrifty household and have lived a life of frugality for most of my adult life. Some of the best times in my life were those when I had the least.

As a child I always thought we were poor, but that was not the case. It’s true my father did not make a lot of money and we did not have all the “things” my friends had. But we were not poor. We had a good roof over our heads, a car, clothes, all the essentials, and all the food we needed or wanted.

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We went on camping trips, weekend trips, and to the beach regularly…but we didn’t stay in expensive hotels or eat out at costly restaurants. We had cookouts, barbeques, homemade sandwiches and potato salad. My mother was a stay-at-home mom, my father was home by six, and we had dinner as a family every night.

Evenings out consisted of a drive to the beach and walks on the sand or through the shops in the downtown. One of my favorite outings was to take a drive out to the airport and sit on the car parked by the end of the runway where the planes would fly over our heads. It was a blast.

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We grew up simply and frugally, and I can’t remember feeling deprived. Back then, garage sales weren’t popular at all. If you had a piece of furniture or other household items you didn’t want, you’d simply put them out on the curb. Curbside “shopping” was a favorite of my father’s.

As an adult I learned how to make the most of the thrifty tips I learned as child. Local thrift stores, auctions, garage sales, and flea markets became my favorite places to shop. I furnished my home with thrift store furniture, dressed my children and myself with vintage and lightly-used items from consignment stores and garage sales.

I became an expert at thrifty decorating with an ecclectic style all my own. I bought knick-knacks, dishes, glassware—you name it. I was the consummate thrifty shopper.

After 20 years of marriage I had no credit card debt and no sense of deprivation.

But I lost my resolve. I had gone too long not knowing why I was frugal. I had enough, but I started to want more. I was earning more money and began buying stuff I didn’t really need. But, the life full of wanting and spending was not fulfilling. I was not happy.

I am glad to say that I have seen the error of my ways. I have a new found purpose and meaning in my life. I know what is important and what is frivolous.

Conservation of our resources and the preservation of our planet are central themes in my life now. I have come back to thrifty living with renewed commitment to not only saving money but to going green.

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