|Christmas dinner - The Great Depression|
|The Great Depression, Alabama - circa 1935|
This is all I need. This is all my family needs. We need food and water. That's a given. Without it we're dead. Clothing to protect our bodies from the elements, in summer or winter and shelter to further protect us. These are our needs. Anything else really is a want and should be only purchased, budget permitting. This is how I now live my life.
Don't get me wrong. There's nothing I love more than the delights of an antipasto platter and the temptations of an Italian delicatessen. Just like the siren's song, this is one of my downfalls and this stuff ain't cheap. I guess it's all in moderation though. I stick to my grocery budget but sometimes buy one or two of an ingredient I really like. I cook everything else from scratch so usually only purchase basic pantry ingredients, fruit and vegetables in season and basic cleaning and personal hygiene items.
Clothes for everyone are basic. I don't think I've purchased any clothes for my son since he was born (other than school uniforms) because I've been fortunate enough to get hand-me-downs from friends. Same with my daughter. I've picked up some beautiful 'girly' dresses for her from second hand shops and second hand clothes for myself (other than underwear etc). We only have the basics. Gone are the days when I tell myself that I need an orange top, for example. I guess I try to stay abreast of fashions and styles but try to manage well within my budget and only having what we really need.
|Our house a couple of years ago (same house now, just more weeds)|
Gone are the days when I feel the need to fill my house with matching towels, bed linens, furnishings, matching crockery and cutlery (even though I do have that sort of stuff) but I don't follow interior design trends. That's not where I want to spend my money. I don't feel it's necessary. All too often some people get caught up in catalogues and junk mail brochures, thinking that they might need some of those home decorator items from Target. Yeah sure. Maybe you do. Maybe that's where you like to spend your money. But to have a balance, be on top of your finances and be able to provide your family the basic necessities of life, this is an area of spending that you might be able to cut back on.
With Valentine's Day next week, Easter next and every other occasion just around the corner, try to avoid the dollar stores. These are just a money pit, designed to convince you of all the things you need. I know I've gone in there for say a pillow protector and came out with more 'stuff' than I needed and less money in my purse. I avoid these shops like the plague. Try to make things from recycled items around the house before you think you need to buy up big on Valentine's themed paper plates or Easter egg hunt baskets.
Keeping in mind your basic needs, that is food, clothing and shelter, this will help you avoid temptation and help save for other areas of your budget that might be lacking. Since having my family, I returned to thinking the way my Nanna would've lived. She survived the depression with 3 young children, albeit not as harsh as those photos above but on the land as a dairy farmer's wife nonetheless. I'm filling my book of life with pages from hers.
This post is part of domesblissity's THRiVING - Thrifty Living feature.