2009: This is a flashback post! While transferring old blog posts to my new collection site, I ran into this post, which, surprise!, has a lot of relevance today. In 2004, when we were dead broke, nobody else was, it seemed. We're perpetually broke (but broke-r sometimes than other times, but wealthy as can be compared to the "3rd world," er, "developing country" where I grew up). It's all about perspective. But, still, we're usually on the broke-n side of the fence, so although I feel so very badly for those going through it, at least we are in good company now!
2005: I wrote the following last September (2004), when my man lost his job and Hurricane Ivan hit us, within 2 weeks of each
other. As we were spinning, literally and mentally, I learned a few
things and wrote them in the below article:
2004: A side benefit to being frugal with money (ie.
broke) occurred recently when the children wanted to decorate cupcakes.
We'd run out of sprinkles but my!, they were amazed that I could make
colored sugar. They kept hollering, "Look! Mama MADE this sugar! Look,
it's colored!" I've learned a few other things about being frugal in
the house in this hard time:
* Buying generic brands in everything is
frustrating to me, but it has also introduced me to a few alternate
products. The store-brand Saltines in one store, for example, taste
like the Premium brand.
* Laundry gets just as clean on a longer cycle with half the detergent called for on the box.
* Dishes get just as clean on half the detergent, as long as you rinse them well first.
* Breakfast is cheaper by far without cold
cereal. Cereal uses too much expensive milk! I've been making muffins,
pancakes, cinnamon rolls, etc. (my 9yo said, "Mom, I don't know why,
but our breakfasts have been really good lately!")
* The children don't need prepared snack foods like Cheez-Its and Rold Gold pretzels. They will keep content as long as they have something when they are hungry.
* Free, fresh eggs from our chickens are awfully useful.
* Margarine, even though I'm not happy to have it instead of butter, at least spreads more easily when cold.
* The chickens can live – and thrive – on only
table scraps (thanks to the baby, we have plenty!) and free ranging
(that's a term for letting them loose).
* All scrap paper should be saved. The toddler (2) doesn't notice that one side is used when she is in a scribbling mood.
* Children are immensely amused with scissors,
magazines, a glue stick, and paper. Tell them to create a book by
folding the paper in half and stapling it (or using a hole punch and
yarn) on the folded side.
* People love homemade cards from the children, made from the above.
* Meat does not have to be a main dish.
* Rice & beans or pasta can be an inexpensive main dish, with meat as the "seasoning" or as the side item.
* Water and microfiber cleaning cloths (.99 at
WalMart in the automotive section) can polish any window or stainless
steel, and can clean any smooth surface of grime – without expensive,
* A garden is an important thing to plant each year. You never know when life will throw you a curve ball.
* Hospitality is still important, even when
broke. I have been more blessed by going to a poor gal's home and
experiencing her generosity with her homebaked goods and tea, than I
ever have in a rich gal's home who can afford the fancy things she offers.
* When you give away extra things generously, God will always bless you back. I have seen this many, many times.
I wonder: Do you have anything to share? I'm sure you must. By sharing your tips, you may be helping someone (me, for one!). You never know if your words will be read this year or four years from now.