What happens to your frugal life when you have a curve ball thrown your way? Well, this is an experience I had firsthand recently.
You may have noticed I’ve been a little absent for a few weeks. Fact is, my 90-year-old father took a tumble and fractured his hip. With my mom being 86, and having issues of her own, it fell to my brothers and myself to stay at the hospital and make decisions for my dad’s health.
When he entered rehab, I had thought things would be a little more “normal” (does anyone even know what that word means!?!). And that I could pick up my frugal life and move on. However, there were still daily visits to my dad. Meetings with the rehab doctors and therapists. Following up on what was happening with medications with my dad. Checking on my mom. Picking her up to take her to see my dad since she can’t drive due to her vision. Taking her to her own doctor’s appointments.
You may be asking “didn’t you say you had brothers?” I do – both older and both working. Currently, I’m unemployed and looking for a job, so I was the natural choice to do the running and talking. Of course, what they said was, “You’re so much better at it than we are!” (Eye roll)
All of this crept into my well-ordered days. Of course, I didn’t mind. They are my parents, and I love them. I don’t mind helping them because of all the times they’ve helped me in the past. However, it did throw a monkey wrench into my frugal life, as you can imagine.
I usually have a weekly plan – an outline of sorts for what I need to accomplish each day, a menu plan, notes and reminders of “Things To Do,” etc. I also have a daily routine of what chores I complete daily so our home runs efficiently, more or less. It’s not fancy (I’m working on that part!) but it works for me and keeps me on track as far as my day.
However, when my dad fell, all of those things went to the back burner. After he was in rehab for a week, I tried to get back on track, and did manage to pick up most things and move forward, although a few still fell by the wayside. Living a frugal life can be hard sometimes (and that’s a list of thoughts I’ve been working on a while!).
To be honest, my kiddos (I call them kiddos – they’re old enough I should say “young adultos” LOL) pitched right in and helped out. They’ve seen me do my routines for so long now, they know what to do without looking at a list or even being told. It’s one reason I highly recommend starting chores for kiddos when they’re small (I’ll share those thoughts in another post).
Had my kiddos not helped, I’m not sure what we would have done. Hubby works about an hour away from home, and has had long hours at work, plus teaches at the local university. On some of the days, when I’ve had to take my mom back and forth to rehab, one of the kiddos would check my list and make supper. It reminds me that lists are wonderful things (another post perhaps!).
I will say there have been some missteps, some backfires, and a few times when I’ve thrown in the towel and said “Fine – Groucho’s Deli okay for supper?” LOL (and there was the guilt on my lack of living the frugal life, even though things were crazy!) And that leads me to the question of the first paragraph…..
What happens to the frugal life in situations like this? What happens when you don’t have the time to bargain shop in multiple stores, clip coupons, make every meal from scratch, or check the Goodwill first? Can you still live a frugal life?
My answer is YES! There are websites and posts that would lead you to believe that you can only live a frugal life if you are making everything yourself, from scratch. Several of my posts have shared how to make your own cleaner and using baking soda as a miracle item. I do believe being frugal should involve “making your own” as much as possible. But, I think I need to clarify that to say “if you CAN.”
Before things went loopy, I was making bread, making all-purpose cleaner, making laundry soap, making dog treats…. You get the picture. But I had TIME. I think you can still live frugally while buying those items. And you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
To throw a true confession in here, over the past few weeks, I’ve fought guilt over several things. Over buying items I know I can make. Over not clipping coupons to save some money. Over slipping and buying fast food instead of using my crock pot. Over …… get the picture? Any of this sound familiar?
I’m sure there are those of you who work full time jobs, have kids, have a hubby, have a house, have a LIFE, who have guilt over the things you feel you SHOULD be doing. I’ve been there – just these last few weeks, yet again I’ve been there.
And I’m here to say STOP!
STOP comparing yourself to other people whose lives are different than yours.
STOP comparing yourself to those who have help (probably hidden!) to do things or make items.
STOP feeling guilty because you want to try to be just like INSERT NAME HERE and you feel you fall short.
STOP thinking you can do it all and still have time for what matters most – your family.
STOP worrying about whether or not you’re doing everything right.
STOP trying to do everything!!
STOP THE GUILT!
Listen, I say these things because this is exactly what I was doing – and still do, if I must be honest. It’s hard to not want to do it all. And, if you are one of those folks who have the capability to do it all, congratulations! I’d like to shake your hand and learn your secret!
But, if you’re like me, and you’ve had things happen which have knocked your train off the track, then it’s time to cut yourself a break, and do what you CAN do without losing the rest of your marbles. Or maybe you work a job – have kids – are going back to school – are a single parent – WHATEVER …. all these things can make life difficult on the best days and totally chaotic and guilt ridden on the worst.
It’s okay to not be perfect. All you have to do is what’s most important. For me, that involves family, friends, love, laughter – the things that make memories.
In my next post, I will share some ideas I have been using to stop the guilt and still live frugally. Some you may know, others may be new. But hopefully all of them can help you if you’re in a similar situation.
And I would love to hear your experiences about curve balls in your life. What did you do to continue your frugal lifestyle? How did you save money and time? Let me know in the comments below, or share on the My Greener Way Facebook page.
Til next time