It can payoff to have always lived BROKE!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Mattsmom277, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    So I grew up BROKE. As in, far below the poverty line. I cursed that alot of my life.
    But as I get older, with kids of my own to support and hopefully provide opportunities to that I didn't have, it has paid off to be experienced at extreme budgetting. Not to mention, being broke can stress me out (if im FLAT broke) but I'm pretty good at coping with lean times so long as the money DOES stretch to next pay. I just can't handle it if we don't have a few emergency bucks. And I'm a stickler for bills paid on time and having plenty of groceries etc. In other words, I can be frugal and have no "fun money" or "extras" but I can't live feeling despondent. Know what I mean??

    Anyhow. Years of experience have paid off for us given this economy, S/O's long lay off period, switching careers and facing 3 years of training for his air force position.

    This weekend easy child went camping with her bio dad and step mom. difficult child was either in his room video gaming online with friends or at his best friends house. S/O and I had little expendable cash. We had a delightful weekend. We slept late, cooked homey meals together (chicken stew one night and homemade bread, homemade toffee cookies etc). We bought budget movies at Blockbuster. My big screen t.v. died a death last week. SNIFF SNIFF. We moved the 32" from the bedroom out to the living room and watched our cheapo previously owned movies. (4 for $20)

    We pushed the matching sofas together to make like a big bed and brought out our favorite pillows, flaked out with our cozy pjs and ate air popped popcorn.

    We took several walks to a few grocery stores to buy the sales for the week to save some money. The fall air was great, bright sun but nice breeze. We lounged outside at warmer parts of the day and helped aneighbour with some new furniture she bought.

    I had forgotten how much fun you can have broke. You kind of try harder I think to find things to do that are fun to take your mind of it.

    If I was any more content tonight, I'd develop a purr!

    What are you all doing in these lean times to entertain yourselves??
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Have you ever made gnocchi from leftover mashed potato? Or your own home-made pasta? Especially if you keep hens, I've used this as a stand-by when the budget's blown out and I need to feed hungry tummies for next to nothing. It's amazing what to do if all you have is flour and eggs...

    Another good one is to bake your own bread. Of course, all this tastes like gourmet cooking (and it is, in a way) which is why I call it gourmet poverty food.

    I was at a friend of easy child 2/difficult child 2's yesterday afternoon, the kids were all planning a couples dinner together, an informal one wedding planning. To cater for it, the kdis were going to go to a corner store (more expensive) to buy steak (an expensive way to buy it, individually). Rump steaks, bought individually, cost $20 a kilo or more and the quality in supermarkets is fairly ordinary. But at our gourmet butcher we can buy a whole rump and ask them to cut it into steaks. The whole rump might cost $60 but it will overall cost $10 a kilo.
    easy child 2/difficult child 2 said, "Friend only has a small freezer at the top of her fridge. No room."
    I pointed out two things -
    1) A whole rump, especially cut into steaks, can freeze flat in very little space.

    2) With a hungry carnivorous male in the house, she only needs to freeze half of it. The rest goes in the fridge and she cooks him a steak each night. Or she can let a steak part-thaw and cut it into thin slices for a stir-fry.

    It's a way for even a small household to cut their beef bill in half PLUS boost the quality of the meals.

    We tend to plan meals ahead, with a view to using leftovers. Example - tonight we're roasting chicken. Tomorrow I have easy child 2/difficult child 2 arriving, plus her 4th bridesmaid (and new baby) so we can work on the last dress. We will have leftover chicken for sandwiches for lunch. I'll also keep the carcass after husband carves the meat off it, and use it to cook up about a pint of chicken stock. I use thta stock (plus scraps of meat picked off the bones) to make a chicken risotto. Or chicken supreme. Or chicken & corn soup (throw in a tin of creamed corn and thicken the soup with cornstarch). By making my own stock from bits that would otherwise get thrown out, we're wringing every last bit of value form the roast chook. It only takes 45 mins of gentle simmering to make the stock. Add a tsp of salt and a slice of fresh ginger.

    As I said - gourmet poverty food. Cooked with my own loving lily-white hands (OK, suntanned). And it tastes far better than the stuff in the supermarket you buy in tins.

  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Oh, one more thing, a lesson from people in times past as winter would set in - they would store food in other people.

    By this I mean - picture a village, a farming village, with winter setting in. To keep your animals alive through winter gets expensive. You plan to kill off a few to save the feed bill and also to feed the family. But kill a whole sheep - you can't eat it all. So Farmer A kills a sheep and invted the neighbours in for a feast. People take away various portions and each family eats well over the next week. Some of the meat can be salted or otherwise preserved, but in general - one family kills a beast, the whole village eats.

    Next week everyone is hungry again. So Farmer B kills HIS sheep. Same thing - he invites the neighbours in for a feed.

    By storing food in other people, in a society whicvh relies on this kind of goodwill to keep each other alive, you all get to survive the winter much better than if you struggled on alone.

    Maybe while times are tough, you can do the same thing with close friends who live nearby? Pitch in together to buy meat in bulk from the butcher (the butcher will cut it up for you, how you want it, the per kilo price can be vastly cheaper this way) and together you all do a lot better, you wat a lot better for a helluva lot less.

    You can do the same thing with fruit & vegetables too, either shop-bought or homegrown.

    Sometimes the old ways are good ways.

  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I so know what you mean. I grew up waaaay under the poverty line myself. That upbringing allowed me to be a stay at home Mom even though husband's pay always seemed to hover near the poverty line.

    Now that we're empty nesters, husband and I are rediscovering the friendship part of our relationship. With no difficult children in the house.........Well, it's MUCH easier. lol

    But now husband is out of a job.

    So, since we didn't have cable, phone, or internet for quite a while..........We watched old movies the kids had bought us as presents over the years and we'd never had time to watch, and old TV shows. We went thru my whole series of Red Skelton.....I haven't laughed that hard in a long time........and husband's series of the old Robinhood show from when he was a kid.

    Odd. I haven't had my fanny planted that long in front of a tv in about 10 yrs or more. LOL

    We eat what we want to eat, and that's not so hard on our tight budget as our food tastes don't quite match those of our kids. We're tickled to have say......fried egg sandwiches for supper. lol

    It's almost like it was when we were first married. And OMG you wouldn't believe how poor we were back then.:tongue:
  5. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Marg, I wish we lived in a society where some of the older ways were still preserved. Its difficult to pull off in a city, in a world of self, in a world where even knowing who your neighbors are can be strange, let alone knowing them enough to share a food system. I sometimes think I was born in the wrong day and age. Aside from the practicality of some ways that other generations survived, there was something so whole and pure and kind and heartwarming about the way people would look out for each other. I'd think you have stronger community bonds when your needs and the needs of others are all intertwined. Its a lost art I think!

    I have become pretty genius at cutting a food bill. Honestly, the more thought we put into what we are spending, the better we tend to eat actually. It helps that I love a bargain and I love to hunt down the bargains haha.

    Last week I spent $155 on groceries and the total bill before savings was over $300 so I cut the bill in half from regular prices. I bought a new freezer a few years back which helps a ton in buying meat ahead when the price is good. Same with veggies. I tend to buy alot when the price is really low and freeze in bags for a meal size portion. Its amazing how much you can save when you say, freeze carrots bought at $0.99 for 5lbs and then next you go shopping the carrot price is $3.99 for the same bag and frozen is even pricier.

    I find it a bit trickier to entertain ourselves on a budget. Especially without a car to go spend the day at the beach or something. S/O and I are finding more ways though to entertain ourselves. We have also started swapping DVD's with friends. And I am TRYING to curb my need to buy absurd amount of books at the book shop. I am such an avid reader, and the one real skill I have is speed reading. Expensive hobby when I can chew through a decent size book in a day or two days! I've resurrected my library card, even with the library not close by. Its quite a walk to get there, but its good exercise!

    Our triplex gets free basic channels. Only 50+ channels. We've also had a sattelite instead. 900+ stations. I finally got rid of it and hooked up the free cable. Saving over $100 per month this way. Some months we would rent movies on pay per view adding as much as $50 per month. So we are saving well over $1200 per year.

    Would love some more ideas!