November 14, 2008


Grumpy and Myrtle at home. 2008.

Himself: Finishing the last two days of boredom. Cheerfully took Marion B out to dinner….at “Brian’s” in Hillcrest. She hadn’t been to this American Eatery, and she loved it.

Herself: Thursday: At the Thursday poets, I did a show and tell. I love them. Wonderful creativity. Marvelous group. Even better critiques. But I am up at 4 and they eat hours past when I should for my IBS…I can’t wait with this elephant in my bowels, I have to eat on schedule. MB says eat before you come. Doesn’t that negate a lunch gathering at a restaurant? Dinner with MB at Brian’s.

Friday: One of those painful tests on my right hand at noonish, dinner with Pete….and G, and a Costco trip.

Food: Cereal with rice milk, chips, chips, Diet Coke, and a chili relleno for lunch. Dinner was a patty melt, cottage cheese and tea with honey. Earl Grey….wonderful. Stomach balance again.

Many of us are tightening our belts these days, and I was reminded of the old fashioned word “Frugal” by an entry on Ronnie Bennett’s blog “As Time Goes By.” With consumer spending at its lowest level since 1942, we are obviously already economizing. But what are we doing?

She tells how she is saving pennies and dollars. Many small changes, like using her new space heater or cutting out the Netflix there add up to a new frugal life. She made me ask myself, how have I changed my day to day life to accommodate rising prices. Her readers inspired me to poke my memories to see what frugalities I remember from my childhood.

My mother had no money like many during the depression. She sold encyclopedias door to door from an old Model A truck. G and I lived comfortably until I inherited my mother’s money then briefly we shopped for new things like replacing our 1966 Valiant with a new truck….at fleet price.

Ronnie’s reader comments brought back memories of my mother buying a whole sheep, storing it in a giant rental freezer, and we three eating mutton three or more days a week until it was gone. Christmas wrapping paper carefully removed and folded for use next year. The garden in the back yard. The chickens. The fruit trees rooted in adobe that never quite gave a lot of fruit. The few clothes, only one movie as a small child with the family, a simple life only because there was no money for more.

Since gas began to go up, we changed many things in our life. We bought a car that gets 41 mpg, and we paid it off so there was no weighty bill hanging around our necks. We stopped shopping at the big grocery stores and began shopping at our neighborhood “Stumps Family Market.” We always shopped at thrift stores limiting our visits to the good shops like Nordies. Now we buy almost exclusively from thrift stores or bottom resale stores like Ross or Marshall’s. Estate sales let us assuage our shopping addiction while finding Christmas gifts for the family…..on occasion.

Some other lifestyle changes include how I cook. I used to shop by list plus buying what I wanted. Now I make a menu, make a list, and stick to the list. No, I don’t use coupons. Yes, we have cut portion size, and I have begun to use the freezer as a tool. Oh, I confess I’ve devolved from domesticity to rotely shoving pots and pans around on the stove. Cooking isn’t fun any more, but eating out gets expensive.

So what new things are you doing to save money now that everything costs so much more?

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