So this may shock some of you.... I was not raised in a particular frugal type of family! We (Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, and I) were fortunate enough and very blessed that we had very little we desired because if we wanted it, we normally got it.* Instead we lived a very nice lifestyle and got to take advantage of some of the benefits that hard earned money can give you. We went on some awesome family vacations: ski trip out west, bahamas, many trips to California, Disney World, and renting a houseboat in Idaho (my favorite trip). My mother has a wonderful sense of style and so our house is beautifully decorated, and although any one will tell you that it is lovely they will also tell you that our home is the most laid back home. (spilt a glass of soda? no worries just mop it up with a dirty t-shit left from brother on the floor-lol) Our fridge is always packed with tons of food, so much so that friends of the family know to make sure to smell/check the expiration date of what they are getting ready to eat. :)
Having been raised in this type of household, I think the reality that I might not get to live that kind of lifestyle or be able to provide that for my kids one day became really overwhelming. I realized that at this time in my life I have to work hard to stretch my dollars so that we not only live but also save.
Then something kind of crazy happened, and I know many of you feel it too. The economy took a dive. Suddenly the "comfortable" lifestyle for not only my family but for many others had to change.
However, I think it has allowed us all to reflect on things. Sure, we miss the vacations but the more I started to think about it the more I realized I loved the vacations because of the intimate time we got to spend together as a family. Yes, it was nice to see a new place, but the memories created through laughing are what I cherish most. I loved growing up and our family always entertaining others, but now I realize it wasn't about throwing a really great party- instead I value the sense of community that my parents instilled in us. As for the fridge, I have learned that more isn't necessarily better which has helped us to keep our costs lower.
My family is all in town visiting Zach and I this weekend and it's so nice that we all get to simply be together. Here's the crazy part: Our hanging out is not centered around money instead around our living room table playing board games into the wee hours of the morning, laughing and enjoying each other's company. It's true what they say, the best things in life don't cost money. And you can't get more frugal than that! :)
*note* my family was raised to be thankful for everything we ever received, and each of us has carried that into the way we live our lives.
Stay tuned- next week I am going to begin a blogging series on Marriage & Money.