Friday, November 7, 2008

15 frugal lessons I learned from my parents

Well it is Frugal Friday again! I have been thinking a lot about being
frugal lately. As I have had the opportunity to be around many with financial difficulties I find myself wondering "Why would you have a huge flat screen TV and then end up living in the homeless shelter?" or "Why would you think of buying an expensive vehicle that you don't really need when you are deep in debt already?" or "Why would you go out to eat when you have creditors contacting you regularly?". I was finding myself getting very puzzled and a little frustrated until I was able to realize that these people have probably never been around the type of home life that I was raised in. I was blessed to be raised in a wonderful family with two very frugal (yet very generous) parents. And then I was doubly blessed by God to find a husband who was also raised by financially responsible parents who trained him very well in budgeting.

So I thought it would be fun to share with you some lessons on concerning money that I learned from my parents!

  1. Don't ever worry about keeping up with the "Jones". God has blessed us abundantly and he loves us for who we are. Our worth does not come from what we have but rather from the fact that we are His children.
  2. Be thankful always. This is something that my parents stressed over and over. Even in tough financial times (and my parents did have them, though that is not what I remember from my childhood) my parents were very grateful for all that God had blessed them with. One of their favorite songs is "We are so Blessed" and that is how they truly feel and live. When you are feeling thankful you don't have the feeling of wanting so much.
  3. If you never buy a new car or even one that is less than 5 years old that is fine. Also never ever get a car loan. Along with this make sure to maintain and care for the car that you do have so it will last as long as possible. Learning to do some of your own fixing will also save you money. Having an older vehicle also makes it so you can have just liability insurance which will save a lot of money as well. And then drive carefully! If you don't have accidents or speeding tickets that certainly helps out with keeping costs down.
  4. Going out to eat only a couple of times a year is plenty if you don't have much money. When I was a kid (except the year my mom was pregnant with my brother Luke and craved Taco John's and so we went there a bunch of Sundays for lunch) I remember going out to eat only very rarely and that was usually when my Grandma came to visit and would take us out. Even on trips we usually packed our food along with us. My in-laws I think went out to eat even less (pretty much never and they are still that way.)
  5. Make things yourself! I am blessed to have a dad who is a talented carpenter as well as knows how to blacksmith and make many other things. My Mom is a great cook, seamstress and can do much more as well. They make much of what they need by themselves and that saves them a lot of money. My mom also cut our hair and did permanents (when she and my sister and friends were into them) by herself.
  6. Grow/raise your own food. My parents have always had large gardens (and have regularly added more fruit trees too) as well as raising animals for meat, milk and eggs. This is a lot of work but provides better food and costs less. Also no matter how much money dad was making we always had plenty to eat for our family and for the many visitors that we would have.
  7. If you never take your family to Disney World or any other big family vacation that is just fine! We are a very close knit family and we have had lots of fun together without having any fancy vacations. We did enjoy going camping together (very frugal!) and going on trips to visit grandparents and go to church rallies.
  8. You don't really need to go to the doctor unless you break a bone or have cancer or something else quite serious. Actually I do remember going to one well child checkup which my siblings and I didn't think was at all necessary (especially my older brother)! We certainly didn't go running to the doctor whenever we had a sniffle or a scratch. If there was blood involved my dad patched us up (Mom didn't care for the blood to much) My parents fed us good food and provided much opportunity for fresh air and exercise. We have all grown up to be fairly healthy too. By the way if more people took this method of caring for your own health (my parents did work to keep us all healthy, they didn't just ignore the subject) and not always running to the doctor that would solve the health care problem that we have today.
  9. Re-use, Re-use, Re-use! I learned a lot about not wasting from my parents. Their is so much today that is just thrown out that can actually be used to make something new and needed. Both my parents are great at this and have saved a lot of money that way.
  10. Don't go into debt! My parents (other than tiny loans for their home) have not gone into debt. That made life much easier.
  11. Second hand clothes work great! Not only do they often look just as nice you can often last better because you can tell whether they are a quality garment or not. If it isn't already pilly, it probably won't get that way, etc.. Also this sort of clothing is often free (hand me downs) or much cheaper!
  12. A nice newsy letter is well appreciated. I remember the days when Mom was concerned about how much a long distance phone call cost and she was great at writing letters and teaching us to do that as well. Also a nice letter can be much more appreciated than an expensive card that you just sign your name too.
  13. Cable TV is not needed. In fact in my parents home there is no TV at all and we didn't miss it one bit. Not having a cable bill can save a lot of money.
  14. Going to movies or any other expensive entertainment can easily be done without. I remember going to a few concerts as a child and actually 1 movie and we did take in the high school plays every so often but that was about it. I know there are many people that shell out money for movies and such on a regular basis. You can have just as much fun playing music together as a family, playing a game, reading books aloud and getting together with you church family or friends.
  15. Don't go "Window shopping". We didn't go to the store to just look around. When we went it was with a purpose and not to see how many ways we could spend our money.
I am so very blessed to have the parents I do and have learned so much from them. I hope some of their wisdom might bless you as well. I would also love to hear any frugal wisdom that you learned from your parents (or anybody else)!

I also want to invite you to join me on Monday for the 2nd week of a Homemade Christmas. I will have a Mr. Linky set up and would love to have you link up a post that you have about homemade gifts, decorations, food, etc.


Jenny said...

You've got some smart folks!

Anonymous said...

Very wise advice. I hope my child(ren) can say the same of me when I am older-- and still see me as generous rather than cheap =P

As for #8, I am way more concerned about my son than us adult. It takes something very serious to get me and the hubby into the doctor. It's hard when they're so little that you're not quite sure what is wrong! We have a high deductible to keep monthly costs down... which works great until you have emergency surgery like I did this summer! ;)

Thanks for sharing!

Mary Ann said...

My family has always been pretty frugal as well. My dad's sisters are all pretty resourceful and hardly waste a thing. My parents are not as frugal now as they were when we were kids and money was very tight, but they still taught us some of those same lessons.

I pray that we will also be able to pass these lessons and wisdom along to the next generation!

Thanks for the comment on my blog the other day. :-)

Mrs. Jo said...

Great ideas! I'm already implementing a lot of them in my lifestyle with my hubby and kids!

Linda said...

I also learned most of those tips from my parents and have been very grateful. Unfortunately, I didn't inherit their green thumbs and have trouble growing my own food. My youngest son seems to be more gifted than I am, though. He grew some cucumbers and tomatoes this summer.

martha said...

I like your parents a lot! I learned a lot for them too. I didn't remember the taco John's season! That's funny.
You wrote a very nice blog. You are good with words!

Anonymous said...

I too really like your parents! The Taco bell season was pretty fun (in that way). I also remember going to Bonanza quite a lot on Sundays when we kids were really cheap. Maybe that was when Martha was on the way! Love,Anna By the way your choice of pictures is kind of comical :)

Anonymous said...

I also think her choice of pictures is rather.... comical? something, at least not flattering!!! (: bmw

Abbi said...

Sorry about the picture!! I was looking for one quick and that is what I found. I guess I need to take more pictures of the two of you together!

Sharon said...

Your parents sound a LOT like my parents. We learned to work and take care of things--and we were happy. We never had a lot and we loved hand-me-downs. Good times don't have to cost a lot. I was blessed, and I hope I passed on some of those ways to my children. You do sound like you use your time very well with your children too. May God bless you!!


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