My niece's post about the furniture she bought for her little girls reminded me of my childhood. Growing up, I felt like I lived in a poor family. As an adult looking back, I don't think we were really poor, it's just that my parents were very frugal.
My father traveled during the week, so on Monday, before he left, he would ask my mother how much cash she needed for the week. Remember this was in the days before ATMs, and if you wanted cash, you had to go to the bank to get it. So my Dad would go get some cash, and give my Mom what she thought she needed. I remember she usually wanted between $20 and $30 for the week. They did a big grocery shopping together once a month, so all she needed to buy was things like milk and eggs. She made bread most of the time, so we didn't get store bought bread much when I was a kid. When it came to clothing, she made most of my clothing, and rarely bought any clothes at the store for me. In fact, I only remember ever getting one store bought dress, and I don't remember her buying anything else for me. I also got hand me downs. When it came to toys, we got a toy on our birthday, and a toy at Christmas. Period. Basically, my mother didn't spend any money that she didn't have to spend. Maybe that's why this experience stands out so much in my mind.
One day I was walking down the street and saw a garage sale. They had a small wooden children's table for sale. It was painted light green. I LOVED that table, and wanted it so badly! I ran all the way home and told my mother about it and begged her to come look at it. She came with me, and actually bought the table! I think she paid $10 or $15 dollars for it. I took it home and put it in my room. I used that table all the time growing up. It's funny how much I liked a simple table! Maybe she could sense how much I liked it, and that's why she decided to buy it for me. Even at that young age, I remember being surprised that she would buy it, and so happy that she would do something for me that made me so happy!