Pinching pennies

Years ago, when we were a young family starting out, we struggled.  Most families do but I don’t think any of our friends and probably most of our family knew how bad it really was.   We found ourselves very often 5 days from payday with absolutely no money.  If I found a quarter it was like finding a $20 bill.  I knew where every dollar was; I knew if a jacket pocket had change and how much it was.  I had a penny jar and I would roll them to gather enough change to buy diapers, milk or eggs.   We were seriously that poor.  

The past few years have been much easier financially.  Owning a business has its perks especially when the “boss” is your husband and his work ethic is above and beyond the norm.   We’ve been able to relax and even though we’re not rolling in the dough like some would believe, I haven’t had to count the pennies.  In fact, I have penny, dime, and quarter jars all over the place and I have no idea how much they contain! What a concept for me!  But that’s all about to change.

Sacrifice is something that we take seriously.   And sacrifice is what we are doing right now for the safety, sanity and future of our family.  I can’t get into all of the details but suffice it to say that we HAD to move for various reasons and leave behind a thriving business.   Leroy is in mourning.  He is lamenting his work and all that it afforded him.  It makes us think, and doubt.  Sacrifice is our new way of life.   All of the sudden I find myself back to my old habits, which thankfully I haven’t forgotten.  Habits like dividing a package of ground beef into more than one meal, maximizing a grocery bill to last longer than a few days, and conserving trips to town for the sake of the gas bill.  We’re in Saskatchewan now and the money isn’t flowing here like it is in Alberta.  Now some Albertans may not care for that statement, but it’s true.  There is a modesty in spending here that doesn’t happen in most places of Alberta.  Even the people in Alberta who say they don’t have money but still run to 7-Eleven every afternoon or eat out more than once a week don’t realize how good they have it.  A service call for a tradesman in Alberta could run you easily over $150 in an hour but out here, it’s more like $80.   To the homeowner it’s great, but for the tradesperson putting gas in his tank and trying to feed a family on a couple service calls a day you can imagine that that is not terribly profitable.

I foresee less trips to the city, less entertainment and social events and definitely trimmer grocery bills.  It’s a little depressing but there is a flip side.  We’ve complicated our lives with money.  When you have money to spend, you spend it.  When there’s money on the credit card and you’re bored, you take off.  There’s nothing wrong with spending but there is something wrong when the spending becomes expected and demanded.   There’s also something wrong with buying things we don’t need just because we can. I actually look forward to the challenges of budgeting and penny-pinching.  It’s my job.  I am the homemaker, the housewife and the money manager in our home.  Some women think that is so old-fashioned but it is my job.   If my husband can work hard to bring in the money then I can work hard to make his money last the longest that it can. Bring it on. I’m up for the task.

Today is baking day.  No more Oreos and Chips Ahoy; it’s time to get some REAL food into this house.  I will keep you posted on what creations I have made and how far a buck can go.

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2 thoughts on “Pinching pennies

  1. I love your posts. I have friends who think that struggling means they can’t have everything they want, when they want it (which is usually right now). Friends who look at my life as a stay at home mom and wonder what is wrong with me – why I’m not working to bring in a second income. I don’t know how else to explain it than exactly what you’ve said – it’s a sacrifice. My kids need me at home full time so that’s where I am. We’ve had a much better summer financially than ever before in our marriage thanks to me babysitting my niece and Glenn finally getting on his own at work. But with fall we’re back to frugal reality. We’re stocking up on every household item, toiletry and non-perishable food item imaginable to prepare ourselves for winter. I’ve put up ads to do childcare over the Christmas holidays just in case we need some spare money when it snows. Seasonal work is a blessing when the weather is good but we’re now learning how to budget ahead for when the weather is bad. It’s a whole new learning curve but like you, I’m up for the challenge. Keep writing – your experiences inspire me to keep going, knowing that I’m doing the best thing for my family in this season.

    • This society has taught us, generally speaking that living beyond ones means is acceptable. Acceptable maybe, but in my eyes the stress that comes along with that is unnecessary. I agaree with both of you. Sacrifice for the sake of your family is responsible. There is not a peson out there who could not survive wthout eating out once a week. Being frugal teaches our children to be thankful for the material things in life.

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