The Growing Pains of a Frugal Mom

As someone who LOVES food and cooking, I’ve been wrestling lately with the choice between cheap or quality, mostly when it comes to buying groceries. I feel caught between my desire to save money and my desire to stock unprocessed natural products in my kitchen and provide healthy meals for my family. If you’re the grocery-purchaser at your house, you know that there is a significant relationship between quality and price. Being on an ever-tightening budget leads to some difficult choices in the supermarket.

During the throes of my mental battle on whether to go all Dave Ramsey on my grocery bill or not, I heard a relevant topic on NPR about cooking for your family and making healthy and conscientious decisions. One of the nutritionists mentioned that food was a method of sharing love in her family that was passed down from her grandmother. When making choices on groceries and meals, she asked herself the question, “Was this prepared with love?” Even if it wasn’t prepared by her, was the item or meal prepared by somewhere who cared about the ingredients and the experience of the consumer? Her words spoke of principle, intentionality and care which struck home for me.

This internal struggle even backed me into a corner as I daydreamed about my garden for the year – can I justify investing the time and money into something that I love, and is it selfish to do so? I mulled over conflicting thoughts and feelings of guilt before discussing my dilemma with Aaron. He is after all, directly affected by the decision to garden or not to garden as well as, to spend money or not to spend money. We concluded that growing our own food is a discipline and delight that we’d like to be a Rayburn family value. We want to instill the hard work and love of nurturing plants to grow that you can then reap the benefits of your labor at the kitchen table. I also had to admit that I have such a strong emotional enticement to gardening. I glean more than delicious vegetables from it each year, I discover deep wells of joy there. It is possibly the most precious and fulfilling method of worship that I have found, and those are the times my mind is still and at peace among the warm earth and sunshine. How can I view that time as selfish if it brings me closer to the Creator of my soul? And should I close that door to worship and personal fulfillment because I feel guilty about money?

I know that even as I resolve to hold to my decision to move conscientiously forward, I may still have nagging feelings of guilt or doubt along the way, but it is important to establish your values and then attend to them in and intentional and frugal manner. My choices are determining not just what kind of person am I and what kind of life I wish to lead, but what kind of family we will be.


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