Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
When I was a child my shoes were always hand me downs from older cousins. Boy or girl we wore the same shoes. Most of the time our shoes were a lace up boot type shoe. My outgrown shoes were handed down to younger siblings.
As soon as school was out in the spring children started going barefoot. We stayed that way until school started in the fall. We were always barefoot except for church. Providing our shoes still fit us. If not then we went barefoot to church all summer. During winter we had homemade house slippers to wear. The minute we got home from school or church children were expected to remove their shoes and put on the house slippers. Parents did the same thing.
A child learned at a very young age to watch their step when tending the animals. Animal poo between bare toes was an awful experience. It was one you did not want to repeat again. Also, Grandma Mama would have tanned my bottom if I got animal poo on my shoes in the winter. Shoes were a rationed item.
Hmm… I should explain that when I was born rationing from WW2 was still happening. My parents and grandparents were still living the life of extremely frugal rationing. That time in history was all about making do with what you had by mending and mending and mending until it couldn’t be mended anymore. Why? Because replacement of anything was extremely hard to get. From cloth to metals to foods to shoe leather; it was all rationed.
We also lived in the backwoods hills of Kentucky which means we were poorer there than other places. My point is that shoes have never been very important to me. Necessary but not important. I am definitely NOT a shoe person. I don’t need a different shoe for each outfit. I don’t want to replace my shoes the minute they look worn or scuffed. Grandma Mama taught me so well that I’m still living that way in my old age. I still live a frugal “make do and mend” attitude toward just about everything I own, including my shoes.
Back in June 2013 I wrote a post about mending my 12 year old pair of shoes. Read that post here. At that time the soles of the shoes were coming off so I fixed them. There was actually two soles glued together on those shoes so I eventually pulled the outside sole off and wore them without it. I still do.
A few days ago I was once again making do with that same pair of shoes. I washed them and noticed how rugged they looked. So, I bought a bottle of shoe polish to “make do and mend” awhile longer on these shoes. Sorry, forgot to take a before photo until I had already started polishing one shoe. You can see on the left how rough it looked before the polish on the right.
Don’t get me wrong. These are not my only pair of shoes. I have other shoes. Here’s a pair I bought about 20 years ago for special occasions. Basic black so they would go with everything. They were actually a size too big but the price was right for my budget. ($12.99)
I also have these shoes I’ve had for several years. They are a casual shoe for when I plan to walk around alot. Like at a quilt show or the fair. Also basic black to go with everything. I wear thick socks with these. Hmm, I think these could use a bit of polish too.
I have house shoes for winter warmth. Not quite the same as what Grandma Mama would have made me but the look is almost the same. Grandma Mama made house shoes out of wool clothing scraps or worn out quilts.
What is my point with this post? Well, its like this; if you really, truly, want to live frugally you must be willing to live as if an item (any item) will be the very last one available for a long long time. Baby it, coddle it, repair it, mend it, sweet talk it, curse it, kick it, or put duck tape on it. You get the idea. Just do whatever you have to do to make it last as long as you possibly can before replacing it.
Also, if you are a low income person, like me, living frugally is essential for survival. Especially if you are new at being low income for what ever reason.