Friday, April 11, 2008

Taking a Closer Look at Frugality Part 1: My Frugal Journey

Mrs. Darling is one of my favorite bloggers. She makes me think about things and gives a very wise perspective always on anything she is blogging on. look her up today at Dishpan Dribble (one of her blogs) and give her a read. It is quite interesting and makes you think.

Now, why am I frugal? Am I frugal to fund an indebted life style or am I using frugality to help get out of debt and give my family a better, easier life. Would I be frugal if I had no debt?
What class does my family fall into?

Well, to start with I have never thought much about class. Growing up I knew that my family worked hard (and I mean hard......we are farmers). I also knew that I never got a summer vacation. I worked along side my parents. While my friends were having sleepovers and going shopping I was working. While they were visiting relatives and going to amusement parks I was working. Now, do NOT feel sorry for me. I am glad my parents instilled this work ethic in me.

We did take a vacation to visit a relative in North Carolina one a year and we usually went to the beach or the mountains once a year or maybe a historical place.

I knew that my Mom cut coupons, bought things on sale and we rarely ate out. I also knew (from looking) that my house appeared to be "nicer" than most of my friends, that we had 'nicer" vehicles (that we kept longer) and that my Daddy made it a point to pay our tithes every Sunday (even though in the Church of Christ they call it taking up a offering). I knew that my parents got up at before daylight and rarely saw bedtime until long after all of the farm work was done, animals fed, trucks were loaded for the markets and everything was in order (during harvest times).

I also learned that my parents did not buy things they did not have the money for. I knew that my Dad and my Mom both had one credit card in their wallets and still do. It has been used maybe once a year for 30 years to reserve a hotel room on. When we return from vacation a check was written for that amount and mailed off immediately. I do not ever remember my parents having a late bill. I usually write out all of their bills now and have for about 10 years. This is part of my job on the farm.

My parents are NOT rich by no means. I also know that they have borrowed $50,000.00 at a time from the bank to have a crop on. They also have paid it back within 6 months from harvest and not paid interest on it. They scrapped and shed many a blood drop and tear to do so.

My parents taught me more about life and frugality than any college course ever could. When I was 11 years old they took me to the bank and opened my first checking account. Say I earned $50 each week during the summer, $25 went to checking and $25 went to a CD (much better interest then than now by far). Out of my checking I bought Christmas and birthday presents, anything special that I wanted, my school clothes, some toiletries and cosmetic items as well as special grocery items. I thought I was hot stuff. My parents were just preparing me for the future. I am 31 years old and have had a checking account for 20 years!!! I had the same one for 10 years. My parents gave me a cow and let it herd with theirs. She bred with their bull and ate the feed and hay my parents bought. I had man cows and calves over my lifetime. I had no idea they would buy my first vehicle. They also helped pay for my wedding (along with my parents). I had a schloarship for college and what it didn't pay for finanicial aid did. My parents' earnings were low enough that I was accepted for that program.

I was earning enough money by the age of 16 that I had to start getting my taxes done. My parents had always had an accountant and therefore I have as well.

At the age of 15 my first vehicle was bought. I sold all of my cows except the best one to my parents and the $11,000.00 was paid for it. It was a slightly used 1991 Ford Ranger. White with two red pin strips down the side. When I was a senior in high school (1995)I asked for a car. I gave my parents the truck and they paid for the car. Pretty good swap! It was a 1994 Ford Probe. It was also white and sharp as a tack. I even had a personalized license plate on it MARVA H. I thought that was the coolest. My Daddy thought it was a waste of money. I paid my own insurance and gas as well.

In the winter time I went to work at a clothing department store as a clerk. I worked on Saturday's and during Christmas break. Each winter I did this from age 16 until I finished high school.

I graduated from high school in May of 1995. I was 18 years old. I worked that summer, went to college in the fall and worked part time for my parents. Then in while on winter break I had open heart surgery. In January I went back to college and in February I went to work at a local church daycare center. During this time I asked my parents for a credit card for emergencies. They gave me one of my very own and I was placed in their strictest confidences. Isn't everything an emergency when you're in college?

I went to college and then that fall I went to work as a nurse's aid, while going to college. The nursing home also put me through their program as a nurse's aid. I got my CNA while there and went to college at night. My parents had a house that my Grandma had lived in and it was empty and needed some work. My parents helped me redo the house. It was a 2 bedroom one bath, 800 or so square foot home. It did not have a indoor bathroom until the 50's. I moved in in February of 1998. Hubby and I married in October of the same year. We continued to live there free of rent.

Hubby worked at a bank and I was doing Mary Kay Cosmetics and working for my parents. I had quit the nursing home by then and was finished with college. I knew I was up to armpits in debt before we married. I had 21 credit cards by then. My parents were none the wiser since I had gotten a PO box and had my bills sent there. In April my parents had built a house and moved. They needed us to live in their old house (where I grown up) until they found a buyer. We lived there for about a year. I was working for them full time and my hubby was driving an 18 wheeler locally. Our debt was on the upper side of $30,000. That was just credit cards. We also owed $30,000 for a brand new truck. We still had my little Ford Probe.

My parents had built a new home and indoor market on another farm just one mile down the road from their old place. My brother and his family also were building there. So, guess who else wanted to build there? We talked it over with my parents and they were all ago with us but there was one little problem and it had to do with adding another house to the farm.

To be continued.............


Mrs. Darling said...

I would say you've been frugal! :) How though did you end up with so much credit card debt? Looking forward to the next installment.

Mimi said...

Credit cards can really get young people in big trouble. You've really turned things around. Great poat Marva!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story (so far). My dad was raised Old Order Amish, he ran away when he was 16. It's a long story but I was blessed to go and visit his family many years later...farming is very hard work if done properly and requires great dedication every hour of everyday....I loved the envirnment...I prayed to marry a farmer, but the Lord had different plans for me. You are truly blessed to be where you are and to raise your children in an atmosphere or reverence for all of HIS creation. God Bless, Pam, South Bend

KyliesMom said...

Thank you for sharing. I look forward to Part 2 :) .

MyKidsMom said...

If you get the chance, stop by and see my response to your comment:)

I have to say I envy you a little bit: living on a farm growing your own things, and being surrounded by your loving extended family...doesn't get much better than that in my book.

I admire your frugalness and zest for what you do.

Nico said...

Great post Marva! I can't wait to read the next one too.

Marva said...

Thanks Mrs. D! I will take that as a compliment. I will explain in the next post. Blessings!!

Marva said...

Yes, they certainly can Mimi! Thanks! Blessings!!!!

Marva said...

How interesting Pam. Yes, it is very hard work. I also love it.... farming that is.
Thank you...I think I am blessed beyond belief!

We are trying our best to bring our boys up in the admiration of God.

Many blessings!!!

Marva said...

Thanks kyliesmom! Blessings!!!

Marva said...

Thanks for the defense of your side.....mykidsmom!

I love my life and God has blessed us abduntly. I have an awesome family and I love them immensely!


Marva said...

Thanks Nico! I hope to get to it soon!