become in today's world of modern convenience and easy credit. It's hard to imagine a world without instant gratification. After all, the past couple of generations have had few reasons to go without.
But this skill set - this idea of being frugal - is one that needs reinforcements now. Just as ration books helped the boys overseas in WWII hedge against famine by avoiding over-consumption in the states, the idea of holding back as a nation is something that can drive our upcoming generation to greater heights.
In digesting this idea of "frugality" I flushed out five main points that cover some (but not all by any means) of the aspects of what it means to be frugal. In a good way:
1. Remember Where You Came From
Two-to-three generations past was otherwise known as the greatest generation. Most in my opinion was because of how much they accomplished and how little they had to work with in comparison to the tools and advancements of today.
Any more, when a new kid enters a classroom, they are prompted to tell about themselves. Or, as they begin experiencing social media, their story is about themselves. Help them to understand that who they are is actually a product of the people generations past who have struggled and labored and done without so they could live their lives of convenience.
2. Being Frugal Takes Work
Laziness and complacency is rooted in convenience. As parents and preppers, by removing some conveniences intentionally, we can help kids understand the true value of things. We can help them realize that money not spent is money earned.
As kids learn about money, teach them the power of spending and the hidden gems of couponing, thrift store shopping, yard sales, and hand-me-downs. By putting in a little extra effort, they can realize value and feel empowered to spend wisely. Engage them with these bits of effort and watch as they boast pride instead of shame.
3. Make Do or Do Without
Fix your own stuff. Cobble it together and keep it going. If you lead by example and buy quality equipment/tools/gear/machinery, your children will observe your money-saving habits first hand. Bring them in and show them how to make repairs.
Understanding the difference between value and a perceived "Bargain" is key. On the other hand - if you can't afford that shiny new toy, don't pull out the credit card. Do without – especially if you can’t afford it. This is easier said than done, but it is the only way to help kids understand that when you say no to their oddball requests sometimes that you must also do without at times. Improvise if you must. But debt is not an option. It wasn’t for the greatest generation and they did just fine.
4. See Things for Their Potential After the Original Use
They say one man's trash is another man's treasure and it's true (to a point). But why not prevent trash from the get-go? Re-purposing everyday items, like coffee cans, hardware, torn pants and clothing, etc., is a great way to show your children how to think beyond the shiny package. And when they realize how significant an insignificant object, like an Altoids tin for example, can be they will be able to recognize that value is doubled when something can be reused instead of disposed of after the initial use.
5. Give Grace Where Grace is Due
The guy panhandling on the corner may or may not have the need for your spare change. But the young mother at a check stand who must choose between a cantaloupe and a watermelon deserves a hint of grace. Step in and lend a hand. Stand up and be great. Be great in front of your kids and show them that by holding back on your own selfish desires you can afford to do more than consume. You can give.
These are a broad summary of this skill set, but I encourage you to sit down with your own parents, grandparents, or great grandparents and ask one simple question: What type of things did you (or your parents) have to do to be frugal during tough times?
You will be amazed at how many opportunities and insights you can glean from people who lived through the Great Depression, or war, or personal end-of-the-world financial situations. Being prepared is more than stocking up on beans, bullets and bandages. Being prepared as a lifestyle yields far greater rewards when you can live without and make do.