Like many others in recent economic times, we have cut back on spending and tighened the purse strings. For the most part, I am so thankful to have our home that the tight budget has not hurt much. But other times, it has felt terrible. My heart has grumbled about things I can’t buy —-a science book for Lincoln, more clothes and another set of winter shoes for the girls, a restocking of art supplies for school.
I spent most of the weekend re-organizing my pantry and reflecting on budgetary issues. I moved beans and grains from the floor and set them on the new shelves Sid just built from our stash of leftover wood flooring. Reaching the top shelf is easy now with my new stepstool (Sid-built from our stash of leftover wood flooring).
I thought about this week’s menu plan and debated whether I could skip my regular grocery trip to Ingles this week, which would make the 3rd week in a row that I had managed a skip. I’ve been getting by with a quick run-in to Aldi for eggs and butter on Thursdays. We were out of raisins and almost out of vanilla extract, two things we use a lot in our oatmeal and baking.
Looking over my pantry shelves, I determined that if we do without fresh fruit, skipped veggies, we can eat mostly beef, beans and rice for supper next week. Plain oatmeal, no raisins, no vanilla extract, a very tiny amount of sweetner will get us through several breakfasts. The kids will miss the raisins and decreased sweetness, but it will be good for them (and the adults) to “do without” a few things. Perhaps our hearts will develop a deeper appreciation for what we have.
I passed a window where I could see Lincoln and Sid on the front porch, constructing another stepstool from . . . . . . . . . can you guess? . . . . . . . our stash of leftover wood flooring.
I remembered how Sid had so much work 2 years ago that he didn’t have time to do many things he wanted to do, like teach the boys real-life skills. Life was so much more hectic then, and we balanced it by spending money on “convenience.”
Two years ago, when money was more plentiful and time was in short supply, we would not have thought twice about buying a couple of stepstools or ready-made shelves for the pantry and closets.
I realized what a true blessing a tight budget is. Trying to supply needs on little to no money forces us to be creative and see with new eyes. Sometimes, it is even fun. Creativity, frugality, money management, self-denial — this is real-life training at its best, and I so want my children to have this training. Next to a deep love and faith in God, I want them to learn these lessons more than anything else.
So stand back grumbly heart. My kids don’t NEED this grammar curriculum or that science textbook. These things, like raisins or vanilla extract, are nice and can add real quality to our school day and diet, but they are not NECESSARY to life, love and happiness.