When we first moved, we went to a church where they knew Dan was going to college and that he worked at Walmart. They put two and two together and started trying to give us stuff. Someone even bought us a turkey at Thanksgiving. Turkeys were $0.39 per pound at Thanksgiving. I was trying to convince Dan that we should buy two. We did not need a turkey given to us. We didn't feel that we could fellowship as brethren if they couldn't get past this difference. We know they were just trying to help, but it wasn't a big deal to us that we weren't wealthy; it was a big deal to them.
The church we go to now we found through some of Dan's coworkers. There are several other Walmart workers there and they are pro stay-at-home mom. We don't feel poor there because it's not an issue. Some people may have put two and two together, but it's not an issue.
If we have someone over, and I make them a meal, do you know that they think? They think I'm some sort of gourmet cook, making everything from scratch. I won't generally spout the price per pound of flour verses tortillas, but if they are interested, I might share how easy the recipe is. They think my husband is lucky to be cooked for.
On the Streets:
People who see us on the streets don't know we're "poor". We have a nice car, in good shape. I think it's real pretty, too.
We don't leave the house looking dirty and everyone has normal looking clothes, even name brand clothes.
Our Family Knows:
They know Walmart isn't the best job around. Without going into too much family dynamics, we get a mixed reaction about our situation.
Dan's family is poor. Dan grew up poor. They don't expect us not to be poor. They're not frugal though. It's interesting to see people who are poor, but choose not to be frugal. They don't have debt, they just spend all that they make when they really don't need to.
My father's family is poor, although academically accomplished. My dad and uncle went to Oxford; my aunt went to Cambridge. They don't see wealth as a sign of accomplishment, but are more interested in discussing world political leaders with Dan. They are content in their lower income, as we are in ours, and are pleased with how my life is turning out in general. They are the ideal for us in many areas, much to my mother's chagrin.
My mother's family is wealthy. When I got married, my mom told me to reconsider, that being poor is only romantic for so long. She does not approve of my lifestyle, but has softened and likes Dan a little bit more than she once did.
Her parents are a little more supportive, as they were poor when they started out. They think that being poor is a stepping stone for wealth, and assume that that is what we are seeking after. They think Dan will be getting a salary comparable to the pastor that their church employs in Cape Cod, which is a wealthier area in Massachusetts.
Who reads my blog?
My father reads it, and I've told my aunt and step-mom about it. I told one brother who comes to see pictures of the kids and agrees with my ideals. I've told a few friends from our home church, but I'm not sure they read it. I think my older sister would like it, but she just had a baby, is going to school and works full time, so a lot of the ideas may not work for her.
No one on my mother's side and no one on my husband's side of the family knows this blog exists. We're close with my husband's family, but I don't think they'd like to see some of the criticism for this blog. I think they'd worry about me and I don't want them worried. I think my mother's family may actually be offended, as a lot of what I say here is an affront to their more affluent lifestyle, but maybe not.
How do others feel about your frugality? Or if you live below the poverty line, how do people respond to that?