Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Frugal Observations

"Mom, we don't eat out as much as other families." My oldest child's statement set the topic for our 10 minute walk up the hill to school.  Bundled in fleece jackets, hands inside of mittens on a mid-May morning in Wisconsin, I have grown to savor these talks.  A perfect time to deepen our bond, and most days work in a teachable moment.

"Why do you say that?"was my response.

"Everyone else eats out a lot more, I mean a lot more." he replied, not really answering my why question.

Being the lawyer I returned with, "how do you know that?  Is it something kids share at morning circle time?" I queried.

"Yes!  They go to Noodles, to Culvers, they get take-out subs, have happy meals.....have I ever had a happy meal mom?"

"Nope.  You've had some of the nuggets and their ice cream, but never a happy meal. Don't some kids talk about eating meals at home?"  Curious now, we're we really that odd?

"Yeah, but even Mrs. ----- eats meals out!" Changing gears to emphasize habits of a teacher both my husband and I adore for her amazing talents as a teacher.

"Well, we'll do Culvers sometime, probably even this weekend....your aunt and Grandma are flying up and you know how they love Culvers."  This satisfied him and the conversation turned to his convincing the 6 foot stick he'd acquired on the walk must be carried home, by me, and added to his collection.  He won.  We may have another lawyer in the family one day.

For now these moments allow me to set the groundwork for our family.  Our family eats out, but only every now and then, usually with coupon in hand.  Dining at home is not free, but it is certainly less taxing on our family budget.  One day Rooster will fly the coop and fly off to college.  I will take a moment to remind him that the college education fund his father and I used to aggressively save for college was made possible in part by not eating out all the time.  Once having been a student saddled with heavy student loans, I am saving so that our two children will not need to worry about a FAFSA score.  I hope to write a check, and that will be that.  Made possible by not only frugal living, but hard work, and diligent savings week after week, year after year.  And over that time it is my wish that some of my frugal life choices will not only be observed by our children, but adopted by them as well.  Time will tell.  For now, meals at home are the norm.

P.S. This post was written at the kitchen counter as I consumed a spinach, chicken egg scramble with an apricot and jelly toast -- homemade, fueling me up before heading off to my office.

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