I am feeling so grateful for the people in my life who have taught me and modeled for me frugality. When I was growing up we were rather poor and we were way ahead of the trendy recycle curve, I have been making do, reusing and recycling my whole life.
When I was a kid my grandma (who raised me) was not what one would call domestic and I eschewed all things I perceived as “woman’s work”, so learn cooking and meal planning at my grandma’ s frugal knee, I did not. My grandma’s version of home-made food was to recombine processed products into a new thing. Her best dish was to take minute steaks roll them around Stove Top stuffing and stick a tooth pick through them then cover the whole thing with cream of mushroom soup and bake. Quite tasty, but not exactly from scratch nor without sodium count to give a blue whale hypertension. She had a lot going on in her life and she tried her best but Julia Child she was not.
When I was 18 I went to live with my ex-fiancé’s brother and sister-in-law. Not only did they change my life simply by the way they lived truly Christ like lives but also Ellen taught me about meal planning, grocery shopping, and generally living within my means while still living well. To this day I use the lessons she taught me about stretching my food budget, household management and living well. I am so thankful to her for giving me that gift (plus she is the only other person I know besides me who reads in the shower). Thanks to the Internet I have been able to reconnect with Ellen and wonder of wonders she posts the recipes I remember from those halcyon days of my life that I have great nostalgia for. As a wonderful extra added value the recipes are completely within my food budget, whoo hoo!
I try to share frugal living tips with my students. Most of them are single moms with minuscule incomes. Whenever I am feeling constrained by my budget I think about them and their struggles. I have one student who has 2 children under 5 and lives on slightly more than minimum wage. When she finishes the program and gets her certification she will be able to make more than 3 times what she makes now. Many of my students are in the same boat. By passing along frugal tips I am hoping I can help them deal with the increase in their incomes and to help them pay off their student loans by living well within their means. Not only that but I think that by providing positive reinforcement for frugal living I help normalize it. Our culture is so consumption driven and people feel bad if they are not rolling in expensive crap, I am hoping that by my speaking about ways to live within one’s means it will make it seem not less than but a better alternative to the consumer culture. At least I can hope.