I come from a very frugal family. A result of being
poor cheap was some pretty disgusting habits. Then, I was blissfully ignorant. It was all I knew. But now, I look back at the times we would scrape mold off the top of leftovers before reheating and think of how filthy that really was.
Or even worse: there were four of us kids. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night we would take baths. But we didn’t use our own bathwater. We all used the same water. A couple times, since the water was getting cold by the time my bath came around, I would try to sneak some hot water in there, but the noise of rushing water was so loud in our house that mom would know and say, “what are you doing in there?”
We couldn’t open a new jar of jam until we used up the old one. We were on the same jar of apricot jelly for years because no one dared to touch it until Chad finally took one for the team by either actually eating it or dumping it out without mom noticing – one or the other. Same with cereal: once we got stuck on imitation sugar puffs, and those stuck around until the pellets had lost their crunch.
I wore hand-me-downs exclusively. My friends or mom’s friends’ kids would send a brown paper grocery bag over now and again for me to “shop” through. Mom would even try to force me to wear Chad’s dumpy old Al Borland shirts even though I’m clearly a different gender.
I try live a bit differently now than my frugal upbringing. Once in awhile I’ll buy something that’s not from the clearance rack. We eat out somewhere other than Wendy’s. Steve and I have gone on vacations. But sometimes, despite my best attempts, the inherent thriftiness in me seeps out.
When I was in Phoenix, Marie, Angela and I went to Olive Garden. They had this new dessert that was something like donut holes w/chocolate dip. I wanted to try them, but didn’t want to pay for them. So after the table next to us left, I grabbed their leftover donut holes before the busser could, and scarfed one down. Marie and Angela thought this was disgusting. I believe Angela actually started to dry heave. I thought, if only you knew.