Tightwad Gazette books.)
I've said before that a good friend of mine used to say she believed God allowed us to go through some of the bad times so we could share what we learned... thus, the reason I originally started this blog. Well, that and to talk about books and coffee and tea parties... but that was all I could get in the title. Everything else falls under the "Me". :)
At first, gaining knowledge and skills was more on the level of a hobby but I came to realize how invaluable they were. Later, when we went through two separate years with no income (and other years we had to take a pay cut), they were invaluable. To be honest, I begin to enjoy life more when I gained the skills which were known by generations before me. I didn't learn everything at once and I still have much to learn but I came to realize time and/or money spent learning skills was a good investment by being able to do rather than having to pay when needed (or just because I enjoy the doing).
Just as I say deepening the pantry is having insurance you can eat, gaining new skills and learning how to utilize the underground economy is insurance you can use. Even if I don't bake bread every week, I still make it once in awhile to keep my skills updated (what you don't use... you lose). After cooking frugally and from scratch now for decades, it doesn't take much thought to throw together a cheap but nutritious meal or soup or stew or dessert... or stretch a chicken to feed a crowd as Edith Schaeffer taught in Hidden Art. :)
Each family is quite individual in what skills will be beneficial but learning as a family (or with friends) brings everyone together and makes it more fun. It is never too early to learn many skills. My kids were both quite little when we would go to garage sales and they learned how to quickly walk through and note quality and if there were objects we were looking for at the time (each was given a couple of dollars to spend only at garage sales when they were young). Stephanie excels at slowing down as she passes a sale to take it all in for needed items (they're called "tag sales" where she now lives).
Christopher went through growth spells since we have been living on S.S. Disability but everyone comments on how well dressed he is... Goodwill. Our store has great selections. He has had to purchase slacks when they go on sale at the department stores but has managed to find great sales. Instead of complaining about living on little money, if the parents are keeping a positive and faith filled attitude, kids will be better able to learn important frugal life skills (which I believe are going to be skills they thank you for later).
Both of my kids had to go to work at age sixteen (part-time) to purchase clothing and any extra "wants and desires". At first I felt guilty but now I can see how "all things truly work together for good". Those early lessons of earning their own money certainly have been beneficial.
Of course, all of this skill learning was done a day at a time and not knowing what the future held... days which could be stressful and busy with plenty of other things to do. As I look back, I wish I'd made the time for all of us to learn more useful skills (especially veggie gardening, which I am just now learning). However, as we lived one day at a time... imperfectly but usually doing the best we could... we all have become good at many items and excel in others... those skills which have been used over and over as the years progressed.
Other skills were not used and would have to be refreshed... like sewing and quilting... although I never could make clothing. I didn't get the sewing gene, neither did my mother or daughter. I suppose if I'd kept at it as I did with other skills, I'd be pretty good today but it was not something which came easily... the making of clothes that actually fit, that is.
While my husband did not leave a job on purpose, as did the author of the book, he did have periods of unemployment and then had to take an early retirement (S. S. Disability). One does not have to jump off the mainline economy completely to be helped by learning how to live off the financial grid... whether completely or as part of a family economy.
The thing is... becoming part of the underground economy is a lifestyle... just as is homeschooling is more than education... and deepening the pantry is more than buying extra groceries. I'll chat more about that next as we will need to go to a Part 3. :)
Picture: Home Making: allposters.com