Saturday, October 18, 2008

Living Frugally - One Day at a Time

I was brought up to live frrugally. My father was a child during the Great Depression and his parents died when he was a teen. He moved out of the city (New York) to the midwest when he got married because he felt the country was a better place to bring up children.

I have 2 younger brothers and a younger sister. All of us (although it is possible that my sister missed out on much of this since she was an ice skater and always at the rink) were expected to help out where needed. We were also expected to participate when dad gathered us together for some sort of "teaching moment". If a fuse blew out, "okay kids, time for a lesson about electricity". We learned about how to change the oil and spark plugs in a car, change the tractor equipment from mower to plow, cut down a tree, fire a gun, how to be successful at gardening, and a myriad of other things. He felt that if we learned many of these things as kids that they would become part of our common sense and would serve us well as adults.

Fast forward. . .about five years ago I was convicted to quit my good-paying (with full health benefits) State of Florida job to stay home and homeschool my kids. Being a single parent, I knew that it wasn't going to be easy. I needed to make some lifestyle changes in order to make sure that my bills were paid. Since I no longer would have health insurance, I was also convicted about changing the way we ate. After all, I couldn't afford to get sick.

The lessons learned as a kid were invaluable in this process. We had a 2 acre vegetable garden growing up (1 acre was sweet corn). In addition, we had grape vines, rhubarb, strawberries, and several fruit trees. We did a lot (yes - A LOT!) of canning and freezing of fruits and vegetables to last us through the winter. We made preserves (strawberry, strawberry/rhubarb, mulberry, blueberry, blackberry), pickles, sauces, and so much more. We were masters at shucking peas and ears of corn.

Many of these skills I learned as a kid are becoming lost arts. I feel strongly that girls today should learn many of these skills. Not only are they good skills to learn, but will help them learn how to live frugally. Many of these skills should also serve them well when they get married and desire to be keepers of their home.

My desire is that this will be a productive forum to share ideas so that more people can learn how to be thrifty and live frugally.