Thursday, August 18, 2011

Money in My Pocket

The next three days is community wide yard sales in the nearby twin towns we live near. People have been cleaning closets and emptying attics for a few weeks, hoping to make some extra money. Many here are unemployed, some under employed, some retired but watching their investments dwindle. There are more yard sales this year than ever before according to many I talked with today. Thing is, compared to last year, this first day has seen little traffic.

No surprise there when more people are holding yard sales instead of shopping them. Our local historical society has a sale too & once again I donated a few items to it. We did NOT hold a yard sale. Sweetie hasn't bothered to haul anything out of the pole barn and the items I had collected from the house, I either donated to the historical society or placed in a friend's sale.

I volunteered a couple hours at the library sale and bought a denim dress and bed pillow for $1.00. Also stopped at the local food pantry with a donation then came home with a pie tin containing 12 cinnamon rolls made by a friend. They were a gift for bringing her daughter to an art gallery tour and fused glass class yesterday.

Instead of shopping today I did more donating and visiting. And everywhere I stopped I heard similar remarks: "It's getting tougher." "We hope to make enough this week to keep our cell phone turned on." I asked if they had a land line. "No, they're not convenient."

Guess that depends on how one's life is structured.

When I returned home I had a couple emails. One asked: "Would you explain to me how someone like you with so little money is always giving and not complaining about having bills?"

I know this person quite well and we've talked in the past about stocking a pantry; keeping an emergency kit on hand and stashing a few cases of drinking water. Maybe I'm tired today. I am in pain due to the RA which doesn't flares up in humidity. So I had little to say. After reading her question to Sweetie and staring at the computer screen awhile all I could say was, "We're willing to go without things. Social entertainment that requires purchasing a ticket is off the radar for us. We usually grow a garden but this year only managed basil, green peppers and tomatoes."

Awhile later she emailed again. "How do you afford eating steak then?"
I sighed and said: "Refer to my previous answer."

When we first moved here people felt sorry for us because we had such a small income, drove older vehicles and lived in a mobile home. Some still feel the same way but for the most part they're snobs who need to prop their egos up with shiny cars, large homes and monthly payments.

The people who've dared to get to know us marvel at our thriftiness and ingenuity. Some joke that if they "were as cheap as" us, they'd eat steak too. By the way, the New York strip was on sale for $2.49#. We bough four slabs & had it cut into 56 steaks!

Despite the continued downturn people still don't get it. Adjust your habits & expectations and do more for yourself and you'll have more on less money. Simple plan but hard to follow for many.


2 Tramps said...

Some folks are just born thrifty I think. Or it is triggered by an event and becomes a learned behavior or a comfort zone. My family is Swiss - but only a few are truly thrifty in the sense that many people apply to Swiss heritage.

Kyddryn said...

I'm trying...we're trying to grow as much as we can, I'm learning to can, and Someone put shelves (built with scrap lumber carted off from a cleaning job) in a little-used closet for preps. They are slowly filling up, but sometimes I worry it's not enough. Sigh. I'm very late to this practice, although I always tried to have a bit put up in case of bad weather or lean times...planning for a family is so different from planning for one.

These days, if it isn't BOGO or twofer, I don't want to buy it, and meat is bought on sale and frozen whenever possible.

I LIKE my old Astro van, and I see nothing wrong with using something up and wearing it out, then patching it and using it some more. Why do people look down on that??

Shade and Sweetwater,

Craig Cavanaugh said...

Oh, if only I could get that through my wife's head. I miss steak...

debbieo said...

We drive older cars but they are paid for. We live in a 5th wheel and have a 30 ft enclosed trailer for storage. I wash outside with a wringer washer, we have a garden. I can or dehydrate food. Shop the sales and be as frugal as I can and we eat steak too.

Last week I bought 350.00 worth of food for 126.00. I dont care if others look down on me, I can give much more than I could when we lived in a big nice house. I dont have as many worried now either.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I had a similar experience this spring. His brother and sister in law stayed with us for 2 days, they couldnt get over how we managed to afford our 3 bdrm home with 10 acres on what amounts to two part time salaries. I noticed my sister in law was constantly on her cell phone texting someone, I asked her what it cost as it was one of the newer "wizz bang" all features type. She said they had a "really good plan" that "only" cost $200, I told her I use a pay as you go phone, hardly use it and have a balance of over 200 on it/pay 17/month for a card to keep it active. She said something like "well I need something better than that the screen is so small you cant see the texts/no apps etc". My husband then said this is how we can live like we do, we dont go to sporting events/movies/the bar, we eat at home most times (he is a great cook) and dont buy things we dont need. You should have seen the look on their faces...wait, I think you know what I mean ;) Thanks for the blog and making me feel like Im not the only one out there like "us".