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In the frugal spirit of the upcoming holidays, I wanted to interrupt nonprofit blog series, to bring you insights from my one and only mother! Around the holidays I just absolutely love love love all of the deals and discounts available. In my thoughtful nature, I am already thinking of my family when I am shopping, but, I can't help but get heart eyes when I walk past the new styles and wonderful store sales. I have been known to buy myself a Christmas present (or two) every year as it seems that I convince myself that another discount or offer will not arise! Which, by the way, is absolutely not true. Deals and discounts come around OFTEN!
My mom grew up with FIVE other siblings, three sisters and two brothers. Needless to say they did not have a lot of resources to go around. My grandparents basically had to figure out how to make ends meet, so they became creative. For this reason, I thought what better way to set our expectations and mindset ahead of the holidays than with my mom's 5 frugal living tips! Which by the way are not all necessarily about being frugal, or spending. 3 out of the 5 tips are about side hustling (sound familiar?).
Here's her tips!
1. Frugal Clothing
As a young child we could not afford to buy new clothes, so clothes were given to me. They were mostly hand-me-downs from my sister, or clothes from friends or family. At an early age my mom taught me how to sew. This came in handy when I received the hand-me-down clothes! I would take apart the old dresses that were given to me and then custom design the skirts or dresses to fit me and my style. In this sense it taught me to change things for the better. I felt very creative and self-sufficient in my ability to be practical. Moving forward, I figured out how to make my clothes last for many years because of the skills that I learned growing up. This also is attributable to my weight being pretty consistent through the years, reducing the need to buy new clothes constantly. Also, I do not worry about keeping up with the current trends or styles from other people, because I know my style, and know how to make things look good by accessorizing each outfit.
3. Side Hustle: Hairstylist
I was a hairstylist right out of high school. I worked full time at the salon and also made extra money at home doing hair for family and friends. I made the time enjoyable in that we had a pool and my clients (family and friends) would go for a swim after their haircut. The extra money I earned from the side hustle would pay for utilities, gas, and spending money. I also instilled this work ethic in my daughters’ lives.
4. Side Hustle: Piano Teacher
I took piano lessons at an early age. So, when I became a young mother I taught piano lessons at my home in order to earn extra income for my family. Playing the piano brings me joy and is one of my favorite pastimes. I stopped teaching piano lessons, and now I volunteer my time playing for my dad's retirement home and Senior Center. This is such a fun time for me, and for them as well. I love bringing the gift of music and happiness to those listening.
5. Side Hustle: House Cleaner
When I was pregnant [with you], I helped my mom clean houses. I learned from my mom what a side hustle was because having so many siblings we needed all the extra income we could get! My mom would iron clothes for others at home, and charge per item. Then she would also clean houses to help make ends meet. She taught me how to do this work and I would go with her in order to earn extra income. She instilled these values within me so that I could also be resourceful and frugal.
It was during this point in the conversation where my mom and I had this light bulb moment on how my grandma instilled within both my and my mother's generation the values of resourcefulness, earning extra income on the side, and being frugal.
In fact, I believe what it comes down to is this; the number one thing that my mom has taught me growing up was creativity. I was a very picky eater and did not necessarily like all of the food that was offered to me when I was growing up. My mom basically empowered me, and showed me that I needed to be creative to figure out what I liked so that I could create it myself. Being on a mission, my seven-year-old self would open the fridge and throw together a few items, make up a name for it, and enjoy the fruits of my labor. (Granted, not all my recipes were/are delicious!) The idea that I needed to use what I had on hand, and then go from there is the most very basic Frugal Living tip we could all go by.
This holiday season, I challenge you to first take a good hard look at what you already have on-hand before you make any purchases at the store. Here's my case in point; I literally found a brand new frame in a drawer in my hallway closet. You bet I am going to make that into a present for someone at Christmas! The funny thing is, I have a feeling I am not the only one who has brand new items hanging out in their home. Try your best to take the extra time and save yourself some money (and maybe your sanity too?!).
My thoughts on numbers, spreadsheets, money, spending, forecasting, budgeting, and everything in between. Read on!
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