June 21, 2010

Living Frugally and Family Relationships

Thanks to Tammy's comment on my prior post on an emergency fund.  Yes, we will be buckling down to get money set aside for an emergency.  Tammy made an interesting comment re living frugally: "It can either bring your family closer together, or rip them apart."  She speaks the truth.

My DH and I discussed living on one income prior to my leaving the workplace.  We were both in agreement that we could afford to live on one income and, if I wanted to stay home, we could now afford it.  We discussed it with our DS, not seeking permission but letting him know that our lifestyle would be changing somewhat.  Honestly I don't think he knew what it was truly going to be like.  How could he know how different things would be since I have worked since he was a baby?

Our family is close and they enjoy my being at home.  (Sometimes I think that if I were home only so that the cookie jar was kept full of their favorite chocolate chip cookies, that would be good enough for them.)  The adjustment to one income is still an ongoing one.  Our biggest hurdle is when it comes to adjusting our budget in order to put more money in savings.  Spending less on groceries is the number one way I can divert money to savings. 

Last week 1 dozen of large eggs was on sale for 59 cents a dozen.  I bought 4 dozen (they expire July 9th) and I planned to have a few egg based meals over the next two weeks.  Today I made some egg salad for lunch.  My DH loves egg salad and frankly I thought my DS did too.  Well, I should say that he does like egg salad he just didn't want to have it for lunch today.  He would have rather had a frozen pizza but I'm not buying those anymore.  This is my biggest problem when it comes to living and eating frugally.  My DS would prefer frozen pizzas and entrees for lunch instead of sandwiches or leftovers.

At least twice a week I use the phrase "every meal does not have to be a gourmet eating experience" with him.  This can be a big issue during the summer months when he is home - what to have for lunch.  Egg salad costs pennies compared to a frozen pizza that has close to 750 calories, a lot of fat, salt and preservatives. 

The solution has been for me to spend more time in meal planning, particularly lunches, in order to supply my DS with frugal food that he does like.  When I have a chance I am going to make some homemade pizza crusts, pre-bake them and freeze them for lunches. 

The biggest thing I have learned about frugality is the need to plan ahead and equally important is communication with family members about finances.  It isn't necessary to go into specifics with our DS but a simple "money is a little tight right now" is sufficient.

So yes, Tammy, I very much agree with you that this lifestyle can either pull us together as a family or could cause trouble in our relationships.  Our family chooses to pull together which some times means there is egg salad for lunch. 


Moxie said...

How old is your son? It could be fun to spend an afternoon with him helping to make the pizza crusts!

Martha said...

He is 17 and he does like to cook and we have fun together. Good idea. He has a part time job in the afternoons so this may be a Saturday activity for us.

tammyyarbrough said...

Yes, menu planning for our dear childen's lunches while they are on summer vacation can be quite a challenge. My son is quite tired of PB&J by now, I'm sure. He refuses to eat leftovers, so I have become rather creative in that department- he's 10.

My son has only known me to be a stay at home mother, but before we had him, we began to live frugally for a few years, so that we would be sure if my staying home would be the right choice.

Yes, I hate to tell my son that he can't have EVERY toy he wants, just because his friend's have it, but if we gave in to that, what values are we teaching?

While my husband was leaving for work this morning, I was having my son read the newspaper to me- something he hates to do. My husband said to him "Someday you will appreciate all of these things we do for you, Son." I couldn't have said it better myself ;D