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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Frugal Is In

Frugal Is In

No one in my life was a better example of frugality than my grandparents and then to a lesser extent my parents.  Frugality doesn’t just appear one day, in fact it is an acquired talent.
The best reason for the frugality being in my grandparent’s life is that they experienced in their life time two world conflicts that totally changed the world as they knew it.  They survived a Depression, and the two world conflicts, they experienced the changing work force from the husband being the provider to the women having to hold the home front while the men were away fighting wars.

Rationing was all around, it became a necessity to grow your own garden for the sake of savings and availability.  While front yards continue to be a sources of pride and what we now call curve appeal, the backyard became something else altogether.  Instead of the normal happy family hangout for entertaining, the backyard became a mini farm. A totally different family entertainment atmosphere, more of a food source value.  Most everyone got into gardening, and raising chickens in their backyards.  Oh that’s right, I forgot to mention that was in a time when government didn’t have so many restrictions that prevented you from raising chickens through land use regulations.
I still remember my grandmother darning sock by using a light bulb to shape the sock while making them good as new with needle and thread.  I’ll bet most homes had needle and thread plus a thimble as part of an everyday kit.  Today I am a culprit of throwing socks away when one of the pair of socks begins to show a little wear.  I also remember my mother using iron on patches on worn blue jeans (Levi’s) on the inside of the garment.  Today our silly youth actually wear-out their pants on purpose to look in style or spend hundreds of dollars to buy pre-worn-out jeans.
Sometimes my grandmother would crumble a handful of saltine cracker and add them to scramble eggs to make the meal stretch, even when there were plenty of eggs. Simply because that is the definition of frugality and out of habit.  If you were to get a treat for a drink you would get a pitcher full of Kool-Aid for .05 cents instead of a soda pop each.  By the way the Kool-Aid never had enough sugar for my taste (Bingo-frugality).
The family had a car but we didn’t drive the car around town; we drove to town and parked at the grocery store parking lot, and we walked everywhere from there.  Sometimes the family would go in different direction (example: the men would go to the barbershop, the ladies would go to the drug store, and other shopping).  We always had a pre-arranged time to meet back at the car.  The treat was a stop at the A&W Root Beer for a grilled ham sandwich with French fries and a frosted mug of root beer.  I don’t remember ordering a hamburger back in those days.
We are just coming out of two wars that have lasted about 10 years, not to mention high rate of unemployment.  I think it’s time that frugality came back in style.  You don’t have to wait for it to start trending, we are in charge of our family units, and we need to start yesterday.  The sooner we start the better.  The best is yet to come…..

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