June 22, 2013

Five Frugal Tips My Father Taught Me—Part 2

If you read the blog yesterday, you know that I’m publishing a series about frugal tips I learned from my dad.  I hope that you are able to use some of the information to help your family.  If even a small piece helps someone, it will mean that his memory lives on.

Frugal Tip #2

My father taught me how to shop.  Being the oldest of two daughters with my mother deceased, I filled in as the homemaker of the family.  My father taught me how to go to the grocery store and make our dollars stretch.  He taught me to buy foods in season, to watch the price per unit, and to compare quality vs quantity.  When shopping for shoes, he would raise an eyebrow if I chose shoes that were plastic or poorly made.  Just like his father’s generation would talk about walking to school uphill both ways in the snow, he would talk about having shoes older than me and note that you sometimes get what you pay for. 

When I was a teenager, we had some lean times financially.  It was then that I really started learning how to be thrifty, and I learned about these amazing things called coupons.  Having had a time in my life when we were scraping by helped me to realize that stuff is just that—stuff.  My dad told me just a few weeks before he died that he was talking to a relative and reminded him that “money isn’t everything”.  He knew that.  Sure, he liked to have a little money in his pockets and nice things, but he knew that relationships and time with those you love were much more important.

Take away—

  • If you haven’t already started, try coupons.  My father never really got into the whole couponing thing, but God love him, he tried.  He liked that I used coupons, and whenever he received any in the paper or mail, he would save them for me. Coupon with your family, and ask family and friends to save coupons that they are not using for you.  Share your bounty with them.  Daddy loved the time that I filled his pantry full of free pasta, saying, “Gabrielle, what on earth am I going to do with all of this pasta?  We’ll have to start cooking!” 
  • Review my “Saving Money with or without Coupons” section of the blog for other shopping tips.
  • Shop with your children.  Yes, I know it is harder.  Yes, I know sometimes you want to pull your hair out by the end of the trip.  Yes, I know that people without kids sometimes give snide looks at people with who are trying to wrangle theirs into a cart…but, do it anyway.  Pick a time of day and week that tends to be easier and shop.  Give older children tasks—making the list, picking a vegetable for the meal, executing a supper for the week, etc.  Give younger children games to play—“I spy something yellow”, “Find something that begins with a B”, “Draw a picture of what you would like for supper for me.”

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