Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Thanks

Today, for Thanksgiving, I have decided to be thankful that I am frugal. Especially this year.

I am thankful that, years ago, we decided not to get a larger house. We stayed with our original house and put extra money into insulation, upgrading the heat and air conditioning, replacing the windows, and installing low water use faucets and toilets. And, except for one refinance to lower our interest rate, we didn’t mess with our mortgage, but put every dime we could into paying it off early.

I am thankful that we made our cars last 15 or more years and bought small ones with the best gas mileage we could find. We only bought cars that we could afford; the amount of money saved dictated the choices. We got easily maintained cars; could we change the oil ourselves? How expensive were the tires and what was its insurance rate?

I am thankful we kept track of the little things. My dogs have never cared if I was walking them while wearing $9.95 jeans and sweatshirts that I buy at church rummage sales for 50-cents. Speaking of our dogs, all our purebreds have been rescues.

I am thankful that we have only one credit card that we use carefully and pay off every month. And that we ignored all the credit offers and upgrades that were offered to us.

I am thankful that Somerset and Hunterdon Counties have Raritan Valley Community College, top-notch education at affordable prices.

Most of my cookbook collection came via garage sales and fiction I get at the library. Our Internet is $9.95 a month, we have no cell phone, no special cable channels, and a tree always seems to give up a nice-sized limb just about the time we need to beef-up our firewood pile. Our leaves serve as mulch and vegetables are interplanted with our landscaping.

The last few months, as I have watched American’s panic as they realize the outcome of their often careless spending, watched as people are unable to divide their wants from their needs, watched the USA slide into recession, this is definitely the year that I’m thankful for the gift of thrift.

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