Having No Pride

It was Tuesday.


We were out of milk.  And yogurt.  And eggs.  And bread.  And flour.




I can stretch meals out of almost anything, but even I was struggling to figure out how I was going to make it work.


There was money in the account.  Of course there was.  We don’t have savings and emergency funds and all sorts of categories for nothing, now do we?  But the grocery category?  Gone.  It had already been spent and wouldn’t be getting replenished until that Thursday.  Only two days, but, still.  We were really, really at the bottom of the barrel.


I could have swiped my debit or credit card with no issue whatsoever.  Nothing would have bounced, the bill would have gotten paid.  Of this, I am sure.  I could have easily gotten more money from the bank.  Heck, my husband is the manager there– it’s not even inconvenient for me to make a withdrawal.


But I did not.


I dumped out my purse and asked my husband if he had some change rolling around on his dresser tray.  I scavenged $3.00 in quarters and went to Aldi.  I picked up a half gallon of milk and a pound of pasta.


And, with my head held high and my toddler’s hand in mine, I handed the cashier my change to pay for it.


I teased afterward about “having no pride.”  But, the reality is, I have a lot of pride.  And a lot to be proud of.


I am proud that we are not in debt.  I am proud that I keep track of purchases and know where we stand.  I am proud that I can scrimp and stretch as needed.  I am proud that I am unafraid to be an example to my children– an example of proudly paying with the money we have earned and can afford to spend.


Sometimes doing something counter-cultural isn’t really about “having no pride”… it’s about having enough pride that you can hold your head high even when others snicker behind your back.

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9 comments to Having No Pride

  • I love the whole “challenge” aspect of this line of thinking. It’s NOT about the money (in this case) it’s about doing what you set out to do. Working HARD and getting creative to attain a goal. Love that!

    • Thanks, Amy. :) I actually really enjoy the challenge of “making do” or thinking creatively to make something happen. I find that process really rewarding, though that might make me weird! ;)

  • Laraba

    Wow, that is amazing! I totally cannot relate :-). So, do you mind sharing sometime how much you spend on groceries each month? We have a house absolutely full of food as we go more with the “pantry” method I would say…also just butchered 23 chickens so have a freezer FULL of chicken. There is food galore around here. I try not to waste it and with 9 people (soon to be 10) in the family, usually don’t. And the chickens gladly eat waste food.

    Good for you, though. I think it is admirable to be that focused!(Just to be clear, we aren’t in debt either except for the mortgage…I’d love to get the house paid off but it is going to take 7 or 8 more years, probably.)

    • Well, let’s see, Laraba… I used to feed my family of 5 for $200/month. And we ate well, with little to no “junk”. As my kids (and their appetites) grow and I find myself making a few different choices food-wise, that number has gone up. I still come in around $300/month which, in New England, is considered crazy low. (I’m jealous of all that wonderful chicken you’ve got!! :))

      • Laraba

        That is very impressive!! We spend close to $1000 a month for food for a family of 9. Most of the kids are bigger than yours, of course, but I admit that I am not really careful about grocery spending. I know I could do better but it takes time and I don’t make the time. We have gone the expensive route on a few things…some organic meats, organic milk, eggs from our chickens, and I need a special diet as I’m diabetic. I keep thinking some year I will not be pregnant and not have a newborn and WILL be able to spend more time on bringing the food budget down :-).

        And yes, the chickens are awesome. 10 were specifically meat birds, and the others were some laying hens that weren’t laying well.I just get a happy feeling opening our freezer and seeing all those healthy birds.

  • So are you doing the cash method thing with your groceries or do you just kind of keep track? I really have no system. We have tons of food at any given moment, but I still go to the store frequently to get what we feel like eating in a given week. I keep intending to get more intentional about it, but I haven’t. I need to get on it.

    • I am NOT an “all cash” user, Heather, though I do believe it’s one of the very best tools out there for anyone who is struggling to get a budget under-way. Because my husband and I are both type-A, finance-wise, we keep detailed track of everything. He uses a spreadsheet when he’s in charge; I use a 12-column ledger when I’m at the helm. It takes a lot of discipline to not dip into other categories or run a column “temporarily” below zero, but I’m a very stubborn sort. ;)

  • Oh girl, I’ve been there! Good for you for staying within your means.

    We have paid off close to 30,000 worth of debt in the last few years and hope to have our house paid off by the time we are 35.

    Aldi is such a great place for the basics- I just scored a great deal on organic tomato sauce by shopping their clearance section. It’s such a great place to stretch your dollars:)

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