Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Why

I am very familiar with frugal living.  In the 80’s, I found a cookbook in the bookstore that changed my life and my attitude about using God’ resources.  The book was, More with Less.  I learned to cook without boxes and cans, and eat less animal protein .  

About 8 years ago, we were living far away from family and friends.   We began to notice something happening to my husband.  We took him to doctors, but couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him.  We had a young child, so I knew I couldn’t do this alone.  I knew I had to get home.   We moved back closer to family.  My husband couldn’t stay employed and continued to get worse, until he was diagnosed at age 58 with Alzheimer’s disease.   We had 1 job,  a child at home and medication that was hundreds of dollars a month with insurance paying only half.   
I  researched about living a frugal life.  I read over and over the articles about cutting down and living with-out.  These were things I knew how to do and most of them I was already doing.   I  made a budget, tracked my spending, and knew grocery costs.  I knew that making a menu each week is vital to saving money.   I bake my own bread, use less processed food,  eat at home, eat leftovers and pack a lunch for work.  We grow our own vegetables.  I don’t have a lot of yard space, but we use almost every available spot to grow produce.  I spend less money than I make.  I worked hard to  get rid of debt.  I learned to make laundry soap and cleaning solutions made with vinegar. Our menus had us eating a lot more beans and rice.  We don't use paper towels or paper napkins.  We hang our laundry outside if possible and inside if not.   We buy used when possible and not at all if we don't have money set aside. Our heat is set at 65 degreess during the day and lower at night.   We have a small heater for the bedroom if it gets too cold.   I use coupons when possible.  Being frugal and doing without helped to eliminate the credit card debt and pay the monthly bills.

 My husband went from staying alone to needing full time care.  We have people that come in when I am at work, but I am his care person on the weekends, evenings, and overnight.  I am finding that the better organized and clutter-free my house is, the easier it is to manage with different folk coming in and out.      
 I am now paying off my debt ahead of time and plan on putting that money on each of my remaining payments.  I have also put aside an emergency fund.  My fund came in pretty handy last fall when a truck pulled into my lane and slammed into us.  I had to pay the deductable to get the car fixed.  My husband's door was not useable and it made my him very upset each time he saw it.  When they collected from the other party, I was able put their check back into the bank.

I budget every penny and make the frugal choices for my family.  I am not advocating that the things that work for my family will work for yours.  I am sharing what I have learned about living with less money and also living with Alzheimer's.  I am continuously learning how to make the smart decisions.  At the same time, I am trying to live as fully as I can with my husband, even though I loose him bit by bit.  For me living a frugal life style means being able to make choices and to live as stress free from debt as I possibly can. 

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