Over the past several years we here at Arise have frequently talked about how to save money. We all have heard about or seen on TV extreme couponing, like where you can get 25 boxes of cereal for $3.00, or some really intense ways of saving, like the family who cuts squares of cloth from old clothing to use as T.P. Yuck! This is some interesting stuff but I don’t have the time it takes to extreme coupon, besides what happens when you can’t afford the gas to store hop. Cutting out the use of plastic bags or saving water to save the planet is great, it’s important, but we have to save ourselves first before we can save the planet.
What we were talking about was what we could save as poor people, people without money. You see, we save differently from people who have money, even when it’s only a little bit more money. We need to be able to save on everyday things, like stretching a meal, or saving on groceries when we only have $40.00. For us older folks, 40+, our parents or grandparents lived through the “Great Depression.” My Gram saved the backs of envelopes to use for scratch paper or washed, folded and reused tinfoil, when it was still called tinfoil. In the winter my dad would take old newspapers fold them tight and force them into the frame of the outside door to save on heat. These are the kind of savings we’re talking about.
Growing-up being thought of as "cheap" was bad. Cheapskate, skinflint, tightwad, stingy, greedy not nice names. If something was cheaply made it was worth little or of poor quality. Frugal, thrifty, prudent these are much nicer words but they mean the same thing CHEAP! Cheap isn't a bad word, I like the word, one syllable, one short sound that says exactly what it means, Cheap. I like being cheap. Way back when before I was a parent it was just me and the husband, we would buy a roasting chicken, cut it up (roasting birds are a bit bigger than fryers) and get 4 meals out of it. Chicken breasts and rice, chicken legs and rice, chicken salad from everywhere else and then boil the bones and have chicken rice and soup, rice is a great food too. Sometimes if there was any of that left we would make a 5th meal by adding dumplings. Even today when the kids are home for a visit they ask me to cook meals from when they were little or send then the recipes for. What they didn't know then was that we had no money and so ate what was cheap. Kitchen sink soup, you know the soup that had everything but the kitchen sink in it or tuna casserole or spaghetti that had more veggies than meat or raisin and carrot salad recipe from the back of a box of welfare raisins. Cheap Cheap Cheap!
Talk to anyone from anywhere and ask, when there was nothing in the cupboards what did your mother feed you? Inevitability you hear rice and beans. For my family, we were lucky, when I was a kid my Mom would make Yankee rice and beans, I learned southern style from my husband, Mexican when I lived in Texas and Puerto Rican from my neighbors and friends here at home. My own kids got spoiled they only eat Puerto Rican rice and beans. And this is just food! Can you just imagine other ways for poor people to save money?
I got hundreds, and so do you! We have a new blog page; Cheap and proud of it: A Poor People’s Guide to surviving on almost nothing. So if you have something to share send it in and we’ll share it with the rest of the Ethernet. We’ll give credit where it’s due and when we can, and you get to help poor people just like you stretch every dollar we can!