Pride & Frugality

The proverb goes: “Pride comes before the fall.”

The story goes:  When I was a child a pastor was preaching to us on this proverb.  We lived overseas and our church was held in the breakfast hall of a smallish Convent.  The stage was raised on the one end of a hall.

Our pastor was an energetic Southern Baptist type of preacher.  He threw his entire body into his exhortations to the congregation.  This made for interesting watching as a child.

Passionately he repeated again and again that “PRIDE always led to a fall.”

Thrusting his arm, finger raised to heaven, adding a little leap of enthusiasm he shouted, “Pride!”

And accidentally thrust his arm into the metal ceiling fan that was working so hard to cool him down as we sat in the airless over-crowded breakfast hall.

As our pastor curled himself into a little ball on the stage as his wife and nurses rushed to the stage, his wife looked up and stated, “always comes before the fall.”

A recent conversation with other home-schooling friends brought up a conversation that I had with my mother about a year ago.  My mother pointed out that I should be aware that every time someone complimented me on something, whether clothing, furniture, an activity I organized, I always replied with thanks and then proceded to tell them how inexpensive it all was!

She stated that this sounded very prideful.

Our conversation of a few evenings ago touched on this subject of pride.  I have to say my mother shocked me.  For me it wasn’t about pride.  There was an element of joy.  There was definately an element of wanting to share the wealth.  And when I thought about it more there was a satisfaction that sometimes did touch on pride because I managed to make “it” work.

I also notice something that borders on pride when I go about the net reading blogs on frugality.  Almost always I find the pride in the comments left by the readers and not in the author’s words.  Let me explain.

To me the opposite of pride is envy.  And that I see in spades in the comments.  “I can never find deals like that.”  “You must have the  best thrift store in town.”  “I can’t organize my coupons like that.”  “You are so lucky.”  “You must be a real Stepford wife.”  “You must be kidding me, no one could do the things you do!”  And so on.  Note: those are all my own words and not quoted comments but you know you’ve read words along those lines.

I frequently hear things like that in real life.  To my friends who read this please hear what I am saying that that I am generalizing here and using hyperbole to make my point.  I love you dearly and support your choices and am friends with you because you are NOT me!

When I hear “You are so organized, super organized!”  I think, crap have you seen my house?  I’m not organized, you should see my mother’s house!  And I have a certain amount of wonder too because I do see organization at my home.  But I know exactly how it got there, one excruciating shelf at a time.  You are looking at 32 years of learning here… and I had to struggle for every single step of it!  Then I wish that I could help you do it but know that this is something you are going to have to do yourself if you want it to work.  I’ll help and share with you what I’ve learned.  I’ll even come and work hard to help you get through some of the over-whelming stuff.  But if you want it to stay you have got to do the work yourself!

You won’t get the strength from yourself though!  I don’t find the ability to do any of this lies with myself.  Because myself would rather be living in the tropics right now.  I’d be married to some rich man and we’d be living on an island off his riches.  Guilt and faith are often my two strongest motivators.

I hear things like, “I could never do that!”  Insert something here like a food choice, menu planning, shopping list, having less clothes, living in a smaller house (I hear that one a LOT), etc.

That just causes me to laugh inside.  I’ve said that about each and everything myself.  To the point that I try really hard to not say “I can’t” any more.

I once said, “I can’t eat beans!  That is so stinking gross.”  [literally]

Then we frequently had only $30 per week of groceries, at a time when my kids were both in diapers.  I’d say it was at this time that I learned to eat beans.  I learned that spices are inexpensive and beans can taste great and after a short while your body gets adjusted and the stinking effect is gone.

Side benefit, you loose weight.  Um, but then the negative is the clothing issue!

Or, I could never live in a small house.  Admittedly I struggle with this one.  I would LOVE more space.  I’ve got too much stuff for this house.  If it were just me I’d be getting rid of a bunch more stuff to make this house work but I’ve got family issues regarding stuff.

But I try to focus on the fact that this house lets us live on budget.  One day my kids will move out and my house will be perfect.  I love the location of this house.  Etc.

I’m still working on this one, if you don’t mind, could you not say that because it isn’t helping me, lol!  😆

Anyhow, I can go on and on.  You know I can.  I know my mother’s words were a real eye opener to me.  For awhile I struggled heavily because I felt that since my comments were not really out of pride that I shouldn’t care how other’s heard my comments.

But then it occured to me that it is a stumbling block for others.  If I am true to my intention of sharing to spread the excitement about being frugal then I must be concerned with how my words are being percieved.  For now, I try to hold myself back from sharing each time.  I try to leave my reply to a heart-felt thanks and only sharing the tips if questioned.

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3 Responses to Pride & Frugality

  1. Elaine says:

    Pride is an issue for all but in different ways. And being a stumbling block to others is not something anyone wants to be. I’ll be praying for you as you work through this.

  2. dreamom says:

    As always you have given me food for thought. Everyone loves a good victory story… 🙂 On the other hand, I can see this played out in our interaction…

    That being said – I miss your stories. Perhaps it is more a question of being careful about who, and the context…

    Thanks for sharing this lesson with us!

  3. appliejuice says:

    That is a good lesson. Thanks for sharing it. It has given me something to think about. 🙂

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