Monday, September 21, 2009


Disclaimer:  I am home with the flu, taking Tamiflu ,which apparently can cause confusion.  Swell. So why not write about something a little taboo?

    One of the joys of blogging is reading other people’s blogs, and I don’t think there is anything I enjoy more than reading/hearing about how people do things -including managing their time, their homes, their gardens, and yes-  their money.

     We are all , regarding the issue of money and money management, a product of our upbringing , and the messages we received , both heard and not heard .

      In addition, for those of us who are married , we live a sort of hybrid money management theory- which comes in all shapes and sizes : there exists a mutual, balanced approach to money, one spends, the other doesn’t, or there is a power struggle, or a life of complete financial bliss and agreement.  The combinations are endless.

     In my home growing up , it was never discussed , other than those rare occasions, when in a moment of childhood insanity, you might state your longing for something so far fetched, it was ridiculous to even ask. Yet even in the no answer, I knew it was still OK, and we were OK.

     However, I did receive money messages from my parents, and I am so glad I did.  My parents were not remote, silent, or disenaged.

     They simply modeled  and expected.  As a matter of fact that was their entire parenting technique.

     What were their messages?

*We were not wealthy people, and while we had everything we needed and some of the things we wanted, the focus wasn’t on the wanting. Because of my father’s work, we were around people ‘who had more’, but it was never discussed.  They were more focused on our manners and our respectful interactions with others.

*My brother and I were raised to consider the feelings of others, to share, and to not show off. Humility was a high commodity in our household.

*We were not raised to be frugal.Was that even a term in the 50’s and 60’s? Isn’t it funny how in skirting the issue in today’s world ,and above all not talking about it, we have given it a name?

We weren’t raised to be frugal, yet our parents modeled frugal living.  You were supposed to watch and learn.

*My mother treated the things in her home, including the food she prepared, with respect. She rarely threw out spoiled food or produce.  It just didn’t happen. One of my first lessons in the kitchen was in learning to peel an onion without taking off a thick layer.  She used newspaper to line her kitchen trash can, made hash out of leftover roast beef, and her pantry was full, because she was always prepared.

*Her greatest maxim was ‘stay out of stores’- bargain or no bargain, want or not. Although she was a collector and a flea market shopper, general restlessness was not a good reason, in her mind, for searching/shopping.

Why? There was always work to do at home.

First things first- isn’t that the best definition of frugal living?

     Have I always modeled these behaviors? No, but I know better.




Rebecca Nelson said...


This is the best thing you've ever least of what I've read. Maybe that Tamiflu is better than you think.

I love the way you write~bring us more! Bring us MORE!


Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

Hope you're feeling well soon! Good message - sure doesn't sound confused to me -- always a pleasure to read your posts.

Anonymous said...

I hope you are feeling better. I am also a retired teacher and Communication Arts Curriculum Coordiator for grades K-5. I think when we were all teaching, we had an immunity to all the flu things. Now, I worry that my time is up and this new fall Piggy Flu will get us all. Take care and I want you to know I just adore your blog.


Blondie's Journal said...

You may be a bit confused from the meds, but you certainly got me thinking clearly. For the most part I was brought up to "take care of the needs and then the wants'. But then the econmics in our family changed progressively for the better and soon the needs remained basic, but the wants grew in proportion to my father's salary. I wish I could say that my mother remained frugal (and she always had been), but with that extra money, she found a bigger world out there, beyond dirty diapers, sinks and toilets. And God Bless her. We called her the Queen of purses and shoes. She had a big thing for them. When she died, they filled up most of her closet.

Can you remain frugal even when it is in high fashion? If I use paper plates 5 nights a week, can I buy the new bargain dishes at TJ Maxx? If I shop consinement stores regularly, can I drop $300.00 at Macy's this weekend? Is that my way of being frugal?? What is frugal??

I obviously have the flu...


Beth said...

So sorry to hear you have the flu. I hope the meds work their magic soon ;) Your parents sounds like they were wonderful people who raised you right.

Pam @ Frippery said...

Hope you are feeling better soon! What a great post. True and to the point. Stay out of store is wonderful advice. There always is something that can be done at home rather than wasting time shopping for more things we don't need. I am going to heed this advice next time I am tempted. Take care, Pam

Karen said...

Oh, Laura... you really know how to say it! Or maybe as the kids say, "Tell it like it is!"
I wish I could shout out that I have the advantage of having known your mother. Your writings generally focus on your growing up years. Mine would focus on 1980's when your mom and I became neighbors. On rare, but special occasions when your mom would come over for a visit (my only neighbor would dared weave their way through my usually trashed carport) she would sit comfortably on my couch with me and we would visit. She would casually eye my latest attempt at decorating and then just sigh and hint that something might look better if it was moved to the other side of the room. Once she sent one of our boys over to her house to gather two chairs, a lamp, a round table, and two table cloths. Before we knew it our living room had a whole new flair to it. It was so uplifting for me since we were in our very "frugal" years and it was hard to come up with decorating ideas that I was happy with. I sure miss your mom, Laura. What a lady!

Lynn said...

I find myself staying out of stores now. Except for thrift stores and Michaels, that is. I just don't need anything!
*Feel Better!!

Elizabethd said...

Hope you feel much better soon.
If I were writing this post I wouldnt have changed a word. Well done.

Amy said...

Sorry you're not feeling well. Hope you're on your feet soon. Sounds like you have some nice memories of your parents. Very nice reading this morning. Thanks.

Amelia said...

Loved this...sounds like the way I was reared. I enjoy many items (i.e. internet) of today's time but still look fondly at the 50's when time was nicer.

Domestic Designer said...

Hope you are feeling better soon! Great Post!

CRICKET said...

My parents always let me help balance the checkbook and I thought that was a great lesson which I plan to teach my children.

Blondie's Journal said...


I feel like I was jumping all over the map with my comment. I think I was okay until I started questioning frugality, and I really did mean, question myself...but it didn't sound that way.

You have a wonderfully written post and I never even said how I admired your parents, especially your mother, and how they raised you.

That said, I hope you are on the mend.



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