We are preparing to host Thanksgiving dinner at our house tomorrow. Over the weekend we did a quick walk-through and I noticed a lot of things in need of repair or replacement. We did recently pick up a garage sale recliner to replace a broken one, but our sofa has been missing a leg for some time and is propped up by a couple bricks, well hidden by the skirt around the sofa bottom. The cushions are pulling away from the sofa back, and the cushions are just about at the end of their useful life.
We could afford a replacement sofa, but have decided to put off another furniture purchase until we are debt free. The decision means we will have to live with the way things are for a while. It doesn’t bother me at all since it isn’t like we do a lot of entertaining inside our home. Still, I admit to being a little embarrassed when we do have visitors.
Forget About the Joneses
When you think about it, worrying about impressing others is what gets many people into a financial mess in the first place. I drive an 18 year-old van back and forth to work. It has zero sex appeal, but I don’t care. I’ve had people ask me why I drive “that old van” and I tell them because the payment is right. It isn’t to impress people at a red light, or to feed my own ego. I’m perfectly content driving my van the few miles back and forth to work, and will continue to do so until the wheels fall off. When they do, I’ll probably find some replacement wheels and keep driving!
We aren’t the only ones who have felt a little embarrassed by our frugality. One Frugal Girl wrote about a similar experience recently, but came to the same conclusion we did: while feeling this way was perfectly normal, we both decided we had other goals for our money besides forking over thousands of dollars to a furniture store, or a car lot.
What Impact Does this Have on Children?
Kids can be a little more cruel than adults, and they have thinner skin, too. I remember taking my daughter to school one day and the boys on safety patrol (they open doors during morning drop off) told her, “I like your Dad’s Scooby Doo van!” It was actually pretty funny to me–it is a big blue van, and minus the hippie flowers, does resemble The Mystery Machine. I knew they were being little smart-alecks, but I wondered how it might affect my daughter. Resisting my fatherly instinct to thump each of them on the forehead, I drove off and decided to talk to my daughter later that evening.
Fortunately, she laughed it off, too, and even said to one of them, “Well, my dad is a frugal dad.” That’s my girl!
Photo courtesy of tlianza