Am I becoming my mother-in-law?

My husband’s parents lived frugally. He worked in a meatpacking plant and she took in sewing, but I have never seen anyone else live so well on so little. They turned their backyard into a huge garden and canned or froze all of their vegetables. What they didn’t use they gave away strategically. When their neighbors went fishing, my in-laws were given fish. The sewing machine repairman serviced her machine for “free.” There was no formal barter system, but the returns were noted.

They were careful of money. They paid off their house early and never used credit cards. Lunches were carried and vacations were often camping. I don’t live that way, but I recently cut up a piece of paper so I could use the back for my shopping list. The other pieces are clipped to the refrigerator for future use. I may not become my mother-in-law, but I am imitating one of her frugal habits.

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