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My Frugal Inspiration


Some people may consider my mom to be cheap. It's actually a little joke those close to her like to make. My dad is cautious with money. I like to think of myself as frugal. You see, my parents raised us three kids with that old, deeply seeded mindset of "money doesn't grow on trees." We were so poor when I was in elementary school that I was on free lunch. Money was tight. Vacations were in a five-person one room tent in state parks that allowed families to camp for $8 a night. School shoes were bought once a year. The only beverage in our house was Kool-Aid. All clothes were hand-me-downs. Meals were carefully planned out to feed our family of five and we never went out to eat.


Fast forward to my adult life and things are quite different. My parents live a comfortable, retired life on a horse farm right next door to me. I, too, live on a horse farm with my family. Vacations consist of all of us going to the beach for 7, 10, even 20 days at a time now in our fifth wheel camper. Clothes are still purchased mostly used from thrift stores although we buy new clothes, too. We meal plan but we also eat out once a week. We are all careful with money and not frivolous.


I was taught to work for my money and to work hard. We all got jobs as teenagers and were driven to the local bank in our small town to open checking accounts before we could even drive. We were taught to save, give, and spend. I made my first budget on a piece of notebook paper when I was 17 years old and planning my big move to an apartment near the college I would be going to. Right away I could see that my paycheck from being a cashier at a grocery store wasn't going to cut it so I got a second job running errands for an executive. I've pretty much had more than one job ever since. I currently have 5 (yes five) side jobs on top of being a teacher. I believe my strong work ethic is due to my parents instilling the value of hard-earned money in me as a child. They guided my brothers and I as we became independent adults but were also there for us when we needed a helping hand. That helping hand had to always be repaid, though. There were no bailouts.


I still find myself bouncing money ideas off of my parents. I guess that never changes. I value their input and find myself seeking it often. I am fortunate to have had the experiences I did as a child so that I can be the frugal, money-conscious person I am today. All thanks to my parents, who truly are my frugal inspiration.

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