Originally, the purpose of this post was not to rant, but to share my absolute fascination and disbelief at the lack of basic life skills that some people have. Then I got to thinking and realised that not everyone was blessed with a wonderful/ frugal/ thoughtful, Supermom. I may or may not have gushed about how much I love my mum, and how fantastic she is. If not, please read here.
A little background: I have 3 siblings: 2 sisters and 1 brother. I am the oldest at 28 and the youngest is 18. Knowing that all of us were university/ grad school bound from an early age made my parents (read:mum) want to make sure that we were able to fend for ourselves.
She has 5 basic life skills that she wanted us to know and master. Yes, it included my brother.
Know how to cook without making someone sick or burning the house down. We started with the basics -eggs, noodles, etc and graduated up to more complex dishes that involved recipes and random spices. Her thinking here was that we needed to survive and feed ourselves when she worked late. And she didn’t want us to get used to fast food. $5 makes a great pastas dish for 4 people. It barely buys a McChicken meal anymore.
With the exception of my brother, we are all under 5.4. This poses an issue when pursing pants, skirts etc. My mom insisted that we all know how to do basic hemming and tailoring. She showed us the value of this skill when she paid us the hemming cost for the first two pair of jeans. That $16 left an impression at the age of 14. It surprises me to this day when I see people walk into the alterations place to take up their pant leg. Also, men need to know how to sew buttons on. This should not be up for discussion,.
I love bartering so much that I wrote an entire post on it before. The best thing I learned from my mom about bartering was that asking for a lower price can result in a discount; and to not be afraid for ask for it. I’ve asked for discounts at department stores, farmer’s markets, cable companies, and they’ve all agreed.
The other thing that I learned is knowing what skills you have and what you can trade it for. I tutored my mechanic’s daughter for a few weeks in exchange for him fixing the bumper on my car. I was 17 and money was limited, but I knew my chemistry. It saved him from paying for a tutor and me from having to come up with a few hundred dollars.
Building a tribe
This is true online and off. What I/she means by a tribe is finding people that you trust and that you can share things with; a community of sorts. I want to say that Yakezie has been that for my blogging life. The provide support for things that I didn’t know I needed support with. In mom terms, this meant sharing car-pooling duties, or trading baby-sitting favours. This also meant having someone to bounce ideas off of.
This is different from having a group of friends. Sure, your tribe members can also be friends, but its more than that. Its a group of people who are invested in helping everyone grow.
Its true what they say ” It takes a village”
I suck at this, and its still an area that I am consciously working on, but she is the queen of impulse control. Having a budget makes sure that you don’t buy things that you can not afford. This can obviously expand into buying decisions, deal hunting, and finding the basic value proposition of any item that enters our home.
For her, it was easier that than; she didn’t buy what she did not need. She made sure that we were dressed in clean clothes, were fed, played on sports teams and never felt like we were missing out. She didn’t make us feel like we needed to have all the fancy toys at the time they came out. She taught us what it meant when something went on sale and what you could do with the extra money. This is a lesson that I am still grasping. It’s ironic because I was reading a post on Erika’s From Shopping to Savings blog about how her parents urged her to buy her Ipad. My mum are very annoyed when I showed her my IPAD.
These are, in my opinion, the core basic life skills that everyone needs to know. Not only will it save you money, but also helps you become self-sufficient.