Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Frugal Living and Shopping in Camden

Good morning, ya'll. Hope you had a good night's sleep and ready to live a full day of joy and peace. I am as soon as I can straighten up, unkink the back and kick Arthritis out of the house. I do wish he would stay away and not sneak in during the night and attack my back and hips. He is a sneaky little devil and sometimes he brings his friend Bursitis with him and that is a real pain in the back. Anyway, good morning!

I'm about ready to quit watching the news each morning or reading the front page of the paper for it is most all bad news about the economy. I'm about sick and tired of hearing about how bad it is, we all know that by now but what can we do about it? Well, we have been living frugally all our lives and this is nothing new for us.

When we were children, our parents taught us by example of how to live within our means. Now remember, this was before credit cards, debit cards and checks. We had x amount of cash and that is what you spent and we seldom charged anything. If we had to charge something daddy always paid for it as soon as he could for he hated to have a debt hanging over his head. Debt was to be avoided unless an absolute necessity such as having a baby or an operation. We lived on what daddy made.

I can remember going to one of our "department stores" - Liddells, and getting what we NEEDED, not what we wanted. Of course we knew everyone who worked there and mama was talking to a clerk we knew well and she was talking about how much some people owed them. Now this was not gossip for she knew first-hand and was only sharing with her good friend, probably one of many but she was only sharing it with one at a time. The news she imparted was that some of those "rich" folks we knew wore all those fine clothes because they owed and owed and owed the store. This was a huge surprise to me for I couldn't imagine buying clothes you couldn't afford to pay for when you bought it. She also told us in a hushed whisper that they didn't always pay their bills each month. HORRORS! Charging something and then not paying for it was unheard of in our home.

This was strange idea for us since we had no experience with it. If we went shopping it was because we needed it since we had either worn it out, outgrown it, or some great event required us to have something new, like Easter or a death in the family. Now remember, mama made most everything we wore, so underwear, socks and shoes were about all we had to buy.

Shoes were a big deal for me for I love shoes and back then you had 3 pairs at the time. You had school shoes, Sunday shoes, and play shoes. Now the play shoes were the old school shoes, but mainly it was our bare feet for the boys only wore shoes on Sunday, remember. I most always had brown or black laced up shoes for school and sometimes saddle oxfords. Sunday meant black patent from Sept. to Memorial day and white sandals for the summer. You see it is written is stone in the South that you don't wear white shoes from the day after Labor day until the day before Memorial day. You had to wear dark, usually black or brown during these days, so I wore a lot of black patent "Mary Janes."

These shoes were always polished to a fine shine. Did you know that dusty shoes indicated your parents didn't care how you looked and that a cold biscuit can shine black patent when in a pinch. You also didn't buy a new pair unless you wore them out or they were so tight you couldn't put them on. Of course when you bought them you had extra room in the toes for room to grow. I can remember mama putting her thumb across the toe of the shoe to see if you a thumbs worth of grow room. Of course for a while, they might be a tad big, but you would grow into them.

Then there were the hand-me-downs! It was always a fun day when a box came from our friends who lived in Birmingham and they would come to visit their grandparents - Neenie and Gandy - our adopted grandparents. They had store bought clothes and didn't wear them out. I guess that meant they were "rich" or just were not frugal. Whatever, we would unpack that box and exclaim over each item. There were always clothes for us along with books and games. It was like Christmas and much appreciated. It was not that we were poor or couldn't afford these things but everyone we knew passed good clothes down to someone else. It was no shame to wear a hand-me-down for most folks knew to throw away good clothes was unheard of.

We didn't have yard sales, Goodwill or Salvation Army, but we did have people who knew how to make a dollar stretch and I'm so blessed to have been raised by parents who taught me how to stretch one als0. My children used to call it "stinginess" not frugality, but remember, I am Scotch Irish and our ancestors went through hard times eons ago so it is in the genes.

God bless our country and world today and maybe it will teach a new generation that your "wants" won't hurt you and we should have only our needs if you can't afford to buy the "wants."

Nuff said

The Georgia Peach

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