It never ceases to amaze me what people are willing to pay for a house...or a car...or a dress for their daughter's wedding...or a cake for their daughter's wedding...OR THEIR DAUGHTER'S WEDDING!
We see people in the news who spend more on their car than I did on my first house...or every house since then for that matter. I see wedding dresses for thousands and thousands of dollars when I know for a fact that you can buy one for under $1,200 -- beautiful, classy, well-made fairytale wedding gowns. I know this because neither one of my girls spent more than that. One was a princess dress with puckers and poofs and one was sleek and fitted with the back cut to the waist. And they were absolutely beautiful brides. And this is the craziest part: YOU'RE ONLY GONNA WEAR THAT GOWN FOR ONE EVENING AND NEVER PUT IT ON AGAIN! By the time you get to your 25th wedding anniversary, you'll pull it out, get depressed because you can no longer zip it, and decide to get rid of it. Come on now, you know it's true!
I don't know if it's because I grew up in a household that ran on a shoestring budget or that I made just $2.00 an hour at my first job, but somewhere along the way I realized that money didn't grow on trees. I'll never forget my mom picking us up from school and we'd all go to the grocery store and she'd purchase groceries for that night's dinner with the $3.00 my dad had given her that morning! You cannot even buy a pound of hamburger meat for $3.00 now, let alone the entire meal. Of course, it stands to reason that people who have tons of money don't need to think twice before they drop $100 on one steak for dinner. But, I mean, is there any steak out there worth $100? I think not, and I've eaten a few good steaks in my time. Growing up we were regular patrons of the local library -- well, the bookmobile in that day, where a portable library would make stops in neighborhoods where there was no library, and that's how we got our summer reading. We loved books but we couldn't afford to buy them. I still am a faithful user of my local library!
I probably can attribute my frugal mentality to my sweet daddy. At the funeral the pastor (my brother-in-law) kept lovingly referring to my dad as "cheap," for which my sister kept correcting him, reminding him that daddy was "frugal." And she'd be right...there is a difference. There are those who have plenty of money but because they're afraid of losing that money, they're cheap and won't let go of it. For. Anything. Whatsoever. Frugal people have the same mindset no matter how much money they have. There is only so much money you should pay for an item, and that's that. No compromise. That was my sweet daddy. He would not agree that something was worth more than it was, that is, until my mother wanted do do something for one of their kids, and she won out every time. Daddy became a real softy when it came to his family. But generally speaking Daddy was very frugal and that is why I can probably attribute my "thrifty-mindedness" to my dad. I never ever pay full price for anything, because I saw how he could stretch a dollar and growing up we always had everything we needed and some things we just wanted. Even into my dad's latter years, he would go to the grocery store and take two or three hours shopping for the best deals. I'm not kidding! I also shop for the best price on an airline ticket, for the best prices on anything for my house and the houses we renovate, for the best prices on my clothes and shoes, and, yes, I still frequent the library every single month!
I've heard it said that by the time you learn how to be a good parent, you're out of a job...the kids are grown and off on their own. I also think that's true of learning a lot of life's lessons. It's taken me years to realize that a big ol' house is nice when you have company at the holidays, but it can become a burden every other day of the year when you're having to keep it up. Ditto for a lot of other things people think they "need" in life. I mean, how many cars or boats can you really drive or ride in at one time? And don't even get me started on shoes. My shoes are at an all-time high right now because I need to dress professionally for work, but that comes in at a cool 15 pair, and that includes winter boots and summer flip flops (it's true, I just went in my closet and counted them!).
I've been thinking about my dad a lot since he passed away. I learned many great things from the man who gave me life and took care of me, even into his last days. He always wanted to know if his kids needed anything and there is nothing he loved more than taking us out to a big dinner. I think of his frugality now with endearment, but there were times growing up when it totally irritated me. But he knew something I obviously did not, that money did not grow on trees.
But now we have the Dollar Tree in most small towns. And it amazes me that you can go into that store and they will take one dollar for an item and actually a pretty good one if you're willing to look. So that brings me back to my lipstick. I am such a believer in lipstick making me look better that I actually would pay up to $10 for a tube that I really loved. But don't even talk to me about $40 tubes. Why should I pay one penny more when I've found one I love at the dollar store? And a few other things as well, I might add.
Nowadays I think money just might grow on a tree...at least at the Dollar Tree anyway. I think Daddy would agree.
"My parents valued books, but they grew up in the Depression, aware of the quicksilver nature of money, and they learned the hard way that you shouldn't buy what you could borrow.”
― Susan Orlean, The Library Book
Posted by CC
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