Some of the best memories Allen and I share are of the time when we were poor, recently married college students. Out of necessity we discovered creative ways to make our finances work for us. We learned so many things together this way! Was it always easy? Heck no. But so much of what we do now is a result of what we learned from the times we had to scrimp and save.
I taught myself how to sew on a sewing machine that was gifted to me by Allen's grandparents. I made my own maternity clothes when I was pregnant. I made quilts from inexpensive fabrics I found in clearance bins for baby and wedding gifts. Allen fixed our cars and kept our home in repair thanks to things his father taught him in their home. I learned to shop and plan menus according to what was on sale at the store each week. I learned to be creative with what I made for dinner based on what we had in the refrigerator and pantry. Allen built some of our furniture and fixed up our little apartments to make them more comfortable. We bought our clothes and other things we needed at thrift stores and yard sales. I sold things we no longer needed at yard sales and consignment stores. We drove used cars that made so much noise we could barely hear each other as we traveled from place to place. Instead of spending money on dates we would invite friends over for potluck dinners and game nights. These are all memories that I would never change and experiences I would not trade for anything. As we worked and learned and struggled together it helped to shape us into the people we are now.
Allen has been working at a wonderful job with the best company, ever (!) for almost 15 years now but our habits have not changed. We still do most of these things that we learned when times were hard. Not out of necessity, but because they make sense and bring us happiness.