Over at beingfrugal.net she asked how things from our past influence us today. I grew up in a divorced home where money was very tight. We got just enough clothes to get by having one outfit to wear for each of the days of the week. In 8th grade a boy asked why I always wore the same 5 outfits to school over and over again. It really embarrassed me that someone noticed and I became over conscious of what other people thought about my clothes. I then went on to high school and would spend a whole day trying on clothes seeing how many ways I could put things together so it was not the same outfit each time I wore it. I then made sure that I didn't wear the same thing together usually within the month.
One time when I was in about 6th grade I decided to wash clothes to help my mom out. I filled the washer with my brother's jeans and poured a cup of bleach on them. His jeans had white bleach spots all over them. He had to wear them for about 3 months until Christmas and he could get more.
One time mom and I were in The Limited. I wanted the vee neck sweater so bad. Do you remember these? This was the 80's. We would wear them backwards so the vee was in the back. Well, they were like $30.00 which was like $60.00 in today's money. Mom said,"We can go to K-mart and get the same thing for a lot less money." Can you believe the nerve of the woman? Everyone in THE WHOLE MALL heard her and I couldn't show my face there for 5 years.
One girl got a reputation because word got out that her Izods came from the irregulars at Stein Mart! She was like the only girl that had multiple colors of Izods and everyone was amazed that she could have so many.(What a smart girl, huh? Now she is probably the proud author of a frugal blog teaching others about her frugalness.)
Mom shopped for groceries twice a month. Every week before the payday we would have run out of milk and many other things. We didn't have money to go to the store and pick it up so we did without. Instead, we would eat macaroni and cheese or biscuits and gravy. I have realized that I admire people that can make due with little and still maintain warmth and love. It is not what you are given but what you do with what you have. I see that having food and toiletries and a gift box and stuff stocked up gives me the assurance that I will not have to do without. I think it gives me the pleasure that some would get from having a diamond ring or other expensive luxery. I don't really want the luxeries, I want the basics... lined up, color coded:)
When we were first married I wanted to stay home so we didn't even have enough money to make our basic necessities, but somehow made it each month. One thing that I have always tried to maintain in our almost 20 year marriage is happiness with what we have. I have tried to make the little apartment, small 1000 square foot 1st home, trailor, patio home and the last two bigger homes pretty and warm for guests. I haven't always had pretty things, but tried to take care of what we had. I inherited china and stuff that I haven't waited for special occassions to use. Every day is special.
We attended the funeral of my husband's grandmother years ago and I will never forget the lesson I learned that day. This woman was always what many would consider poor. She had 7 kids and her husband died early. She never drove, had a tiny home probably 800 square feet, had old furniture that was cheaply made, but she would have a meal on the table in 15 minutes when you stopped by. She knew every tidbit of information of every relative near and distant. If someone was in the hospital she was there for the day or week. She loved you and it showed. She cared about your life. In her tiny home all these kids, and their kids, and their kids would come each holiday and play music and sing and dance. It would be so hot you would have to go outside to breathe sometimes. At the funeral person after person got up to tell of how she fed them and cared for them. I realized that having pretty things does not make a home, it is the love and care that make it. It is not the size, how it is furnished, or anything else that really matters.