In honor of Thanksgiving, I wanted to post something to show my gratitude towards the people in my life that have been most effective in helping me live the frugal lifestyle I do, which allows our family the ability to survive on our really small income, in addition to being able to blog about it on this site.
First off, I have to thank my husband Mike. My husband and I certainly have our disagreements when it comes to money and how we spend it, like any couple, but on a whole, he is the person I really have to thank the most. Not only is he on board with cutting back our expenses, he even goes without some things he really likes, because he understands how important it is to live within our means, and is a good sport about it. He is willing to try new and frugal foods, doesn't make demands about what I need to serve, what we need to buy, etc...
In addition to that, Mike is very handy and inventive, so he is always coming up with new money and time and space saving solutions around the house, as well as being able to fix anything that breaks.
My mom is taught me many important life lessons which have helped me on my frugal journey, number one of which has been that you don't need to keep up with the Joneses, that its all right to do what you need to do or think is best, even if others around you aren't doing the same. That it's ok to be a trend setter and not just a trend follower. This has allowed me to do less popular or "cool" things, such as dumpster diving, foraging, and buying second hand everything, and not running after the latest gadget, and on top of that, to have the confidence to publicly blog about it and turn these "quirky ideas" into trends.
She also raised me with the mantra that I could do anything I set my mind to, that being a girl shouldnt put limits on my capabilities. This has been instilled so deeply within me that I believe and live by it, and don't let things daunt me, even if they are "things you need a professional for" or "things only guys can do". I am able to save a lot of money by doing things on my own, such as take care of plumbing issues, sewing things from scratch or altering them, and building a wooden loft bed for my kids. She also taught me to cook from scratch, so that cooking things like homemade tomato sauce is the given for me, not something I have to decide if it's worth doing.
My dad played no less a part in helping me reach where I am today. He instilled in me a hatred of debt and the importance of living within your means. Dad, the coupon king, demonstrated comparison shopping, sale shopping, stocking up on items when they're cheaper to build up a stockpile. (We had 50 lbs of spaghetti in our basement once, when he found them on sale for 25 cents a pound. And we always had at least 10 boxes of cereal available as well.) He made things like wine, beer, and maple syrup from scratch, showing that you can have specialty things even without spending a lot of money.
Dad also taught me an important lesson that I try to live by- that frugality for the sake of frugality is pointless- that you should be frugal on the things that are less important to you so that you have money to spend on what you care about. Despite our super frugal lifestyle growing up, my family went on lots of trips, to the Grand Canyon, to Disney Land, to Washington DC, to Kentucky and West Virginia, and to Canada, etc... as well as a few trips abroad. Though our finances don't afford us the ability to go on trips like that despite being very frugal, Dad's inspiration allows me to feel comfortable spending more money on healthy foods, despite our tight finances.
My sister, Violet, has also been incredible at teaching me frugal tricks, like where to find the cheapest produce at the farmer's market, how to maximize my produce use, and other odds and ends here and there. She also knows what I'm looking for, and when she finds them at incredible prices, buys them for me to save me money. (Like 8 bottles of cheap apple cider vinegar.) She also gives me hand me down clothes which have been very useful for my kids.
I also have to thank the many bloggers who write about frugality that have taught me so many tips and tricks, like food preservation (such as water bath canning, and dehydrating), foraging, and how to bulk buy even without a bunch of extra cash or space.
And on top of that, I have to thank the wonderful communities I am a part of, both local and online, who share local deals with me, helping me to save, who pass on items for me that they no longer need (like a fridge, washing machine, etc...), who organize clothes and book swaps so we can get stuff we want for free.
And on top of that, just for being incredibly supportive of people like myself living frugally, even extremely frugally, encouraging me, and even sometimes imitating what I am doing. I'm aware some people like myself live as outcasts in their community for bucking societal trends, and doing "weird things", but I am very privileged to be surrounded by incredible people who, not only don't treat us badly for living like we do, but instead encourage me and learn from me. And that includes you wonderful blog readers.
Thank you so much for everything!
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Who in your life has helped you be as frugal as you are today?